Afraid that if you go to a Gym you’ll end up getting bench-pressed by a speedo wearing fella named Anton? You’re scared of going shopping for work-out outfits and looking like you never left the 80s? Worried that you’ll get roped into an unbreakable contract by some shark named Stew who will never let you quit.
It’s pretty common to be wary about the intensity. Specifically, the patrons seem intense about their workouts – and about themselves in general – the sales staff seems shady, and no one likes endless paperwork and long commitments. I could go on and on! The reality is, the industry has completely changed.
Would you believe me if I told you that current Gym culture is far less intimidating and intense than ever before? Social media and the internet have completely exposed companies using unethical business practices and communities that intimidate and bully new members. Over the last 10 years, the Fitness industry has been forced to embrace the transparency that has taken over the world. It’s forced the industry to change for the better in several areas.
1. Bait and switch marketing practices are no longer viable. What you see in a billboard or on an ad legally must be offered to you when you walk through the door.
2. Membership sales process is about marrying guests to the programs and services that will best equip them to meet their fitness and wellness goals. Versus selling long contracts that people are unable to get out of.
3. Flexibility in memberships is now the norm
No more do you have to pay up front or commit to long-term contracts. Most facilities and businesses today provide you with flexible, month-to-month options or easy, convenient and affordable ways to cancel.
4. Many of the business models in fitness have changed substantially.
In the old days, gyms would sell memberships and would count on people not showing up. Today, most fitness business models are built around creating accountability for recurring attendances. If anything, the big box intimidating Gyms are few and far between. People are demanding concepts that will keep them engaged, ultimately allowing them to be successful. Thus, most fitness businesses are built around personal training studios, small and large group training, mind-body workouts, and intense small tribal group workouts like Cross Fit and Orangetheory Fitness.
5. Member culture has changed because our knowledge about health and fitness has progressed exponentially over the last 35 years.
The Venice Beach Gold’s Gym culture of vainly shaped body builders stuffing themselves full of steroids working out 7 days a week, eating 10000 calories a day and worrying about where to buy their next tub of protein powder is all but gone. Today, the fitness fanatic is more concerned about the longevity of life, good nutrition, muscle endurance, and strength . All values that are much more closely aligned with the everyday person in our society. Thus, when newbies enter the gym for the very first time, they don’t experience the same culture shock, intimidation, and prejudgement that people once did. In contrast, what they actually find is like-minded people who inspire them.
Gyms aren’t scary places anymore. Rather, they are bastions of hope where people who take their commitment to themselves seriously have an opportunity to achieve their goals.