Working out is all the rage with people posting their workouts to social media and wearing technologies that measure physical activities and accomplishments, everyone wants to have a club to belong to: a people, a group, a sense of belonging around fitness and everything should be trackable and with real-time data. Fitness is starting to become both a goal and a journey, a lifestyle and a belief, a ritualistic thing that no one can seem to agree on. Fitness is changing how clothes are being designed and what workplace environments should offer as “fitness alternatives” and yet on some level it feels early in this figuring out work-life-fitness balance thing. Technologies around fitness have always acted in a way that humans designed them to, but at what point where does the evolution begin with technology starting to change how humans exactly… fit? What exactly is fitness and why are we always looking for it?
Traditionally finding fitness was as simple as looking up Yelp and then reading reviews of locations mildly appealing and located within particular zip codes. Then GPS became more common and expected with searching done via mobile so now all devices make it easy to find things close by. Finding fitness is becoming increasingly complex: location is no longer the problem, finding fitness now involves considerations around cost, personlization, schedule, commitment, culture, flexibility and network. Millennials want their fitness and they want it now-gluten free-tuesdays only-half off-with notifications. Finding fitness and finding what to do is becoming a new war of discovery that was once innovated by Yelp is now being built upon like a main database that once connected strangers to strangers, to helping others find activities from friends to friends or neighbors to neighbors.
One up and comer in the app race to collect fitness locations while offering affordable solutions to consumers is Zenrez. Capitalizing on supply chain methodologies and applying them to software, and with an API with Mindbody, Zenrez appears to be taking the working out-on demand thing to another level both in least commitment required for users and personalization, ie suggestions based upon user information Zenrez is essentially disrupting the ClassPass crowd but instead of using bulk consumer marketing tactics are using their own software user acquisition techniques to personalize choices for consumers while onboarding for vendors (like the yoga studios) very easy which is crucial. Small businesses in and out of fitness are drowning in software startups that want to “help” them yet many are “one-offs” or custom software solutions. Mindbody is the software leader so far in spas and fitness locations, so working with existing Mindbody software could poise any disrupter in the fitness space a chance to make it to the top.
ENGAGING IN FITNESS
When setting aside the battle for finding or discovering fitness there’s also actual engagement. How do we track our jumping jacks or pushups? How we measure fitness exactly? Virtual Reality and video games are making it so fitness can also come to you into the home; yoga videos and classes online can let you virtually work out with others or pause to take your time with an online fitness class. Fitness could be virtual reality or reality, social or not at all. Fitness is becoming something both online and offline with color runs and various obstacle courses and “IronMan-like” competitions, sports marketing is about to also get flipped on its head.
WHAT ABOUT DIETS?
Surprisingly in all this noise about fitness, food seems to be having its own dilemma and maturity with fast food restaurants changing to “healthier” food and newer services that offer to bring affordable and healthy meals to your door like Momables or Munchery but something appears to not have been disrupted yet. Besides Powerbars and Soylent (which now has a powerbar-like thing too) consumption of food hasn’t been all that disrupted yet medical or computer technologies continue to amaze us real-time genetic or blood testing yet we continue to eat almost as our ancestors have, in meals. All this struggle to find fitness while eating things that require all this fitness-ing. Talk about hampster on a wheel.
Perhaps the future of fitness is to constantly be finding it: whether it rock climbing or using a mobile app to find an on-demand yoga session while traveling in Lithuania on a three-day work trip learning breathing techniques. It might our searching for fitness will be as limited as we make it but its always going to be on the to-do list.
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