Fitness Trends and Trend-spotters of 2014

Looking around you’ll notice the patterns in what personal trainers and fitness experts are predicting for the profession in 2014.  While personal trainer is typically considered to grow, the growth is likely coming from team training and group training.

1:1 coaching to online coaching

Personal trainers are super effective but they’re also only one way of getting clients their fitness and health results.  There are lots of different ways people can access information (internet), get ready made programs (fitness apps), improve their technique (YouTube), get an intense workout (group fitness/bootcamps), be social (group fitness classes), track their progress (wearable technology) and now get accountability (online-training).

One-on-one trainers are needing to keep evolving. Bedros Keulian, one of the most prominent fitness marketing gurus from the United States, noticed a 10% drop in one-on-one trainer revenue from his annual survey.  This doesn’t mean that one-on-one training is drying up but it is hinting that the best trainers are complimenting their service with other offers that cater for different types of people, budgets and availability.

It’s likely to get harder for personal trainers that aren’t prepared to change because people don’t have infinite amounts of money to spend on their health and fitness. A potential client that does group fitness, is much less likely to hire a personal trainer too unless they don’t see themselves getting the results they’re after. There is always a trade-off and a choice where clients want to spend their fitness dollars.

Key drivers for 2014

Some of the key drivers for 2014 are going to be the continuing rise and power of smartphones to educate, program and motivate.  The apps that were crushing it in 2013 from nutrition (myfitnesspal in North America, Easy Diet Diary in New Zealand/Australia), programming (GainFitness, Jefit), activity tracking (Runkeeper, Strava) and exercise gamification (Fitocracy, Pact) are going to do even better this year.

Add app power with wearable technology power and it’s clear to see that personal trainers that embrace technology will do better and better.  Wearable technology coming from companies such as Fitbit, Nike, Jawbone, etc are rising in popularity (more people have them) and pushing the quantified self movement (people being more obsessive about tracking their eating, drinking sleeping and exercise) along at a rapid pace.

This is a great year for personal trainers to start learning about technology.  There’s no reason to freak out if you feel a little bit behind the times.  There’s time to learn but technology is creeping up the age groups which means into the hands more older and wealthier people – where most personal training clients come from.

Group training and team training are increasingly important sources of revenue for top personal trainers.  It makes sense for personal trainers to start these ventures up.  If most personal trainers market themselves through word of mouth, then more mouths talking about them means more marketing which means more money coming in the door.  People are looking for ways of accessing the best aspects of personal training for a more affordable cost, technology is making it easier to make up the short-fall in personalisation and the rising popularity in bodyweight exercises/free-weights make this easier to do.

Online training is expected to grow fast

Online training will continue to grow fast, not because it is cannibalizing face-to-face personal training services, but because still so few trainers are really making this work.  This will still be a very small segment of the existing market because personal trainers and client both prefer the face-to-face training in a perfect world.

However, it is a growing additional category for tech-savvy, highly organized personal trainers that understand how to make this work.  In the “imperfect world” we live in, many clients travel a lot which can make it hard for clients to consistently see their trainer.  Virtual coaching is definitely one emerging solution that will snowball as tools get better and trainers become more motivated to utilize the technology. In the last year alone, there have been major advances in iPhone sensor technology, apps that were iPhone only now on the iPad, Android, online personal training and communication software has improved and it’s become even easier to invoice and pay online.

One of the reasons we’re working so hard to build Top Trainer is that we see online training – not just as a useful service for clients that go overseas – but for especially as an affordable, first-tier product to turn leads into face-to-face clients or as a way of enabling clients that you’ve already empowered with great education, planning and motivation to keep those results ongoing at a sustainable price.

So to make your 2014 awesome, keep an eye on the trends in personal training, unlock the power you’ve already got in your hand (your iPhone, iPad or Android device), play with the apps popular with your clients of tomorrow, grow your team training, group training or bootcamp products, challenge yourself and support your new and existing clients with online training program.

Make this the year to try out something new, different and better.

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