The Fitness Future: Rules of Engagement – White Paper
January 5, 2021 •

The conditions of pre-COVID will never return.

Willingness to accept this fact, and move with it, will be key to the survival of your fitness business. Embracing change isn’t a choice. It’s life and death.

That’s because COVID wasn’t ever the cause of change: it accelerated things that were happening anyway. We might have arrived at this position less battered and bruised had COVID not unleashed itself on the world, but make no mistake: we would have found ourselves in the same position with or without it.

Digitisation, 5G, at-home offerings, evolved working patterns… the fitness industry has never faced so many new factors to evaluate. That much has been talked about extensively.

But here’s the bit people haven’t really acknowledged yet: as a result of this snowstorm of new factors, the industry has found itself blinded. Uncertain not only about how to stand up to the competition, but about who its competitors even are.

One thing is for sure: the relationship customers seek with a fitness business is changing, and there are very real opportunities for operators who are prepared to adapt, accepting the new reality and repositioning themselves for the inevitable.

But how do you go about this business-critical repositioning? In fact, there’s a huge amount that can be done right now; The Fitness Future: Rules of Engagement maps this out in six clear rules that will help your fitness business not only survive but thrive in the new world order.

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    Reviews for the white paper

    “I recommend all operators take note of the six rules outlined in this thought-provoking, insightful document. The concept of customer-centricity is music to my ears, and I welcome the call to embrace the changes taking place within our sector from an ecosystem point of view, rather than hybrid. The future isn’t two-dimensional. It’s multi-dimensional.”

    Herman Rutgers

    Co-founder & ambassador, EuropeActive

    “This white paper includes some very important thoughts and ideas that should challenge us all. As such, it makes a valuable contribution to the debate around our sector’s evolution and will, I hope, stimulate progressive discussion.

    “The reader might not agree with every example being highlighted, nor every implication drawn out. I myself do not. But let’s be clear, that is the specific intention of author Ian Mullane: to provoke a response, challenging the status quo in a way that almost forces the reader to engage in the conversation.”

    Humphrey Cobbold

    CEO, PureGym

    Ian Mullane is a provocateur who opens the kilt on the future of digital. With online platforms, connected fitness and at-home solutions in triple-digit growth, The Fitness Future: Rules of Engagement is an industry call-to-arms. The future is here, and we are behind.

    “We are schooled in scenarios that exist today and adjacent industry examples we should heed. This white paper implores us to find and defend our place in the wellness ecosystem, automate processes inadequately fulfilled now, and consider the plunge into the holy grail of business acceleration: artificial intelligence. So, lean in, apply the six rules, defend your ‘club is hub’ and unleash the latent data in your business.

    “Your future depends on it.” 

    Emma Barry

    Global Fitness Authority & Chief Creative Soul at Good Soul Hunting

    “Ian’s insights into our industry’s new landscape – an ecosystem in which clubs must be OK with not owning the entire wellness journey – are both thought-provoking and full of truth. We have to find a way to be part of people’s ecosystems, focusing on experiences rather than the technology that drives those experiences. We also have to know when to walk away from technologies that create friction and don’t belong in our own ecosystems. Experience is king.”

    Carrie Kepple

    Co-founder, Styles Studios Fitness & chair, IHRSA

    “A thought-provoking projection into the future of fitness, with some reality checks and great consumer-centric insights. The well-crafted points around building ecosystems rather than hybrids, and helping customers curate their journeys around data, are critical. These are the call to arms for our industry’s future, and highlight how bright that future can be if we get it right. Ian nailed it!”

    Colin Grant

    CEO, The PURE Group

    “This white paper poses and answers all the questions you’ve been pondering
    subconsciously, but never been game to ask out loud.  
    “The way Ian unpacks the industry into six well-illustrated rules makes the journey simple to follow, but the reality he presents will make you squirm if you are set in your ways. Nevertheless, if you want to explore new ways of doing business – indeed, if you want to stay in business – this is a must-read. Open your mind, allow yourself to think differently and begin shaping a business that’s built for the consumer.”

    Justin Tamsett

    Chair, REX Roundtables

    “Ian does a great job of addressing the huge risks and opportunities that lie ahead for gym brands. Fitness facilities are simply not the sole guardians of consumer fitness any longer: the consumer is the centre, and ecosystems will be the delivery mechanisms now and into the future. I would heed his warnings and embrace his advice.”

    Bryan O'Rourke

    CEO, FITC & Vedere Ventures