One of the goals of many baby boomers, as they grow older, is not “to grow old.” From Viagra to the Biggest Loser Diet, they seek to stay emotionally and physically fit. While fitness clubs (e.g., 20,000 listings on Healthclubs.net) have been popular for years, ever-independent boomers in Phoenix are forcing changes in the industry to adapt to individual lifestyles.
The traditional modern health clubs (e.g., Bally Fitness) focused on machines and large classes and, like cell phone companies, signed members up for non-refundable, long-term memberships. The clubs would be crowded on January 2 and empty by March 1, as people futilely attempted to fulfill New Year’s resolutions.
Through the years, changes, such as dropping high enrollment fees, reducing terms of service (e.g., Bally now has biweekly rates), and demographically-focused programs (e.g., Curves for women), sought to retain customers. The last few years have brought even more innovations.
Short-term or by-the-class fees appeal to self-employed individuals with irregular schedules. Smaller, specialized independent clubs are springing up. New marketing techniques are being used.
One example of Phoenix companies utilizing new approaches is Fuzion Fitness. Fuzion used a daily deal program to publicize its 3-week bootcamp to those who had not considered such an ambitious regimen. Charismatic instructors, like Denise and Fate (firm, but not as scary as the television equivalents), provide individualized advice to members in classes limited to ten attendees. Customers can book or cancel any classes easily online. Fuzion’s original site on Tatum did so well, it has opened another one in Glendale.
Boomers are hyper and do not like to be stuck in one mode of exercise. The upscale Sports Club/LA–Orange County, California, one of the largest health clubs in the country, boasts four floors of the latest equipment, classes in every style of exercise, healthy eating cafes, pools and steam/sauna rooms. One of its instructors is Chandler Caldwell, a psychologist with a Ph.D. from Pepperdine, who has been teaching fitness for 22 years.
Caldwell is excited about bringing her expertise as a personal trainer to Phoenix later this year. She loves the energy of the Sonoran Desert and looks forward to working with Phoenicians (she has worked with Arizona’s Silver Sneakers program for senior citizens) to help them lead “a lush life.”
The fitness business in Phoenix no longer a craze; it is a lifestyle evolving to adapt to the changing desires of its customers.