Is the Gym Going the Way of Blockbuster Video?
Is the advancement of technology; and the coronavirus pandemic going to make gyms the next Blockbuster video, and companies like Peloton the fitness version of Netflix? Peloton's CEO John Foley thinks so. Yet, I'm a little less convinced that's going to be the case. At least not anytime soon.
When my wife and I got married 19 years ago one of our first big purchases was a treadmill. At the time it had a lot of bells and whistles. My wife and I were going to use it every day and get healthy. It became the most expensive clothes horse we ever bought. We carted it around from Joliet, Illinois to Lafayette, Indiana to Lubbock, Texas.
Yet while it was doing its duty holding some of our clothes. I joined the Joliet Park District's fitness center. Went to the gym in Lafayette. And used our apartment complex's workout facility in Lubbock. Finally, after carting the treadmill all over the midwest we gifted it to the apartment complex in Lubbock before we left. I actually asked them if they wanted it for the workout room and they said yes.
Peloton's CEO, John Foley, is quoted in a Fox 2 article as telling the Associated Press that going to the gym is a broken model of yesteryear. And that the fitness industry is primed to be disrupted by technology.
The article also talks about how gyms have been hard hit throughout the pandemic and are struggling. Yet, it also mentions the positives about gyms. They're social places. They're out in the world. They can offer people customized, individualized instruction and plans to achieve their goals. The article even speculates that smaller, boutique gyms might be the future as opposed to the mega gyms with lots of people huffing and puffing and sweating at once.
I'm not sure I buy Peloton's workout model. For me personally, my experience with the treadmill has taught me the convenience of a piece of workout equipment in my home isn't going to get me on it. For me, I'm more likely to successfully work out somewhere else. It's just easier for me to find the motivation to get out of the house and to the gym or workout room vs. hopping on a piece of equipment in my house. And once I'm out the door I'll follow through.
I acknowledge that's a quirky way to look at it. For me, it works.
I do think Peloton, and companies like them will take a bite out of gyms. However, I do think there are many folks who will still head to the gym. It might be the social aspect of working out. It might be working out with a trainer or workout partner. It might be the desire to work out in a different place than home. It might be the group fitness classes.
Regardless of what the CEO of Peloton says, I think gyms are plenty relevant today. What do you think?