At-Home Workouts Reshape the Fitness Industry | Trends

The world of fitness and exercise has been fundamentally changed by the pandemic. People are doing more workouts at home, purchasing home gym equipment, and relying more than ever on remote fitness coaching.

The E-Commerce Times caught up with insiders from the health and wellness industry for perspective on how the population is staying active at home.

“The pandemic has greatly affected the way people are exercising,” Brent Hartman, president of B3 Personal Training, explained to the E-Commerce Times. “In the beginning, when gyms were shut down, everyone was rushing to purchase equipment for their home gym. It’s almost as if everyone has a home gym set up at home.

“The pandemic also forced a switch to virtual or online workout options. Classes were all done online. Personal training was done with Zoom or Skype. Peloton and Mirror sales skyrocketed. All of these options were able to be done with everyone’s home gyms.”

Exercise by Design

Designing a home gym space is a kind of art, involving both a sense of interior design and an understanding of what space and equipment will best serve one’s needs.

“A home gym should never appear sterile or static,” Bryan Green, founder and CEO of Aktiv Solutions, explained to the E-Commerce Times. “It’s important to integrate functional fitness equipment and the aesthetic fundamentals of interior design during your planning for optimal motivation.

“Consider for the designated area or room conversion the following: lighting, wall colors, floor coverings and other environmental embellishments for an inspirational and aesthetically pleasing space that compliments your home. Consider how your home gym space will evolve and change as your exercise preferences may grow or modify over time.”

Creating a home gym is, after all, a kind of interior design.

“In designing a great home gym, the problem to solve is not in finding equipment, but rather in creating functional space,” said Green. “Just as with your kitchen, there are no shortages of appliances. How those appliances come together to accommodate the wide range of choices within the confines of more limited space is the value of smart planning and design.

family home gym design pelaton rax cross fit

Family Home Gym Design [Credit: Fitness Design Group]

“Foundationally, we focus on reverse engineering the environment around how our clients and their families want to train and move in the space. This begins with recognizing the footprint.”

It’s important, as well, to consider storage space when designing a home gym.

“Home gyms require smart storage solutions and need to accommodate smaller footprints,” said Green. “The last thing you want is to find yourself tripping over equipment. Smart use of space and storage is critical.”

Holistic Approach

Ultimately, creating a home gym space can lead to thinking more broadly about designing for a sense of wellness and overall health.

“Beyond just buying up equipment, we’ve experienced a massive uptick in clients who are interested in taking a holistic approach to creating permanent wellness space within their homes,” said Green. “Our home gym design division has been inundated with helping plan

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How technology is helping to reshape fitness and outdoor recreation

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, people increasingly have turned to exercise as a way to relax and recharge—often in droves. Yellowstone National Park, one of the crown jewels of the National Park Service, recorded its second busiest August ever as nearly 900,000 visitors passed through its gates.

But as with most everything in the COVID era, the usual rules don’t apply when it comes to staying active, whether hiking to Old Faithful or just working up a sweat at home. At this year’s Fast Company Innovation Festival, a panel discussion presented by Booz Allen Hamilton explored how digital innovations are helping to reshape recreation today, and in the years to come. Here are five key takeaways from the event:

1. Trip-planning goes digital

Forget poring over guidebooks and asking friends for their favorite hiking trails. Julie McPherson, executive vice president of digital solutions at Booz Allen Hamilton, says planning an outdoor adventure often starts with pulling out a smartphone. Booz Allen serves as innovative partner and main contractor to the federal government’s Recreation.gov service, which helps people find outdoor activities ranging from backcountry camping to ranger-led tours. The site’s mobile app was downloaded nearly 500,000 times during a three-month span this spring—more than the total downloads in all of 2019. “We’re all used to doing mobile,” McPherson said, “but we’re seeing so much more volume…whether it’s actually making reservations or just getting access to information.”

2. Slowing down, tuning in

As COVID-19 ground regular routines to a near-halt, many people found themselves with much more free time. Kristen Holmes, vice president of performance at WHOOP, which makes a wearable device that tracks fitness, sleep, and other physiological data, decided to embrace it. She has spent more time with family and has a renewed focus on her physical health. “I’ve just been trying to be more aware of the signals that my body is giving me,” Holmes said. “I want to make sure I create space for that during the day.”

Holmes is not alone. While the consensus assumed that COVID lockdowns would lead to less-than-savory habits, WHOOP collected data that showed the opposite: users were sleeping better, exercising more, and improving their cardiovascular fitness. “These are really crazy times,” she said. “We actually saw our cohort get healthier during this time of uncertainty and unrest.”

3. Outdoor retailers have had to adapt

These days, many people are embracing outdoor activities for the first time. Doing that is a process—from looking for inspiration and planning trips to getting kitted out with the necessary gear. Outdoor retailer REI has worked to make the purchasing process easier and safer for customers, from contactless pick-up at stores to more bespoke offerings, such as virtual outfitting and scheduled consultations with gear experts. “They can get the time they need with an expert to talk them through [the process],” said Christine Putur, REI’s executive vice president of technology and operations. “We’re very obsessed about removing friction from that cycle.”

4. Tech tools will help

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