Fads vs Trends in the Fitness Industry

"The easiest way to categorize a fad is one word: short-lived. ... Trends have a much longer lifespan than fads. In fact, they can continue to be fashionable for years and even decades. The primary difference between a trend and a fad is that trends have the potential to be long-term influencers on the market." (Mark Schneider)

Although Mark is referring to fashion, the fitness world is no stranger to fads and trends either. Fitness centers would become dull if there was never variation from the tried and true staples such as free weights and yoga, but fad classes have no guarantee of sticking, so what are you suppose to do? A strong balance of both stable trends and fun fads is crucial for increasing member engagement in your fitness center.

Imagine that you are building a castle, this castle will be the metaphor for our fitness center. First you would need the essential, staple materials such as stone, mortar and wood. These essentials in a fitness center would be the tried and true trends. In a study done by the American College of Sports Medicine, for the 11th year in a row, over 1,800 fitness professionals from every corner of the globe, field of fitness and level of experience collectively determined the top fitness trends. Strength exercise equipment, yoga classes and personal trainers all ranked within the top 10 of worldwide fitness trends for 2017.

If we take a moment to think about other forms of fitness - ZUMBA, Pilates and Cycling may come to mind. I'd wager that if I challenged you to find fitness centers that do not offer these classes, it would be no easy task. Despite this, these classes did not score within the top 10 or even the top 20! Rather, they ranked 39th, 33rd and 24th respectively. Going back to the metaphor of our castle these fad classes would be the soaring spires and flags hanging from the ramparts; not necessary for the construction but certainly contributing to the structure as a whole.

From this analogy it may seem as though these fads are far less important and substantial than the trends. It is true that flags and decorations would be useless without a castle to adorn, although that does not mean they are without value. ZUMBA, ranked 39th out of 40 on the list, yet it draws approximately 15 million attendees to class weekly at over 200,000 locations worldwide. Even though ZUMBA is not considered a staple in the fitness industry, it began as a fad that ultimately became a trend with a very large following. This is why a strong balance between consistent trends and various fun fads are necessary to keep members engaged, happy, and most importantly - coming back! Who knows, the next new fad class that your fitness center offers might just be the next ZUMBA!