Global Wellness Institute: The Future of Fitness

Michael Lahm

Among all of the radical adjustments required by the worldwide lockdown, the prospect of saying goodbye to my carefully constructed fitness routine seemed highly daunting. As an old-school ‘bricks and mortar’ kind of guy, I had no previous experience with the virtual workout realm. 

Necessity being the mother of invention, I (and many others) transitioned to technology. The Global Wellness Institute convened a gathering of wellness professionals to assess the future of fitness and mind-body practices, both in the near-term and further afield. Here is what I learned:

  • Even before COVID-19 intervened, digital content (both streaming and on-demand) was on the rise. Now it’s growing at an exponential rate.

  • Initially, many fitness companies viewed their digital platform as an engagement tool and value-add to the traditional membership model. Now it is being monetized and packaged in a variety of ways – from single sessions to virtual memberships.

  • Consumers have demonstrated a willingness to spend on curated content, especially from premium brands. Moving forward they will likely seek out a hybrid approach to fitness: combining virtual workouts with visits to the gym or studio.

  •  The public health factor has unleashed greater consumer demand for fitness as a hedge against illness, proof that the wellness movement is gaining a broader following.

  •  Looking towards reopening facilities, the industry is focusing on creating and communicating a consistent set of standards around sanitation and hygiene to avoid confusion and establish trust. It is likely that virtual classes will remain part of their offering going forward, especially now that everyone has figured out a version of their home workout gym and will likely want to maintain that as an ongoing option.