Every December, most major media outlets come out with their predictions for the top fitness trends for the following year. But the truth is, if you wait for those lists to tell you what’s hot, you’ll be behind the curve.
As a studio owner, staying ahead of trends and paying attention to fitness industry buzz is a crucial part of staying relevant to your existing and prospective clients. If you aren’t constantly tweaking your services to reflect the upcoming trends, you will struggle to attract new people and keep current clients from wandering down the street to the newest studio on the block.
To stay current, try any of these seven strategies:
1. Go on a Fitness Road Trip
One of the best ways to refresh what is being offered in your studio is to leave your studio. Visit similar studios in other cities and take classes. Switching roles from instructor and owner to client can give you a wealth of new ideas.
2. Take a New Course
When was the last time you took a fitness course? A lot may have changed since you have been certified. Ongoing education can keep you up-to-date with new techniques and introduce you to different methods of instruction. You can bring back what you learn to your clients and improve their workouts.
3. Sign Up for Product Newsletters
Do you need another promotional email in your inbox everyday? Of course not. But, ads, when they are coming from key industry brands, can be good. If your equipment distributor or retail product brand has a mailing list, sign up. This can be a great way to stay on top of the latest fitness technology, gear, equipment, apparel and more. It’s especially helpful to see what these brands are promoting as new product versus what’s relegated to the clearance page.
4. Read Industry Reports
Keep in mind that fitness is a $33 billion a year industry and there is a wealth of data available online. Organizations such as IDEA Health and Fitness Association and IHRSA track how much money consumer are spending on health clubs and studios as well as keeping tabs on emerging fitness sectors.
5. Follow Fitness Bloggers and Tap Social Media
Data and stats won’t give you a complete picture on what’s hot in your area of fitness. For a more general and informal, yet revealing, look at industry trends, leverage social media platforms to find out what people are talking about. For example, if you own a barre studio, a quick Twitter search for #barre will reveal what people are wearing to class, exercise tips and popular barre article links.
Setting aside time to read fitness blogs can help you stay current with small bits of information each week. Organizations like The American Council on Exercise (ACE) and equipment manufacturers such as LifeFitness produce useful blogs about the fitness business.
Keep up with fellow professional and amateur enthusiast bloggers as well. To find lists of popular fitness bloggers, check out Greasist.com, a health and wellness site that compiles a comprehensive list of popular fitness bloggers each year.
6. Pursue Networking Opportunities
Join a fitness-related Meetup in your area. Check websites from fitness certification and training organizations for events and conferences happening in your area. For example, Spinning hosts and promotes educational, social and charitable events for indoor cycling instructors. These events can provide access to some of your industry’s leading experts who can both inspire you and inform you on the latest trends.
Staying current with the local business climate and getting new ideas for how to run your business can be just as important as staying on top of fitness trends. There are many national business owner and entrepreneur organizations, such as tktktk. You may also find that joining your local chamber of commerce has many benefits.
7. Team Meetings and Client Surveys
Some of your best sources of new information are right under your nose. Encourage your instructors and staff to engage in professional development. Host a regular team meeting over dinner, bowling or other fun activity (on you, of course) where staff members can share what they have learned.
Savvy clients are also a wealth of information. Create surveys to find out what other types of fitness activities your clients are involved with, as well as changes they would like to see made at your studio.