Boutique fitness gyms are in a unique position to educate their clients, but with that comes the responsibility of ensuring proper coaching and standards.
At OPEX and CoachRx, it’s important to us to remain focused on the micro-gym and boutique models we see across the fitness industry, and more specifically around the world. These are typically the landing spots for coaches educated through the OPEX Coaching Certification Program, and are one of the models coaches using CoachRx are working towards.
My perspective on the business of boutique fitness is influenced by trends both within the industry and in broader social behavior. The most important issue I see, not just in boutique gyms but in the industry as a whole, is that many models and methodologies are reactive rather than proactive in nature (more on this later) ).
Explore these trends and their impact on fitness coaches, trainers, and gym owners with data from recent reports and industry insights. Next, I would like to express my views on what I think all models should incorporate as a focus: teaching physical literacy, building autonomy, and encouraging personal responsibility for the general public. think.
Current fitness industry trends
Nearly four years into the pandemic, the pandemic’s impact on the fitness industry remains instructive, with around 25% of health and fitness facilities closed, according to data cited by Athlete News. is. However, the industry has adapted by offering online and home-based fitness solutions. Gym attendance is now rebounding, with new memberships up 13% compared to pre-COVID-19 numbers, with more people seeking in-person training sessions .
What does this mean?
Throughout the pandemic, we’ve talked widely about how people will once again crave the in-person experiences they were once accustomed to. By nature, we are social beings and seek companionship and camaraderie, but isolation leads to confusion. We are currently witnessing a market for face-to-face connections and relationship building. The boutique model provides a great opportunity to incorporate this into your service offering.
Demand for hybrid fitness models
This is also a result of the pandemic response, the need for a model that offers both in-person and remote options. I think many models assumed that serving remote clients would increase operating costs, but there’s always a trade-off. The trade-off is lower retention rates than in-person experiences, and difficulty in teaching movement and building relationships.
What does this mean?
You have to think that one model can do everything well. This means it’s difficult to provide a world-class in-person experience or a world-class remote experience. Most people can do both well, but not great. Hybrid models can be dangerous because of the decentralized focus. That being said, I think there is an opportunity for boutique gyms to innovate and offer a seamless remote experience that synergizes with the in-person experience and serve those who prefer to work out at home. The key to success here is good, intentional coaching.
There is increasing focus on the connected and holistic health aspects of fitness. People prioritize feeling good over looking good. People want to look good, feel good, and have good health.
What does this mean?
Boutique gyms have the opportunity to integrate the whole person into their model. You will have the opportunity to talk about his Basic Lifestyle Guidelines (BLG) and play a role in his 30-60 minutes at the gym, as well as nutrition, lifestyle and daily behavior.
According to ACSM, wearable technology is a top trend and will become a $100 billion industry. Innovations in fitness trackers, smartwatches, and health monitoring devices are changing the way people engage with fitness.
What does this mean?
I am a strong advocate of using technology as a tool to raise awareness through useful insights and leveraging technology rather than relying on it. That being said, I think gyms need to think about how to leverage technology in a beneficial, low-barrier, and seamless way without relying on it. There is an opportunity for innovation here, but I think we need to keep the following in mind:
Staffing and compensation
Creating attractive career opportunities for coaches and trainers is essential to any model. We must not overlook the people who represent our models, who wear the boots in the field, and who are directly responsible for making your mission a reality with our clients every day. In my opinion, we need to take care of our coaches so that we provide them with the opportunity to make it a profession and not just a job.
Here are two data points to give you some insight into how we are doing in this area. We take a look at the Two Brain Business 2022 State of the Industry Report and our internal 2023 OPEX gym average metrics.
According to Two-Brain Business 2022 State of the Industry, most gyms have an average of one to two full-time team members. Personnel costs account for his 33% of expenses, and the average salary for coaches who run classes is $22.
The median monthly net owner profit across all gym categories was $3,787, highlighting the financial challenges and opportunities of gym ownership.
According to OPEX Gym’s 2023 Impact Metrics, the average OPEX gym employs four full-time coaches and one part-time floor coach. The average He OPEX gym coach has an average price range of $322 USD and an average cost per client of $150, and he coaches 26 one-on-one clients.
The average monthly profit per OPEX gym is approximately USD 6,500.
What does this mean?
There is an opportunity for boutique gyms to consider what they are doing to retain coaches long-term and build incentive packages to keep coaches excited about continuing this model. This may vary by model, but there is an opportunity to look at these packages and think about how you can make it a win-win-win model where the coach wins, the client wins, and the business wins. .
As I mentioned at the beginning, I think many gyms take a passive rather than proactive approach. I think too many models try to solve problems with Band-Aids instead of digging deeper into the problem and addressing the causes. I think all models should consider focusing on the following points within the model:
Physical literacy education
Boutique fitness gyms are in a unique position to educate their customers because of their smaller clientele and more intimate service. I believe that to truly make an impact, it is essential not only to prescribe what people should do, but also to teach them why they should do it.
Building an autonomous client
I believe we should all have autonomy in most things, but that autonomy should be built on truth and principles. When you teach people the why and how, you give them a superpower that not enough people have: the knowledge to take care of their own health needs. Let’s be honest: Most clients aren’t going to be with you until they die. If you build clients with autonomous capabilities, you can make a real impact and not only help people do it themselves, but also teach those around them how to do it.
encourage personal responsibility
Encouraging personal responsibility in clients comes from a spirit of building autonomy. At the end of the day, it’s important that people understand that they are responsible. We need to equip our clients with knowledge so they can make informed decisions and play a role in their health and fitness journey. This empowerment leads to the development of sustainable habits, which are critical for long-term health outcomes. Personal responsibility also enhances customer engagement as they become more diligent in following their fitness, lifestyle, and nutrition habits. It promotes autonomy and reduces dependence on coaches for motivation and decision-making.
The boutique fitness business is rapidly evolving due to technological advances, changing consumer preferences, and the pandemic. As a leader in this industry, we are focused on adapting to these changes by embracing technology, prioritizing connection and holistic health, and promoting physical literacy and autonomy for our clients. is needed. In doing so, we not only contribute to the success of our businesses, but also play an important role in improving the health and well-being of our entire community.
Read Carl’s previous columns here.
Karl Hardwick, CEO of OPEX Fitness & CoachRx, is a strong advocate of bringing honor to the coaching profession and increasing the value of all fitness coaches. He frequently lectures on program design, business systems, and building sustainable coaching careers. Follow him on Instagram @hardwickcarl and his OPEX Fitness on YouTube.