The Evolution & Growth Trends of the Fitness & Martial Arts Industry in 2021

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world of exercise and fitness has seen a lot of changes in 2020. With the extended lockdowns in place in many parts of the world, many people had to turn to online platforms like Zoom and social media channels for virtual classes to either maintain their fitness regimens or begin a new journey with the time they had on their hands as a means to stay sane in those unprecedented times. And with many more people now working from home, going to a gym to get a workout is no longer just an activity to develop one’s physical fitness, but training alongside friends also serves as the main social outlet for many of those people.

No one-size-fits-all fitness regime

Over the years, as more emphasis has been placed on general fitness and wellness regimes that suit different lifestyles, people have had time to educate themselves on the diverse fitness options to choose from – whether it’s cardio-based training, low- or high-intensity circuit training or even taking up martial arts. This ultimately extends beyond just heading to the gym to do a workout or lifting weights, and into programmes that pique their interest and improve their general wellbeing.

Even with the rapid changes that we saw in 2020, fitness is never a one-size-fits-all. It comes down to what their primary concerns are, what works for them, what interests them, what will allow them to stay committed on their fitness journey, and we believe there are several contributing factors to that.

There has also been a new amplified shift towards restorative fitness that tick self-care, mental and emotional health boxes – a result of the toll the pandemic has taken on most of us, professional athletes included.

That is why we see a growing interest in martial art fitness. It’s a sport unlike any other. It’s highly engaging, both mentally and physically, and helps instill discipline, build confidence, regardless of age, gender or fitness level. At EVOLVE MMA, the world champion instructors across all major martial arts disciplines – Muay Thai, Boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts – provide an inclusive environment for all and truly understand how to break techniques down to the students, whether their goals are to learn self-defence, get in shape or simply just to try something new.

Demand for innovative training experience

While digital workouts will continue to grow and soar in 2021 while we trudge through the pandemic, there is also an ever-growing demand for in-person classes. That is why we have over 800 classes per week across our four locations and our curriculum offers something for everyone at any time of the day, even on public holidays and weekends! Our signature WarriorFit classes feature our strength and conditioning experts who guide you through group classes tailored to your fitness level.

Going into 2021, we believe it’s about creating an innovative experience for consumers, where their needs and wants are met. We are also excited to grow the online martial arts community through our subscription-based online platform – EVOLVE University. It includes a plethora of online tutorials and curriculums to help maximise learning in minimal time, featuring superstars and world champion instructors in their respective martial arts disciplines – all in one place. Moreover, the management is currently working on expanding its curriculum with refreshed concepts and bringing new features to help supplement the demand for hybrid workouts, catering to both local and international audiences.


Contributed by Siyar Bahadurzada, MMA Champion and EVOLVE MMA Head Coach

Images: Envato and EVOLVE MMA


JD Sports Malaysia

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