Stop Worrying About the Future of Fitness
Please... I want us all to stop worrying about fitness. As a marketer, as a former fitness industry cog, and as a lifetime fitness fanatic... this is something that I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about.
If you're a fitness fanatic yourself, you think about this all the time, too. You've been thinking about this, especially this year: what is to come of fitness? Are we all just waiting for a vaccine? And then, everything's gonna go back to normal? Has everything changed? Have the foundations of fitness been shaken to the extent that it's never going to be good again?
Is it all over???
I think these are all legitimate concerns to have, and I share them. (But) Barring some kind of apocalypse zombie or otherwise the future fitness will be something like it is now only better.
It will be more accessible. It will be more personal. It will be simply more.
The wave of fitness has been building for decades. It would take a lot more than a pandemic to disrupt that. It would take a bubonic plague. And even then... I'm skeptical.
Here's a quick litmus test: How much have your own workouts changed, really? I mean, once we got past March... which was like five months long... are you working out less than you were before the pandemic hit?
Some of us never slowed down. (ahem)
Tough reality: I think things are going to get harder before they're going to get better. Winter is coming, like literally... not in the Game of Thrones sense, but there's literally... It's snowing in the Midwest this week.
I hope my prediction is wrong. I really do. I take no pleasure in saying that I fear that this winter will be the nail in the coffin for many businesses that have been struggling this year, and maybe some that even haven't been struggling. And, I think brick and mortar gyms are absolutely on that list.
That's the bad news. The good news is that many new businesses will fling open their doors.
Maybe not right away, but... well, to be fair, many are now. If you haven't been paying attention, connected fitness is exploding. I can't keep track of the number of new at-home workout systems that I've been introduced to.
I think there's like half a dozen of these mirror systems where it's a vertical monitor and then some equipment that you use to train; something like a Peloton system.
It's really exciting. If you are paying attention. And if you have your surfboard out, you are hoping to catch a wave pretty soon. That's what I'm doing, and that's what I recommend you start doing.
Start thinking about the ways in which you might do that.
Let's talk about some of the ways that we can anticipate fitness to change. I already mentioned this, as far as accessibility goes, everybody has already seen fitness come knocking through channels like YouTube and Vimeo, but now we're starting to see a bunch of fitness-based streaming platforms develop strictly for fitness. I think this is the tip of the iceberg of what's to come.
The more interesting question about these at-home training systems and the new software as a service platforms is, what's going to survive say the next five years? What will we still be talking about in the late 2020s? Or maybe the early 2030s?
Rest assured we are about to reach beyond the normal limitations of market share that traditional brick and mortar models have have kept us from reaching.
We're not fixing assess accessibility by making gyms more accessible to people that we want to draw into them. We're now bringing the gyms to them.
We'll still have brick and mortar. I've not lost my mind. There's going to be a place for brick and mortar. We're quickly going to be at a place where if your brick and mortar isn't offering some sort of a digital version or at home or connected fitness, then your business is way out in the sticks, and there's no competition.
And even then? It's only a matter of time before you're gonna be on this bandwagon. There, ain't no putting this genie back in the bottle.
We're also looking at a more personal fitness experience. I mean, it stands to reason if fitness is going to people, if the mountain is going to the exerciser, of course it's going to be more personal insomuch as it's in one's home or one's backyard or in their garage... but, in other ways.
Because once the whole fitness scene is digitized, we're going to see more of the sort of things that, as a marketer, I talk about and deal with; paying attention to behavior usage, to bring a more personalized experience. It's hard to kind of talk about how it's going to be more personalized in a soundbite because, frankly it's hard for me to imagine the myriad of ways that it's going to manifest, but that it will.
Our equipment is going to start to be intelligent and know us. It'll know the times of day we tend to train the types of workouts we do on certain days, we're going to start seeing equipment that will, will motivate us in many of the same ways that a workout buddy might.
That's a kind of personalization that the fitness industry just hasn't seen. Frankly, it's the kind of personalization that as a marketer is, is tough to recreate. And I think that's really exciting for the future of fitness.
In 10 years, we're gonna wonder how people used to work out without these elements in much the same way that my memories of my life from the early nineties, I often graft a cell phone into those memories before I realize, wait a minute, we didn't have those.
How the heck did I text somebody in 1992?
This really puts the cherry on top for me. And that's this idea of simply more. We're talking options beyond... I mean, you could see as, even as I try to articulate this, I struggle to capture this in a way that sounds intelligent because I'm up against the limitations of my own imagination.
When we have all of these great minds thinking about how to make fitness, more accessible, how to make it more personal. You can imagine a world where we can forget about boredom. when it comes to fitness. And that's great; that's great for users, and as we see that market grow, that's great for you as a purveyor, as a seller of fitness.
While you might, right now be stuck in your limited piece of the fitness pie, what you can't imagine, the things that I'm struggling to imagine, are the things that you'll be dedicating all of your time and energy to in short order.
So it's more for the user and it's more opportunity for you.
We can start to think in terms of: Your gyms closing? No big deal.
As soon as you accept the realities of that, the past is behind you. Then you can start to imagine the unimaginable future that it's in front of you.
This is no time to panic. Continue to work on what's important to you; what you believe about fitness. Hone your beliefs and be ready for anything.
In short order, the only people that'll be complaining about how things have changed are the people that right now are hoping everything stays the same. Same? That ship has sailed.
Now, if you think I'm crazy, if you think I'm off my rocker? Then shoot me a message, and let's talk. I'd love to talk.