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Top 10 Healthclub Trends for 2012

Posted in Fitness, Fitness News, Fitness Trends, Gym Information, Personal Training, Product Reviews, Provider Spotlights, Wellness Add comments

Here at®, we’ve got our finger on the pulse of the fitness world, always on the look-out for new trends and developments that affect the way our members get fit and well. As the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) recently announced their Top Health Club Trends for 2012, we thought we’d take a look at this list and how it relates to our members’® experience.

Trend #1: More People are Working Out in Health Clubs

Despite the poor economy, membership to health clubs has increased more than 10% over the past three years, bringing the total to about 50.2 million members nationwide. This growth is expected to continue, and with an improved economic outlook clubs are gearing up for further increases in membership. Many health clubs, like® Provider Crunch, are expanding their offerings and utilizing new classes and programs to help clients get fit.  According to Crunch Regional Group Fitness Director, Marc Santa Maria, “Less is more in terms of complicated routines…  Folks want easy to follow workouts – so dance routines from classes like LaBlast or easy rhythms like drumming in POUND are the types of straightforward choreography that make everyone feel like a star. Even Pole Dancing got easier – less about the tricks on the pole, and more about the fun movement around it, so Pole-ography was launched to address that.”

Trend #2: Specific Programming and Certifications for Baby Boomers

As the fastest growing segment of the population and a demographic that often has the time, motivation and financial resources to devote to staying physically fit, the Baby Boomers’ influence on the fitness marketplace is projected to increase in the coming years. This is a population that is concerned with aging well and staying active to increase their energy and their ability to work and play longer. Just ask Dave Almire, owner of ForeverFIT, whose outstanding gym trains individuals of all ages including baby boomers. “As a gym owner and personal trainer over the years I have noticed an increase in gym time within the baby boomer group. This seems to be pronounced by an ever increasing need to withstand an enormous amount of stress from increased workload and home life. The amount of gym time seems to coincide with the amount of personal stress. Looking good is also a strong motivator for gym time. However looks are no longer the only motivator at the gym. I would say feeling good is equally as important as looking good has always been in the past.”

Trend #3: Youth Programming


Between 2007 and 2010, health club membership for those under the age of 18 almost doubled in size. Perhaps because of the increased public awareness about the dangers of childhood obesity, more than ever, kids are looking to join health clubs and get fit. The Obama White House has also put a strong emphasis on youth fitness through their “Let’s Move” initiatives, which has only served to boost public support for youth programs. According to® Partner, Dave Hubbard, aka America’s Fitness Coach®, the responsibility falls on the parent to get kids involved in fitness. “It’s up to the parents to demonstrate to their kids that regular physical exercise is something that’s really worthwhile.”

Trend #4: Social Exercise 

It makes sense that people would want to combine their social lives with their efforts to get fit- humans are social creatures, after all. And although there is a lot to be said about the infamous “runner’s high” that one gets while sprinting on a treadmill or jogging down a peaceful neighborhood street, more and more fitness enthusiasts are looking to make it a group effort. According to Joe DeSena, Founder of the extremely popular® Partner Spartan Race Series (Enter Promo Code TOURDEFITGA for $25 off your Atlanta Spartan Sprint!), “Since we began Spartan Races, we’ve never lost sight of the big picture.  Far too many people are spending time on their couches, disconnected from themselves, their families, their friends, and communities.  It’s not a surprise then, that one in three adults in the United States is considered obese.  We encourage Spartans to sign up for a race, but more importantly, to engage their families and friends to do the same, to come and complete something as a unit and to inspire one another to say healthy on and off the race course all year round.  That takes a village. If you don’t have a village, go build one.”

 Trend #5: Small Group Personal Training

There are many reasons to work with a small group in your personal training sessions: decreased cost, the camaraderie involved in getting through a tough workout together, and greater efficiency for the time-strapped trainer. Group Training Sessions are particularly popular at® Partner Stellar Bodies.  According to owner Amy Selig, “At Stellar Bodies and Eclipse One on One, we embrace the small group atmosphere, because it allows people to workout with a friend(s) and holds them accountable to another as well as the trainer. The price is decreased for the client when they can train with one or more individuals, and we have discovered some very positive partnering. Some clients will cheer their partner on to finish a hard set, or the competition will entice individuals to work to fatigue, resulting in better results. “

Trend #6: Technology

The fitness industry has not been exempt from the incredible advances in personal digital technology over the past few years, and there are countless gadgets and programs that are making our workouts quicker, safer and more effective. Whether in a hand-held device or incorporated into the health club’s equipment, there is now simple, easy-to-use technology to track your progress, motivate you and keep you moving in new and exciting ways. A perfect example of how technology is jumpstarting peoples’ fitness routines lies in® collaborator Yo-Fi Wellness. According to Jeff Croy, Yo-Fi’s President & CEO, “Yo-Fi Wellness empowers the user on any device with streaming video yoga, fitness, nutrition and meditation classes that can be customized according to the user’s preferences.”

Trend #7: Convenient Fitness Options

This is a big one folks.  As more and more Fitness Professionals are realizing that their clienteles’ time is already stretched incredibly thin, they are making an effort to make getting fit less of an effort. This trend manifests itself in many ways, from locations that are open 24 hours a day, to express locations, to workout programs that are short but sweet and cater to those with a busy lifestyle. And then there’s online fitness resources like®, which literally puts fitness at your fingertips and allows you to make smart, healthy choices about your fitness and wellness effort with absolute ease and reliability (not to toot our own horn or anything).

Trend #8: Corporate Wellness Benefits 


With healthcare costs and adult obesity at an all time high, the positive returns on workplace wellness programs have never been greater.  In the U.S., obese Americans spend approximately 36% more on healthcare costs and 77% more on medications than their healthy counterparts. Katherine Baicker, Professor of Health Economics at the School of Public Health at Harvard University, found that medical costs fall by about $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs and that absenteeism costs similarly fall by about $2.73 for every dollar spent. With figures like these coming to light, many corporations are committed to devoting the necessary resources to keep their employees fit and well. And as a leader in Workplace Wellness Management,® is here to help. According to Maria Mazursky, Founder and CEO of®, “By encompassing an extraordinarily broad range of fitness and wellness fitness and wellness facilities, services and events,® provides all businesses, even those with tight budgets, an affordable platform that enables not only employees, but also spouses and dependents, to get fit and healthy in the way that works for them.  Thus,® helps businesses lower healthcare costs for all of these groups while also adding to employee satisfaction and job and life happiness and success.® is an indispensable, central component to all Workplace Wellness Programs.”

Trend #9: Body Weight Exercises

Suspension and body weight training are very popular among today’s gym goer, and represent a new and exciting alternative to the standard “pumping iron” approach to putting on and toning muscle. One of the most popular suspension training systems, TRX, has been reviewed by® as an excellent resource for travellers and those who are looking for some diversity in their workout. Check out our review here. Also, for a great bodyweight workout, click here.

Trend #10: Physician Prescribed Exercise 

As startling trends like obesity and heart disease continue to rise, healthclubs are finally being seen as a viable solution to our Nation’s healthcare crisis. Just ask Dr. Wyatt of® Partner WeightLossMD. “In 2012, in addition to medications, more and more doctors will be prescribing the real wonder drug: exercise!” For 2012 and beyond, it looks as though healthcare professionals will prescribe exercise at increased rates and health insurance providers will arrange more of their programs to reward those who make healthy lifestyle choices.

Copyright 2011 Tour de Fit, LLC.

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