How clubs can take advantage of trends in stress reduction and overall health.
By Yvan Miklin
President and CEO at Aquila/On-Site Health & Fitness Management

August 15, 2018

Annual fitness trends have shifted in recent years as more Americans seek to reduce stress and improve overall health. Fitness centers have a unique opportunity to expand and promote offerings that encompass this wellbeing focus through selective programming and promotions. While interest in high-intensity workouts and unique experiences is still growing, it’s time to take a fresh look at self-care fitness through three distinct channels your fitness center should be leveraging through 2020 and beyond.


1. Active Recovery

Many of your members may think that rest days involve no movement at all, but re-educating them on the importance of active recovery can help you introduce members to programming such as yoga, Tai Chi, swimming and guided stretching. Resistance band classes are also growing in popularity as a low-impact alternative to boot camps and HIIT classes. Incorporating active recovery once a week can give the body and mind a much-needed break and keep members motivated for higher-intensity workouts, and that’s the message that your trainers should be promoting to keep members engaged and give them permission to schedule rest days into their regular workout routine.

2. Passive Recovery

Passive recovery, such as massage, steam rooms and saunas, and spa services are self-care options that should be incorporated at least monthly into a healthy workout regimen. More important to recovery and stress management, however, is the practice of regular meditation. Studies show that guided deep breathing plays a major role in relieving a body’s normal stress response, replacing it instead with a relaxation response. Any breathing awareness exercise such as yoga can also provide some relief from chronic stress, but it’s the mindfulness of guided meditation that is currently driving fitness programming and the fitness apps market. Honoring the body through awareness can change a member’s perception of their body for the better. Connect with members who need a time-out for meditation with options that appeal to their desire for healing and self-care.

3. Lifestyle Education

Trainers are in a unique position to promote positive self-image and wellness through behavioral education. Getting enough quality sleep is arguably the most important lifestyle change anyone can make to improve their health. Sleep allows the body to restore and recharge and its elusive nature for some people has led to a booming sleep-aid industry. From weighted blankets to all-natural supplements and meditation apps to improve sleep, those who need more sleep are in desperate pursuit of it. Sleep optimization can be achieved through better sleep hygiene practices, a concept personal trainers can promote to give members ownership of their sleep habits.

2020 fitness trends forecast

The rise of self-care as a fitness focus continues the trends we’ve been tracking for the last few decades. As we look ahead to the next 10 years, it’s apparent that technology and self-care will become interwoven as the next generation of tech-savvy adults begins seeking their own version of wellness.

Yvan Miklin can be reached at