The Fitness Industry: Is It About The Experience or Results?

My friend Kevin Dineen makes an incredibly accurate and insightful post this morning about the fitness industry:

The educated consumer is the newest weapon (for or against) in marketing.

Don’t believe me? I asked a few users of soul cycle to define and quantify their results from repeatedly going to class. Their answers – in their own words:

– I destroy calories there
– I sweat like crazy
– I feel better after leaving
– all my friends do it and they have great bodies
– you have to sign up at 12pm on Monday! It’s THAT good!
– they have a great business model

I then asked the same clients if they have ever seen a before and after picture of a soul cyclist. They said –

“No, but that’s not their business model”

What’s amazing though, is the lack of quantifiable responses to justify the experience. While I have heard nothing but great things about the Soul Cycle experience, I know that there are only so many trips to Disney World, roller coasters, theme parks, and even restaurants you can go before you are looking for the next entertainment venue.

Now, whenever someone asks me what my business model is, I say that I’m in the business of getting people results – specifically what they are paying me/us for. And when their friends ask why they train and what results they get, they can either deadlift a car, do 10 pull-ups, run a 6 minute mile, hit a golf ball 300 yarda, or simply lift and move whatever and whenever they want without pain.

In this instance, Quantity AND quality of results are important, Having excellent systems in place to deliver those results (as compared to bikes, music and spin instructors) is the most overlooked portion of new fitness businesses. Without the systems, all you are providing is an experience (which in this case, is excellent – don’t get me wrong – the Soul Cycle train is going to be full speed ahead for next few years).

One last thing: I’m terribly excited to share these new concepts with you, the newly-educated consumer. However, please don’t share with those people that don’t have systems. No need to start now;)

Thus far, the industry has been primarily about enterTRAINMent: you get some exercise, which is obviously better than being sedentary, but there’s no truly quantifiable results or progression.

Yes, this is better than not doing anything.  But this isn’t tee-ball league where everyone gets a trophy.  This is life.  It’s perfectly OK to do something for the experience, the problem is because of slick marketing and a lot of momentum, people mistake their experience for fitness.

Fitness is about results.  Changing your physical being in a tangible, definable  incrementally increasable way.  Most of the fitness industry doesn’t even attempt to do this because it’s hard and takes a long time – people get bored, they don’t stick with it.  I understand WHY the industry has become what it has, but that doesn’t mean we should sit idly by and let it continue down that path.

People deserve better.  YOU deserve better.

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