Do you remember when the circuit training corner of your local gym was brimming with newbies wanting to try it out? Have you peeped over at that corner recently? Is it empty? Have you noticed a decrease in fitness class attendance?
Well, according to fitness expert, Thomas Plummer, group fitness is dead in three years. Not all group training, of course, he implies, but the cheap one with no personalization and a cookie-cutter approach — that variety is on its way out.
If you need an example, he says, think of Orange Theory Fitness, its rise to novelty, mainstream, and then not-so-trendy. A distant echo of a fitness trend rescinding from the public’s watchful eye. Okay, I might have gotten a little carried away with the poetics.
But Seriously, Why Isn’t Group Fitness Popular Anymore?
Last year, I had a very good friend move to the South to work with a fitness trainer for a few months. She’d expected one-on-one sessions. She was certainly paying for one-on-one prices. The training was rigorous, she said, and in a group of his other sweaty clients.
When she left the South and came back for personal reasons, she spoke about how she hadn’t enjoyed the group aspect. “There was no personalization, and I couldn’t ask the questions I wanted,” she’d recalled.
I think we can call this poor group fitness training execution. We can’t say this is leading to the downfall of team training, but we can’t say it isn’t either —
We Think He’s Saying, Group Fitness Became a Generic Knock-Off
According to Plummer, high-cost group fitness training began with CrossFit gyms. Of course, CrossFit is highly specialized and intense. These group training sessions worked. Crossfit is a group model that will stay even after it dies because, as Plummer puts it, serious training is going to be led by “serious coaches.”
Affordable (but in reality way-over priced and frankly not affordable) group fitness classes, on the other hand, are going to die and it’s because they’re missing “quality.” Just like my friend experienced, group fitness can easily miss the mark for value-time and money spent.
When you pay a decent amount for fitness training, you expect a great experience; regardless of whether it’s a group experience.
Plummer explains as the group-fitness model was adopted by other gyms looking to make a quick buck, the approach went wrong. Suddenly group classes were being led by “newly hired trainers or old school aerobics instructors,” says Plummer.
He goes on to conclude, “team will die as a low-priced commodity in the mainstream world but still be a vital, and financially viable, tool in the training-centric world.”