FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Pumping Iron, 21st Century Style

Fitness has been big business since the jogging craze first swept America in the 1970s. As a result, most every community has at least one gym. But now, a new trend is taking shape, according to Springwise, a firm that tracks marketing trends. Segmented fitness is producing fitness centers that cater to specific demographics looking to attain specific goals.

The Curves chain of fitness centers for women is one of the nation's fastest growing franchises. Part of the appeal of Curves is that it's a place where women can work out without feeling uncomfortable or intimidated. Plus, Curves uses "circuit training," a more intense yet less time-consuming workout method.

Now, Cuts promises to offer a similar service to men, with a 30-minute cardio workout that promises to burn fat while developing lean muscle. Unlike women, who tend to be highly health-aware, 80% of the US male population doesn't work out regularly. Despite those odds, Cuts is a growing franchise.

These chains are successful because they recognize that though men and women have different fitness goals, everyone is time conscious. And with clean, bright and beginner-friendly atmospheres, both are light years away from the old-fashioned "muscle" gyms. So it stands to reason that yet another chain, Fitwize4kids, is bringing the curcuit training concept to young people. Using specialized equipment, Fitwize4kids offers a 45-minute workout specially tailored for kids. As concern grows over childhood obesity, kid-friendly gyms will likely become a common sight in the coming years.

The segmented fitness trend will likely grow as populations are identified with specific fitness needs. Young people who want to improve sports skills, moms and dads looking to shed a few pounds, and seniors trying to stave off the effects of arthritis all represent very different -- and very lucrative -- market segments.

Source: Springwise