Today, we’re going to look at how I believe fitness needs to evolve—starting with our reopening plans (the obvious stuff) and then getting into the evolution of fitness (the not-so-obvious stuff).
The obvious stuff: Space, airflow, surface contact, and screening
Managing space means starting with a minimum of 150 sq ft per person (I’m thinking more like 250 sq ft during active exertion). That means individual “pods.”
I cannot imagine a world where we go back to packing bodies into closed rooms. For this reason, we have no plans to return to group classes for the foreseeable future. 1-1 and 4-1 sessions only. Eight members in the facility at a time max. No walk-ins; prescheduling all appointments; smart management of traffic flow and space.
Managing airflow means HEPA filtration, masks, and even teaching breath control techniques as standard. This will continue to be big.
Managing surface contact means dedicated equipment for each person in each session—along with thorough hourly cleaning procedures.
Screening is really about responsibility. We can take temperatures and check in with people but… the ultimate screen is a small community that knows one another, thinks responsibly, and takes initiative. We’re very fortunate to have that.
The not-so-obvious stuff: How fitness needs to change long-term
“It’s almost summer and you have a body. Ta-duh…you’re summer body ready.”
We need to get away from leanness and other aesthetic measures—as being more important than mental health and wellbeing. Ditching this would give us the freedom to also ditch the implied idea that whoever you are right now is not enough. It’s hurt more people than it’s helped. It’s also simply not true. It is part of a larger conversation around inclusion and community. Long-term goals can still guide things. But we need to help you find a process that elevates who you are through present actions and experiences, not some future state.
Motivation needs to get swapped out for something bigger
I’ve written (plenty) before on how motivation is unreliable and needs to be reinforced by systems, skills, and a legitimate sense of meaning. That last piece is really what’s missing from most fitness approaches—which I’d describe as busywork, competition, and distraction centred around burning calories. There’s a better way to do things.
When you find versions of movement, nutrition, and lifestyle that immediately enhance your mood and quality of life, you experience living (and moving) with meaning. That’s what we want to focus on.
We need to get away from fitness as a commodity
Maximizing bodies per sq ft has always felt commoditized and impersonal. However, online delivery offers even greater potential for mass production of fitness. So, use cheap, mass-produced things to your advantage—but understand their limits (and look into who you’re actually supporting). koff Stephen Ross koff
You need to steer the ship
Information flow in exercise has traditionally come from the top-down. You get the package, program, challenge, etc. and it’s your job to follow it. If something doesn’t fit you well, guess what? Your job is to bend yourself because the program will never bend to fit you. And that’s why—when the fitness you’ve bought into fails you—you blame yourself. Most people will then repeat the cycle a few months later. That is the roller coaster of fitness; it is a deeply dysfunctional relationship.
Why hasn’t collaboration been more popular? We have to remember that fitness is a very young industry and is still getting its sea legs. The industry started off assuming that if someone figured out fitness for themselves, they could apply that same approach to everyone else.
“I will do what they do and then become just like them.” That’s magical thinking that—for better or worse—doesn’t work.
How do we fix this?
It starts with collaboration. So, why hasn’t collaboration been more popular? We have to remember that fitness is a very young industry and is still getting its sea legs. Traditionally, we have just assumed that if someone has figured out fitness for themselves, they can apply that same approach to us. We will do what they do and we will become like them. That’s magical thinking.
Where does motivation come from?
This is the zillion dollar question. I’ve written (plenty) before on how motivation is unreliable and needs to be reinforced by systems, skills, and a legitimate sense of meaning. That last piece is really what’s missing from most fitness approaches—which I’d describe as busywork and mental distraction centred around burning calories.
What comes next?
We are getting ready to build our online services in a way that is completely different from standard fitness approaches—and even our own. Online delivery has challenges but it also has some incredible opportunities. This is a different beast altogether. Want to know what it will look like? Reach out.