Top 2 Trends From Health & Fitness Industry Executives

Members of IHRSA’s Industry Partner Advisory Council offer their take on the evolution of health and fitness in 2024.

As every year goes for the health and fitness industry, January went by in the blink of an eye. The year began on a high note, as there was no limit to news and happenings. Throughout the month, noticeable trends emerged, some of which IHRSA Industry Partner Advisory Council (IPAC) members predicted late last year.

We pulled top trends from our discussions with the following IPAC members:

  • Bill Davis, President & CEO, ABC Fitness

  • Lauren Foundos, Founder & CEO, FORTË

  • Fritz Lanman, CEO, Mindbody & ClassPass

  • Emmett Williams, CEO (Asia-Pacific) & Partner, Myzone

  • David Van Daff, Director of Global Industry Development, National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)

  • Kevin Conaway, President & Board Member, HydroMassage | WellnessSpace Brands

In 2024, IPAC members agree that trends will involve a more holistic approach to health and wellness, including mental health, recovery, and more opportunities for socialization and community. Technological advances and offerings will still stand as a significant piece of the puzzle for consumers.

Bill Davis, President & CEO, ABC Fitness

  1. AI will improve many sectors of operating a health and fitness facility: For starters, the efficiency and effectiveness of new member acquisitions and even greater levels of automation and personalization. AI will have a role in predicting member behavior to aid in member retention with the potential ability to identify individuals at risk of canceling and provide incentives or motivations to avoid it altogether.

  2. Hybrid fitness is in high demand: Hybrid fitness and crafting physical activity journeys are key for consumers. People value community but also personalization. It’s important to adapt and blend the desire to be part of a community and personal needs into offerings. Operators are expanding gamification to foster that sense of community and celebrate individual achievements.

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In speaking with Bill, he noted, “Developments in technology and evolving consumer behaviors will once again dominate trends in 2024. In addition, the evolution and integration of overall physical and mental well-being will accelerate.”

Lauren Foundos, Founder & CEO, FORTË

  1. Community: Brands will focus heavily on community-building by fostering it in facilities and through their apps.

  2. Personalized programming: Members want personal suggestions based on their fitness routines and goals while also taking account of data-driven insights around sleep, recovery, resting heart rate data, and more. Looking at members through a holistic lens and engaging them beyond the gym is significant in helping them live a longer and healthier life.

Going further into community-building and personalization, Lauren said, “People want to track their progress, have fun through gamification, and have their trainers and community there with them for the ride to inspire and motivate them.”

Fritz Lanman, CEO, Mindbody & ClassPass

  1. Overall health and wellness is a top priority for people worldwide: Despite an uncertain economy, consumers continue to increase their spending on health and well-being, specifically on in-person experiences.

  2. Community: The industry talks about this idea of being the “third space”—places that facilitate social interaction outside of the people you live or work with. Brands and businesses continue to capitalize on becoming the third space and find new ways to create a sense of community for all generations.

Fritz detailed statistics that highlight the importance of wellness for consumers. He said, “More than a third of consumers are likely to choose businesses well-known for their community-building activities, and over 60% have attended or would like to attend an event at a salon, spa, med spa, or wellness center.”

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Emmett Williams, CEO (Asia-Pacific) & Partner, Myzone

  1. Wearables: Smartwatch proliferation will continue in 2024. Most health and fitness facility members wear Apple, Garmin, Fitbit, etc., meaning they have a connection to a sensor that pulls results.

  2. Results: At Myzone, the company harnesses that data and has innovated to provide a platform that includes all sensors to drive value to the facility's ROI and community.

David Van Daff, Director of Global Industry Development, National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)

  1. Technology: Technology-fueled innovations will emerge and grow, including advanced data wearables, the next evolution of mobile apps, and virtual and augmented reality workouts. Combining technology with a wide variety of modalities and workout locations to create hybrid routines will keep consumers engaged.

  2. Overall health and wellness: Holistic health and fitness programming emphasizes elements like recovery and regeneration, flexibility, nutrition, mindset, and mindfulness.

Adding to his thoughts on technology and holistic health, David noted, “Consistently modifying a workout routine by adding variability and incorporating various forms of technology will help prevent burnout and avoid fitness plateaus while increasing motivation and consistency.”

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Kevin Conaway, President & Board Member, HydroMassage | WellnessSpace Brands

  1. Overall health and wellness: Although this trend has been building over the last five years, more facilities are investing in and fully embracing wellness solutions since the pandemic. Facilities report higher retention rates as members feel their wellness needs are met, and the facility is more valuable.

  2. Recovery: More facilities are incorporating dedicated recovery spaces with HydroMassage, cryotherapy, percussion therapy, red light therapy, RelaxSpace Pods, and other wellness-related amenities.

Take It With a Grain of Salt, Listen to Your Members

With any trends or consumer data, remember your facility's most important audience: your membership. While you'll notice overlapping trends and interests, those who visit your facility are the behaviors to track most.

Collecting member feedback and analytics can provide the insights you need to improve business. Be sure to attend IHRSA 2024 in Los Angeles, March 6-8, to hear expert advice on how to improve member retention and satisfaction.

Author avatar

HFA Staff @HealthFitAssoc

This article was a team effort by several HFA experts.