Posted on May 12, 2017 by Gordon Smith

Students need to be engaged with modern, on-trend fitness classes that will inspire them to keep active and achieve their fitness goals. How can you ensure that the classes your gym provides will appeal to young people and keep them coming back for more?

Keeping up with ever-changing trends in the fitness sector is tough. Here are the some fitness trends that are emerging for 2017: holistic wellness (i.e. fitness of the mind as well as the body), usage of technical machinery within ‘power’ Pilates, and a return of aerobics and dance-focussed classes.

Holistic wellness

There has been a lot of coverage in the media of mindfulness in the last couple of years. Living in the moment and appreciating what you have here and now, as a path to happiness and contentment.

2017 is the year that mindfulness will link up with exercise to provide devotees with a more holistic view of their health.

There’s a natural fit between disciplines like yoga and mindfulness, but it is reaching other, high-impact activities such as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) too. As is frequently the case, the USA is leading the way with classes like Equinox’s ‘HeadStrong’ and Studio-B’s ‘Lifted’ which combine HIIT with meditation.

An easy way to introduce a mindfulness element to your student gym class schedule would be to start some short meditation sessions. Offer these as an add-on to other classes and see whether the appetite is there before investing in a full-on holistic programme.

Power Pilates

Along with yoga, Pilates is still a strong and highly popular form of exercise. Equipment such as reformers, which involve various numbers of pulleys and handles, are now regular features in more advanced Pilates classes. The next stage is megaformers. These are the next generation of Pilates ‘bed’.

They include weights and take the benefits (and pain levels) up to a whole new level. Endorsements from celebrities such as Kim Kardashian are ensuring that this new equipment is appearing in more and more classes.

Beware; incorporating expensive and space-hungry equipment like this into a student gym class can be risky. (See our article on how to maximise space through intelligent student gym design) so it’s a good idea to try and use equipment that doesn’t take up too much space until you have tested out the popularity of any new concepts. For example, you may already have TRX equipment in your gym so consider incorporating this into some of your classes using slow, determined Pilates-like moves as a starting point.

Aerobics and dance make a comeback

Hooray! We’re witnessing the resurgence of super-fun dance and aerobics style classes. Mix contemporary music that is popular with your student population, an enthusiastic teacher and some exciting dance moves and you’re onto a winner.

Aerobics have always been a popular way to improve general fitness and to increase energy levels. Every student gym class schedule should incorporate at least one aerobics-based class.

Dance is a great form of exercise; from the tried and tested salsa to the more avant garde street dancing and energetic Clubbercise. You might have already dabbled in exercise dance classes such as Zumba but this emerging trend is seeing greater numbers of attendees flocking to purist dance classes. Take a good look at your current capacity with regards to floor space, and whether you’d be able to pay for a professional dance teacher before taking the plunge.

On the horizon

There is a glut of other unusual ideas currently being tried out. Sandbox fitness and hot pod yoga are other examples of classes that require the purchase and storage of specialist equipment, whilst an increasing enthusiasm for parkour, particularly among the young and adventurous, inevitably moves the experience outside.

Which of these will translate into good outcomes that line-up with your objectives for your student gym? Look to the previous and enduring success of classes like body pump, boxercise/body combat and spin and we come back to the magic formula of great music, a well-trained teacher and gym that is expertly designed (good air-con, enough equipment and space to move). The result? Fun. The most well-attended classes will be the most enjoyable ones, no matter what the gimmick.