‘Live revival’ sees fitness fans flock back to facilities

Les Mills 2021 Global Fitness Report spotlights how the world will work out post-pandemic, with live workouts and “Omnichannel Fitness” tipped to prevail.

Key findings:

  • Gyms worldwide making strong recoveries, with class attendances at 120% of pre-COVID levels in markets where restrictions have lifted.
  • Two-thirds of gym members prefer working out with others as opposed to alone, with live fitness classes cited as the most popular offering at the gym.
  • Live classes at the gym are more than twice as appealing as livestream options at home, with live Instructors and “the energy of the group” both key factors.
  • But COVID legacy will live on, with 80% of gym members planning to continue using digital workouts post-pandemic in addition to live workouts.
  • ‘Omnichannel Fitness’ – a blend of in-gym and home workouts – to prevail, with the majority of exercisers favoring a 60:40 split between the two.

Gyms around the world are set for a roaring recovery as they emerge from the pandemic, with fitness fans eager to get back to live workouts with friends.

That’s according to a major new report that charts a global ‘live revival’, with fitness fans flocking to facilities for greater motivation and social connection after months of solitary home workouts.

The Les Mills 2021 Global Fitness Report – which features insights from 12,157 consumers across five continents – explores how the pandemic has changed our fitness habits and spotlights the trends that will shape our workouts in years to come.

Despite fears the COVID-inspired home fitness boom would spell the end for fitness facilities, research suggests the majority of members are rushing back to their gym. The report finds gyms worldwide making strong recoveries since reopening, with class occupancy at 120% of pre-COVID levels in markets where capacity restrictions have lifted.

After a year of enforced home workouts, appetite for live fitness experiences in groups is soaring, with 85% of gymgoers interested in trying live classes in their facility.

Two-thirds of gym members (67%) say they prefer working out in groups, while live classes in gym are nearly twice as popular as online classes that are livestreamed (done by 44% of members vs 23%).

Rockstar Instructors are identified as the single most important factor for gymgoers when choosing a live class, favored by 28%, ahead of the quality of music (24%) and type of class (21%). Quality Instructors are cited as a key component of the live revival, meeting strong consumer demand for added motivation and deeper connection in their workouts.

“After months of being stuck at home, people can’t wait to get back to fitness facilities and enjoy their favorite workouts with familiar faces,” says Phillip Mills, Les Mills Founder and Executive Director.

“Much like bars, restaurants and sports events, fitness is experiencing a real ‘live revival’, as people make up for lost time with a renewed appreciation for real-world social settings.

“Many people have missed the thrill of a busy class and the extra motivation you get from working out with others while being led by a rockstar Instructor.

“But that doesn’t mean home workouts will disappear as we emerge from the pandemic. The digital fitness boom and the growth of home working mean consumers are taking an omnichannel approach to their training to stay more active, mixing thrilling live workouts at the gym with the convenience of digital workouts at home.”

The impact of the pandemic on the fitness landscape is evident throughout the report. The digital fitness boom looks set to last, with 80% of gym members planning to continue using digital workouts post-pandemic.

‘Omnichannel Fitness’ – a blend of in-gym and digital home workouts – is tipped to gain traction as we emerge from the pandemic, with the majority of exercisers (59%) favoring a 60:40 split between gym and home workouts.

Lockdown has also spawned a new generation of fitness fans who have taken tentative steps into fitness and are now deciding what comes next, with 27% of regular exercisers describing themselves as ‘absolute beginners’.

The report finds that 82% of consumers now regularly exercise (or soon plan to), while 75% of this group do gym-type activities, making fitness the world’s biggest sport. HIIT is crowned as the world’s most popular fitness class, favored by 32% of participants, closely followed by Indoor Cycling (30%) and Dance classes (29%).


To access the full report, visit: https://www.lesmills.com/global-fitness-report/

For media requests and further information, contact: press@lesmills.com

About Les Mills

Les Mills is the global leader in group fitness and creator of 20 programs available in leading fitness facilities around the world. Les Mills programs include the world’s first group exercise resistance training workout BODYPUMP™, BODYCOMBAT™ (martial arts), RPM™ (indoor cycling), BODYBALANCE™ (yoga), LES MILLS GRIT™ (30-minute high-intensity interval training) and the revolutionary immersive cycle experience, THE TRIP™. Each workout is refreshed and updated with new choreography and music every three months.

The company was founded by Les Mills – a four-time Olympian and head coach of New Zealand’s track and field team – who opened his first gym in 1968 with the aim of taking elite sports training to the masses. Today, Les Mills workouts are delivered by 140,000 certified instructors in 21,000 clubs across 100 countries and are available as live, livestream, virtual and immersive classes, as well as via the LES MILLS™ On Demand streaming platform.