We’re closing in on 100 years since the birth of the American fitness culture, which was born on Muscle Beach in California in 1934. We’ve come a long way since then – from television workout programs to vibrating belts to the Bowflex and P90x programs. In 2000, what would soon become the biggest trend was born: Crossfit.
Crossfit generates nearly $4 billion in annual revenue – as of 2015 – and is showing no sign of slowing down. In fact, they’ve gained even more loyal customers through competitive mud runs like Spartan Race and Tough Mudder, which offer more accessible opportunities for those who want a medal for their efforts than the famed CrossFit Games. The end result? Dedicated followers challenge their friends to complete a mud run, that friend enjoys it, and they’re led through the gateway to being a Crossfit customer.
Why have these companies been so successful? They offer something that the fitness industry previously did not: community. As with almost every industry, the internet has made it so that more consumers are connected, exchanging ideas, learning from one another’s experiences, and – most critically for the fitness industry – comparing themselves. Another convenient side effect of social media taking over the lives of Millennials? Loneliness and an increased craving for community.
Crossfit, Spartan Race and Tough Mudder are leading the pack of companies that serve this new need for community oriented fitness that builds friendships as quickly as muscles. Other fitness brands are sprinting to catch up – and the opportunities for fitness-oriented entrepreneurs is practically limitless. There’s a lot more to this industry than running gyms and holding events.
Create Healthier Alternatives
“One of the most overlooked changes created by the healthy living and community fitness trends is the need for new categories of supplements,” explains Harley Babcock, CEO of Black Market Labs. “Not everyone wants to build the ultimate physique or stack on additional pounds of muscle. We see more and more people train for enhanced endurance and functional strength. We see more and more people train for longevity and general health. These people are frequently more interested in how their body functions and feels than how it looks. Not surprisingly, the nutrients and supplements best suited to meet the needs of these growing communities aren’t the same as those designed for bodybuilders and power lifters. Our brand has thrived by targeting athletes who want very specific mixes of healthy supplements to help them attain specific goals. For example, with our newest product FIT, we’ve combined Beta Alanine, Peak O2, Alpha GPC, and Creatine Monohydrate with a proven energy and mental focus blend. This combination is designed to improve endurance, stamina, and power output during sustained intense activity. It just isn’t possible to create one supplement that is ideal for every fitness objective or training regimen. Our goal is to help everyone make progress, regardless of how or why they train. And above that, our goal is to keep our customers safe and healthy. After all, if the fitness industry isn’t interested in keeping our customers healthy, what are we even doing?”
Babcock is definitely onto something, especially given that fitness-as-a-lifestyle isn’t just about exercise, it’s also about nutrition. Even those who don’t subscribe to that particular style of healthy eating will be more focused on ingredients and long term health, as it’s built into the culture. However, big nutrition brands have been slow to adapt, and are paying the price with lawsuits and dropping profit margins.
If your brand makes top-quality fitness supplements, foods or drinks, or even organic and fair trade clothing, targeting the Crossfit and mud run communities could send your profits to the stratosphere.
Provide Support For Brands
The other side of the coin is the business to business opportunities that the healthy lifestyle trend has created. Because Crossfit and mud runs require special facilities to train and hold their events, and the latter cannot be held in the middle of a city, there are a significant amount of opportunities for businesses to help.
The most obvious opportunity is for architects, construction and safety companies. Consider specializing in designing or building crossfit gyms, creating courses that will be challenging but can be easily repaired one the event is complete, and safety professionals who can certify the safety during each event.
However, there are also many opportunities to work with these fitness-lifestyle companies through business services – such as networking and team building service providers. Yep, that’s right, the new trend for Wall St. (and many other business centers) is to invite clients or teams that need a bit more pep in their step to form bonds at Crossfit and Tough Mudder events.
No matter what your industry, there’s likely a way you can get involved with the fitness lifestyle trend if you’re willing to get a bit creative. It’s a prudent idea to do so, as well, as Americans are becoming more health and fitness conscious with each passing month.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.