The UK fitness market has been on an absolute tear over the course of the last five years, increasing over 20% during that time. London’s millennials are playing a key role in fuelling that growth.
Millennials are changing the face of modern fitness. Research suggests that they prioritize their health and fitness more than any other generation. This is evident when you consider that they have the most gym memberships among society and they also seem to have a strong preference for belonging to boutique fitness centers. But what makes the combination of millennials and fitness so intriguing is that, for them, exercise and fitness activities have just as much to do with socializing as they do with weight loss and strength training.
This is all having a profound effect on the fitness scene in London. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Canary Wharf area on the eastern side of the city where one can find an array of indoor and outdoor fitness activities to indulge in. The fitness industry in this part of London has been very aggressive in catering to millennials, and they’ve been remarkably successful.
With a whopping 80% of millennials reportedly exercising regularly, the demographic is expected to continue fueling and influencing modern fitness. Those dynamics are too hard to ignore so, we spent some time trolling the fitness scene in eastern London to get a sense of what fitness trends are being sparked by millennials and their hybrid interest in fitness, socializing, and fun.
Earlier this year, online searches for 'gym memberships' were up more than 230%! As of January 2023, that was double the monthly average. People are clearly putting the pandemic behind them, and they’re heading out of the house to achieve their fitness goals. But the one thing that makes the millennial generation so distinct and unique is their laser-like focus on achieving goals.
While much of society is searching for gym memberships because they want to feel healthier, millennials often spend time at the gym to achieve a specific goal, whether it be a weight loss goal or completion of a marathon in a certain amount of time.
This intense focus on a specific goal is sparking new levels of demand for personal trainers and fitness consultants amongst millennials. Personal trainers are often sought after for their expertise because there is the expectation that they can develop an accelerated routine that’s tailored to the preferences and goals of their clients. In other words, personal training is becoming more of a trend because these fitness professionals have built a reputation for being able to put their clients on a “fast track” to their specific, and often unique, fitness goals.
Frankly, they’re right.
Personal trainers are credentialed professionals with the know-how to help people avoid common mistakes that can derail progress and often know what techniques will work best to help their client achieve their goals in the minimal amount of time.
Millennials are also looking for guidance to help them take advantage of shorter, 15- 20-minute workouts. With hybrid or remote work schedules being so popular amongst the millennial generation, many of them remain no less committed to their fitness goals and would rather rely on the expertise of personal trainers to tell them how to use these short durations of free time to keep them on pace to reach their fitness goals. It’s an area where personal trainers can offer excellent insight.
One interesting trademark of our millennial generation is their fierce commitment to “doing right” by the planet. Remember, we’re talking about a generation that will go out its way to lower its carbon footprint and ensure more sustainability in our society. It also means a deliberate effort to avoid a diet that interferes with the natural ecosystem of the planet. That means avoiding a diet that relies on animal sources for food.
One recent study indicated that over 40% of millennials are willing to adopt a diet that supports the environment – a static that explains the widespread adoption of vegan lifestyles and diets amongst millennials. Vegans avoid fish and meat. In fact, they often won’t even wear clothing that’s made from leather or wool.
In their view, industrial-sized meat & dairy companies not only slaughter animals unnecessarily, but they also contribute to greenhouse gas emissions on an enormous scale. Millennials see adopting a vegan diet as a way of reversing climate change and disruption. You can see this trend catching if you look around your local grocery store to see the evolving section of vegan-friendly choices.
We get it. Not everyone would immediately categorize “veganism” as a fitness trend, but nutrition is a crucial component of modern health and fitness for millennials. Therefore, it’s fair to say that veganism should legitimately have a spot on our list.
Millennials embark on their days with an intense focus on health and wellness. Very few of them smoke and they’re very proactive about adopting healthy and nutritious eating habits. In fact, “eating healthier” was reported as being the number one New Year’s Resolution made by millennials back in January.
Research shows that millennials prefer healthy and natural foods over fast foods. Not only do millennials enjoy cooking and preparing their own meals, they’re also strong advocates of alternative food distribution vehicles that provide food and meal delivery services.
Another intriguing thing about millennials who are making nutrition and healthy eating habits a priority is that they don’t mind spending a bit more money to do it. For them, better nutrition is simply a holistic pathway to optimal health and wellbeing.
The key takeaway from our time in eastern London is that millennials continue to be hyper-focused on their health and wellbeing, but not at the expense of their community or environment. Millennials have a craving for a sense of camaraderie and believe in actively contributing towards a better society just by the choices they make every day.
Maybe it’s millennials who are giving us a the clearest view into the future of fitness: an inclusive enjoyable environment where everyone is invited. Imagine that…