The shift away from the banal gym floors of the 20th century, which featured a limited selection of free weights and resistance machines alongside a few different types of cardio equipment, now feels like ancient history. Boutique workouts and crossfit have completed their metamorphosis from trendy news headlines to mainstays in the fitness landscape.
Given the growing consumer interest and subsequent media coverage in deciphering “what’s next,” experts maintain one ear to the ground with the hopes of nailing the big innovation of tomorrow. It seems one major outlet has a new prediction, as a recent feature from The Verge points out the growing popularity of “connected fitness.” Within the article, story author Natt Garun summarized the industry evolution that led to today’s current state and future outlook, writing:
Connected fitness used to refer to workout apps and fitness trackers, but Peloton added a new category when it combined both on an exercise machine with the launch its bike in 2014. It’s basically an indoor cycling bike with its own workout-specific Netflix: you can choose live or on-demand classes based on music genre, low or high impact, length of workout, or the coach whose teaching style you enjoy most.
Today, there are a handful of imitators that have spun off from Peloton’s concept — Hydrow for rowing, FightCamp for boxing, Mirror for cardio exercises, and Tonal for weight training— all with the goal of bringing the boutique studio exercise experience to the home. There are also copycats of the Peloton equipment itself; Echelon, a stationary bike that similarly lets you stream a class from its touchscreen, is offered as a less expensive alternative at $999 to Peloton’s $1,999. Traditional fitness equipment NordicTrack has had to rework its collection, too, to offer on-demand classes across bikes, ellipticals, and treadmills to compete against Peloton’s offerings.
Even luxury gyms like Equinox are updating their equipment to be more tech-driven. In May, Equinox opened Precision Run, a public running studio that features custom treadmills and software designed to make the experience feel personalized the way these new, at-home exercise machines do.
Of course, there will always be people who prefer to workout with others and those who would rather exercise alone. Social interaction and competition can enhance a workout, yet solitude has its benefits as well. Perhaps this somewhat ironic trend of connected fitness will pave the way for individuals to enjoy the best of both worlds.
To read Garun’s full writeup, click here.