The Internet is Fit

Written on 2014-08-05

Fitness has been one of my favorite hobbies since my parents let me hit the weights for the first time back when I was 15 years old. Even at that young age, I quickly realized that if I was ever going to achieve the gains I wanted, I needed to do more than just work out: I needed to learn about the best training methods and the most nutritious foods because the better you train and eat, the better your results—it's just that simple.

Today, I'm still looking for ways to improve my training and diet, and nowadays there's no better place to learn about fitness than the Internet. That's why I teamed up with my friend and MyTraining colleague, Matt Wink, to find out just how much fitness content is being created and consumed on Web 2.0 websites and apps. The results of our research are shown below. We also created a cool infographic highlighting our research, which can be accessed here.

Please note that this isn't a definitive account of all fitness content on the Internet; but, we believe that it is a sound work-in-progress that paints an accurate picture of the importance of fitness in the digital world.

Social

Fitness is one of the most popular forms of content on social networks. These platforms are open to user-generated content and are a common destination for people seeking motivation and advice on how to get in shape.

• YouTube: It's a paradise of fitness content with over 16 million workout videos and about 1 million fitness-related channels, 500,000 of which are specifically focused on workout videos. It's not uncommon for high-profile trainers on YouTube to have more than 100 million channel views.

• Facebook: The most popular social network is also one of the most popular ways for fitness celebrities to keep in touch with their audience. In fact, the top 150 Facebook pages for trainers, athletes, and fitness brands have collectively attracted more than 100 million fans.

• Instagram: Fitness enthusiasts use the photo-sharing app to motivate each other by posting pictures of workouts and body evolutions. At the beginning of 2014, the most popular fitness tags on Instagram were #fitness (tagged 48 million times), #workout (tagged 27 million times), and #training (tagged 11 million times).

Google

Here are Google's ten most searched workouts and exercises during 2013 according to the search giant's annual Zeitgeist report:

  1. Insanity workout (8,980,000 search results)
  2. CrossFit workouts (5,090,000 search results)
  3. Ab workouts (12,500,000 search results)
  4. Bicep workouts (1,800,000 search results)
  5. 7-minute workout (37,600,000 search results)
  6. Kettlebell workouts (37,600,000 search results)
  7. Shoulder workouts (37,600,000 search results)
  8. Back workouts (2,780,000 search results)
  9. Plank exercises (7,320,000 search results)
  10. TRX workout (4,550,000 search results)

Apps

Diet and activity trackers are currently the most frequently downloaded fitness apps. According to XYO, the top five have been downloaded (Android + iPhone) 152 million times:

  1. MyFitnessPal (diet trakcer; 64 million downloads)
  2. MapMyFitness (activity tracker; 26 million downloads)
  3. RunKeeper (activity tracker; 21 million downloads)
  4. Runtastic (activity tracker; 21 million downloads)
  5. Nike+ Running (activity tracker; 20 million donwloads)

According to a recent report by Flurry, health and fitness apps grew 62% during the first half of 2014. This pace is 87% faster than the mobile industry's overall usage, which increased 33% during the same period. Surprisingly, Flurry's report also indicates that the predominant demographic using fitness apps is composed of “mothers age 25 to 54 who are sports fans and lead healthy lifestyles."

In the next post, I will interview a trainer who has more than 50 million views on YouTube. He will share the inspiring story of how he built this massive audience—and grew his business—by leveraging the power of videos and social networking.