Fitness Upgrade: The relationship between exercise and consumer

It is a Thursday morning. I am lying quietly, surrounded by 16 other restful bodies. Piano music mumbles softly in the background, and I catch the scent of lavender infused in my eye pillow. We were the willing casualties of a 60-minute Vinyasa Yoga class, our battle wounds our sweat and shaky limbs.

Wait, a lavender-infused eye pillow?! The sheer luxe of the class kicked me back into touch as I thought back to Yoga Classes in sports halls squashed in-between a class of 30. When did fitness classes become such a thing of luxury?

Fitness has come a long way since Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons got us crunching on our carpets in shiny lycra and living in leg warmers. The mentality, the trends, the points of access, fitness is undergoing a major overhaul. It joins the diverse trends and changing promotion of wellness and nutrition.

No longer do you have to scrimp together your last couple of coins together to pay for your evening fitness class or gym session. Cashless payments, and checking in with our phones are replacing cash boxes and cheques. We are pampered in ways our parents and grandparents knew nothing off. Gone are the days of the aerobics class in the local school hall, with its wooden floor squeaking as people marched on and off exercise Steps in unison.

My mum was a fitness instructor for many years and we would join in as well as sit at the back of lessons during the school holidays. We grapevined and chasséd our way through the holidays, helping to put out the Steps and Mats. We copied her as she choreographed new routines for her classes to the hottest tunes of the early 2000s.

About 15 years later, however, even hi-energy mambos and travelling the world struggle to compete with the diversity of Pole Fitness, Piloxing and SurfYoga.

Here are three areas of fitness experiencing changes in direction.


Fitness Upgrade: Variety

Fitness trends come and go, and then they return. Jazzercise lost out to Aerobics, which then lost attendees to Zumba. Spinning has been given a revamp by Soul Cycle. The emergence of CrossFit ten years ago and the resurgence of powerlifting has switched up the goal of many women, from being slim to instead being strong and powerful. Living in an international city helps; we can shake up our routines with a Capoeira class, hot yoga, or even paddle boarding. New fitness trends draw crowds which continue to fund a Global Fitness/Mind-Body economy of $542 billion.


Fitness Upgrade: Change in Mentality

How we are attracted to and consume fitness has been gradually steering off its old path. On the way out are sole messages of self-improvement, instead incorporated with self-empowerment and self-care. 2017 is the year of the Mind-Body relationship. Not pushing our bodies to injury whilst feeding it with positive affirmations. Working out physically but also reaping the mental rewards of exercise. As these new ideas continue to gain popularity amongst the average person, the industry will continue to find new ways to make them accessable as well as aspirational.


Fitness Upgrade: Technology

Wearable trackers have marketed themselves as a way to keep active outside of the gym. They can monitor everything from activity to blood pressure to sleeping patterns. It has put an emphasis on exercise as a measurement: goals to achieve. Some websites have taken it further and turned these measurements into competitive challenges like Bounts and Stridekick. However, it is important to treat them more as a kick up the bum rather than fixating on the data.

Fitness memberships have also changed. I can speak for myself when I say I’m a consumer of convenience. We are spoilt. We get bored easily. Sticking with the same gym routines several times a week becomes monotonous. Mobile Fitness Subscriptions are the next big thing. Think Class Pass and OneFit. OneFit charges €59 a month for unlimited fitness classes throughout the Netherlands. The only limitation is that a user can only visit a location once a week, four times a month maximum. This is meant to ensure fairness, and that members who own traditional gym or yoga memberships will not all fully succumb to the lower prices offered by mobile fitness apps. It’s a really convenient and exciting way to work out, make friends and release endorphins in a way other than slogging it out over a treadmill.


– Sarah Maclean


Feature Image – Pixabay

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