Looking Ahead to 2022: Personal Training & Fitness Trends

Another new year is right around the corner, and, just like always, it feels impossible that another 365 days have gone by since the last one. The past two years have been anything but typical, especially for the fitness industry. But out of the chaos, new consumer trends have emerged, and fitness professionals have continued to adapt spectacularly.

Let’s take a look at how new approaches to health, fitness, and wellness have shaped the year ahead. And, more importantly, how you can use them to offer more value for your clients.

A 2021 Fitness Industry Recap

2020 was not kind to the fitness world (or the world in general for that matter), but 2021 has yielded significant improvements and changes. Here are a few major points of note:

COVID-19 Impact Recovery

When the coronavirus started its wildfire spread in 2020, fitness businesses did not fare well. After lockdowns and then reduced membership after reopening, there were many casualties in the industry. IHRSA’s 2021 Media Report found that approximately 17% of U.S. health clubs had closed permanently as of December 31, 2020. They also reported an estimated 1.4 million Americans lost jobs in fitness and an industry loss of $20B in revenue. Fortunately, IHRSA’s research also found that health club membership and usage trends indicate sustainable long-term growth as gyms have begun to find their footing again in 2021.

As for personal trainers specifically, a Personal Trainer Development Center survey determined that while two-thirds of PTs were laid off, were furloughed, or took a pay cut, most have now recovered. Most survey respondents said their business is now the same as or better than it was pre-pandemic.

Online/Hybrid Training

When gyms and trainers had to close their doors, members and clients had to find other ways to get in a workout. Many of them turned to virtual training options, such as DIY workout apps, videos, and livestreamed events from coaches. Clubs and personal trainers began to capitalize on this by offering virtual programs and services.

Even now that gyms have reopened, consumers are continuing to engage in both in-person and at-home fitness. In fact, IHRSA reports that the use of at-home options now exceeds the use of gyms and studios.

Increased Fitness Interest

It seems there’s nothing quite like a global pandemic to make people refocus on their health and wellness. The emphasis on being healthy, and particularly on managing or preventing certain pre-existing conditions, has led to more interest in fitness opportunities. In Les Mills’ 2021 Global Fitness Report, 27% of regular exercisers described themselves as “absolute beginners.” Physical health is not the only motivator though; people are also working out to benefit their mental health and overall wellbeing.

group of gym goers giving each other a high five and celebrating

With 2021 coming to a close, it’s time to look toward the fitness trends expected for 2022. By anticipating what your clients will want, you can be one step ahead in offering them services that stand out in value. Here’s what experts are predicting for fitness in 2022:

1. Virtual Training Options

2021 was only the beginning for the virtual fitness trend. Consumers have come to love the convenience, flexibility, and comfort of working out at home. However, they also missed the social aspect and other benefits of going to an actual gym. According to research conducted by Berkeley Research Group, 95% of club customers said they missed at least one aspect of physically being at the gym, such as having access to more equipment or a greater variety of workouts.

To keep up with the growing demand for virtual fitness, consider implementing a hybrid personal training model. This way, you can supplement your in-person services with online programs and expand your reach. With My PT Hub, you can easily create and send workouts to your clients in their app to complete at home. Or use our Event Stream feature to hold live virtual sessions and provide on-demand video workouts.

2. Low-Impact Workouts

Although the ever-popular HIIT workout is not going anywhere, low-impact workouts are set to gain on their popularity in 2022. The COVID pandemic and general shift toward a holistic approach to health has placed a favorable emphasis on functional movement.

Rather than just counting calories burned or amount of weight lifted, people are more focused on the feel-good results of exercise (i.e., those endorphins) and simply moving their bodies. Incorporating aspects of low-impact exercises into your programs will increase your appeal with the holistic health audience. Examples include walking, rowing, Pilates, yoga, and barre.

3. Fitness & Wellness Wearables

People have become much more aware of their overall health over the last two years. Consequently, a trend that was already taking hold — fitness tracking wearables — is evolving to encompass wellness tracking too. As of the beginning of 2020, roughly one in five U.S. adults wore a smart watch or fitness tracker, such as an Apple Watch or Fitbit. Now, newer models of these devices are coming out that expand their tracking into health metrics, not just recording workouts, calories burned, or steps throughout the day.

The newest Apple Watch, for instance, can measure your blood oxygen levels, take an ECG, track your respiratory rate, and record sleep data, among other metrics. As a personal trainer, you can integrate this data into your program design. This will help clients set realistic goals and refine their path to achieving them.

4. Mindful Fitness

Wellness has become a top priority for consumers across the globe. In McKinsey & Company’s 2021 wellness survey, 79% of respondents said they consider wellness to be important, particularly more so in the last two to three years. For personal trainers, this means your clients are prioritizing not just dropping pounds or hitting PRs, but also doing exercises and making lifestyle changes that have a positive impact on their mental health too.

A good way to start to meet the client demand for wellness is to round out your training programs to include holistic health services, e.g., nutritional guidance, meditation/mindfulness practices, and habit tracking.

5. Personal Training

Time and energy have always been precious commodities, but the pandemic has highlighted their value more than ever. Consumers in 2022 are going to be looking for tailored fitness plans that optimize the time and effort they put into exercising and deliver results. Obviously, this is great news for personal trainers. People will also seek your services to take advantage of the accountability and motivation they get when working with a coach.

Another Client Motivator: The 2022 Olympics

Fitness trends are not the only thing you can take advantage of to connect with your clients in 2022. Aligning aspects of your programs with the Olympics is a great way to motivate clients and boost accountability. Watching the Olympics allows consumers to see the payoff of consistency, dedication, accountability, and taking on challenges in your fitness journey. Try using Olympic events as inspiration for exercises, challenges, and workout routines to keep things fun and motivating.

Get Ready for a New Year of Fitness with a PT Software that Can Handle All Your Needs

The fitness trends of 2022 add up to predict an influx of new clients for coaches` who have the tools and know-how to capitalize on them. Now that you have the know-how, you just need the tools — and that’s where My PT Hub comes in.

With our all-in-one personal trainer software, managing and growing your personal training business is simple. As you streamline your operations with our easy-to-use features, you’ll find you have more time and resources to create and deliver a high-value client experience.

Start off 2022 on the right foot for you and your business and sign up for a free 30-day trial of My PT Hub today!