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ePublication of Australian Fitness Network

After 18 months of navigating a massively disrupted fitness instructing landscape, a new report from workout provider Les Mills predicts an enthusiastic return to in-person classes across the globe.




  • Gyms making strong recoveries globally, with class attendance at 120 per cent of pre-COVID levels in reopened markets
  • Two-thirds of gym members prefer working out in groups
  • Live fitness classes cited as the most popular gym offering
  • 80% of gym members plan to continue supplementing live workouts with online ones in shift to hybrid ‘omni-channel fitness’ model.



The Les Mills 2021 Global Fitness Report, featuring insights from over 12,000 global fitness consumers, looks at COVID’s effect on fitness habits and identifies the trends on the industry’s horizon. Chief among these will be an enormous demand for working out in classes with out real life humans – putting the group back into group fitness.


Dispelling earlier fears of an abandonment of bricks and mortar group workouts, the report found that gyms in re-opened markets around the world have recorded strong recoveries, with class occupancy at 120% of pre-pandemic levels.


The report found that 85% of respondents were considering participating in live classes in their facilities. A huge 67% expressed a preference for working out in groups. Live classes in clubs were found to be almost twice as popular as live-streamed ones. The figures seem to indicate that while virtual versions of group fitness, in particular, have been a useful and welcome option in the absence of in-club classes, the in-person live experience is where the real magic happens for most people.


The importance of a great instructor in creating a powerful experience was also highlighted, with it being the leading draw of attending classes, ahead of music and type of class.


Commenting on the report’s findings, Phillip Mills, Founder and Executive Director of Les Mills, said, ‘After months of being stuck at home, people can’t wait to get back to fitness facilities and enjoy their favourite workouts with familiar faces. Much like bars, restaurants and sports events, fitness is experiencing a real ‘live revival’, as people make up for lost time with a renewed appreciation for real-world social settings.’


‘Many people have missed the thrill of a busy class and the extra motivation you get from working out with others while being led by a rockstar Instructor’ he continued; ‘But that doesn’t mean home workouts will disappear as we emerge from the pandemic. The digital fitness boom and the growth of at-home workouts mean consumers are taking an omni-channel approach to their training, to stay more active by mixing thrilling live workouts at the gym, with the convenience of digital workouts at home.’


To discover a rage of other findings and predictions, access the full report at



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