Fitness never stays the same. Back in the 1970s, ads for gyms showed skinny men getting sand kicked into their faces by Arnold Schwarzenegger wannabes. In the 80s, actress Jane Fonda dragged aerobics workouts into the mainstream, only for the 90s to usher in the era of gyms that resembled treadmill farms, in which everyone did cardio as a mostly solitary activity while listening to a Walkman.
Despite the appearance of fit balls and functional exercise in the early 2000s and Crossfit in 2005, most fitness chains largely stuck with the philosophy of the more equipment the better. They also succeeded in giving members the impression that what mattered most were their membership fees, often secured with virtually unbreakable contracts.
But times change, and as fitness science points to more effective forms of exercise such as high intensity interval training, functional movement training and group classes, Fitness First is taking the opportunity to undertake a radical transformation of its gyms and business.
1970s: Fitness Goes Mainstream
Bodybuilding and Jogging Rule
This was the decade when fitness finally hit the public consciousness. We went jogging or headed into gyms to try and look like Arnie Schwarzenegger, pumping weights to the pulsing disco sounds of Donna Summer and the Bee Gees.
1980s: Get Sexy Like Jane Fonda
The Rise of Aerobics and Jazzercise
Baby Boomers approaching middle age put on the leg warmers, thong leotards and sweatbands and popped the Jane Fonda Workout video into their VCRs. Fonda was the world’s first fitness guru. “No pain, no gain” and “Feel the burn” were her mottos.
1990s: The Rise of the Machines
Cardio Workouts and Walkmans
This was the decade of the 60-minute steady-state cardio workout, in gyms stacked to the rafters with treadmills and cross trainers. We alleviated the drudgery of it all by plugging in our Walkmans and tuning out those around us.
2005: Crossfit Crazy!
Be The Fastest, Biggest, Meanest
How tough are you? With the chundering clown as its logo, Crossfit essentially challenged you to push yourself to extremes, to build strength and conditioning. Based around a set of loosely defined, high-intensity functional workouts Crossfit emphasises competition between participants.
2015: The New Age of Fitness
Dynamic Movement Training
The most effective and time-efficient way to get fit now is with Dynamic Movement Training, which makes use of the body’s natural movement patterns to develop your cardio, muscular and even neural systems.