The Big Fitness Trends for Gym Owners in 2023

Every new year gives us an opportunity to do things differently, better than the year before. What can gym owners do to stay ahead in the game in 2023?

In 2022 we saw the rise of 5 gym memberships that introduced new elements to exercising:

      • Health membership: the gym is no longer just a place to get toned and look after your muscles, it’s also a safe space to meet new people, invest in your mental health and learn more about nutrition.
      • Hybrid membership: with the rise of hybrid working, hybrid exercising has shown a new routine for people whose lifestyle changes frequently.
      • Home membership: workouts at home give members the same benefits when coupled with assistance and motivation from a facility they can trust.
      • Multi-membership: subscriptions to multiple facilities or multiple types of classes are becoming more appealing to exercisers who are interested in memorable experiences they can’t recreate in their living room.
      • Smart-tech membership: VR and digital workouts are introducing an element of “play” to working out that transforms a gym membership into a collective fitness quest for excellence.

What does the future of fitness look like in 2023?

Here are 5 trends that will impact gym members and how you can make the most of running your business in the next 12 months.

1. Gym community

After the pandemic, going to the gym brings more value to members, especially those who are engaged and visit frequently – at least once a week. These are members that exercise and get their goals achieved, but they are also building new relationships, since they like to belong to new communities and experience new collective memories.

Strengthening your gym community will have a ripple effect throughout the next 12 months. The earlier you start, the better results you’ll see.

What can you do to reinforce the team spirit at your facility? Try organising a monthly activity or a monthly challenge.

This can be as simple as:

“Did you know May is National Walking Month? Join us on the treadmill and increase your daily steps, or if you prefer – we are doing daily walks in town at 12PM and at 6PM.”

Rewards are optional, but offering branded merchandise is a great incentive that both promotes your brand and adds a visual element to your community. 

2. Fitness experiences

You don’t need to bring VR headsets and smart-tech equipment to create amazing customer experiences at your fitness club. If you’ve got them – great. If not, start with the basics and give members something to talk about!

Classes are a great way to introduce your team of personal trainers to exercisers and facilitate conversations around mental health, nutrition and fitness.

What’s more, group classes have always been popular with gym members who struggle with self-discipline and accountability. Teaming up new members in particular is likely to motivate them to show up more often in the beginning stages of forming the new habit of exercising.

The earlier you get new members into the habit of showing up to the gym weekly, the more likely they will become part of your gym community and bring referrals in the long run.

3. Mini workouts

One of the unexpected effects of the pandemic was creating in all of us this renewed zest for life. We want to experience more, share more and be part of fresh and exciting things.

Introducing mini classes that fit the lifestyle of those who are operating in a hybrid mode (working part-time from the office and part-time at home) can be beneficial in encouraging more visits to your facility.

There’s a reason Tabata is increasing in popularity as the most-wanted HIIT workout – it’s shorter, it’s snappier, and it gets the job done!

The Ultimate Early Gym Engagement Playbook!

A 12 week strategy to get new members reach their first 25 visits effortlessly

Download your copy

4. Referrals

Sometimes trends are not about reinventing the wheel, but about bringing a change of perspective to your mindset!

With the rise of online reviews, the opinions of the friends and family members we trust is as important as ever. 

What does your referral programme look like? Is it competitive and appealing enough? Can you connect it to your monthly events and challenges? Is it part of your regular emails to members?

A successful referral campaign does the selling for you, so that you can focus on what’s really important to members – fitness. 

If you want to invest some of your marketing budget into referrals, you can also team up with local social media influencers who share the same audience as you and work with them to bring new fitness enthusiasts to your club.

5. Social hub

We’ve heard about gyms becoming the “health hubs” or “wellness hubs” that offer more than fitness advice and assistance to members. But there’s a larger theme around this change.

Ask yourself this one question:

Is your gym a place where you can enjoy yourself, or is it just a place to do workouts?

Fitness clubs are by definition a location where transformation happens, but they are not often designed in a way that feels welcoming to everyone. Sure, they might be full of neon lights, funky music and some of the latest equipment pieces on the market, but is that a reason enough for someone to want to spend extra time in the gym?

Re-designing your facility in a way that invites people to come over for multiple reasons might be a key driver to increasing member visits and their length of stay.

When you create a place that feels inclusive, fresh and fun to be part of, people will naturally show up.

Think of your gym as a hub for networking and information exchange, not just a place full of equipment.

With this perspective in mind, you will see your PTs as the source of truth and education, your members as the source of leads and ideas, and your initiatives as the tools for strengthening your brand image and gym community.