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Six Driving Forces Influencing Today’s Fitness Trends Read on

Each Fall, HSG undertakes an exhaustive analysis of a myriad of industry surveys and predictions for the upcoming year.

We include market data, as well as our observations as Professional Managers and Consultants, with the intention to provide a valuable resource for fitness professionals and business owners/operators. This year, rather than looking for the next “best thing” in fitness, we chose to focus on the six fundamental forces that are driving consumer behaviour and today’s fitness trends.

Click the button below to download our full 50-page report that provides further insights into today’s fitness trends and will assist you in making strategic decisions for your fitness operation. We also identify program and equipment strategies you can use to make your business more competitive in 2019.

Through our research, we identified 6 significant consumer forces that are driving today’s fitness trends:

New Sensations

Today’s fitness consumer is part of an active generation that values experiences. The drive for adventure and excitement is pushing exercisers towards new forms of fitness instead of the traditional routine of going to the gym. Obstacle races, gamification, marathons and smartphone fitness apps have taken the market by storm and are connecting with consumers through a new form of communication that has never been used before in the fitness industry.

Influenced by the Millennial generation, today’s fitness consumers are a fast-paced, well-informed group. They devour news and information as soon as it’s released and then share it with others, usually via social media. This quick turnover cycle has led to an “out with the old, in with the new” mentality in many aspects of life, and things quickly become outdated. They are always seeking new ways to get fit and eat healthy, even if it means creating something unique to them.

Time Poverty

Many gym-goers are feeling overwhelmed by their lifestyle obligations. Time-pressured consumers express strong preferences for quick, efficiency-driven workouts that allow them to feel more in control of
their time, and return on (time) investment. This group of individuals will multi-task to compress more activities into less time, leading to broad behavioural implications.

For instance, time scarcity is a common reason for consumers failing to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including, skipping meals, eating-on-the-go, cooking from scratch less often, getting less sleep and failing to exercise regularly. As a result, consumers are looking to simplify and reduce time in the gym. This factor calls for a creative program and product solutions to help restore balance in the consumer’s’ life.


The ‘convenience’ factor also fuels a desire to create more leisure time. Today’s consumers are seeking solutions that allow them to maximize their free time and disposable income dollars, to spend more time doing the things they value.

Convenience and ease of access are vital to the success of any club or fitness business. It is the key to making it easier for consumers to decide to join. The right location, proximity to retail, accessible parking, no-hassle access or scheduling, and frictionless buying are all factors to consider in your fitness business operations.

Social Tribes

A ‘social tribe’ is simply two or more people who share common health goals, values, interests, behaviour, and up in any way, shape or form to engage in healthy behaviour, build healthy habits, or achieve a healthy goal together. It’s not the number in your tribe that leads to more success; it’s the power of the support you get from them that counts.

People prefer to share their healthy food, fitness activities, and accomplishments with friends — online and off, because it’s more fun, more do-able, and more sustainable over time to be social vs. solo. Connecting people who have something in common and developing a sense of belonging is a critical approach that industry leaders are capitalizing on in their programming and marketing efforts.


‘Betterment’ is a term that characterizes a more holistic approach to health to achieve a more balanced quality of life. For example, the mind/body connection has been a solid contributor to fitness participation for over two decades. This connection is evident by the sustained popularity of Yoga and Pilates.

For years, we have used exercise to enhance muscular performance, and we are starting to see a surge in the use of training to increase brain strength. It won’t be long before fitness trackers can monitor cognitive performance, as well as traditional physiological markers such as heart rate, calories burned, and effort. For many people, physical, mental and emotional peak performance is a fundamental part of self-actualization. That means these qualities are central to how they seek meaning in their lives.

Quality Results

The right credentials and outcomes. As the medical, therapeutic, holistic, athletic and technological worlds come together over the mainstream fitness industry, the winner is the client, the fitness center member and the people engaging in professional fitness services.

A focus on achieving quality results is the return on investment that consumers are seeking. Education, training and proper credentialing for trainers are becoming increasingly important to the health and fitness facilities that employ them. Specializations such as Health Coach, Older Adult Programming, Sports Specific Training or facilities that provide niche services are becoming more popular for those who are looking for quality results.

Our Role (as Fitness Operators)

Understanding and anticipating consumer needs can position you at the forefront of providing innovative and higher quality fitness experiences for your members and participants. This understanding offers critical intel when making future business decisions.