NEW REPORT: Fitness Fans Are Flocking Back to Facilities

Despite fears the COVID-inspired home fitness boom would spell the end for fitness facilities, a new report from Les Mills finds gyms worldwide making strong recoveries since reopening.

Some key findings include:

  • Gyms worldwide are making strong recoveries, with class attendances at 120% of pre-COVID levels in markets where restrictions have lifted.
  • Two-thirds of gym members prefer working out with others as opposed to alone, with live fitness classes cited as the most popular offering at the gym.
  • Live classes at the gym are more than twice as appealing as livestream options at home, with live Instructors and "the energy of the group" both key factors.
  • But COVID legacy will live on, with 80% of gym members planning to continue using digital workouts post-pandemic in addition to live workouts.

The Les Mills 2021 Global Fitness Report—which features insights from 12,157 consumers across five continents—explores how the pandemic has changed our fitness habits and spotlights the trends that will shape our workouts in years to come.


After a year of enforced home workouts, appetite for live fitness experiences in groups is soaring, with 85% of gymgoers interested in trying live classes in their facility.

Two-thirds of gym members (67%) say they prefer working out in groups, while live classes in gyms are nearly twice as popular as online classes that are livestreamed (done by 44% of members vs 23%).

Rockstar instructors are identified as the single most important factor for gymgoers when choosing a live class, favored by 28%, ahead of the quality of music (24%) and type of class (21%). Quality instructors are cited as a key component of the live revival, meeting strong consumer demand for added motivation and deeper connection in their workouts.

"After months of being stuck at home, people can't wait to get back to fitness facilities and enjoy their favorite workouts with familiar faces," said Phillip Mills, Les Mills founder and executive director.

"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 led by a rockstar instructor, and the extra motivation from working out with others.

"But that doesn't mean home workouts will disappear as we emerge from the pandemic. The digital fitness boom and the growth of home working mean consumers are taking an omnichannel approach to their training, mixing thrilling live workouts at the gym with the convenience of digital workouts at home."

The impact of the pandemic on the fitness landscape is evident throughout the report. The digital fitness boom looks set to last, with 80% of gym members planning to continue using digital workouts post-pandemic.

"Omnichannel Fitness"—a blend of in-gym and digital home workouts—is expected to gain traction as we emerge from the pandemic, with the majority of exercisers (59%) favoring a 60:40 split between gym and home workouts.