The Evolution of the Fitness Industry

By: Carey Giddens – General Manager

There is no doubt that the Fitness Industry has changed dramatically and continues to change on a regular basis. There’s never been more options with access now even available 24/7. There’s CrossFit, Boot Camps, Weight Training, Group Fitness, Yoga, Pilates and so much more. It can be incredibly confusing and hard to know exactly what is right for you.

To understand where the fitness industry is going and why, you must first understand where it has come from and why. Below is a brief and crude recap of the industry to date.

The first form of fitness was simple… it was simply LIFE. Prior to the first Industrial Revolution in the late 1700’s, most people resided in small rural communities, daily lives revolved around farming, life for the average person was difficult, family income was small, many people were malnourished, disease was common, people produced the bulk of their own food, clothing, furniture and tools and manufacturing was done in homes or small, rural shops, using hand tools or simple machines. This all meant that we continually moved in a functional way to either hunt, gather, build, farm or simply survive. There was no need to go to a gym nor did they need to exist.

Then, as we moved through a series of different industrial revolutions (First 1784: mechanical production, railroads and steam power. Second 1870: Mass production, electrical power, and the advent of the assembly line Third 1969: Automated production, electronics, and computers.  And Fourth (Now): Artificial intelligence, big data, robotics, and more to come), we have slowly become more and more sedentary and less and less able to move the way we were designed.

“We’ve lost the ability to function as we were designed.”

Thus the original creation of gyms and the fitness industry came out of a necessity. They were developed to address a reducing ability in youth to stay fit and healthy. The gyms, like YMCA, where to get young men moving and thus fit and healthy. They revolved around using body weight exercise. Basic functional fitness. Cardiovascular and calisthenics fitness. Run, climb, squat!

“The Impact of Hollywood”

Then as time progressed and we became more and more sedentary, the media also began to drive home an emotional attachment on how we should look. We moved away from simply being fit and healthy… we now had to look a certain way. We started to isolate one muscle at a time and we started weight training on machines. Gyms quickly discovered that they could cash in and make millions. Classic gym franchises were all about aesthetics… and “pumping iron”. But, although we were working out more, we were unknowingly still becoming dysfunctionally fit. When isolating muscles, we lost the ability to get chains of muscle to work together.

“But what about the Ladies?”

Two more problems were now uncovered… The industry didn’t cater to females, which was a massively growing market due to a change in society norms, and it was directionalist i.e. if you didn’t know what you were doing throwing weights around, there was no direction. Thus the birth of personal trainers. But what was even bigger was the birth of aerobics and group fitness era. Unfortunately there was a fashion born in the 80’s that we would rather forget but group fitness aerobic classes quickly took over the market.

“And now for today’s market”

I’m sure I’m not surprising anyone in saying that we are possibly the most unfit and overweight generation ever in the history of mankind. We are sedentary and constantly suffer from pain and discomfort. Our time is very precious and we are busier than ever but more often than not, we are busy sitting on our butts (which I’m obviously doing now as I type this article!). So, the birth of faster workouts like High Intensity Interval Training (HiiT) and the extreme need for “Functional Fitness”.

Humans being humans however, we have found a way to commercialise this. We’ve produced one size fits all models even to a stage where the instructor is virtual and on a screen on the wall. We pack the rooms out and smash the workout out in 45 mins or less. Don’t get me wrong, HiiT is amazing and effective but calling it functional fitness when you don’t know the person’s level of functionality is a little misleading to say the least.

“Next Generation Fitness Industry”

Everyone’s level and requirements of functionality are different. Functionality can be to carry kids or shopping bags or can be as an Olympic athlete. Or, functional fitness can be that your body moves in a way that doesn’t cause pain. This type of functional fitness needs clinical and specialised experience in either a one-on-one setting or in smaller group settings where the clinician can make corrections to technique and progressions in an instant.

This is why we have created a clinical and functional group fitness and one-on-one service at Advance Wellness. We want you safe and pain free and have the team to provide this. We also draw on classic constants like Yoga and Pilates but also utilise modern technology to provide the very best service possible.

To find out more, click here: Timetable

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