Join fitness industry experts, in collaboration with IHRSA and REX Roundtables, for a monthly talk show featuring current events, industry news, and hot topics. Sponsored by ABC Fitness Solutions.

Talks & Takes: Defining Trends and Ideas for Hiring Talent

The hosts discuss defining trends, healthcare and medical fitness, the decline in home workouts, and more in this month’s Talks & Takes.

  • August 04, 2021

Industry experts Brent Darden, Bill McBride, Blair McHaney, and Sara Kooperman came together for the seventh installment of Talks & Takes to share their thoughts on the fitness industry’s trending topics.

In this episode, the hosts discussed:

  • 1:42 - 8 Defining Trends

  • 8:45 - Healthcare & Medical Fitness

  • 15:47 - Recovery: the New Face of Wellness

  • 22:34 - College Athletes & Compensation

  • 29:53 - Quitting at Record Rates

  • 37:42 - Innovation Improvement Loop

  • 44:55 - Fitness Sector Investments

  • 53:23 - Home Workouts Decline

  • 1:03:00 - Recap

  • 1:05:55 - After Chat

Here are the top takeaways from the episode.

But first, be sure to register for the next edition of the show set to air on Wednesday, August 25th at 2 p.m. EDT.

Consider How the Bullwhip Effect is Affecting the Fitness Industry Right Now

Kooperman kicked off the show with a video around 8 Defining Trends and then explained, “During times of pandemic, when we're forced to be home, we come up with all these innovations. One of the things we need to think about is the bullwhip effect,” she said. The bullwhip effect is a distribution channel phenomenon in which demand forecasts yield supply chain inefficiencies. It refers to increasing swings in inventory in response to shifts in consumer demand as one moves further up the supply chain.

Kooperman said the industry has a lot of apps for online training and club management systems as well as hybrid solutions for filming and posting, and that we've maybe overbuilt some of our outdoor facilities. Webinars and virtual events are a bit cluttered right now. She also added that there is a lot of white noise out on social media now and that these are all things to be cognizant of.

Key Things to Consider with Healthcare & Medical Fitness

McBride covered the topic of Healthcare & Medical Fitness. When we talk about medical fitness, there's a couple of different categories for the industry to pay attention to including insurance reimbursement plans for membership, like SilverSneakers, Blue Cross or United Healthcare, he explained. “A lot of these programs with insurance companies historically have reimbursed small amounts, which didn't make sense for the high end based on price points being higher. But a lot of them have premium offerings now for hiring clubs.”

Talks takes home workout woman yoga pexels column

“The opportunity now is to really take some meaningful and significant steps to position our industry closer to the medical community,” Darden added. But keep in mind it's not always that profitable. “If you go too far into the medical system, then they're going to tell you what you're going to be paid, you're not going to tell them what you're going to be paid. That's the way it works,” he said.

Recovery is Trending and What You Need to Know

The experts discussed the trending topic of recovery in which Kooperman led the discussion. She noted that one of the things to watch is air compression chambers that started physical therapy; they're going to come into fitness centers and it’s worth being aware of that. Kooperman also said recovery is focused around athletes such as Tom Brady and Eli Manning and what their recovery strategies look like, and how it plays into their athletic performance. The public is going to want to do what these athletes are doing.

She noted there were four things to note around recovery:

  • rest,

  • replenishing fluids,

  • recovery foods, and

  • muscle pliability.

She also noted that hydro massage was found to be very effective as well as yoga. Increasing your sleep to 10 hours a night had great overall athletic benefits from a Stanford research study.

Have Trouble Hiring? Here are some ideas.

Quitting at a record rate was another topic covered in this show. McBride said, “People are quitting at a record rate. We've all seen it across the service and hospitality industries. It's going to be a challenge.” His advice: figure out innovative ways to hire. Look at more part-time options. Be creative and brainstorm in your community the opportunities out there. Some other hiring ideas from the group included signing bonuses, including healthcare, and free gym memberships. They also recommended you connect with your local colleges and community to hire talent.

Talks takes help wanted sign unsplash column

Home Workouts: The Good, The Bad, and The Reality

We’re seeing home workouts decline, according to Kooperman. “We’re seeing an all-time low for the purchasing of in-home equipment during this pandemic. It doesn't mean that we're at an all-time low at all, just during this pandemic,” she says.

More people are heading back to the gym. And apparently, we're down just 6% from the same period in 2019. It’s also dependent on suburban and rural areas based on gym and at-home equipment usage.

McHaney added, “I truly believe that if you are really going to make exercise a habit and have a real strategy around exercise, you better have home gym equipment. If you combine that with going to the gym, then people will be coming back to the gym.”

“We want people to have home equipment. We also want them to be gym members,” stated Darden.

Don’t miss the August edition of Talks & Takes, and catch it LIVE at IHRSA 2021!

Related Articles & Publications

Author avatar

Elizabeth Studebaker

Elizabeth Studebaker focuses on new business marketing and employee engagement and advocacy for the Active Wellness organization. She has over 10 years of fitness marketing expertise and has been a speaker for IHRSA and served on the Medical Fitness Association Marketing Committee. She works out of her home office in the Bay Area and stays active by taking Active GO virtual classes or chasing around her 1.5-year-old son.