The Business of Fitness: How Fitness turned out to be a status symbol and what does it mean for 2015

When Vogue is referring to 11 fitness looks in a way which is not focusing on the clothes, writes an article about How Wellness became the new luxury status symbol, fashion designers see the chance to work with Adidas and Nike as a great honour, mass retailers as H&M are expanding their sports lines and on the other hand high-end retailers like net-a-porter just prepared for the chances in the sports-section, you can say Fitness Is Here, for a while at least. Lots of money will change owner before the trend settles.

Fitness as a lifestyle, seen as a trend, is a complex topic. Some of the most often noted viewpoints to it are the following ones:

  • Fitness is something concentrating on achieving the perfect body
  • Fitness is the new way to brag when pre-recession status symbols like expensive bags and cars are kept rather low-key
  • Fitness itself is not the trend, but the enabler: Actually most people taking part to this “trend” are at the moment looking for the ultimate well-being and happier life.

Let’s dive deeper. There are no clear lines between the three groups, but they have some certain characteristics. It seems, like every group would use fitness as a status symbol. Even though it is not fully ok to brag with money, cars and handbags, you can still show your awareness, level of education and discipline by your body, workout and food choices.

Perfect body by any means -group

When talking about fitness as something concentrating on achieving as perfect body as -however defined – possible, we take a superficial viewpoint which is concentrating on the end result. This sub-trend can be clearly recognized among the sudden popping up of “get fit in 10 weeks” -type of programs. Normally those concentrate on a very strict diet, which is easily at least 90° turn to the participants previous habits and very intense weight training. The wanted outcome is often quite muscular, but extremely lean. For this group a trained body is the key to join an exclusive club, which tells about commitment and discipline and can’t be just bought.

For girls the extreme body change -programs seem to sadly often turn into obsessions and helplessnes after the result is reached by means which are not suitable to implement as long-term habits. On the other way, the drastic, rapid changes keep some motivated and can motivate others to jump into the fitter lifestyle.

This group provides huge opportunities especially for personal trainers and nutritionists. Some personal trainers are exploiting a large number of people effectively by providing one fits all -type of 10 and 12 week online training and food plans.

Fitness-related material and choices as a status symbol

Not only the achievements, but also the items related to fitness can be seen as a substituting status symbol to the traditional ones. Instagram roll check without any chia-pudding, non-sugared almond milk, green smoothie or post-workout pose? I don’t know when I would have seen that last time.

It is  easier to opt into the green juice, organic products, superfoods, Bodyism and Lululemon -buyers than to the Chanel bag -group, but nevertheless, showing fitness-addiction can come with high financial cost, sometimes on purpose. As after, or shall we say still during, recession it is not wished to brag with money, some people take the chance to show their level and awareness by sending a certain message by the type of classes they attend, the brand of yoga mat they carry, their working out clothes and especially what they eat.

As this group is actually more keen on buying the status than achieving a certain type of body, they provide opportunities for everyone who have the guts to put a high enough price tag for their fitness -related product and success to market it just right. For example, regarding workout clothes, there is still lots of potential especially on the offline-side to provide a fashion-boutique kind of feeling for shopping.

Well-being seekers

Well-being seeking is often named as the reason to try to achieve the perfect body or to end up with the pricey fitness choices. There is though the group, which is trying to achieve well being for its own sake. They can be very curious to try all possible new trends including diets, work-outs and even spiritual development. The actions can be very different depending on their budget.

Members of this group rarely believe on certain magical products, but more to a holistic view into nutrition, exercise and spiritualism.

Well-being seekers might criticize other groups, as they feel them having the wrong reasons or means for fitness, being too radical or superficial. Well-being seekers want often concentrate on long-term results and be very comfortable with their own process.

What will happen next – Fitness forecast for 2015

Regardless of the viewpoint, there are clearly several ways to utilize the trend and act as an winning stakeholder. Sport brands like Nike and Adidas are turning to fashion designers to get help, nutrition is suddenly a huge topic meaning also terms like juicing are suddenly familiar for everyone, and of course there is now more than ever before chances for personal trainers and high-end fitness classes and centers.

There are also potential losers in the rise of fitness. If the trend continues and spreads truly among population, I forecast harder times for brands which are driven buy sugar- and wheat addiction. If the trend won’t be adopted cross social classes, even the average number of healthy year migth increase further between social classes.

And then of course, what is the next big thing: When those who were willing to work hard enough and maybe do some sacrifices to reach their ultimate dream body, they are willing to integrate fitness more as  part of the life, not focus of the life. This trend will appreciate efficiency (short trainings, HIIT), functional body and, shall I say pleasantly, focused and sharp mind. I expect brain food and super foods supporting brain’s functionalities to become a much bigger topic as they are at the moment. On the other hand, eating natural and shining general well-being will accompany this trend.

Background: 4 Real Women. 11 Fitness Looks. The Only Workout Inspiration You need.

Fashionista: Fewer Women are buying beauty products, NPD Study finds Looking like Money: How Welness became the New Luxury Status Symbol The rise and rise of the spornosexual

The Sydney Morning Herald: Is Welness the New Status Symbol?