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2016 Fitness Industry Forecast, According to Lauretta Stace, Fitness Australia

Check out our exclusive chat with Lauretta Stace, Chief Executive Officer Fitness Australia regarding what’s in store in 2016. Fitness Australia has over 3,000 Business Members and 26,000 Professionals on the Australian Register of Exercise Professionals. This chat was undertaken as part of the ‘What’s in store for 2016’ article in the 2015 Summer edition of WNiF magazine.

Q. How would you summarise your brand’s achievements in 2015?
As the peak body for the fitness industry in Australia, Fitness Australia continued to achieve progress on many significant strategic initiatives that directly benefit our members and create long-term value for the fitness industry.

Q. What key industry developments do you predict will take place in 2016?
This year, we are planning to build on the initiatives launched in 2015, including the new www.fitness.org.au platform to help build business and professional profiles, the ActiveAus Awards, the Quality Accreditation Program, government lobbying, knowledge leadership as well as standards development and professional capacity building. We also foresee a much greater focus on understanding consumer trends and how they perceive and interact with the fitness industry.

Q. What impact do you see personal fitness technology (e.g., wearables, training apps, etc) having on fitness businesses this year?
Personal fitness technology will have an increasingly important role and impact on fitness businesses in the coming year. In 2016, Australians will begin to trial the government’s new e-health system, which will collate their medical records and enable consumers to make these available to health professionals, personal trainers, gym instructors and third party companies that make wearable exercise tracking devices. The integration of these devices with fitness and health records, client program development, data management and sharing will transform the industry and help to embed it further in the health system.

Q. Do you have any predictions or thoughts regarding developments in gym and/or cardio technology this year?
Once the government’s new e-health system is understood, I predict that gym and cardio technology will be designed to seamlessly integrate with this system for the benefit of the consumer.

Q. What do you think may be the next big thing in group fitness, in 2016?
Whilst there is a strong trend towards more personalised offerings in fitness, group fitness has the added benefit of being highly motivational and social. As more baby boomers reach retirement age, they will be seeking social connections that also benefit their health and wellbeing. So more group classes tailored towards people between the ages of 50 to 65 will emerge.

Q. What changes or developments, if any, do you think will occur in 2016 in the landscape of personal and/or outdoor training?
Personal training will continue to be popular for those who are seeking a more tailored and personalised offering and this will often occur in outdoor settings. There will also be a continued interest in exercise programs that yield fast and effective results for time-poor people and those looking to prepare for community based events such as running, cycling and triathlon.

Q. Do you predict any significant changes in your or the industry¹s membership base (e.g., who is doing what ­ male/female/baby boomers; changes in demographics/psychographics; uptake of PT services, etc)?
Baby boomers will have a significant impact on the fitness industry in the coming years. However, the industry needs to better understand this market and cater to their specific needs. The role of strength training will become increasingly important as evidence continues to emerge about its efficacy and this begins to filter into mainstream health consciousness.

Q. Any other comments/predictions that you’d like to share with regards to 
2016 and beyond?
Health and wellbeing has become aspirational, which is great news for the fitness industry.  The key challenge for the industry will be the delivery of more personalised services that help people to change their behaviour and adopt a healthy lifestyle for the longer term.

Note: Lauretta Stace has announced her resignation from the role of Chief Executive Officer with Fitness Australia. Her last day will be Friday 12 February 2016. 

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