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New Les Mills Global Fitness Report suggests members ready to ‘flock’ back to facilities

New Les Mills Global Fitness Report suggests members ready to ‘flock’ back to facilities
September 9, 2021

Gyms around the world are set for a “roaring recovery” as they emerge from the pandemic, with fitness fans eager to get out of the house and back to working out with friends, according to the 2021 Les Mills Global Fitness Report.

The newly published report from the international group fitness provider - which features insights from 12,157 consumers across five continents - explores how the pandemic has changed fitness habits and spotlights the trends that will shape workouts in years to come.

The report’s key findings include:

  • Gyms worldwide making strong recoveries, with classes at 120% of pre-COVID levels in markets where restrictions have lifted.
  • Two-thirds of gym members prefer working out with others as opposed to alone, with live fitness classes cited as the most popular offering at the gym
  • Live classes at the gym are more than twice as appealing as livestream options at home, with live Instructors and “the energy of the group” both key factors
  • The COVID legacy will live on, with 80% of gym members planning to continue using digital workouts post-pandemic
  • ‘Omnichannel Fitness’ - a blend of in-gym and home workouts - to prevail, with the majority of exercisers (59%) favouring a 60:40 split between the two

Despite fears the COVID-inspired home fitness boom would spell the end for fitness facilities, research suggests the majority of members can’t wait to get back to their club.

The report finds gyms worldwide making strong recoveries since reopening, with class occupancy at 120% of pre-COVID levels in markets where capacity restrictions have lifted.

After a year of enforced isolation, appetite for live fitness experiences in groups is soaring, with 85% of gymgoers interested in trying live classes in their facility.

Two thirds of gym members (66%) say they prefer working out in groups, while live classes in club are seen as twice as appealing as online classes that are livestreamed.

‘Rockstar Instructors’ are identified as the single most important component for gymgoers when choosing a live classes, meeting the yearn for added motivation and deeper connection in their workouts.

Commenting on the results, Phillip Mills, Les Mills founder and Executive Director, stated “after months of being stuck at home, people can’t wait to get back to fitness facilities and enjoy their favorite workouts with familiar faces.

“Much like bars, restaurants and sports events, fitness is experiencing a real ‘live revival’ as people make up for lost time with renewed appreciation for real-world social settings.

“Many people have missed the thrill of a busy class and the extra motivation you get from working out with others and being led by a rockstar Instructor.

“But that doesn’t mean that home workouts will disappear as we emerge from the pandemic. The digital fitness boom and the growth of home working means consumers are taking an omnichannel approach to their training to stay more active, mixing thrilling live workouts at the gym with the convenience of digital workouts at home.”

The impact of the pandemic on the fitness landscape is evident throughout the report. The COVID-induced digital fitness boom looks set to endure, with 80% of gym members planning to continue using digital workouts post-pandemic.

‘Omnichannel Fitness’ - a blend of in-gym and home workouts - is tipped to gain traction as we emerge from the pandemic, with the majority of exercisers (59%) favouring a 60:40 split between gym and home workouts.

Lockdown has also spawned a new generation of fitness fans who have taken tentative steps into fitness and are now deciding what comes next, with 27% of regular exercisers describing themselves as ‘absolute beginners’.

The report finds that 82% of consumers now regularly exercise (or soon plan to), while 75% of this group do gym-type activities, making fitness the world’s biggest sport. HIIT is crowned as the world’s most popular fitness class, favoured by 31% of participants, closely followed by indoor cycling (30%) and dance classes (28%).

Les Mills' popular portfolio of workouts are also now available on the Fitbit Premium platform, following the signing of a partnership between the two companies.

In total, Fitbit users will be able to access 25 Les Mills workouts including Bodypump, Bodycombat, Bodyflow and Les Mills Dance.

Click here to access the 2021 Les Mills Global Fitness Report.

Images: The 2021 Les Mills Global Fitness Report charts a global ‘live revival’, with fitness fans flocking to facilities for greater motivation and social connection after months of solitary home workouts (top) and the Les Mills/Fitbit partnership (below).

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21st May 2021 - Les Mills International founder Phillip Mills receives APAC Awards of Excellence lifetime achievement award

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18th March 2021 - A third of global gym members unlikely to return to clubs after COVID vaccine

19th February 2021 - Les Mills Asia Pacific and Myzone partner to offer integrated solution to boost exerciser engagement 

11th February 2021 - ActiveXchange market intelligence shows members quick to cancel unused memberships

20th November 2020 - New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Corporation invests in Les Mills International

6th November 2020 - Australian gymgoers spend an average of $79 a month on memberships

19th October 2020 - Reopened fitness clubs see more than two-thirds of members return

13th August 2020 - Les Mills plans to activate fitness industry’s COVID-19 recovery with global campaign

22nd June 2020 - Les Mills sees 700% rise in users in the Middle East during Coronavirus crisis

12th July 2019 - Les Mills International transforms leadership to drive next growth stage

15th January 2010 - Les Mills Releases ‘Future of Fitness’ Research


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