With the new year comes a chance to set ambitious new goals and a fresh perspective to take your fitness business and career to new heights. The end of one year and the start of the next is an exciting time when researchers and experts globally share predictions on the future of fitness through various surveys, reports, and findings. Industry trend reports are one of the most useful and exciting developments to start the new year. Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned professional in the fitness industry, staying up to date on fitness trends can improve your business decisions and boost the sustainability and profitability of your offerings.

Fitness experts in Canada are forecasting a new era of fitness that focuses on aging gracefully, mental wellness, active recovery, and social interaction. Each year, the canfitpro Health & Fitness Trends Report sheds light on what to expect in the Canadian fitness industry. Findings from this year’s canfitpro Health & Fitness Trends Survey sourced insights from over 65,000 fitness professionals and business owners across Canada.  In this blog, we discuss and compare key findings from the latest reports and articles on fitness trends in 2024 and compare these to canfitpro Health & Fitness Trends Report.

Both canfitpro’s and ACSM’s reports feature and emphasize Top 10 trends. Even though the chart-topping trends differ, some similarities can be used to enhance organizational objectives. The reason for the differing Top 10 trends can be attributed to the varying contexts. In addition, when considering what recommendations and advice to follow, learn and understand these latest trends, specifically here in Canada with the canfitpro Health & Fitness Trends Report  as this will give priority to the needs and wants of your context and community to maximize your revenue.

Among the Top 10 trends, the ones that are most similar are canfitpro’s “Active aging/older adult programs” and the ACSM’s “Fitness programs for older adults”. “Personal Training” appeared in the Top 10 in both reports. The interest and investment in maintaining good health and mobility to maintain independence by experts and consumers is not surprising and deserves more attention from fitness industry professionals, as it ranked so highly in both reports. Looking to learn more about active aging and develop a fitness business strategy? Check out canfitpro’s Active Aging Certificate.

Both reports emphasize the importance of investing in upskilling and specialization and the demand to hire qualified fitness professionals. Fitness professionals see a need for ongoing education, learning, research, and self-study to stay on top of the industry and ensure they have the knowledge and skillset to meet the evolving needs of their clients and community. Consumers expect a high standard of quality, expertise, and performance from fit pros. Each of us as business owners and operators need to take responsibility for upholding the standard that consumers have for us. What are you doing for your personal and professional development as a fitness business leader this year? In what ways can you develop your skills and foster a culture of learning and growth for everyone in your organization? Increasing your knowledge and expertise is not only personally fulfilling but also an investment in the quality of services you can provide to your customers and clients, and is regarded by experts in the field as worthy of your time and attention.

The significance of mental health and mindfulness is evident in both trend reports. The canfitpro Health & Fitness Trends Survey reported two trends – Trend #3 “Mental Health & Stress Management Programs” and Trend #7 “Mind Body Programs” which both highlight the increased value assigned to mental health in addition to physical health and fitness. Julie Le Gruiec, Fitness Director of Éconofitness gyms in Quebec, identifies five fitness trends which included a focus on global well-being. Le Gruiec says this trend “working out in 2024 should focus on our overall well-being” and encourages us to look for ways “to be active and have fun” while you work out, which supports the increased attention on a holistic approach to fitness and prioritizing mental health. Further contributing commentary from the Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC) also recognizes the benefits of exercise for mind, body, and social well-being. Erin Phelan of the FIC (Fitness Industry Council of Canada) writes in FitBiz Weekly that the community building aspect that is possible through gyms and fitness facilities is more important than ever before to reducing feelings of loneliness which can help with maintaining good mental health. Incidentally, the canfitpro Health & Fitness Trends Report finds group fitness classes and programs as one of the top trends in 2024.

So, what does this mean and how can you use these trends and this information in your fitness business strategy? Wellness Consultant and Educator Debbie Bellenger, who is quoted in the canfitpro Health & Fitness Trends Report, observes how the industry trends are shifting as consumers’ needs change. This is wonderful to see and presents a remarkable opportunity for fitness professionals to expand their skill sets. One great action item for club owners, operators, directors, and managers going into 2024 would be to complete an audit of programs and services to see if you are offering classes and programs in the top five categories on the trends list. Consider sharing these resources and reports with your colleagues, staff, and associates.

Our analysis indicates that fitness professionals can have the greatest impact this year by focusing on active aging programs, investing in certified professionals, and prioritizing mind-body programs and mental health. We hope that this knowledge and information will assist fitness business owners in understanding the needs and interests of fitness professionals and consumers, expanding their expertise, and diversifying their skill set, and better serving their consumers and inspiring their team.

What intentions and goals do you have for yourself and your business for 2024? How do you plan to prioritize self-care and servant leadership in your goals and intentions? Now is the time to consider your training and development requirements and determine the support you need to perform at your best this year.

In closing, one important goal to consider is building social capital and investing in relationships with your members and clients. The 2023 Toronto’s Vital Signs Report highlights loneliness as a significant contributor to negative health outcomes. Based on this report, 28% of adults in Canada feel lonely three out of four days, with a higher percentage of 37% reported by adults in Toronto. Considering that trust and social connection are related it is more important than ever for leaders and operators to realize the significance that club community and socialization has on the overall health and well-being of members, and to focus on ‘member experience’ as much as you would the programs and services you offer. Do NOT underestimate the value of group fitness experiences and the power of group camaraderie!

Take into consideration how you can assist your staff in developing new skills, building social connection, and fostering team unity this year. There is no easier way to build your relationships, network with fellow industry peers, and learn from top industry experts than right here in Canada at canfitpro Global Conference & Tradeshow in Toronto – an investment that will pay off for years to come. Mark your calendars and send out a hold-the-date invite to your staff for August 7-10, 2024! Or check out one of our online ASPIRES events like canfitpro ASPIRES Nutrition on March 1, 2024.

Maureen (Mo) Hagan
Maureen (Mo) Hagan

Maureen (Mo) Hagan is COO at canfitpro, and a global fitness ambassador recognized for her leadership in the fitness industry that spans almost four decades. She is an international award-winning fitness professional and her passion for moving people extends beyond the fitness industry as a licensed physiotherapist and with her work on the Canadian National Board of Directors for Prescription To Get Active.