The fitness landscape is changing. The masses are no longer flocking to the gym in droves, eating Tupperware containers of chicken and broccoli, and bench pressing to their heart’s content. Instead, over the past few years we’ve seen the fusion of tech and community bleeding over into the industry, taking the traditional gym experience to a completely new level.
Our society demands instant gratification, and the health and fitness sphere is no exception. There is less focus on getting “huge” and more on getting in a workout as part of a healthy lifestyle for overall longevity and quality of life. The bottom line is that people are looking for more from their workouts these days than to get a solid pump; they want to be part of something bigger.
Community-based fitness has been the greatest challenge to the traditional gym experience through activities like Crossfit®, obstacle course races, and group exercise, encouraging physical fitness through teamwork and competition. When you consider that for years the term “fit” was used almost exclusively to describe the competitive bodybuilders that graced the covers of magazines, these new concepts are a downright rebellion. Even the sacred and hallowed grounds of Gold’s Gym® are not impervious to change. This image from the homepage of their Member Experience page doesn’t even show any weights. And where are all the big bulky muscular types? Heck even the pictures of Arnold are gone.
Not to mention a more diverse population is venturing into the fitness arena, as those who aren’t confident working out alone can safely head into a class environment to gain knowledge and experience, while the desk bound can grab a workout anywhere thanks to on-demand solutions with celebrity trainers backed by big industry names. People no longer have to stick to carefully planned regimens when they can get in a quick workout curated by a professional without the price tag of private training.
Ultimately the gym just isn’t cutting it anymore for the fast-paced lifestyle we’ve become accustomed to. Spending hours in the gym isn’t realistic and memberships are pricey. While the dedicated few remain committed to the barbells and step mills, the gym just isn’t holding up to the evolving needs and demands of its members.
So what’s next for the future of fitness? With new exercise options and innovative tech features evolving before our eyes, the only seemingly certain aspect is that new avenues will be driven by cost, efficacy and convenience as the industry is forced into succession or die.