March 26, 2023

In 2022 we’ll be about wearable technology and home gyms, but we’re not ready to ditch the big box memberships just yet.
New research by American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Sport and Fitness journal, surveyed 4500 international fitness experts on what they saw as the current trends in the industry.
Wearable technology like Fitbits and smart watches came in at number one (they have done ever since appearing on the list in 2016) and home gyms ranked number two for 2022’s top trends.
Outdoor-based training like boot camps, virtual classes, online personal training, bodyweight training and outdoor activities featured on this year’s top 20.
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In New Zealand, we’re following the same trends, says fitness and wellness influencer Logan Dodds, who finally got his dream home gym in 2020 (complete with a sauna and ice bath in the backyard) – inspired by our first Covid-19 cases in March.
“The dream was always to have a home gym garage set up,” he says. And there’s no guarantee that gyms won’t be forced to close again.
“You want to be having an environment where you can be working out anyplace, anytime and whatever situation.”
The technology side of fitness goes hand in hand with that setup – Dodds uses $7 per month subscription service, True Hustle to keep him on track.
“You just click your phone and find out what the workout of the day is, and smash that.”
Technology can be as affordable as apps like this, or as fancy as high-end smart equipment like a $5000 Peloton bike (currently only available in Australia, with the company hoping to increase their global reach soon).
Auckland-based personal trainer, Alistair Boyd says Dodds isn’t on his own – there’s a huge increase in people working out at home.
“I know there has been a lot of caution with people coming back into a larger [gym-based] environment,” he says, adding that for the unvaccinated, at-home is also the only option. Under the red and orange traffic light settings, commercial gyms are only allowed to open if they’re checking vaccination passports.
“There’s a combination of that, and a combination of not feeling entirely comfortable about being back [in the gym].”
Industrial Athletic owner Rob Holah​ knows his functional fitness equipment. He’s set up home gyms for Dodds, as well as big sporting names like Valerie Adams and Carlos Spencer.
When Covid-19 shut New Zealand down for the first time, he says demand for home equipment surged. “It was nuts.”
The demand for equipment increased massively, but the supply chain disruptions meant they were constantly playing catch up.
“The enquiries went through the roof. Sales didn’t because we couldn’t get gear.”
But that’s not to say that gyms are a thing of the past. In fact, they’re doing just as well as ever.
“I thought people would leave commercial gyms in droves [after the first lock down]. That didn’t happen.”
So why are home gyms so popular if commercial spaces are still thriving? For one thing, more people are prioritising health.
“People have realised that’s an important part of life. So many more people are getting to their 30s and 40s and they’re no longer bulletproof. A lot of people are realising that,” Holah says.
And those that choose both? Well, people have to spend their money somewhere.
“Most people aren’t going on holidays, so they’re spending their money domestically.”
And a lot of that money is going on workout accessibility.
“The indefinite nature of when lockdowns were coming made people scared, so they wanted to have a bit more stability.”
Setting yourself up can seem intimidating in terms of costs. A fully-functional home-gym setup can cost between around $5000 to $10,000.
If you’re adding multiple machines, saunas and “frills”, you can go as luxe as you like. But PT Boyd says working out at home can also be as cheap as you choose.
“You don’t need a lot of equipment. A resistance trainer – a TRX – is so versatile and takes up no space at all. You need a bar or a beam to hang it up on, and you can pretty much do a full body workout with that one piece of equipment. And it’s pretty cheap as well.”
And if you’re wanting to splash out on the more hefty functional equipment? Get in quick because home gyms are here to stay.
“There’s a massive demand so anything you get sells fast,” he says. “People are buying what they can when they can.”
What it ultimately comes down to, though, is convenience.
While heading to the gym can be an hour-and-a-half round trip, when Dodds is working from home he can sneak downstairs for 30 minutes and be back at work before his lunch break is over.
And saving time is something we can all get behind.
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