May 2014 Newsletter

Granted Functional Training is all the rage & Cross Fit is booming, while Mixed Martial Arts Dojos & Stables are growing in popularity along with Outdoor Boot Camps which are running a mock with new takers from every walk of life. All great news for the well-being & general fitness of Western civilization, duly accepted.

I agree that Core Strength combined with numerous natural stance-based exercises, poises & body correcting-postural classes are in focus & very much in vogue. Indeed, these along with bespoke, one on one sessions, such as the very effective proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching sessions are taking hold like they are some new found discovery amongst hither to comatose physiologists who have suddenly had to sharpen up their game.

Do you feel that the entire world of fitness professionals & freelance fitness instructors based out of small, bespoke, personal training studios / halls / units / garages / go-down / sheds / rooms / offices / urban spaces or even in the plain outdoors are pulling, dragging, directing & almost conspiring or even coercing your subconscious-being to be drawn into a new smaller training zone?

Many members from larger scale traditional strength & conditioning health clubs say they feel they need to try something different, something on a more personal level. Or that they need to test themselves in a Functional Training club or a Cross Fit club or pit themselves against an outdoor boot camp in nature’s own environment or become a pugilist in a mixed martial arts club or whatever. They will almost conjure up any idea about anything to escape the perceived tedium of a large scale full-service health club.

Often in many of these now all too common pop-up studios AKA here today / gone tomorrow studios or units you will doubtless see empty & open floor spaces for what they are. Just minimal equipment, maximum carpet, tile or wooden floor; a few kettle bells, some smash & medicine balls, a couple of ropes, some stretchy bands, some monkey bars (home made no doubt) a few iron plates, some boxes or crates purporting to be plyometric equipment, cones & ground ladders & again a whole lot of empty space.

That space is subsequently filled by the noise of the PT / coach delivering their enthusiastic barks at decibels beyond those endured in military drills & the clamor of eager participants fills the room, for a time anyway.

The trainers will tell you it’s the new era of training & that space & your own body is all that you need & that gyms are passé & out dated modalities of training.

To a large extent they have a point & actually if that is all that were available to many of us, we would make excellent use out of such empty space & achieve optimal results to boot. But I see a sneaky trick here & rather like Seattle Coffee Company & Starbucks did with coffee back in the early 1990’s these entities are doing the same to the public in terms of fitness & conditioning training facilities.

Seattle & Starbucks cleverly took the rather enchantingly waitress served mug of coffee alongside a complimentary cookie which we slowly enjoyed while we sat in a comfortable chair at a nice table reading our newspaper. And that was all leisurely served up for a dollar or two. And then then they proceeded to hype it, market it, repackage it, flog it to us in paper cups with disposable everything over the counter. If that wasn’t bad enough they made us queue for the pleasure & charged us treble for the coffee & the cookie too.

This removed a large portion of the pleasure but society fell for it & coffee house’s profitability went through the stratosphere while we found our humble $2 coffee & cookie now set us back $10 or so & it was all self-served to boot.

What is the connection between the coffee houses & these new fitness facilities? Well these new found miniature deliverers of fitness in an empty room are often doing likewise.

Charging the client up to $160 – $220 a month for not much equipment & a whole lot of hot air versus as little as a health club on $40 – $80 a month for a full service health club packed with isokinetic equipment, free weights, functional training equipment, stretching equipment, cardiovascular equipment, cycle studios, cross fit equipment, MMA apparatus & a ring or a fight mat never mind the numerous group fitness classes from mind, body & spirit through dancelike sessions to circuits / boot camp / super circuit up to high energy GX sessions & of course functional personal training too. That is without mentioning the concessionaire professional services like PT’s, Physios, Chiros, massage therapists, beauty therapists & the like.

So, ask yourself? What is the pull of these new small facilities? What is the draw card? What is it that they supposedly offer that full service, modern equipped clubs like Healthy Life, Fitness First, Goodlife, Next Generation, Genesis, Virgin Active et al apparently don’t offer?

Nothing is the genuine answer, nothing other than the chance for you to outlay double to quadruple the fees & subscriptions for less in terms of facilities, service & variety of activity.

Indeed, the true answer is investment in capital expenditure, investment in longevity of the facility & investment in the member’s needs as individuals is all less in these new micro facilities.

They advocate no equipment required because the cost of a full service club is about half to one & a half million dollars, that is right, circa one million dollars to set up a properly equipped facility versus five to twenty thousand dollars to set up a boutique fitness room or as little as a five hundred dollars to a thousand dollars to set up a boot camp.

So keep it real, see the wood for the trees & understand that these big old rolling dinosaur clubs with millions of dollars invested in infrastructure, service, operations & personnel also offer all the bespoke, modern, new-found, updated, latest modalities of training & working out but in an all singing, all dancing complete full service facility. A facility you can also enjoy on your own, in your own space, in your own world or with a likeminded training buddy / partner or in a group session.

A facility like Healthy Life, some 40 years in existence that is not about to vanish into thin air unlike many a new one-man or one-girl training operation in a shop, garage, go-down or in a unit that can close its doors & vanish overnight.

Nothing beats blood, sweat, tears & attitude spent in a loyal health club & all mopped up after you go by that same caring, long standing bona-fide, full-service health club. A health club offering the full gamut of exercise modalities, facilities & services under one roof; & a health club that is here to serve & here to stay for the duration.

Have a great May.