Indicators Point to More Trends in Specialization
Stepping backwardBefore we step into the future, let's take a leap back into the past — specifically the early 1980s. I was 21 years of age, and starting my career in the fitness business. At that time, I had six main options for a location to exercise:
A specialized solutionOver the past few years, specialized centers and programs have become a normal part of the industry landscape. Groups like Bikram yoga studio owners have parleyed their knowledge and passion into a business with more than 2,000 locations. Fitness Together personal training studios has grown to 370 franchise locations, with another 160 on the way, according to the company's website. Curves for Women has 10,000-plus locations, while other women-only facilities such as Ladies of America and Butterfly Life have 600- and 100-plus locations, respectively. But that's only the start. Let's not forget Cuts for Men, which now has 75 locations. Club 50, another fitness center franchise, has sold 48 franchises, and the Silver Sneakers program now claims more than 3,000 fitness centers as customers. Add to the growth MediSpa, with more than 1,500 locations nationwide, and we can see an explosive movement in midstream. Between them, all of these operators have more than 17,500 locations (more than 50 percent of the industry.)
The commercial fitness club industry has 29,000-plus locations, according to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, and there are also yoga, Pilates, group cycling and personal training studios. For the majority of these facilities, the need to offer specialized training for their members is paramount.
As time goes on, we will continue to see more specialized facilities and programming. For example, what effects will DNA have on exercise prescriptions, especially as the population reaches older ages? Opportunities in new and different segments will continue to grow, creating a change in training, staffing, equipment and facility design. The trend has started. Are you ready to specialize?
Facility of the Week
Ithaca College Athletics and Events Center