2023’s version of “work hard, play hard,” might very well be “work hard, recover harder.”
The business of recovery is booming — what was once an afterthought (strictly for serious athletes) is now centerstage in the mainstream fitness world.
Ice baths were once for marathon runners and Olympians, now celebrities are installing dedicated cold plunge pools in their homes. In 2020, Hyperice was valued at $700M and infrared sauna sales are expected to grow by $150M in just a few years.
In other words, recovery is seriously popular right now. And fortunately, this trend is a healthy one. You also don’t have to be a celebrity (or ultra wealthy) to take part in it.
We’re seeing recovery take precedence in health clubs and gyms across the country — and close to home in the San Diego area, where Inspire360 is headquartered. One local example is at the Smart Fit Method, where they’ve interwoven high-tech recovery into their AI-driven, personal-trainer-guided fitness program. State of the art machines like the BioCharger, PEMF tables, and cooling beds complement the different routines outlined in their thrice-weekly programming.
“The recovery is just as important as the workout,” says co-founder of the Smart Fit Method, Connor Darnbrough. The BioCharger, for instance, “at The Smart Fit Method, is also known as the ‘campfire’ by our members; it’s been a huge addition to our facility for multiple reasons.” Using a combination of “Light, Voltage, Frequencies & Harmonics, and Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Fields (PEMFs),” the BioCharger is purported to mimic the effects of “being in nature” for our nervous system. Darnbrough says you can get the equivalent of four hours of those natural effects, with “as little as 15 minutes” sitting near the BioCharger.
In response to Ravi Sharma’s LinkedIn question about recovery in clubs, Greg Maurer, Vice President of Fitness and Education at Workout Anytime Franchising Systems, LLC in Atlanta shared his company’s current major initiative: partnering with cream of the crop recovery brands. “Hydromassage, Beauty Angel (redlight/whole body vibration from JK North America), sauna, infrared sauna, Human Touch massage chairs, Theraguns and Therabody rollers, Styku body scanner, and Myzone and Digital Coaching Platform,” he says, “are launching at our conference.” Quite a lineup!
Beginning this month, Brick Bodies is launching what they call “a Recover Lounge” at the Timonium, MD location. They tell us their “spa-inspired Recover Lounge will feature private infrared sauna suites with vitamin C-infused showers and lavender-infused cold towels, CryoLounge chairs with customizable hot and cold zones, and Therabody leg compression with Therasound Zero-Gravity Loungers and Therabody SmartGoggles — which both utilize sound and vibration therapy.” Sounds like heaven.
In addition to creating specific recovery areas and adding equipment, some clubs are adding guided recovery into their programming. SoulBody is continuing their expansion in the mind body space with the addition of a “group exercise” style recovery class, called Restore. Gentle, yin-style yoga flows and dynamic stretching combine to improve mobility, release fascial tension, and help the body sink into the parasympathetic state.
There are also standalone studio concepts, like StretchLab, in addition to other dedicated recovery centers beginning to sprout up nationwide. Livkraft Performance Wellness in La Jolla markets “luxury self care” at their studio comprising cryotherapy, infrared saunas, float tanks, normatec boot bars, red light therapy and PEMF, facials, massage, and IV treatment.
But among these myriad choices — all of which have a different purpose and goal — Victor Verhage in Alabama raises an important point: recovery should be as personalized and specific as exercise and nutrition. “I use Morpheus Labs, Inc. HRV test and Polar Electro Oy Orthostatic test.”
If you don't test ahead of time, Verhage says, then it becomes guesswork: which modality, what intensity, what frequency, what duration? And without testing (and a starting metric), it could be difficult to monitor and track progress and efficacy. Is the treatment working? Is it achieving the desired outcome? How do we know?
This is an area of opportunity for coaches, trainers, and health club owners: in addition to adding recovery opportunities to your offerings, we’re also going to see fitness professionals and clubs start to provide recovery tracking and ensure that each treatment is an effective use of a client’s time (and money). Consider providing insights, whenever possible, to show how these methods and modalities are positively impacting your client’s health and wellbeing, beyond the obvious: it’s always a good thing to take time to decompress, rest, and heal.
This newsletter was brought to you by Kathie Davis, Peter Davis, Ravi Sharma, Dominique Astorino, and the Inspire360 team.
The industry is changing rapidly and we are here to help you sift through all the noise and get to the good stuff. Every month, we'll bring you trending topics and the inside scoop that we believe is paramount for fitness professionals to know.
Peter & Kathie Davis