2022 Fitness Predictions

December 11, 2021

About the Author: Eric Bach

Here’s how to train people online, in-person and in a hybrid model in 2022. COVID forever changed the fitness industry and the pace of change will only accelerate in 2022. Old business models are flying out the window. Deep-pocketed, new players are entering the space.

And competition is increasing across the board. How can you thrive amidst the chaos? By preparing now. And by standing out from the crowd. Here are eight fitness predictions for 2022.

1. Lockdowns May Come Again

The gym industry was decimated by lockdowns in 2020. In late 2021,  New York declared a sate of emergency for the Omicron variant even before a single case was reported. 

I wouldn’t be shocked to see lockdowns or, at the very least, restrictions on gatherings in public places like gyms. Based on recent history, this is more likely to happen in blue states than red states.

If you like to hit the gym, be prepared for the possibility of at-home workouts and workout equipment shortages.

Fitness professionals need to develop online-based business offerings. If you’re not prepared to help your clients online, they’ll likely go elsewhere.

^^If there’s one prediction I hope I’m wrong about, this is the one.

2. More Trainers Will Train People Online And In Hybrid Gym Offerings

More gyms and trainers will build a hybrid business: one that has online and offline components as part of their membership.

Many gyms and coaches are still struggling after the lockdowns over the past 1.5 years. A hybrid offering allows gyms to provide more value to their existing clients and generate more revenue.

For online businesses, more gyms jumping into the online space will lead to more competition. Gyms provide a great place for in-person relationships that people are craving.

If you’re a gym business owner, you’ll have the advantage of leveraging an existing relationship to attract more clients online.

If you’re online, prepare for more competition. You’ll need to differentiate your service and offer to stand out.

3. Digital Advertising Will Get More Expensive And Complex

Let’s be real. This is already happening. Every social media platform exists to make a profit.

Here’s the cycle:

  1. Create a new social media platform. 
  2. Reward those who use it with fast growth.
  3. As the platform gets more competitive, throttle reach.
  4. Charge businesses to reach the followers they worked so hard to build.

Digital advertising is growing increasingly complex with the rapid changes on the internet.

Virtual reality will become integrated with advertising to create incredibly detailed and targeted ads. Imagine virtual ads using your face directly in clothing, at a different gym, or traveling. This is likely right around the corner with AI and facial recognition technology.

Think about it for a second. Facebook is the world’s biggest advertising platform. They’re working to create their own “metaverse.” 

Almost everything we own is now attached to the web…from new cars to your fridge.

To stand out in this world, you’re going to need to stay ahead of the game with technology. You’ll need to develop a unique voice to stand out from big-money offerings piling into the industry.

4. Wearable Technology Will Grow

Wearable technology like Apple Watches, Fitbits, etc. has been growing for years.

Recent variations of these wearables have gone from glorified heart-rate monitors to coming preloaded and updated with workouts to follow.

For fitness professionals, this means there’s an additional layer of competition coming from big tech. You’ll need to continue honing your skills to differentiate yourself. Which leads us to…

5.  Big Tech Will Provide Stiff Competition

Big Tech and big money from buyout and private equity firms continue to infiltrate the fitness industry.

Fitness streaming on high tech training devices from Peloton and Mirror continues to grow. And those wearables are providing real-time workouts.

Devices like Tonal are space-efficient and provide real time feedback with AI-based training.

This will create more competition for fitness professionals looking to compete against huge corporations.

6. Online Fitness Stipends

Many businesses have created corporate wellness strategies and have stipends for their employees to spend on taking care of their health. In 2022,  we’re going to see an increase in online corporate wellness and online fitness stipends.

This is a business decision as much as anything else. According to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, businesses lost 13.4-26.8 billion dollars in revenue due to obesity alone.

When people are healthier, they’re happier and perform better. People are more sedentary than ever. There’s less social connection. There are massive health issues ranging from increasing rates of obesity and disease to more mental health disorders and addiction.

Being healthy and fit has been proven to help all these ailments and increase productivity.

7. Boutique In-Person Training Will Thrive; Big Boxes Will Struggle

Big box gyms thrive on seldom-used memberships. First, consumers are cutting expenses on things they’re not using to combat inflation. Second, many people are apprehensive about gathering in large groups. Both of these hurt the bottom line of big box gyms.

On the flip side, what will thrive is training that provides people with real-world relationships and interaction. Think boutique gyms, small group training, and 1-on-1 training.

Fitness professionals who emphasize community and connection will stand out.

8. Online Competition Will Get Stiffer

Years ago you could thrive on your skills as a coach alone.Today, it’s not enough. People are more educated than ever on fitness. Trainers are no longer gatekeepers of information.

You’ll have to know how to run a business, including marketing and sales.You’ll need to connect with your audience and build relationships.

That’s exactly what our business coaching client Kerry Darting is doing. Kerry is a former D1 basketball player and coach. Kerry owns and operates Daring Basketball Academy in Topeka, Kansas for youth athletes.

Kerry knew he had to expand online, but wasn’t sure exactly how… or at what price point.

So, with our guidance, he’s taken a deep dive in the last two weeks into what competitors are doing, how he differentiates himself, and how to marry in-person and online programs.

We came up with a model in which he offers in-person, online, and hybrid programs all at the same price point….with an additional, lower-priced online program to feed the other parts of the business.

But it all began with a competitive analysis. Kerry didn’t want to dilute his brand, but faces competition from programs priced as low as $17 a month.

Now, more than ever, you need someone in your corner to help you work through all the new challenges.

Which is exactly what Bach Business Coaching offers.

Let’s chat to see if we help.

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