Whether you are starting out or have an established business, these fitness business ideas are here to inspire you. So, you keep giving your members what they want in 2024 and beyond.

People love new. New products at the supermarket. New clothes for the new season. And new ways to get fitter and healthier.

So, embracing the right new trends will help you keep members happy. And attract new ones too.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the new health and fitness business ideas you need to know about in 2024 and beyond. Plus, we’ll help you identify how to choose which trends to embrace for your business.

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What makes a successful fitness business in 2024?

When you’re considering what makes a successful fitness business, start by looking around to see what others are doing. This will give you a good awareness of what’s going on in the wider fitness world.

What’s New in Fitness (WNiF) and REACTIVATED by AUSactive are aimed at gym owners and operators. They have online editions and regularly run profiles of innovative fitness businesses.

What do the most successful fitness businesses have in common? They always have an eye on the latest trends, without getting distracted by fads. A trend is a change in behaviour that people stick with. Whereas a fad is something that’s very popular for a very short period.

5 fitness business trends that are here to stay

The ACSM Health & Fitness Journal’s Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends reviews the biggest trends around the world each year. For 2023, ACSM identified these trends that are here for the long run.

Trend #1: Wearable tech

Wearable technology and fitness trackers have been the number one trend from ACSM in five out of the last seven years.

Gymgoers expect equipment and activities that link up with their fitness trackers. And wearable tech lets you add gamification to your club – tracking the results of fitness challenges, group fitness classes and more. Integrating wearable tech is a winning fitness business idea.

Trend #2: Strength training with free weights

Training with barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells has steadily remained popular for years. And in the post-pandemic years, this type of training is more popular than ever.

Members expect a good range of free weights. So, it’s always a good fitness business idea to make sure you’ve got a well-stocked weights rack. And provide plenty of space for members to make use of the free weights on offer.

Trend #3: Bodyweight training

Bodyweight training has always been popular. And it gained extra popularity during the lockdown period. Gymgoers have rediscovered the joy of bodyweight training.

Help your members get more out of their training by offering classes focused on bodyweight-only exercises. Plus offer personal training sessions and bundles that focus on form and progression. Keeping members safe and motivated.

Trend #4: Fitness programmes for older adults

Australia and New Zealand both have aging populations. Between now and 2050 the number of older people (65 to 84 years) is expected to double in both countries. So, longevity is more important than ever. Fitness programmes for older adults were also a trend in ACSM’s list (and have been for the last few years).

A key fitness business idea for 2024, is to cater to the needs of the aging population. That means creating a personalised experience that considers different needs and conditions.

Also, consider the team members you hire when creating a new fitness business focused on older adults. Or adapting your existing business to better serve the aging population. It’s a great opportunity to find those coming out of other careers, seeking a later life career change.

Trend #5: Functional fitness training

Increasingly, members of all ages are looking for training that improves their daily lives. Functional fitness training that boosts balance, endurance, and coordination.

Integrating functional fitness into your offering is a fantastic fitness business idea. Why? It helps your members live better. So, they’ll keep coming back.

Successful fitness businesses focus on wellbeing

One other area that’s backed up by a sustained shift in focus is wellbeing. Members are thinking holistically, and so should you. These days, people are putting their health and wellbeing first by moving, eating, and recovering more effectively.

Chances are that you’ve already got the movement side of things covered with your range of classes, gym equipment and personal training. So, if you can train your gym staff to offer nutrition and recovery advice, or even hire nutritionists and physiotherapists, you’ll set your business up for even greater success.

Start with something simple. For example, providing a meditation space for your members to make your club part of their regular wellbeing routine. And you’ll start to appeal to members who are looking beyond their workouts.

Remember, wellbeing has the power to transform and drive the growth of fitness businesses. And it all starts from you as a leader, trickling down to your team and your members. See more in idea 6 for established gyms and fitness clubs.

Should you turn your fitness idea into a business?

Should I turn my fitness into a business? This is a common question. Many of us are taking fitness more seriously than ever before. And it seems like a natural step to turn your fitness hobby (or obsession) into a real business.

Should you do it? The world of fitness is full of opportunities to turn an idea into a roaring success. With the right mindset and resources, you can be successful.

Thoughts matter – you always need the right mindset

In the words of successful fitness business CEO Ollie Marchon, there’s no right or wrong way to open a gym, studio, or fitness space. Everyone’s journey will be different. Everyone has different resources to start with. And the journey into business will be informed by your attitudes, your ideas, and your mindset.

If you want to start a new fitness business, then get out there and do it. From day one, you need to believe that your club is going to be successful. You need to have that core knowledge that this is all going to work out brilliantly. All backed by a solid business plan of course.

Self-belief gives you the inspiration to work harder and smarter. Realising your dreams and bringing your new ideas to life. Business success is about putting in the hard work to reach your full potential (and maximising your gym owner salary).

Inspirational new fitness business ideas for opening a gym

And just like with personal fitness success, business success can always do with a little inspiration. Like these fitness business ideas for your new gym or fitness club:

Idea #1: Join a network of independent gyms

You wouldn’t start bench pressing with nobody to spot you. So, find someone to spot your new gym business. Stepping up with ideas and advice just when you need it.

AUSactive and Exercise New Zealand support growing, independent fitness businesses across Australia and New Zealand. When your gym becomes a member of either organisation you get access to a range of benefits, resources, support and advocacy.

Idea #2: Create a strength training gym

If you look over our list of the commercial gym equipment you need to set up a fitness club, you’ll see there’s a lot on there. That doesn’t mean you need to offer everything to everyone all the time.

Strength training is still one of the hottest, enduring fitness trends. When you choose to set up your new fitness business to specialise in strength training you can prioritise the right equipment to maximise your space and budget.

Idea #3: Focus on function

If a weights-only bodybuilding gym doesn’t seem like your scene, go the other way, and focus on functionality. A functional fitness studio lets you build relationships with members in a more relaxed environment. Relationships you can turn into a gym member referral programme.

By focusing on functional fitness, you’ll also take advantage of demographic trends. Appealing to the aging population looking to gain strength, flexibility, and balance.

Idea #4: Buy a franchise

If you’re looking for more support with your fitness business idea and the benefit of an established brand, you can always buy a franchise.

There are dozens of fitness franchises in Australia and New Zealand. They’ll provide you with the expertise, know-how and commercial clout for a successful 2023. Top gym franchises include Anytime FitnessPlus FitnessSnap Fitness, and Jetts Fitness.

You’ll even get advice on everything from advertising to choosing the right gym management software. And both are key to running a successful fitness company.

New thinking for established gyms and fitness clubs

New health and fitness business ideas are as vital for established clubs as they are for new businesses.

A winning idea can be the thing to help you revitalise your business and accelerate to the next level. Especially if you keep that positive mindset and make sure you’re open to taking advantage of fitness industry trends.

Here are 11 fitness business ideas to deliver sustained success for your fitness club.

Idea #1: Get smart with equipment

The most persistently popular trend we identified earlier in this guide is the rise of fitness technology. Smartwatches and fitness trackers keep tabs on the calories members burn, the steps they take, their resting heart rate and a whole range of other data points.

So, make it easy for them to track progress in your gym too. Successful gyms are adopting smart equipment and connected technology. And that allows members to plug all that data from their workouts straight into their tracking apps and tech.

Consider if it’s time to switch gym management software to one that integrates with your in-gym technology. Creating a connected, personalised member experience.

Idea #2: Run new workshops

You succeed when your members make your business part of their daily routine. And we all like to mix up our routines now and again, to try new things and learn new techniques.

Gym members are looking for social opportunities too. Chances to connect with like-minded people who share their interests.

If you can tick those boxes – the desire for novelty and the desire for connection – you’re on the path to success.

Doing that is as simple as offering new workshops for your members. Find out what they’re interested in – maybe a regular bodyweight exercise workshop, or a new strength training class – and add it to your gym’s calendar. Soon it’ll be a new part of your members’ routines.

And one-off workshops are a great way to earn additional revenue and attract a wider audience to your facility.

Idea #3: Integrate functional fitness

One popular type of training you absolutely need to explore is functional fitness.

As society gets older, gym members get older too. And that means priorities change. Fitness becomes less about training to beat personal bests, and more about making sure everyone’s healthy, happy, and able to enjoy life.

Functional fitness classes focus on things like balance, flexibility, and coordination. Even younger gymgoers are turning to functional training. Why? They recognise the important physical skills it brings. And the massive benefits it has on everyday life.

Integrate functional fitness and you’ll be improving your members’ quality of life. As well as keeping them active and engaged with your fitness club.

Idea #4: Find your niche

What are you most passionate about? Want to be known as the gym that helps serious bodybuilders sculpt their physiques? More interested in being the community club where people of all ages get active and stay active?

Look at your current membership base too. Which niche will best fit the tastes and needs of the demographics you’ve already attracted?

Success in any business is often about finding that one special area you can focus on. And then concentrating on delivering it. That way, you’re always the number one option for members who share your passion.

Idea #5: Focus on your team

The most important part of any gym isn’t the equipment or even the pricing. The thing that keeps your members renewing. The thing that will deliver real, continued success. The thing is your staff.

Your star personal trainers and instructors are worth their weight in gold. So, if you want to succeed, make sure you’re attracting them and retaining them. It’s so important that we put together a whole article about finding and keeping gym staff.

Remember that keeping your staff happy is often a matter of reducing the work they don’t like doing. Investing in the right gym management software to automate tedious admin tasks can help you retain your star team members for years to come.

Idea #6: Invest in wellbeing

Serious about tapping into the transformative opportunity that wellbeing presents to fitness businesses? It’s important to recognise that it starts with your wellbeing as a leader.

We recently held a webinar with the team from We Talk Wellbeing. Dr Glenda Rivoallan and Emma Hossack shared that if you want to have an impact on member wellbeing that needs to start with you.

That means focusing on what you can control and influence. Becoming aware of and addressing your own stress and negative thought patterns to see things differently.

What we’re asking you to do today is to look in the mirror and consider what you can do, what you can take control of, what you can influence to help you unlock more potential and understand the part that you play in driving your businesses towards the success you want. – Dr Glenda Rivoallan, DBA

If you can master this, you’ll be able to better engage your team so they are thriving too – which will have a knock-on effect on members. You’ll be able to better see how you can get members to stick to their physical activity. And frame it as a solution to emptying their ‘stress bucket’.

Find out more about how you can tap into the transformative wellbeing opportunity. And check out Dr Glenda Rivoallan’s 7 wellbeing predictions for ideas on how to transform your business.

Idea #7: Upgrade your software

Successful gym businesses have the right software. That’s a fact.

The right software lets you futureproof your business. Handle membership payments and renewals. And makes onboarding new members an absolute breeze.

Upgrading your software even upgrades your members’ experience of your fitness club. by streamlining access control. And keeping them up to date with all the new ideas you’ve had.

Struggling to communicate with members at scale? Is collecting payments a headache? Are you spending more time working around your software than with it? Do you feel held back by your software? Are you stuck without the support you need from your software partner? These are all signs it’s time to change your gym management software

It’s simple, but it’s effective. If you want to succeed, upgrade your gym software.

Idea #8: Partner up

If you want to appeal to older adults? Then you need to think beyond the gym. Look at who’s working with the older generation in your community and partner up with them.

Offer special fitness sessions for older adults in your community. Perhaps alongside special discounted memberships. And you’ll reach a whole new audience that’s wider than you ever anticipated.

Beyond organisations working with the aging population, you could partner with local hotels. Many of those visiting your local area will want to continue their training. And only a small number of hotels have their own gym.

Work with hotels to offer a discounted day, 3-day, or 7-day pass for hotel guests (or another special offer).

Idea #9: Go outside

Exercising outdoors offers numerous physical, mental, and emotional benefits such as fresh air and improved oxygen intake, increased vitamin D levels, enhanced mood and reduced stress, greater variety and enjoyment, and a connection with nature.

So, clearly fitness fans are continuing to embrace outdoor training. Whether that’s running clubs, outdoor bootcamps, or bodyweight exercises in the park, demand is still growing.

Offer outdoor activities. Partner with local running clubs. Or set up your own sessions to take place outside your gym. And you’ll be able to engage all those people who love to work up a sweat under blue skies (or in the elements) instead of your air conditioning units!

Idea #10: Reward your members

Your success all comes down to your members. If they love your gym or fitness club, then you will have a successful business. So, show them you appreciate them, that you value them, and that you want to keep this relationship going.

One way is to partner with local businesses who can provide special offers for your members. For example, a discounted massage with a therapist, or savings at a local health food store.

Another is to track your members’ milestones with your software. And then offer them branded gifts when they hit a certain target.

There’s no limit to the type or amount of benefits you can offer your members. The only limit is your imagination.

Idea #11: Let your members do the selling for you

Finally, to supercharge the success of your gym, tap into your most important asset. Your members.

The recommendations they give carry far more weight than even the most effective adverts. So, give them an incentive to tell people all about what you offer.

Create a gym member referral progamme turning your loyal members into proud brand advocates. Then sit back and watch your sign-up numbers skyrocket.

All you need to do is offer a benefit to the member who makes a referral. Perhaps a coveted branded item, or, an extra month of membership on your club.

The plus side of this? Members who work out together will stay with you for longer.

The wrap up…

There’s lots your fitness business can do to achieve success in 2024, and beyond.

It’s all about finding the right fitness business ideas for your gym. And as we’ve covered, there’s plenty to choose from. And we’ve only just scratched the surface!

Once you’re inspired, commit to your new business or business change. And work hard to bring it to life. Whether you’re using new technology, appealing to new member demographics, or adding new classes, embracing new ideas is the best way to make sure you succeed.

Get set up to take advantage of your next new fitness business idea with the right gym software. Request a demo to see the value that Xplor Gym can bring to your fitness business.

Article by Xplor Gym

First published: 05 February 2024

Last updated: 20 February 2024