Predicting the Future of Fitness—with Matthew Januszek – EP110

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Three years ago, Matthew Januszek wrote an article entitled, ‘Which Fitness Clubs Will Make It or Break It in 2016?’. And he was spot on. With 20-plus years of experience running a successful business in the industry, Matthew knows a thing or two about trends, and he can speak to the future of fitness with stunning accuracy. So, what is his take on where the space is headed next? Will big box gyms survive? How will boutique studios continue to evolve? What about home fitness trends? And what role will technology play in the future fitness experience?




Matthew is a serial entrepreneur with experience building successful businesses in the UK, Germany, Poland and the US. He cofounded Escape Fitness in 1998, and the company has since grown into an international brand that supports fitness clubs all over the world with a combination of innovative products, instructor training, group programming and gym design. Committed to functional training, Escape’s client base includes industry leaders like Equinox, Fitness First and David Lloyd Clubs, among many others. Matthew is also the host of the Escape Your Limits Podcast, a show dedicated to finding out what drives and motivates the leaders in health and fitness.

Today, Matthew joins us to discuss how his company has grown over time and what Escape Fitness offers today. He offers insight around the future of the fitness industry in general, sharing his take on how big box gyms might evolve, why the home fitness market is ripe for disruption, and what makes for an entertaining studio experience. Listen in to understand how technology can be used to facilitate a holistic view of training and learn why Matthew views fitness as an escape!

Topics Covered

[1:10] Matthew’s introduction to health and fitness

  • Interest in body building, competed from age 17 to 21
  • Partner w/ dad to start business selling gym equipment
[6:14] The growth of Escape Fitness over time

  • Naïve going in, passion to overcome challenges
  • Good timing (started as market expanded)
[9:01] What Escape Fitness offers today

  • Develop more products, stay true to functional training
  • Help clients identify niche + design facility for ideal client
[12:25] Matthew’s insight on the future of the fitness industry

  • Focus on entertainment to inspire average person
  • Fit into lifestyle (people short on time)
[17:03] What makes for an entertaining fitness experience

  • Sensory touchpoints like lighting + sound
  • Engaging instructor to take on journey
[19:23] Matthew’s take on what SoulCycle is doing right

  • Every part of experience carefully engineered
  • Make people feel safe, comfortable + confident
[25:56] Matthew’s thoughts on skills-based training

  • Valuable to motivate people through progression
  • Compete with self, others (builds community)
[31:02] The role of technology in fitness

  • Need holistic view of training (measure rest + recovery)
  • Teach how to interact safely w/ equipment, build workout
[35:56] The challenges of measuring resistance exercises

  • Number of different movements, weights
  • Difficult to accurately measure output (manual entry)
[39:30] The future of big box gyms

  • Shift to department store concept
  • Standalone spaces within gym (e.g.: yoga, cycle studio)
[46:18] Why the home fitness market is prime for disruption

  • Retail stores struggling to compete w/ Amazon
  • Companies like Peloton combine education + equipment
[52:26] Matthew’s observations around the evolution of CrossFit

  • Fewer requests for CrossFit space in facilities
  • Package for general population (safer, less technical)
[56:42] The impetus for Matthew’s Escape Your Limits Podcast

  • Conversations w/ interesting people from around world
  • Share lessons of difficult journeys w/ young people
[1:01:18] Matthew’s top insights on health and fitness

  • Serves as escape to get through difficult times
  • Much satisfaction in impacting people’s lives

Learn More About Matthew Januszek

Escape Fitness

Escape Your Limits Podcast

Escape Fitness on YouTube

Matthew on LinkedIn

Matthew on Instagram


‘Which Fitness Clubs Will Make It or Break It in 2016?’



Orangetheory Fitness

Barry’s Bootcamp


Oura Ring


Midtown Athletic Club

David Lloyd Clubs Blaze


Les Mills Global Consumer Fitness Survey 2019

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