In 2020, people spent many months at home without getting much exercise due to the restrictions imposed to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 measures restricted gym capacity and forced some to completely close. However, in 2021, online fitness and wellness classes have increased because many people have realized the need to maintain physical and mental health.
The online shift has impacted how the fitness and CrossFit industry works. Although about 75% of gym members claim that they will resume to the actual gym and return to pre-pandemic practices, the pandemic has forced about 72% of fitness clubs to offer on-demand and Livestream workout lessons.
Since lifestyles have become sedentary due to the lack of travel, the need to observe social distancing, and increased remote working, running the fitness and CrossFit business has become problematic. Here are the top 5 challenges facing the fitness and CrossFit industry in 2021:
1. Generic Competition
Mobile applications, wearables (Smartwatches, Google Glass, etc.), and other online applications have become a grave threat to many fitness clubs in 2021. These new advances have reshaped the industry by pivoting it online. As a result, members have improved their home set-ups by investing in various workout equipment, apps, trackers, and wearables, which fulfill what they need. Consequently, while many fitness and CrossFit clubs offer Livestream workouts, this shift has increased digital competition because many clients have become loyal to their home studios.
2. Attracting New Members
The ongoing COVID-19 measures have made it difficult for gym owners to convince new customers to join their fitness and CrossFit clubs. The changes in commuting patterns have changed workout patterns. Although the COVID-19 vaccination process has started, fear still mars the in-person workout experience. Many people have no confidence that the pandemic is sufficiently under control to guarantee them to return to the gym. Besides, many clients have adopted virtual workouts, making it difficult for the fitness and CrossFit industry to draw new members.
3. Retaining Present Members
Fitness clubs expect their clients to renew their membership once it expires, but things have changed in 2021. Although gyms started to reopen in May 2020 after federal governments lifted some business restrictions and lockdown orders, many clients feared the second wave of COVID-19 infections. As a result, many opted to try virtual fitness programs from the comfort of their homes. This shift has made it difficult for fitness clubs to engage their clients consistently.
4. Changes in Demographics
Fitness and physical health is becoming increasingly popular and accessible in many parts of the world, ranging from impending markets in South America to flooded markets in the U.S., the U.K, and Europe. Obesity rates have increased even though people have started to focus on their mental and physical well-being. As a result, the number of aging populations, who have sufficient time and money to invest in the fitness and CrossFit industry, has increased. While older adults demand quality attention, fitness personnel treat them like teenagers or young adults who want to look great rather than stay healthy. This issue has affected the fitness industry by reducing reduced memberships and customer loyalty.
Besides, unlike before, many teenagers and children have joined fitness programs. Although everyone should access fitness facilities, many gyms have failed to accommodate beginners, especially millennials. The divide between individuals who “know” fitness and those who “don’t know” continues to widen, discouraging new trainees from joining any fitness programs.
Although the internet has become a credible source of fitness and health information, it provides terrible advice. About ten books on Amazon are related to a healthy diet, the most endorsed fitness program, or new wellness trends every day. However, unlike fitness experts and personal trainers, the average individual does not have enough knowledge to discern between right and wrong fitness information. Thus, they read and practice any fitness advice without evaluating the credibility of the published information. Although not all online lessons are incredible, the lack of regulation makes anyone an “authoritative” fitness and health trainer. Consequently, any individual can quickly spread unhelpful information to unsuspecting beginners, tarnishing the industry’s standards.
Every industry has its problems, and the fitness and CrossFit sector is not an exemption. However, the outlined challenges create an opportunity for the industry to improve its services and nurture personnel to create a remarkable customer experience. Solving these challenges will keep the customers on track, increase loyalty and retention, and boost the industry’s growth.