Ask the Expert: Post-COVID-19 Fitness Trends
In the 2021 November/December issue, we spoke with Sarah Johnson, the former association director of group exercise for the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington, and current partner development manager at GlobalFit, about post-COVID-19 fitness trends.
From your perspective, what is currently trending in fitness classes and programs? People have shown the fitness industry there is a growing demand for a place to “get away” to escape and break from the chaos that surrounds them in day-to-day life. For some that might be through mind and body work, and others it might be from high intensity interval work, giving someone else the reins and guiding them for a bit.
For community centers struggling to reengage members with Group X and fitness classes, what advice can you offer? I think the word hybridization is going to be soon over-used like the word “pivot” was in 2020. But I would challenge people to consider what hybridization means. Many think it means adding a virtual component and ending there. But what if you stretched it to mean providing hybrid options within classes — a cycle and bootcamp, a Pilates and HIIT, etc. This once again gives people a chance to play and expand outside of their comfort zone but with a little bit of familiarity sprinkled in.
What are the keys to successfully offering fitness programs post-COVID-19? Meeting your community where they are. Be sure you are taking the time to connect with your audience and truly listen. A great resource for larger organizations is to really take note of your on-the-ground troops — the group exercise instructors and trainers who are interacting one-on-one with members on a regular basis.
What do you predict to be the most popular post-COVID-19 fitness trends going into 2022? The ability to consume fitness from a digital platform is here to stay. Yes, there are and will continue to be members who prefer in-person workouts, but offering variety and the ability for them to choose their preference will be key. I also think outdoor fitness and programs will continue to be embraced. Many organizations held outdoor classes year-round, proving changes in seasons wouldn’t stop those who found this new outlet appealing.