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4 Reasons Fitness Is Moving From the Gym to the Home And how you can profit off the trend.

By Sheila Eugenio Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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There is a growing movement in fitness and training to ditch the gym and work out at home. Initial conclusions might point to cost as the main reason, but many people who opt for home workouts spend plenty of money on online programs, fitness experiences and relevant wellness information.

A growing number of programs enabled by the internet are the primary driver of this change. Additionally, some major shifts in thinking about the fitness industry are encouraging people to make better long-term investments in their health.

Info compiled by the Guardian indicates that the gym dropout rate in the first eight weeks after signing up may be as high as 80 percent. How could that number be so high? It is important to consider all the factors involved in gym dropout. Gyms are usually far from home, increasing the friction involved with getting there during a busy day. Most people do not have a well-formed plan for how to get fit at the gym when they manage to go, and without hiring a trainer, they are likely to drop out.

It may come as a shock to some, but gym owners are actually fine with members never showing up as long as they keep paying their dues. Data suggests that in order to remain profitable, commercial gyms need ten times the number of members they can actually accommodate in their facility. This means there is little incentive for gym owners to keep their members motivated.

This does not, however, mean that the costs involved in fitness are not worth the investment. Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association Vice President Gregg Hartley shares, "Quite frankly, investing time and money into a regular exercise routine will decrease sick days, reduce visits to the doctor and cut down on spending at the pharmacy. You'll also feel better and be more productive."

Knowing the likelihood of abandoning their gym membership, but understanding how important fitness is, many people are now opting for alternative approaches. The following are the top home exercise trends that entrepreneurs can capitalize on in 2017.

Related: 7 Health and Fitness Apps for Busy Entrepreneurs

1. Online fitness platforms

The internet has been a double-edged sword for personal fitness. An outpouring of information has made it easier than ever for newcomers to research fitness plans and develop custom solutions that work best for them. On the other hand, information overload often leaves people deciding between conflicting opinions. The result has been an increased demand for packaged experiences that meet more than just one aspect of a person's fitness needs.

Todd Musgrove, Chief Strategy Officer at Kenzai, an online fitness platform shares, "The key is providing a fitness program that covers exercise, nutrition, education and support to achieve results."

In doing so, programs equip people with all the tools needed for sustaining their fitness success.

2. Alternative health coaching

In the past, consumers' main source for health info was either their trainer or a book about fitness. As the internet makes it easier than ever to expand a network of fitness experts, the number of providers offering qualified advice increases. Most of the time, this advice comes from outside the traditional gym network.

Online providers and retailers are beginning to offer coaching services that deepen the connection with their product but also give actionable advice to the consumer.

Musgrove shares that online coaches can "educate trainees on how to change their lifestyle to maintain their results after they complete a program versus gyms and personal trainers that profit from a dependency relationship."

By providing trainees with more coaching, retailers and online platforms are making health advice less of a commodity and more of a service.

Related: How Fitbit Is Cashing in on the High-Tech Fitness Trend

3. Functional fitness is on the rise

Look at any fitness trend list for 2017 and you will find aspects of functional fitness. Whether it is body weight training or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), consumers are turning to alternatives that can help them achieve body transformation anywhere.

These workouts generally require minimal equipment, meaning there is no need for interruption to fitness routines, even if the trainee is traveling or unable to get to the gym. Digital platforms provide guided experiences in functional fitness and have the advantage of being available for anyone with an internet connection. Equipment is expensive. By limiting spending on equipment trainees can direct that money toward personalized fitness experiences instead.

Related: The Top 10 Children's Fitness Franchises

4. Wearables

According to data from the IDC, sales of various wearable fitness devices are up over 163 percent compared to previous years. That means the number of consumers accessing wearable devices is on the rise as well. As a result, tracking home fitness progress is becoming easier than ever before.

In the past, aspiring gymgoers might need a high-tech elliptical at the gym to help them monitor their heart rate, but now, with people wearing multiple devices to track their fitness and movement on a regular basis, the need for a central location to evaluate your performance is all but disappearing.

Home fitness warriors are creating an entirely new market that has yet to form a full ecosystem of products and providers. Fitness-savvy entrepreneurs who find ways to meet the need of this growing segment will stand to develop relationships with new consumers in an industry that requires minimal overhead.

For consumers, the key will be to remain discerning of new products and participate in conversations with other trainees to compare results and emerging methodologies. And, while the gym may not be going away anytime soon, the traditional structure may have to provide more services to keep its customer share away from new online solutions.

Sheila Eugenio


Sheila Eugenio is the founder and CEO of Media Mentions, a leading PR and digital marketing agency. Before founding Media Mentions, Eugenio has consulted with several mediums to large businesses on how to position their brand and attract the right audience. She helps brands and startup companies to create PR strategies that reach to the right audience.

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