Business ideas for 2017: Alternative fitness

With the fitness industry booming, now is the time to establish your own brand of alternative fitness classes and work out to achieve business success… 

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Us Brits are becoming increasingly conscious of the dangers of obesity and many of us are looking for fitness regimes that will keep us motivated and actually help us reach our fitness goals.

Today, one in eight people in the UK use fitness clubs with 52% likely to attend classes three or more times a week, while 35% will attend one to two classes a week.

Yell has reported that there was a 50% increase in the number of searches for ‘jive classes’ across 2016 and 2015 with spikes in August and October and this points to a wider trend of people seeking out fun-filled fitness classes that stray from traditional fitness classes like spin, yoga and pilates.

You may have heard of pole fitness, but what about aerial hoop fitness, pound fitness – a cardio session using simulated drumming – or VOGA – a hybrid of yoga and ‘vogueing’?

These alternative classes are garnering plenty of attention as people search for innovative ways to get fit and avoid a mundane slog in the gym.

For fitness buffs who can invent creative ways to get Britain moving, alternative fitness and becoming an alternative fitness instructor could be the perfect career move for you in 2017…

Starting an alternative fitness business: Why it’s a good business idea

The health and fitness industry is booming. Mintel reports that the number of Brits using health and fitness clubs will grow by 20% in the next five years to a massive 6.5 million people by 2020.

Given these positive predictions for the fitness industry, there are great business prospects for aspiring entrepreneurs to capitalise on ‘fitspiration’ and turn this trend into a profitable business.

Anna Byrne of hula hoop fitness class HulaFit is one entrepreneur who has recently entered the alternative fitness industry. Byrne gave up her job as a professional hoop performer and turned her passion into a business by highlighting the fitness benefits of hooping with a weighted hoop:

“With no promotion our classes sold out so we created an instructor training course so we could have more classes, now we have 20 instructors who run their own hula hoop business!

“Being fit and healthy is trending with fitness festivals and morning ‘raves’ on the up – we’re even involved with London Fashion Week! Hedonism is ‘out’ and healthy is ‘in’!”

Like Byrne, starting your own alternative fitness business offers you the chance to expand your fitness business beyond the class – all you need is an inventive approach.

Alternative fitness business opportunities

To get an alternative fitness business off the ground, you should first establish yourself as a freelance fitness instructor or personal trainer which will mean getting the right accreditation and qualifications.

Once you become a qualified fitness instructor, you can then work on a freelance basis. This gives you the freedom to travel to your customers and put on events in different locations; opening up more revenue streams.

Take inspiration from group fitness classes which are popping up everywhere from local fitness clubs to your local park. British Military Fitness operates in multiple locations meaning you don’t necessarily have to splash out on the cost of renting or buying a studio if you’re happy to work outdoors.

It’s important to note that if you’re considering becoming a personal trainer or fitness instructor that you’ll need insurance in place to protect you and your business. This guide on personal trainer insurance covers everything you need to know.

If you’re tech savvy you can tap into digital fitness, particularly wearable technology. This is an area of fitness that is coming to the forefront of the fitness industry as it  allows customers to track and monitor fitness levels and can usually be applied to individual physical activities such as cycling and running.

That being said there are ways to adapt this and incorporate a group fitness element into the digital trend. For example, boxing app The Boxxmethod allows users to access alternative workouts on their phone, desktop and tablet. With timed workouts, users pay to access the videos on a monthly basis and benefit from a remote workout experience.

Virtual reality is also an area that you could look to start a fitness business in. According to David Walmsley, Mintel’s senior leisure analyst:

“One of the current most important technology-led innovations spreading across the industry is the immersive fitness experience, which adds a visual element to the music and choreography previously used to engage and motivate participants.”

Insider opinion

Juliet Murrell launched HOUSE OF VOGA at the end of 2017 and believes there is huge potential for the alternative fitness market:

“Creating my company around alternative fitness, I realised that there’s a huge interest, expansion and opportunity in this area. With more and more ways for people to get lost in technology and work, taking time for yourself to exercise and look after yourself is becoming increasingly important.

“People want an effective workout that also doubles as a chance to see friends and offers results. This is VOGA. It’s fun, effective and social and is definitely an hour well spent.

“We have big plans for HOUSE OF VOGA globally and internationally. There are many opportunities for revenue – global classes, franchise, retreats, fashion line, fitness products etc. We’ve only just made our first steps with the VOGA phenomenon.”

Published Jan 2017

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