While working out with friends and random like-minded people is not anything new today, not long ago, it was something almost no one did. People did work out at the same place, but there was no concept of why that might be better than working out on your own at home. Once the fitness gurus figured out the benefits, group fitness became a new craze. Learn more about it below, and you might also be motivated to find some fitness buddies.
The humble beginnings of group fitness
At least 5,000 years ago, the first practitioners of yoga started practicing together in a group setting. This religious practice of the Hindu people is the origin of group fitness and health. However, more recently, in the 1960s, Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper published a book called Aerobics. This book is still used as a foundation of the fitness industry we know today. This “father of aerobics” not only encouraged people to exercise, but to use it to prevent a variety of diseases. Today, people use group fitness for many reasons, but it all can be traced to Cooper’s ideas.
Jane Fonda and workout VHS tapes
In the 70s, Jane Fonda, a huge movie star, used to exercise to warm up for her scenes. Her crew and colleagues also wanted to learn her warmup habits, so Fonda became the founder of the modern group fitness. She gathered her crew, led them through her routines on set and showed them how to perform aerobics. Unit that moment, fitness was a male-led industry, but Fonda made it fun, light and accessible to all people. Eventually, someone filmed her exercises and shared them with others so there were groups of people exercising to her routines sprouting all over the world.
At the turn of the century, during the 2000s, the world of fitness was occupied by a fun dance craze. Zumba became the most popular activity in the early 21st century thanks to simple choreographies and easy training. Even though Zumba was a brand, every instructor was allowed to create their own versions, so everyone was training together, sharing ideas and pushing each other to be better.
The modern HIIT and conditioning classes
Zumba is still alive today, but there are other forms of group training more popular. High-intensity coaching forms like HIIT, Crossfit and athletic conditioning took over in recent years. Most fitness centers have high-energy strength-training classes as the most popular offer of their companies. Gyms provide all the gym & fitness equipment necessary for training and instructors push their guests to the limit. These classes are effective and energizing, so it’s not a surprise that they have so many followers.
Post-COVID group exercising
While most gym members were already exercising at home regularly, those who prefer group settings became a little lost when COVID struck. Luckily, group exercise classes have a fully-integrated live, virtual and on-demand solutions that can achieve the same group atmosphere beyond the walls of the gym. Tech giants like Apple, Amazon and Facebook are investing in group fitness solutions that evolve as fast as workout apps, wearable equipment and on-demand solutions. In order to remain relevant, gyms that offer solo exercise experiences will constantly have to evolve and offer new content to retain users.
The future is bright and exclusive
Pushed by the consumers’ desire for different training models, traditional gyms will need to change to accommodate new offers and create boutiques within their clubs. The boutique experience and its many benefits like pools, spa, massage, restaurants, bars and parking, gyms are providing a much more social workout experience that doesn’t end after the workout itself is over. People stay, socialize and have no need to look elsewhere for their workout and post-workout experiences.
From its beginning to today and beyond, group fitness is inspiring people to work out, socialize and improve their health. If you love the concept, you have so much to look forward to in the future of group fitness.
Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls interested in topics related to home improvement, DIY and interior design. In her free time she enjoys reading and preparing healthy meals for her family.