Summer is in full swing and if you’re looking for your members, they’re most likely working out outdoors.  In my ongoing series of futurecasting The Gym of 2020, we continue to look at the evolving options outside of the gym’s four walls and its potential impact on your business.

Workout at a Park, on the Beach, in the Water or in the Mountains

Fitness equipment is becoming standard in almost every community park across the United States. Familiar manufactures such as Life Fitness, anticipated this a while back and introduced an outdoor training system SYNRGY BlueSky.  Newer manufacturers like Move Strong have also entered the space with “Indoor” and “Outdoor” options, while playground/fitness manufacturer Kompan out of Denmark,  is even offering an outdoor elliptical and exercise bike. Swedish manufacturer Nola, has combined art and outdoor fitness to create Kebne, an outdoor minimalist gym inspired by Sweden’s tallest mountain, Kebnekaise.

As fitness enthusiasts embrace the outdoors, trainers are becoming less restricted to a physical building. Hop on social media, especially Facebook & Instagram, and you’ll find numerous outdoor training options, fitness events, fitness groups and bootcamps.

Looking for an inexpensive product for individual/group training outdoors or to bring the outside in? Check out BillyStix hand-held training sticks that utilizes shifting sand to challenge your core and stabilizers.

If you truly want to be a minimalist and get back to your primitive roots, pick up the July/August issue of Men’s Health featuring the article The World Is Your Gym.  Get instructions and diagrams on how to workout utilizing trees, boulders, hills, sand, water and stairs.

Technology – Apps, Augmented Reality and Drones … Yes, Drones

Forbes magazine published an article predicting that in 2016, mobile health apps would become the preferred resource over physicians.  With over 60,000 fitness apps to choose from, personal trainers need to utilize this platform to their advantage.  The Reebok Trainerize App  is one complementary tool that will help trainers connect with their clients, to engage and motivate them in person and online.  Nike+ Training Club App claims to be “Your Ultimate Personal Trainer” with its 100+ workouts, clear audio and visual guidance from experts for every move.  The Seek Adventure App takes the concept of PokemónGo a step further with location-based treasure hunting to win real items.  If you’re a runner and fan of The Walking Dead, download the Zombie Run App, which superimposes the sounds of approaching zombies over your music playlist during your run or bike ride.  Fall below your goal pace, and the volume of the zombies will increase to make it sound like they are catching up to you.

Augmented Reality is off to a bumpy start, but still no less on its way to making a major impact on fitness.  The Race App, on the recently discontinued consumer version of Google Glass, showed promise.  The opportunity for individuals to train with their favorite trainer or fitness icon while moving freely in mixed reality, is too appealing not to be currently in development somewhere.

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi Inc. is adding a new “fitness drone” to its product line, (according to Chinese media reports). The new fitness drone called the “Mi Drone”, is speculated to be connected to Xiaomi’s fitness tracking wristband, allowing it to follow the user as they engage in exercise. How about a drone that you follow? The Joggobot, currently being developed in Australia, claims to provide pacing and motivation.

Gym owners, trainers and commercial equipment manufacturers should look at the outdoor space as a way to expand their brand. If possible, bring some of your functional training kit outside, be creative and design an outdoor experience.  Leverage local events such as Tough Mudder or Spartan Race and use as an opportunity to offer customized training and motivation for your members or clients.

Article by: David Shaw
David is the VP of Growth Fitness Marketing, Laguna Beach. His expertise includes: creative marketing strategies and branding services for health, fitness and wellness brands along with future casting / fitness technology consulting for fitness product manufacturers and fitness centers.
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