While predicting the near future is impossible, some leading industry suppliers offer their best guesses as to what will happen in the fitness industry in the years to come. Predicting developments is a challenging business, but it’s one every fitness service owner and supervisor must maintain to stay ahead of the game. To offer a little help, Fitness Management asked industry suppliers pull out their crystal balls and tone of voice their predictions for the next 20 years. Owners and operators of fitness facilities that are active today will have the chance to expand, says Frank McDuff, senior vice president of CSI Software, Houston, Texas.

Michael Rojas, president of Iron Grip Barbell Company, Santa Ana, Calif. With the amounts of fitness facilities increasing, competition for new associates shall be fierce. John Aglialoro, president of Cybex International, Medway, Mass. One of the ways fitness centers can beat your competition in the next twenty years is to slim their concentrate to a little community, Aglialoro of Cybex says. Fitness facilities must “take fitness closer to where the customer lives instead of looking forward to them to come quickly to the golf club,” says Aglialoro. In the future, fitness centers will also target niche marketplaces on both ends of this range.

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Bruno Pauletto, CEO of PowerSystems Inc., Knoxville, Tenn., concurs: “We see the future of fitness being centered on older people and youth marketplaces,” he says. Steve Sarns, vice president of sales and marketing for NuStep Inc., Ann Arbor, Mich. To catch the attention of and support young exercisers, fitness centers will have to make efforts to keep them interested.

Fitness facilities should be prepared to serve better-informed members within the next twenty years. Riches. Thanks to media consciousness and good publicity, today — and that will continue in the foreseeable future there’s a great deal of information about exercise available. Lindsay Merrithew, president and CEO of Stott Pilates, Toronto, Ont., Canada.

Better-informed members often means booming business for fitness centers, says Rojas of Iron Grip. To differentiate themselves from other facilities, fitness centers will increase specialized offerings, says Rothafel of MediCorp. This trend will converge with the holistic strategy nicely, which is on the rise already, relating to Ken Endelman, president and CEO of Balanced Body, Sacramento, Calif.

It will go without stating that the fitness center staff should be more knowledgeable and skilled than ever. Bob Palka, chief executive of Jacob’s Ladder LLC, North Tonawanda, N.Y., says that this requirement will be more and more difficult, thanks to advancements in the research of exercise. Fitness centers are already confronted with new laws regulating how their business is run, and that development will continue, says Riches.