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Gyms of the future? A few thoughts.

Updated: Mar 19, 2020

Fast Company posted this article a few weeks ago about the "gym of the future". When I first read this article, I was simply going to share it on LinkedIn. But the more I read, the more thoughts I had. Here's a summary of what the article discusses:

  • Gyms will pop-up in unexpected places. Gyms are popping up in Whole Foods, CVS and other retail locations. Additionally, boutique gyms are expanding their classes and offering "wellness retreats."

  • Trainers are also entertainers. Not only do trainers have to have the qualifications to train people, they need to be inspirational and funny. No pressure.

  • Gyms will offer more than exercise. Wellness is holistic. Gyms will offer nutrition counseling and stretching specialists, even float tanks and IV-drips(!).

  • Gyms are the place to hang out. You can meet up with friends, grab a bite, even have a cocktail after your workout.

  • Gyms will track you and predict (or suggest) your next move. Gyms are developing their own apps and by tracking the classes you take or how often you show up, they can use data to create a more customized experience.

When I read articles like this my first thought is, "Wow, I'm getting old." I'll also add that despite my business, I am not a fan of your "typical" gym. I can't remember the last time I was on a treadmill or elliptical machine. I like classes, so I see the appeal of Orange Theory, although again, the one time I went to Orange Theory, I spent a lot of time on a treadmill and it was very dark and very loud.

I love the social aspect and I have met many great friends through working out, so I wholeheartedly agree with the gym to meet people, though I'm a little less sold as a place to hang out. To be fair, I workout at 6 am and most of us are there to get our workout in and get started on our day. And obviously gyms are tracking our information whether it's attendance or heart rate. But now I need to be an Instagram star too? Ay-yi-yi.

Most of this seems unappealing, potentially uncomfortable (aren't CVS run ins awkward enough? I need people to see me working out while they're shopping for cold medicine?) and incredibly expensive. I would LOVE to try out a floating tank and have somebody stretch me out. But neither of those sound cheap. Many of these ideas seem targeted to people that have lots of time and clearly no children (or if they do, they can afford a nanny, I suppose). Maybe that's the point.

Or is it? What am I missing? Am I just an out-of-touch Gen-Xer? I like to think I have the ability to motivate and inspire people, but an Instagram model I am not. Are Instagram models approachable? Most don't seem genuine.

I want people to workout, have fun and challenge themselves. Does it need to be more complicated than that? Will the above ideas really make people healthier, or as I've previously discussed in this blog, does it merely provide more offerings to those that are already active?

What do you think? Would you pay money for these services? What do you expect from your trainers? Do you want to get your workout in before your grocery store run?

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