Transactional Fitness to Transformational Fitness

Question: Where do you see the fitness industry going in the next 20 years?

My Answer: I see the industry shifting from Transactional fitness to Transformational fitness.

In the near future, we’ll no longer see gyms offering cheap memberships along with cheap service. The ones where you scan your card, put in your headphones, and mosey around – only using the machines that are empty, all while watching CNN and Sportscenter. Why? Because of the Amazon Effect. Choice without effort at our fingertips. People have fewer reasons to leave their homes, even to go to work. What does this mean? It means people have more time (and a need) to find their “tribe”. CrossFit, Orange Theory, and Barry’s Bootcamp are proof of this. Regardless of what their training looks like, they’ve done an incredible job creating a space where people can come and be part of something, a community. The coaches know your name, they care, you struggle with like-minded people, they sing you happy birthday, they celebrate the birth of your child, they host fun and engaging competitions, holiday parties and weekly get togethers… The transactional gyms don’t stand a chance over the next 20 years.

What else is different about transformational gyms? The equipment and amenities. Transformational gyms have open floor plans, barbells, turf, kettlebells, foam rollers, PVC pipes, big rigs, rings and TRX straps, medicine balls, no machines, and no fancy locker rooms. This allows for more interaction between groups and individuals, and free weights and open space allow for more creative movements. Even traditional transactional gyms see this trend, and they’re reacting by building ‘functional spaces’ within their walls.

And what about those people who don’t want to be a part of a transformational gym? They’ll either join a community gym or they’ll opt to have a gym at home with a virtual trainer (think Peloton), so they REALLY never have to leave.

Are you interested in learning more about transformational fitness? Start by digging into the book Never Lose a Customer Again by Joey Coleman. Then read up on Mark Fisher Fitness – a NYC gym making a big splash in transformational fitness. And if you’re really interested, attend a Certified Functional Strength Coach (CFSC) event.

Gyms no longer look like gyms. They look more like trendy clubs and community centers. You can do a lot more than just work out. My advice? Get on the train now, whether you’re a gym owner or a gym goer. Find or build a gym that gives a shit, and feels like home. One where you can write your own transformation story.

Where do you see the fitness industry going in the next 20 years?

This article was written by Movement As Medicine co-owner and CFSC Coach Brendon Rearick. He can be contacted at