Since the time I remember, I have always been passionate about fitness, probably even when I dint even know that a word called fitness exists…
Having traveled to a lot of cities in India. I have visited close to 100 gyms across our country. Starting from Delhi in north to Andaman & Nicobar Islands in south. I am sure you would have heard the term called “gym rat”. Well if you want to see one please check out my picture
As of now the health and fitness industry in our country is in its nascent stages. The industry is fairly fragmented since the majority of the market appears to be dominated by a large number of mom-and-pop gyms (yes sounds similar to mom and pop stores right). Organized fitness services accounts for less than 25% of the overall fitness industry in India.
The current trends in the health and fitness industry can be summarized in the following bullets:
- Beyond Tier I
- Burgeoning Investments
- Innovative formats (Shift towards Online medium)
- Training Trends
The bigger trend here as I see it is the general shift in the mentality of people. Now more and more people are realizing the importance of staying fit and understanding the actual meaning of Prevention is better than cure. Now a person with even a modest income in India spends or is ready to spend some amount on gym, fitness equipments and diet as the awareness regarding the merits of staying fit is spreading thick and fast. But have we reached the awareness level close to US and Europe, No ways we are still behind by quite some distance. Lets look at some numbers. Indian fitness industry currently is valued at US $ 0.78 billion and is stated to grow at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 25%. As per estimates it is expected to reach US $ 2.4 Billion by 2015. Globally the health and fitness industry is valued close to $ 20 billion of which a huge chunk comes from US and Europe.
Every day everywhere around me I hear people moaning about how many things are wrong with the fitness industry:
1. The barrier to entry in this industry is too low and most personal trainers are not fit for their jobs.
2. Lifestyle diseases like Diabetes, High blood pressure and other heart diseases are on the rise.
3. People who are working out in gym use too many machines and not enough free weights.
4. The funniest one: The functional training revolution has turned many personal training sessions into a circus act.
But is whining of any use. No so I have made this a no whining zone…
“Small hinges swing big doors” so if we are frustrated with where the industry is headed, we need to start with ourselves and see what changes can make things better. For me, that starts with optimism. I look at the quotes above and interpret:
1. (“The barrier to entry in this industry is too low and most personal trainers are not fit for their jobs.”)That low barrier to entry has also opened doors to some outstanding personal trainers who are changing many lives every single day. And, having more number of terrible personal trainers means more opportunities for others to show just how good they are, speaking comparatively.
2. (“Lifestyle diseases like Diabetes, High blood pressure and other heart diseases are on the rise”) this clearly means more cardiac rehabilitation jobs are opening up. Plus, all the research on cardiovascular disease has taught us a ton on how to modify training, nutrition, and supplementation approaches for our otherwise healthy clients. There’s no way that we know as much about low carb diets nowadays if cardiovascular disease and diabetes research hadn’t received so much attention and funding over the past. Also it presents opportunities for e-commerce websites to increase their business of selling training and measuring equipments.
3. (“People who are working out in gym use too many machines and not enough free weights”). I have an inclination towards free weight training rather than machines because this is proved from time to time that the amount of stability, power and results that are achievable using free weights can never be matched by machines. So we need to educate people to win them
4. (“The functional training revolution has turned many personal training sessions into a circus act “) the functional training revolution has also produced some outstanding coaches who effectively bridge the gap between corrective exercise and high performance training. It has also helped everyone to understand that exercise should enhance quality of life and improve the way you move, not just make you stronger, more muscular, and less fat while you suffer through pain.
Also now with the advent of online portals it is much easier to get proteins as well as other supplements, fitness equipments and all accessories online. There is an online wave that is the beginning of a new trend in India. Now we can order everything starting from a whey protein to a power cage sitting on the sofa of our home. I don’t think the day is far where we can customize our protein composition online and order it. The online medium has definitely opened floodgates of knowledge and now every one has access to most of the modern training techniques this requires less dependency on the trainer.
The marriage of eCommerce and fitness industry is an alliance that is going to last for quite some time and this will pave a way for the future as well.