Gym, but not as we know it
Normal service has been resumed. Like a large proportion of the UK population I am getting back into the swing of exercise after the festive season, and about time since I’m beginning to resemble Kim Kardashian – and not in a good way. Anyway, it wasn’t seasonal cheer that got in the way this year, more like various lurgies.
But it has got me thinking: I reckon I have spotted a gap in the market. Dame Tara recently celebrated her love of ironing and housework, promoting both as alternative exercise forms. Unfortunately neither float my boat, but gyms, weights and pools do. So where’s this gap in the market I can hear you asking?
Well, what if one of the big chains were to open a gym targeted not at the youth market but at those who have been there, got the Jane Fonda tshirt, conquered Bikram yoga but still want to be challenged (within reason)? I don’t mean a gym targeted at couch potatoes but one that could, with specialist teachers and equipment, treat creaking limbs as normal. Would this be an automatic turn-off, i.e. would people not want to be stigmatised, or would they welcome the chance to test themselves to the full?
This was whirring round my head as I attended a Pilates session today. Chatting to the teacher afterwards, she said that increasingly those who train the tutors are being asked to focus on those joints which take the most wear and tear, seeking ways to build them up. In her humble opinion, in view of the demographics, such specialist gyms are just a blink away. But that doesn’t answer the question of whether we’d want to join them or go down the Groucho Marx route.
A quick straw poll of those at the class pointed to mixed views. Some would avoid such a gym like the plague, others would join on the spot. I even discovered there is something called Golden Zumba, for those who can’t keep up with the normal frantic pace. And there are those, I discovered, who’d be proud to be called ‘Golden’. I suppose it’s going to be down to how it’s marketed. Not as a venue for those disenchanted with gyms, but those seeking new challenges, maybe providing intellectual, social and physical stimulus. Don’t get me wrong: I love my gym dearly, body pump with the best of them, and regard my weekly aqua zumba class as a party in the pool…but I can’t help feeling I could do more. And that’s on top of taking a very large dog for a walk on a daily basis – try that for weight training!
So, Richard Branson (whoops, Sir Richard), fancy a punt? Happy to advise, my consultancy rates are very reasonable. Just remember you heard it here first. Or have you got a whole team of researchers scoping this as I write?