The trend of online fitness classes has made us realise that you don’t need to travel anywhere to stay fit. Your favourite fitness regime is just a click away, writes Jitendra Chouksey
We have seen the world transform remarkably in the last one and a half years. The post-Covid-19 world has taught us to cope up with our mental, physical and emotional health as part of our daily routine.
One key trend that emerged was the growing conscious awareness towards getting fit. From Generation X and Y to Generation Z and Alpha, everyone took to the ground and home arena to establish a regime to get healthy, while encouraging others to follow suit. Social media streams and communities became the virtual ground for people from different demographics registering their journey of enrolling with a Fittr coach to transform their lifestyles. Many couples started their fitness journey by promoting body positivity and highlighting fitness as a form of couple therapy, sharing #CoupleFitnessGoals and inspiring others to join their fitness expedition which the fitness sector could attest!
The fitness community in India has evolved rapidly with an advent of a budding ecosystem consisting of vigilant consumers, fitness service providers coupled by government initiatives. However, the idea of a healthy mind in a healthy body is not new to Indians — yoga, akhadas, ayurveda, and meditation have always been a part of our culture. With globalisation and ease in the availability of information, traditional practices and exercises are being reinforced and supplemented by a modern, dynamic, and rising fitness industry in India.
As per a report by Redseer Consulting, the country’s fitness industry, which includes equipment, sportswear, fitness services, and recreational sports was valued at US$12 billion in 2018.
Recent industry reports from FICCI, E&Y, Redseer Consulting, Global Wellness Institute, and IHRSA & Fitternity on the fitness services segment estimate that there are six million active users spending on an average US$350 to US$400 annually towards fitness services, amounting to a US$2.6 billion market size.
The overall fitness industry is expected to grow at an annual rate of 27 percent and touch the US$32 billion mark by 2022, of which fitness services (like gyms, slimming services, and formats like zumba, aerobics, crossfit, etc.) will contribute around US$6.6 billion.
Virtual fitness: Bringing greater accessibility for anyone and everyone!
As we continue to grapple with the effects and after-effects of the pandemic, there is now a new breed of fitness enthusiasts that have come into the fold. According to a 2020 report, 77% of Indians tried staying fit by combining household chores with virtual classes and DIY home workout routines. With gyms and fitness centers closed, limited space to exercise indoors and lack of gym-like-set up with little to no access to fitness equipment, being innovative to stay fit became the need of the hour. With fitness apps such as Fittr and others in play, finding the right exercise, coach, diet as per one’s need has become seamless.
From terraces and living rooms, any place with good connectivity that allowed for live online coaching became everyone’s very own private fitness centre! Fitness coaches became creative, curating routines with exercises that were adapted to these environments.
Digital Fitness: Having a personal trainer at home
With the threat of the virus still at large and easy access to online training sessions, workouts-at-home have become the pandemic fitness trend, leading to a sharp boom for the virtual fitness industry and diverse offerings for consumers. As per a survey conducted, 84% of fitness enthusiasts tried live-streaming fitness classes at least thrice during the lockdown.
Along with online offerings, there’s also been an increase in demand of fitness accessories and equipment such as yoga mats, dumbbells, among others. People have recognised need of inculcating quantified nutrition and physical exercises in their lifestyle and are increasingly becoming more aware and conscious about their health and are looking at various alternatives to integrate fitness into their lives.
With fitness industry seeing one of the biggest leaps to online development and becoming almost entirely digital, the need for fitness specialists and nutritionists have increased. Keeping in mind the prevailing situations, fitness specialists have also equipped themselves with the craft of world wide web and have quickly modified their offerings to online. In no time, online fitness coaching has become a lucrative business and an alternative career option with many applying to become a certified trainer and even earn specialized fitness certificates by taking online fitness courses.
One of the major reasons for digital fitness industry booming is that people now understand the perks of working out at home in one’s own comfortable space. It’s almost like having your personal trainer with you at your home with:
Time not being an issue
The excuse that ‘I don’t get time to work out because of a hectic work schedule’ is no longer applicable. Previously, while going to and from the gym or a studio was time-consuming, making it difficult to commit to a daily workout, is no longer an issue anymore! With virtual workouts, you have the leisure of working out at your own convenience and therefore, find the time to insert a sweat session in your routine. So, no more excuses, all you have to do is leave them behind, put on some comfy clothes, set up your mat and turn on your fitness app.
No more hassle to finding a perfect gym
The hassle to find a gym accommodating your health goals, budgets and within proximity is no longer a challenge. With virtual fitness you have a gym right in the comfort of your home! All one needs to do is find a comfortable spot, place your smartphone, laptop, or tablet, option and start working out. You can also take your workout with you outside, on vacation, to a friend’s house or in your own living room.
No peer pressure
When you exercise amongst a bunch of fitness fanatics at a studio or a gym, for beginners especially, it can be an intimidating experience. By working out virtually, much of that pressure dissipates since you’re only competing with yourself!
A community can help build discipline
Especially for beginners finding discipline is very important. Once you are disciplined with your routine and you start seeing results, motivation will follow. In the beginning persuading oneself to lace up sneakers and get the body moving can be challenging. That’s where virtual trainers and communities can help generate discipline, passion, guidance, and support, which will amplify your drive. Such fitness communities help in becoming more invested in your workout so that you are more likely to show up for the next one. A study from the University of Michigan discovered that individuals who worked out virtually demonstrated more motivation and performed better than those who worked out alone.
Workouts are boring? Nah!
Following the same routine and frequent exercises can become monotonous and make you lose interest. Fitness historically has been a motivating light, bringing in discipline, focus and camaraderie in some cases. Overcoming a stale workout routine can be simple. You can switch up exercises, change exercise order, or modify activity targeting that muscle you are working on or your aim.
Moreover, online tools and platforms like Zoom, YouTube, Fittr and Instagram have increasingly united a wave of virtual fitness communities in the last eighteen months. Lockdowns even forced people to adapt their living spaces to support home fitness routines, allowing people to create new groups, invite families and loved ones for engaging fitness sessions.
Easy access to qualified instructors
Professional guidance is very important to help you chalk out your fitness regime. With virtual programs, exercises to nutrition intake have been detailed out craft fully by your personal coaches for you to get the most out of your workout.
Future of fitness industry: Amalgam of physical and digital
The emerging trend of online fitness classes has also made us realise that a person doesn’t need to travel anywhere to stay fit. Anyone can perform exercises anywhere in the world and your favourite fitness regime is just a click away. But will the increase in live streaming of workout sessions and the ever-increasing rise in the number of home workout and fitness apps affect the future of people going to the gym?
Personally, I don’t see that happening. I see the future as a blend of both digital and physical. It is also the testament of how the general thinking around fitness has expanded. Besides workout arenas and gyms are places where people meet, socialise, and even form friendships. In a post-pandemic world, I see people wanting to meet — and the gym is a great way to start. However, gym packages will be a combination of physically visiting the gym, online classes, and a personal trainer coming home.
The writer is the author of Lose Fat, Get Fittr and Founder & CEO, Fittr