Your local gym is set to get busier than ever if the Les Mills 2021 Global Fitness Report is anything to go by. This major new report charts a global ‘live revival’, with fitness fans flocking to facilities for an extra injection of motivation and social connection after months of solitary home workouts.
Featuring insights from 12,157 consumers across five continents, this report explores how the pandemic has changed our fitness habits and spotlights the trends that will shape our workouts in years to come.
Gyms will be pumping
Although some predicted that the COVID-inspired home fitness boom might spell the end of regular studio workouts, research suggests the majority of members are rushing back to their gym. “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. He believes that 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.
Group exercise classes will be packed
Following a long period of lockdown restrictions, the appetite for live fitness experiences in groups is soaring. The report shows group fitness classes are busier than ever – some at 120 percent of pre-COVID levels in markets where capacity restrictions have lifted!
The desire to work out alongside rockstar Instructors is the number one motivator, with quality Instructors cited as a key component of the live revival. Mills says there is no doubt that Instructors are fundamental when it comes to providing the deeper level of motivation and connection that many exercisers thrive on. “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.”
Home exercise is here to stay
Despite gyms attracting record numbers, COVID-induced home exercise habits will live on, with 80 percent of gym members planning to continue using digital workouts post-pandemic in addition to live workouts. As we emerge from the pandemic, the decision to work out solely at home or in the gym is no longer black or white; a new blend of in-gym and home workouts is to prevail, with the majority of exercisers favoring a 60:40 split between live and digital exercise. “The digital fitness boom and the growth of home working means consumers are taking an omnichannel approach to their training,” says Mills. “Mixing thrilling live workouts at the gym with the convenience of digital workouts at home is what is helping people to stay more active.”
More people are hooking into the benefits of exercise – in the gym and at home
As we emerge from the pandemic, the focus on health and wellness is greater than ever and increasingly people are discovering that being physically fit increases your health and immunity and exercise works wonders for your mental wellness too.
Lockdown has spawned a new generation of fitness fans who have taken tentative steps into fitness and are now deciding what comes next. According to the report, 82 percent of consumers now regularly exercise (or soon plan to) and 27 percent of regular exercisers describe themselves as ‘absolute beginners’.
So what type of exercise is proving most popular? Seventy-five percent 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 percent of participants, closely followed by Indoor Cycling (30 percent) and Dance classes (29 percent).