The future of fitness isn’t just gyms
A steadily increasing percentage of Americans are embracing healthier, organic lifestyle products, and with that comes a renewed emphasis on exercise and physical well-being. But how are gyms and workout-focused companies, who’ve historically struggled to get more than 20% of the U.S. population physically active, adapting to the current wellness trend while navigating pandemic restrictions? “All this digital fitness will always be here,” says Jeremy “JT” Tucker, chief marketing officer at Planet Fitness. From Richard Simmons’ old school workout tapes to the P90X home bodybuilding system, people have long had the option to get fit without leaving their house. “But what’s really missing is that connection and experience,” Tucker says.
Early in the pandemic, Tucker worked to implement virtual fitness strategies that mimic the camaraderie gyms can foster. With lighthearted, relatable advertising that utilized “little winks and nods that brought the brand to life,” he says, the gym chain unveiled both a series of daily at-home workouts and tools to make reopening its in-person facilities easier. The result: a successful conversion rate of clients who first signed on with Planet Fitness from home eventually transitioning to full-time gym memberships.
But interactivity was key all along—something that’s been evident in the innovation of other home fitness products, such as those from Lululemon and Peloton. “The shift to at-home workouts was well underway before the pandemic,” says Dara Treseder, senior VP and head of global marketing and communications for Peloton. “This was something that people were already doing, but something that the pandemic has accelerated the adoption [of].”