What will the gym of 2020 look like? One of the things gym owners, trainers and equipment manufacturers should consider first, is what’s going on outside their four walls. Technology that was nearly unheard of just 10 years ago, such as wearables, fitness trackers and apps, streaming services and virtual/augmented reality, are set to have a major impact over the next few cheap years. Today’s casual exerciser and fitness enthusiast have more options than ever to help them reach their goals.  The majority of new products entering the market will be for use in the home or outdoors.


Wearables, Data, A.I. & Apps

Apps will most likely be the first thing to recommend: how, on what and for how long a person works out. Data from wearable and “smart” devices (one of the biggest themes of CES 2017), will combine data from your 2020 medical information, goals, diet, and rest/sleep patterns.  Artificial intelligence and algorithms will also take into account what types of home exercise equipment you own and subscriptions services you have, and then make recommendations accordingly.

Don’t believe it’s coming? Take a look at the video for Under Armour’s HEALTHBOX, 2020 which is currently on the market. Under Armour is betting big on apps, wearables, sensors and data, investing nearly 1 billion, as listed in Inc. Magazine’s article from last year.


The Workout and Gym Comes To You

Peloton Cycle brought the spin class into the home. Now, streaming and on-demand workouts of nearly every type of exercise are quickly becoming available online. Companies like Intelivideo are speeding up the growth by making it easy for instructors and trainers everywhere to monetize their own videos. What we might see by 2020, is a shakeout of providers and platforms with a couple of leaders emerging.

Having a personal trainer come to your home is nothing new. GYMGUYZ has taken it a step further by also bringing over 365 pieces of equipment and accessories direct to your home. Franchises for over 92 locations in 18 states have already been sold.


Augmented & Virtual Reality

We all know the explosive success of Pokemon GO, motivating millions, to move.  Now, there is science emerging explaining why.  As increasing research looks deeper into gamification and the effects on the brain, such as dopamine reward loops, developers will continue to produce more addictive, immersive and rewarding games.

On the Syfy futuristic show, Incorporated, (Year 2074), a woman is running outside with her personal trainer.  Not until she removes her pair of clear eye glasses, you realize the trainer is not physically there, but rather a hologram projected on the inside of her lenses.  Well we won’t have to wait another 50+ years for this technology, products like Microsofts’ HoloLens are bringing us closer to this reality.  By 2020, we might be able to work out with our favorite fitness celebrity or athlete.

Exercising in virtual reality at home is already here. VirZOOM (pronounced ver-ZOOM!) has developed the first bike controller, specifically designed to pedal to move in VR. While wearing an Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or PlayStation VR headset (and soon Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream), riders are engaged and motivated while they pedal and lean to propel themselves through virtual reality race tracks, battlegrounds, soaring skies, and pictorial countrysides.


Home Exercise Equipment

Home exercise equipment will become more compact, multifunctional, interactive and some products disguised. Shown privately at CES 2017, The NordicTrack Escape Treadmill featured a 60-inch curved OLED display that lets you run through your favorite Google Maps Street View routes, while tilting up and down and side-to-side to mimic the actual terrain of your chosen destination.  Core products like benches, will still be needed but are becoming more compact and multi-functional like a Swiss Army Knife. The MCore T3 Training Station is one such product.

Products will take into account more home interior design aesthetics, trends and elements.  Technogyms Personal Range incorporates Italian design along with materials like wood, glass, aluminium and micro-polished steel. Another European manufacturer, NOHrD, offers the SlimBeam. Marketed as “The Designer Cable Machine”, this extremely compact unit offers color and wood options to blend with your home’s interior.

Have you ever imagined your favorite cardio piece as a work of art?  Vela is described as a cycle trainer that transforms into sculpture when not in use.  For those who may want to dedicate zero space or hide their exercise equipment,  Stow Fitness offers a chair that conceals a spin bike or weight bench when not in use.

Kickstarter and Indiegogo have provided a platform for every personal trainer and inventor with a fitness product idea to potentially bring it to market. At any given time, there can be nearly a hundred crowd funding campaigns for fitness products running. It is yet to be seen if the next TRX or Bosu is discovered here.


Disruptive Business and the Sharing Economy

It’s possible a completely new, disruptive, business model can change how, and what, consumers workout at home with by the year 2020.  Who would have thought of opening up their home to strangers 10 years ago?   Could the sharing economy create a new business model for home exercise equipment? List what you have in your garage: a treadmill, bench, set of dumbbells, etc. Find a neighbor who has an elliptical and multi gym to change up and round out your fitness routine.  Could someone already be working on this model?

Gym owners, trainers and commercial equipment manufacturers should welcome the addition of new diverse products for consumers to workout at home. If these products help to inspire people to exercise for the first time, or to resume a workout regimen, it could motivate people to take their personal fitness to the next level.  With new or revived confidence, consumers may be apt to join a gym, take a spin class or workout with a trainer to reap the rewards of a healthy lifestyle.  Either way, the population of fitness enthusiasts will grow, improving their quality of life and ultimately propel the health and wellness movement.


Article by: David Shaw

David is the VP of Growth Fitness Marketing, Laguna Beach. His expertise includes: creative marketing strategies and 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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