Seth Godin likes to ask the question, “what is the most popular soft drink in America?”
For those of us in the health and fitness industry, we could just as easily substitute fitness method (yoga, CrossFit, pilates, etc) for soft drink. And so what’s the answer to that question? Is there a singular most popular fitness method in the USA today?
The fitness program you subscribe to is not going to be what your neighbor does nor the guys at the office water cooler.
Because everyone has their own bias and their own favorite program. There are simply too many different options and systems and methods out there for any one program to win the popularity contest.
But this wasn’t always the case.
A Little Background
In ancient Greece a gymnasium was really just a big open space where athletes competing in public games would train. Obviously, there were not any weight machines, no bands, no fit balls. No TRX. Just room to work. And this arrangement stuck for hundreds of years all the way up to the 19th century when those who exercised still went to what was essentially one big room with lots of space to move around.
However, something happened in the 1950s – the industrial machine started to spill over into fitness. Machines came on the scene and promised faster and better results. The 1960s brought the now familiar bodybuilding culture and in subsequent decades, all that open space that was once a gymnasium, now began to look a lot more like an iron jungle and started to sound a whole lot more mechanical.
At the same time, the paradigm of the gymnasium flipped. Team sports like basketball and tennis became the anchor tenants of those great big open rooms.
Don’t get me wrong, machines have taught us a lot about how our bodies move. We now understand the length-tension relationship of our muscles and have created machines to exploit this principle. Some machines do a great job and can be very useful like the Free Motion style pulley machines. While others are more a reflection of our relentless pursuit for bigger and bigger muscles at the expense of recognizing how our bodies want to move (I’m looking at you leg press!).
But in the 1990s yoga really started to take off. And at about the same time, the handful of exercise classes made popular in the 1970s had now spawned a whole new genre of group based classes. But the variety was nothing at all like what we witnessed during the first years of the 21st century.
BodyPump, Zumba, CrossFit, Pilates, P90X – the list goes on and on. These and many others ballooned in popularity.
But the takeaway is that in the 1950s if you participated in recreational fitness, it basically meant that you lifted a barbell. But today, ‘participating in recreational fitness’ can mean one (or several!) of literally hundreds of different programs – with more coming online everyday.
On Fit Mornings
If you follow this blog with any regularity you’ll notice that I often reach out to other fitness enthusiasts and instructors and coaches in the Denver area to pick their brains. If they are innovating, doing, making or creating something new – I want to tell their story.
The whole aim of my countless emails and growing list of interviews is to inspire you, my reader, to continue to look at your own fitness – regardless of what it is that you do – in a new light.
To ask questions, to think critically, take risks and to grow.
And so it is the genesis of Fit Mornings.
A monthly event with free coffee and free TED style fitness talks. It’s open source with the singular goal of providing value added content to the community.
For the fitness professional as well as the non-fitness professional, I hope to get all the great minds together under one roof and simply…see what happens. In short, Fit Mornings is a connection device. To put people together and help foster new ideas and new ways of looking at health and fitness.
The program kicks off tomorrow, September 5th at Axistence Athletics, 8:00 am.
In this ego dominated industry, it’s all too easy for us to find ourselves stuck on an island.
Let’s start building bridges between all those islands.
Happy lifting,Fit Mornings - Where the fitness community comes together by Ryan Wagner