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The 5 Big Things Coming in Fitness over the Next Decade – And How You Can Be Ready

The 5 Big Things Coming in Fitness over the Next Decade – And How You Can Be Ready

From population trends to technology, countless factors affect the fitness industry. Still, anticipation is key to business success, and we’re predicting the top five trends coming in the next year. Here they are, followed by tips on getting ready.


No. 5

Brain Fitness Comes of Age

Our active aging demographic is concerned about dementia and other cognitive decline. And we are already seeing greater awareness of this simple fact: People need to exercise more to maintain their brain health.

What We Can Do

Get certified in brain health, Tai Chi, Ageless Grace or other related activities that engage the memory and other cognitive function. Start talking about these issues with clients, prospects, fitness peers, and healthcare professionals. Distinguish your business as a unique local source of information and referrals.


No. 4

The Rise of the Fit Senior

You probably know some rock stars of aging – and more are coming. We’re living longer, staying healthier, and extending the boundaries of aging and physicality. Lifelong athletes never stop. Remember the 13,000 athletes at the National Senior Games.

What We Can Do

We have to train aging clients for what they want to do as individuals. Swimming is a great exercise, but will it help someone devoted to, say, archery?  Position yourself with doctors and physical therapists for more referrals for “brain health” and “balance training” instead of “strength training for seniors.”


No. 3

Our Population Is Aging Fast

The Baby Boomer generation began in 1946, so its members begin turning 80 in 2026. They will change the world’s ideas about what it means to reach that milestone. We’ll see more and more outstanding athletes in that category. But we’ll also see increasing burdens on the healthcare system, with frailty and risk of falls rising among people after they hit 80.

What We Can Do

Train clients for strength, balance, motor control and reaction time. We need to use the best fitness assessments in our evaluations of prospects and clients. Also, remember that Generation X is moving into our target demographic already, and they want something different than what they’ve been doing, like intense boot camps.


No. 2

Group Training Lives!

When people say group training is dead, don’t believe them. It will keep growing and growing – and, no, you won’t have to undersell it, either. But we will have to diversify our offerings even more.

What We Can Do

Learn about supplementing your brick-and-mortar with online training, apps and other technology. Online accountability and support will help you engage clients when they’re not in the gym or studio with you – and bring in extra revenue.


No. 1

Expect More Competition

Large and small health clubs, boutique studios, super-cheap chains, Pilates… the list goes on and on. And senior fitness franchises are coming. At FAI, we already have two licensing models, Fit Body Forever and Ageless Fitness.

What We Can Do

Keep standing out from the crowd. No one does what you do. Be unique, be focused, and use better content and storytelling to let your community know what you’re all about. Use a professional content service, like Prime Fit Content, which helps you reach the over-50 market.


For more on our predictions – and the role you can play in the changing landscape – watch this video from the 2018 Functional Aging Summit.

Mastermind in Indy: FAI’s Business Coaching Was Rolling on the River

Mastermind in Indy: FAI’s Business Coaching Was Rolling on the River

What’s a great way to receive invaluable business coaching, learn from peers and other experts, and have a great time for a couple of days?

FAI’s Mastermind members, including seven newcomers and guests, learned the answer the easy way September 12-13 in Indianapolis. FAI President Dan Ritchie led the quarterly group business coaching meeting, which features a round table of “hot seat” presentations from each participant and instant feedback from Dan and others, plus more helpful insights.

About two dozen fitness pros from around the country shared updates on their businesses, talked future expansion, got guidance from two high-tech vendors – and had a ton of fun, including restaurant outings and a little urban kayaking. (That’s Bruno Peron of Still Got It Fitness in Lomita, California, above.)

“It was a mind blower once again,” said Sharan Tash of TASH Wellness for Women near Chicago, a Mastermind veteran and enthusiastic supporter.

Nina Camacho came all the way from Hawaii for her first Mastermind meeting.

“Much mahalo (thanks) to everyone in the Mastermind group for their encouragement and expertise,” she said. “I had so many golden nuggets of information from all. I will take heed and do my best to make everyone proud.”

Dan and FAI co-founder Cody Sipe created the FAI Mastermind to help members attract prospects, systemize their businesses, grow profits – and have more freedom in life and in business.

In addition to stimulating quarterly meetings in different cities, the Mastermind provides:

  • Monthly accountability calls
  • Access to the Mastermind private Facebook group
  • Access to all FAI programs for members and staff
  • Individualized coaching to help you avoid costly mistakes, break through plateaus, and grow your business
  • Marketing techniques to reach mature clients
  • “Done for you” resources proven to work

The FAI Mastermind is for any member who wants to take their business to the next level, no matter where you are now or where you want to go. Click here to become a member today.

Our next meeting is in January in Houston.

FAI is Communicating More

FAI is Communicating More

You might have noticed in recent months that FAI has increased its communications and social media content. It’s part of our efforts to keep you engaged, to increase a sense of community among us, and to share the richness of what FAI and our members are doing to improve the lives of countless people every day.

First, we began consistently sharing fresh, weekly blog posts related to FAI, fitness, or over-50 demographics. We also started a weekly email newsletter sharing the posts and other “news you can use.”

Then starting in August, we began reinvigorating our social media presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Be sure to follow us and each other on those channels to keep up to date and to share best practices, challenges, and insights. Remember, the first word in “social media” is “social,” after all.

FAI’s new social media manager Jen Lutz Ritchie aims to increase your access to co-founders Cody Sipe and Dan Ritchie and the tremendous amount of content they have created over the years. She also hopes the social media content from FAI will provide something different for readers and hope to hear from you, too, since we are such a diverse group involving people of varying ages, locations, and fitness styles.

And the increased communication is also meant to help you make the most of what FAI offers through your membership – certifications, workshops, business coaching, webinars, and more.

By the way, if your business is not on social media, it should be, especially Facebook. It remains the Big Daddy among social media for people over 50. Instagram and Twitter are growing, as well. And Instagram in particular is attractive for the fitness industry since it’s easy to share photos and videos of our highly visual kind of work.

Here are some interesting statistics. (Sources: Hootsuite, Forbes, Sprout Social)

  • Facebook had more than 2 billion active users as of October 2018.
  • In the US, 68 percent of adults use it, most on a daily basis.
  • Most advertisers say Facebook is the best social media channel to reach their goals.
  • Instagram has more than 1 billion users a month.
  • A third of US adults use Instagram, an increase of 7 percent in three years.
  • Twitter is more popular for social advertisers than Instagram, with 88 percent using it.

Social media is typically used to teach, tell a story, or inspire potential customers. Be sure to include a link to your website so prospects can learn more.

Let us hear from you – via social media, an email or a phone call. We’re all stronger together the more we share with each other.



Ready for What’s Next? It’s Time to Meet Generation X

Ready for What’s Next? It’s Time to Meet Generation X

The over-50 fitness market is more than just Baby Boomers.

And it’s time to start getting ready for Generation X, who will start turning 55 next year.

They grew up on “Seinfeld,” Nirvana and Winona Ryder. They can remember life before computers, but might’ve never had a job without one. They’re more than a bridge between the post-World War II boomers and the routinely maligned Millennials.

There are subtle differences between the two generations, says marketing guru Jeff Weiss, who was a keynote speaker at the 2019 Functional Aging Summit.

Jeff’s agency, Coming of Age, put together a report on ”Advertising to Generation X as They Enter the Fall & Winter of Life.” It’s a good place to start educating yourself on the 51 million Americans born between 1965 and 1980.

  • Gen X-ers love their smartphones almost as much as Millennials, with 89 percent owning the devices. They’re receptive to ads while on the go – shopping, running errands or exercising. They use their phones to shop online. This indicates that marketing to Gen X-ers online is a must.
  • They use new technology, like smart phones and voice search.
  • And they still watch traditional TV – although they’re impatient with too many commercials. So they’re using streaming services like Netflix that let them control the content they want to see.

We’ve got to make our messages to them short and to the point, Coming of Age says. Many are still busy with kids and jobs. They want authentic relationships, and they value connecting with things they care about, including independence.

What does this mean for your fitness business?

The core messages of delivering fitness to people at this stage in life stay the same, FAI’s Cody Sipe says.

“The delivery mechanisms will be different among generations – the web, emails, smart phones and things like that,” Cody says. “Even Millennials will eventually reach this stage of life, and the messages will need to resonate with them, too.”

Keep on the lookout for more discussion of this generation, which will become increasingly important to us as more and more of them reach 55 and beyond.

Like the Boomers before them, they represent a tremendous opportunity for the fitness industry. Just remember – if you get a new client at 55, that person could stick with you for decades to come.

Why Fitness Professionals Must Learn to Help Mature Adults with Brain Health

Why Fitness Professionals Must Learn to Help Mature Adults with Brain Health

Humanity is racing toward a brain-health crisis, according to the World Health Organization. The number of people with dementia is expected to triple in the next three decades.

The helpful news from WHO is this: Exercise plays a key role in fighting cognitive decline and dementia.

So, those of us in the fitness industry have a greater chance than ever to make a big impact by including brain health in our training and interactions with people over 50.

That’s the message of Ryan Glatt, a brain health coach at the Pacific Brain Health Center.  Ryan and the Functional Aging Institute worked together to bring you the Brain Health Trainer Certification. It’s a unique program that teaches about the connections between brain and body health – and about how fitness professionals can help mature adults with both.

“We can play a significant role in delivering exercise interventions for the primary outcome of brain health, and not just as a secondary benefit of exercising,” Ryan says. “We need to do more.”

Fitness professionals have three steps to follow, he says.

  1. Educating the public about the cognitive benefits of exercise.
  2. Referring people with possible cognitive decline to doctors for early intervention – much like physical therapists refer patients to relevant medical professionals.
  3. Building exercise programming to create primary brain-health results.

Trainers need to encourage clients to have a well-rounded exercise routine that includes balance, resistance training, and cardio work. It helps to know how some activities can have specific benefits on memory, attention and other brain functions. That includes, for instance, dance, sports and martial arts, which involve some level of choreography, which is good for the memory.

Even in initial assessments with prospective clients, fitness pros can learn to raise the topic, Ryan says. For example, if a prospect in her 50s says she wants to lose weight, you can bring up the topic of brain health even at that early stage. “There’s a growing body of research that links exercise to brain health,” you might say. “Does that sound like something you’d like to work on, as well?”

That can open the conversation to topics that might indicate a referral is necessary – or help you build a fitness program to address them.

“We like to tell people that exercise will help them be able to play with their grandkids,” Ryan points out. “But we can also help train them so that they also can remember their grandkids’ names better.”

Brain health is a big, rich topic that we’re going to be hearing more about. Any fitness professional helping mature people live well should be educated on how to help with their brain health, too.

The training is geared to help fitness professionals who:

  • Want to slow the effects of aging on their client base and community.
  • Are looking for innovative fitness programming that is geared toward preventing cognitive decline and based on cutting-edge research.
  • Want to learn more about the brain, its relationship to exercise, and how fitness can help slow cognitive decline in people who need your help.

The course covers the neuroscience of:

  • ​The Course of Cognitive Aging
  • ​Cognitive Decline and Reserve
  • ​The Cognitive Domains of Attention, Memory, & Executive Functions
  • ​Functional Brain Networks and Neuroanatomy
  • ​Differential Effects of Exercise on the Brain & Cognition
  • ​Combining Exercise with Cognitive Stimuli

You can learn more about this powerful training opportunity here.

Going Global: FAI Hits the Road to China, Australia

Going Global: FAI Hits the Road to China, Australia

Healthy living for “active adults” isn’t just an American concern. Globally, many of the same issues that face us here also challenge our fitness peers across countries. And, on top of that, some of the world’s different cultures have unique challenges of their own.

That’s part of what motivates FAI’s outreach to other countries. We already have members around the world. And now we’re traveling to two conferences where we’ll be able to share the “functional aging” message with countless other people.

First, Cody Sipe is leading a group from the Functional Aging Institute to Shanghai for the IDEA China fitness conference in August.

Jacqueline Cheng, an FAI master trainer and partner, will be co-leading and translating the sessions with Cody. Dianne McCaughey will join Jacqueline and Cody for a two-day pre-conference workshop for Functional Aging Specialist Level 1 certification. Cody says they’re modifying the content somewhat to meet the market demands better, and there eventually will be four levels of the certification.

“Jacqueline is working hard to establish FAI education and programming in China and is speaking with and potentially collaborating with government officials, healthcare, medical professionals, aging service professionals, and fitness professionals,” said Cody, who was excited for his first trip to China. “Their culture is different, and so the approach is going to be a little different, but there is a lot of potential, and it is looking up.”

For example, he said, the focus won’t be on “older” adults, but on premature and unhealthy aging, which starts in the 30s and 40s. Jacqueline has assembled a strong group of leaders to help her with these efforts.

Cody will be speaking on:

  • Cognified Fitness for Optimal Aging (based on the Brain Health Trainer certification content)
  • Exercise to Prevent and Manage Chronic Disease
  • Balance and Corrective Exercises

That’s not all.

FAI Master Trainer and board member Ken Baldwin is launching the Healthy Ageing Summit in Australia next year – and Cody will be speaking several times at that gathering, as well.

We’ll share more on this event as the time gets closer, but Ken joined us at the Functional Aging Summit in Albuquerque this year and is fired up to repeat much of our group’s energy Down Under next March in Brisbane.

And, keeping it closer to home, FAI has a couple of events planned in the United States next month, too.

Dan Ritchie will be speaking at the Elite Fitness and Performance Summit in Indianapolis Sept. 13-14. Dan’s topic is: “The 5 Next Big Things in Fitness Coming the Next 10 Years … And How to Be Ready.”

Dr. Evan Osar and Dianne Bailey will lead a tai chi conference in Denver Sept. 20-21. It’s called “East Meets West: Balance for Older Adults.


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