The US$3.7 trillion global wellness sector has long presented a great opportunity for the fitness industry. And it’s an opportunity we’ve been tapping into in recent years with the steady rise of wellness services, such as meditation and mindfulness, in fitness settings. However, as the new year gets off to a start, it appears that 2018 may be the year that the fusion of these highly synergistic areas really takes off.
A case in point is Virgin Active UK. In this issue of Health Club Management, we speak to the fitness brand’s MD, Robert Cook (p30), who cites the creation of the company’s new 360-degree wellness concept Beyond Movement as its response to the question: what does the future of fitness look like? And while Virgin Active UK has claimed the ‘Beyond Movement’ name for itself, it’s one that perfectly captures the current industry sentiment that it’s time for fitness facilities to look beyond physical activity when addressing members’ needs.
As we discover on page 42 of this month’s magazine, London-based indoor cycling studio Psycle was clearly ahead of the game in this area. The appointment of a naturopath and nutritionist as CEO back in 2014 may have seemed like an unusual move, but under Rhian Stephenson’s leadership, the brand has grown from a single cycle studio to a multi-concept three-studio operation, with three more openings expected in the next few months. The secret to Stephenson’s success? She told us: “We don’t see Psycle as a ride brand, we see it as a wellness, lifestyle and fitness brand.”
But it’s not just the big-box clubs and boutique studios that are readily embracing wellness. On page 54, Avi Yehiel, head of wellness at WeWork, explains why a company that has made its name in shared workspaces recently chose to launch its own fitness and wellness concept. It’s a move that suggests two things: the public is more aware of how intertwined all facets of life are and it’s eager to place health at the centre of everyday life.
Gym operators must now respond by taking a more holistic approach to service provision. Those that don’t risk not only being left behind but also missing out on the new secondary spend opportunities presented by the introduction of tailored nutrition, rehab and physiotherapy offerings; and on creating a stronger community of happier, healthier and more engaged members.