Gym = member’s club

Financial Times and Jo Ellison brougth an interesting ankle to the discussion about wellness by comparing gyms to member’s clubs. In her article ‘The dumb-bell economy‘ last weekend Ellison dives into the brand new  branch E by Equinox, located in Mayfair. One would expect rather cigars than dumbells on that street. Initiation fee puts your back £500, after that the monthly subscription further £350.

Understandable. Gym is a place even for the corporates where you can hang out almost every day. You might feel you need to, you even want to.

And, as for everything in London, you pay  for the space. You pay for a member’s club to have a place to sit spontaniously in centeral London, you pay for a more expensive gym with the hope you get a squat track or even a cross trainer at 7am or 7pm.

Harvey Spinak, CEO of Equinox, states clearly his opinions. With 25 years of experience. As been bound to the same industry throughout his career, that might be also his blind spot – at least when if his statements are not meant to be only provocative.

And that is a dramatic change from 25 years ago. If you were a health nut in 1995, you probably went to the gym twice a week. Today, being a health nut means taking two classes a day. – Harvey Spinak, FT 10.-11. February 2018

Is the booming wellness industry able to see the change from inside? There has been aerobics, pilates, yoga, there has been HIIT, cross fit, fitness type of training, running marathons. Some play tennis, some go for a swim.

At the same time consumers have become more conscious about their holistic wellness, started meditating and paying attention to their nourishment and complexion.

The next upcoming me-factors are the trained brain, focus and even philosophical discussions. We are not ok to just snuggle for much longer, but are actually getting ready for making a contribution. 2017 brought #metoo and the global refugee crisis continued (the one thing that is hard to see in London, compared to Helsinki or Stockholm for example).

My forecast is, that sooner than later training twice per day is seen as an arrogant waist of time, not as a priviledge of getting more and more fit. Becuase, mostly, 5 exercises per week can bring the very close to same results as 8.

The next areas to build communities around are somewhat more artistic, or more intellectual. Knitting has been getting minestream – my guts say the next big things will be reading, writing and maybe painting and sketching.

One can always learn a lot by looking at start-ups, and in this case even more by just looking at the co-working spaces where start ups operate. Those combine, work, leisure, intellectual activities in form of lectures and much more, libraries, yoga classes and meditation. I bet there are running groups and excellent coffee.

Gyms, even boutique gyms will have a great chance to stick around, but they need to think about, what is the USP. Priviledged, self-centered people in front of massive mirrors or something else?

Health is the new wealth – totally. But knowledge is power. I agree, we need some Headspace to reach that.