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Top Fitness Trends of 2024 by ELEIKO Education Team

2024 will be an exciting year for fitness enthusiasts and professionals. The health and fitness industry will continue to see robust underlying growth driven in part by megatrends, including an ageing and more active population, increased focus on longevity, and insights from the pandemic experience where the role of physical activity was evident.

The fitness club is one of the keys to introducing more people to an active lifestyle. Access to equipment and competent trainers are essential, along with the sense of belonging and community that membership can mean. The industry can accelerate growth further by enhancing the customer experience through innovations and enhancements in equipment, training concepts, education, and facility design and by understanding the trends that continue to shape the training landscape.

From a renewed focus on inclusivity and sustainability to the rise of virtual workouts and holistic training, there’s something for everyone. Strength training continues trending strongly and is important in bringing more people into fitness clubs. Strength training also plays a central role in another trending area – a focus on holistic health – wellness, recovery, longevity, and mental health.

Functional Fitness: Bridging the Gap Between Gym and Life

Backed by extensive research, it is widely recognised that strength training is fundamental to overall health, well-being, and longevity. The desire to build muscle for aesthetics is slowly becoming secondary to fortifying our bodies to conquer the challenges of everyday life.

Functional strength training aims to prescribe physical activity that translates to movements outside the gym. This approach resonates with people who seek practical and tangible benefits from their fitness routines, such as enhanced mobility, balance, and strength for everyday life.

This hybrid training style incorporates elements from various disciplines, including the major lifts from weightlifting and powerlifting, as well as a variety of free weight and strength and conditioning movements. A wide range of equipment, including barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, racks and rigs and various accessories, are used to create dedicated training areas and run effective programs.

Prioritise functional fitness through:

  • Movement-Focused Workouts: Free weights and kettlebells allow for exercises that mimic everyday activities, improving overall functionality.
  • Skill-Building Classes: Offer Olympic weightlifting, CrossFit, and TRX training to develop strength, coordination, and agility.
  • Small Group Training: Often taught in group settings, functional fitness training can be an excellent tool for generating added value for members, building community within your membership base, or even adding revenue-generating services within a facility, depending on how programs are structured.

Once you have your space optimally designed to support group functional training classes, ensuring your coaches and trainers are equipped to develop and run effective training programs is the next step.

Inclusivity and Accessibility Take Centre Stage

Gyms are evolving into welcoming spaces for people of all abilities and backgrounds. This means accessible equipment and a diverse atmosphere that celebrates individuality and varied training preferences.

Equipment selection plays a central role when designing a space aiming to be inclusive and accessible. Making sure equipment spans the needs of a diverse membership base can look like selecting pieces that are more approachable and accessible for a wider group of users. Small details can make a big difference.

For instance, the slimmer rack profiles found in the Prestera system appeal to a broader demographic of users. The tighter hole spacing on the stainless-steel uprights means more users can find the precise bar placement regardless of size. Across the Prestera range, attachments and accessories are designed to be lighter for easier manoeuvrability.

Other simple steps include having a range of weights and a variety of bars. Bars are tailored to different types of lifting and users and include differences in the bar weights, shaft diameters, and product features designed to enhance the lifting experience for different training experiences.

Recovery Reimagined: Knowing when to train for Optimal Performance

Recovery isn’t just about post-workout stretches anymore. Recovery is essential for optimal health, well-being, and performance. When done correctly, recovery produces a state of readiness that allows members to continue doing what they love, like training. When done incorrectly, it can lead to physical, mental, and emotional injury and illness.

Recovery is the critically needed counterbalance to stress from training that yields the adaptation, ensuring performance improvement. Many gyms are incorporating cutting-edge technology like infrared saunas and handheld laser devices to accelerate muscle repair. Focusing on recovery in dedicated zones, equipment, and program offerings can help members reach peak performance.

However, it can also be valuable for your team to develop a deeper understanding of recovery and how to help clients get balance training and recovery for the best outcomes. Most people will mention breathing, foam rolling, ice baths, etc. These are ways to produce a state of recovery, but there’s so much more to recovery.

Holistic Training: Mind, Body, and Beyond

The lines between physical and mental health are blurring. Gyms offer holistic wellness programs, including meditation, yoga, and even counselling services. While yoga and meditation classes promote holistic well-being and stress reduction, strength training has also been demonstrated to be a good tool for this.

Among its many mental health benefits, resistance training, such as weightlifting, is shown to lower depression, anxiety, and fatigue and improve self-esteem, sleep quality, and cognitive functions. For these reasons, strength training has become more prevalent in mental health treatment and recovery.

Another part of this holistic approach to wellness is the increasing emphasis on longevity and life quality. Studies have demonstrated that both strength training and cardio‌ are important for longevity. In a new study published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers found that while doing either aerobic exercise or strength training was associated with a lower risk of dying during the study’s time frame, regularly doing both — one to three hours a week of aerobic exercise and one to two weekly strength training sessions — was associated with even lower mortality risk.

In the pursuit of fitness and health, it’s easy to become fixated on the physical aspects – losing weight, gaining muscle, or improving endurance. While these goals are important, they often overshadow the significance of the mind-body connection and the role of strength in ensuring a long and healthy life.

The Power of Community: Building Bonds, Boosting Results

The gym is more than just a place to sweat; it’s a hub for community. Through smart facility design, equipment selection and programming decisions, facilities can harness the power of community to keep gymgoers engaged, motivated, and committed to their health journey.

Build and strengthen community in an inspiring atmosphere through:

  • Group Training Classes: Eleiko’s rigs and platforms facilitate dynamic group workouts, fostering camaraderie and motivation. Having the capability to host group classes and fitness competitions amongst your community will provide variety for members and keep workouts enjoyable.
  • Open Gym Layouts: Smart gym design can improve member retention. Encompass areas for social interaction on the gym floor. Encourage members to train efficiently together through careful kit selection, enabling them to enjoy various fitness disciplines in one compact footprint.
  • Mental Wellbeing: Cultivating a strong community can also provide mental and emotional benefits for members. Exercise has been shown to improve mental health and reduce stress, and having a supportive community can give members a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation.
  • Support your Trainers: Offer various inclusive training programs catering to your members’ needs and goals. Eleiko’s education programs equip trainers with the knowledge and skills to guide members effectively.

Virgin Active developed its group training Lift Club concept alongside Eleiko, creating opportunities for members to lift and learn together using Eleiko’s precision-crafted strength equipment. Their Lift Club weight training classes give inexperienced members the confidence to start lifting weights and challenge intermediate or advanced lifters to lift heavier.

By adding a lifting or strength-based group training program, members gain both fulfilment and enjoyment from new endeavours in the gym with the added benefit of belonging to a community of like-minded individuals focused on becoming stronger in body and mind and appreciating the many benefits weightlifting can bring.

Another way to strengthen the member experience and create opportunities for facilities is borrowing from high-performance athlete training spaces to work with a strength station concept. The strength station’s fantastic use of space allows users to perform many different lifts and exercises in one place.

They’re also an excellent choice for coaches and trainers because they can coach their athletes and members in one spot, keeping lifters focused and motivated and increasing the effectiveness of each session. This helps to build a strong connection between the trainer and the client.

Virgin strengthened its club offering by introducing more efficient training capabilities with strength station concepts. Maximising performance within a minimal space, the Eleiko Prestera strength station system provides Virgin Active members and personal trainers with training spaces that intuitively consolidate a range of strength training methods — from free weights to body weight to cable training — into one space and seamlessly integrate rack, or rig, system.

Optimising floor space is key in unlocking additional training opportunities for members training alone or in a group, and an advanced coaching experience for personal trainers as well as bringing new class concepts to life.

Building a Greener Future with Sustainable Fitness

Nearly 75% of millennials consider themselves eco-conscious, driving demand for sustainable fitness practices. Gyms are responding with energy-efficient equipment, green building materials, and reduced waste initiatives. Collaborating with partners that share these values strengthens a gym’s response.

Eleiko’s dedication to responsible manufacturing and durable design resonates with this growing awareness, making it the choice for a sustainable fitness future. Durable design and developing long-lasting, high-quality products are at the heart of Eleiko’s sustainability efforts. However, the A Stronger World initiative encompasses many aspects, including working towards carbon-neutral bars, producing more products in Sweden, using recycled materials when possible, and reducing our environmental impact. Our new distribution centre is certified as a green building.

Setting the stage for a strong and sustainable future

Embracing these trends and growing your strength offering to members can help create a thriving fitness community where everyone feels welcome and empowered to reach their full potential. A strong gym is a space for growth, connection, and a holistic approach to wellbeing.

Make your gym the go-to destination for strength training in 2024 and beyond.