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The Illogical Logic of the Fitness Business

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Thomas PlummerThomas Plummer

There is little logic in the fitness industry. We endlessly repeat the past, building exact replicas of 1995 over and over again; we scream the market is jammed and there is no way another gym could squeeze into this town, yet here comes one more pretender; and we hire the same tired leaders to get us the same dated results, hoping we can find a hotel guy or Starbucks person who will finally understand fitness has little to do with room bookings or coffee.

We talk about a national fitness revival in industry conferences, then drop our prices so we stay trapped in the equipment rental business where $10 will get you a gym with no service, but you do get to walk slowly on a treadmill seven days a week. And, we open more chain gyms while the country gets fatter, proving again the mainstream fitness world exists to take the money and run and has little to do with true fitness or getting results for the clients who trust us with their money.

Even our one ray of sunshine in an industry gone mad, the hybrid training gym, where results for the client are traded for fair money, is ignored by our largest trade associations, which remain dedicated to protecting the biggest players and their own self interests.

The gym industry is currently a business representing all what we used to be and little of what we could be if we embraced evolution instead of remaining trapped in the Dark Ages of the '90s. We have become a business segment that ignores the logic of good business, replacing logical growth with a chase for the glory days when we were all rich and all beautiful in the fitness world.

It is illogical to think that growth in this industry follows a logical pattern.

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