If you’ve been watching the Olympics on your couch and thinking “Maybe there’s still time for me to start my synchronised swimming career,” you’re not alone. Gyms and facilities worldwide see an increased interest in sports and fitness during the Games. How can you take advantage of the excitement and energy now running through everyone’s veins?

How can fitness businesses benefit from the Olympics?

In any business, innovation is crucial to success. With increased access to knowledge, both trainers and clients are better educating themselves about different fitness methods, and the benefits of each kind.

The Olympic Games provides us with a great platform to experience different sports, and often inspires us to challenge ourselves to a new physical pursuits.

For the last three weeks I’ve been fixed to the television watching the 2016 Olympic games. I cannot help but feel utterly inspired by the athleticism of these athletes. And after watching Almaz Ayana absolutely dominate the Women’s 10,000m race and claim a new world record, I even signed up for my first half-marathon. And I am seriously not a natural on the tracks so this will be a challenge. For a girl who despises running, the Olympic Games has influenced me to give something new a go!

Let’s face it. We all want to look and feel like Olympians; but we are not being paid to train everyday like our Rio heroes.

But if you want to walk, or run, in the shoes of an athlete, there are a few activities that allow us mere mortals to adopt the fitness regimes of these world-class athletes. And if you’ve been noticing a surge of clients in your fitness business recently, it might not be a bad idea to see if you can incorporate some of these ideas into your offerings to ride the Olympics surge.

Running

It’s hard to say that running is a fitness ‘trend’, as its genesis coincides with human development – that old ‘fight or flight’ concept. Running is a longstanding fitness favourite, and its popularity never seems to diminish. However, advances in technology have given running a boost in the fitness market, and it seems to have been rediscovered.

It seems wearable technologies spiked people’s interest in making tracks. Devices like the Apple Watch, Fitbit and Garmin function as constant reminder of your movement: these companies pair our desire to be more active with our obsession with digital technologies.

Wearable technologies

These devices hold you accountable to your goals and are a visual reminder of where you are at, and where you need to be. Many fitness centres create in-house competitions; the person who clocks up the most distance wins a prize. These competitions neatly combine our competitive streak with our social instincts.

It seems wearable technologies spiked people’s interest in making tracks. Devices like the Apple Watch, Fitbit and Garmin function as constant reminder of your movement: these companies pair our desire to be more active with our obsession with digital technologies.

High Intensity Interval Training

HIIT, as it’s known in the industry, comprises of short periods of high intensity intervals, paired with low-moderate intervals (which function as your rest). This style of training has been extremely popular over the last 2-3 years. It’s highly effective in burning calories, whilst allowing you to build strength and endurance. And it’s all over in 30 minutes, which is great for those who are pushed for time (or don’t like to be in pain for too long).

Sprints are a perfect example of HIIT running training. Sprinters such as Shaunae Miller and the legendary Usain Bolt have popularised this style of training.

Low intensity steady state (LISS)

Although this style of training has been overshadowed by HIIT over the last few years, it seems to be making a comeback. LISS training means that you are performing at a low intensity, but for a prolonged period of time (usually 30-60 minutes). There is a big push in the fitness world for people to slow down, and give themselves more time to enjoy exercise.

Most local running clubs or fitness centres will have a running group for people who prefer to run socially, rather than simply with their device. If that’s something you can start at your business, it might be worth seeing how many interested clients you have.

Cycling

Indoor cycling classes

For those of us who inhabit big cities, indoor cycling is a fantastic way for you to work up a sweat without risking the big-city traffic. Many fitness facilities have capitalised on the cycling craze, and now offer this safe and convenient alternative.

We all must suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. #trainintorideout

A photo posted by The Spin Room (@spinroom) on

Typically, you’re cycling to music while the instructor narrates the fabricated path that we are pedalling. Yes, you need to use your imagination a little – but it’s amazing how loud music and a bossy instructor can spike your motivation!

To set themselves apart from their competitors, some spin classes even offer dance x spin classes. Check out Groove Cycle for inspiration.

There are some seriously trendy cycle classes being held worldwide these days – so there is no excuse for would-be Van Avermaets not to hop (or bike) to it.

Gymnastics

Gymnastics is very influential to many different disciplines due to the diverse nature of the sport. Gymnasts need strength, flexibility, and grace; not skills you can gain instantaneously. Good gymnasts spend just as much time working on their balance, coordination, mobility and recovery as they do practicing their handstands, rope climbs or back flips.

Being a gymnast is a time consuming venture. However, many gyms have taken inspiration from elements of the sport to give their clients a peek into the most popular Olympic event.

Aerial classes

Aerial classes have been highly popular in the US and Australia over the last few years. Aerial Fitness teaches aerial silks, core-conditioning, strengthening and flexibility with the support of a soft, aerial fabric hammock.

Some classes require more athleticism than others. If you’re looking for something slightly adventurous, without fear of humiliation, give Anti-Gravity Yoga a go. The weight of the body is either fully, or partially, supported by the silk. The focus is on flexibility, strength and core stability.

Check out Aerial Yoga for inspiration.

Trampoline Fitness

Trampoline fitness is a new phenomenon; and the owners of these facilities claim that this low-impact workout option can burn more calories than conventional cardio training.

Classes run for about 45 minutes, and you jump, dance, and stretch to club music all whilst jumping on your trampoline.

GymnasticBodies

GymnasticBodies claims to be a gymnastics class, for everyday people.

GymnasticBodies has honed in on our obsession with the physiques and athleticism of Olympic gymnasts, and has created a fitness programme using these gymnastic methodologies. This hybrid style of exercise focuses on the use of body weight, balance and functional movement by combining yoga practices and traditional gymnastics techniques.

GymnasticBodies takes a holistic approach to exercise. The focus is on calculatingly increasing strength and mobility, to condition and care for our bodies (as opposed more aggressive styles of training).

Check out Awaken Gymnastics online for inspiration.

Weightlifting

Strength training has been in the spotlight over the last few years, notably promoting the benefits and newfound acceptance of women being strong. The ‘trend’ of women being strong has been brought into the mainstream by the growth and increasing popularity of CrossFit. Through this, weightlifting has received a great deal of exposure and seen an increase in interest from both men and women.

The benefits of weightlifting include:

  • weight loss
  • better sleep
  • increased energy
  • reduced risk of osteoporosis by increasing bone density.

Many women’s fitness facilities are widely marketing strength training to appeal to those who are attracted to this blossoming field. Women-only areas in gyms are slowly starting to add heavier dumbbells, and set-up power racks and barbells for squats or deadlifts, the most quintessential exercises for any gender looking to build strength.

Slowly, gyms are mitigating the stereotype that women should be bound to the treadmill. If you’re a gym owner, this is a good time to take a fresh look at your set-up – are you offering enough weight-lifting options for all your clients?

Rowing

Rowing machines are no longer an underused piece of equipment collecting dust in the corner of gyms. Rowing-specific studios and classes are popping up worldwide. Like a spin class, rowing classes allow rowing to be accessible to everyone, even if you’ve never dipped a toe in anything larger than a puddle.

CityRow in New York is a great example of this new trend.

Rowing is great for your cardiovascular health. Every pull requires the lower body to produce a massive amount of power – power which can be transferred into other physical pursuits like running.

But, even indoor rowing classes strive to keep their classes varied. The classes focus on intervals on and off of the row machine, delivering a high-intensity sweat and a low-impact burn through weight training.

Gym facilities are constantly thinking of ways to keep their services fresh and interesting – just like any business.

You need to be innovative to set yourself apart from your competitors. So think to yourself; what can you offer, that nobody else does? Or, how can I do it better?

Some sports and fitness trends have longevity, and some do not. Look at ways you can tailor an activity’s popularity to be something that has long term benefits to your facility. Your clients are motivated and ready to go after watching the Olympics – what can you do to fuel that excitement?