There’s an article in this week’s Economist about the cult of the hard-charging, emailing-from-the-treadmill-at-4am CEO. The article also describes the investments that companies have made in on-site fitness centers and coaches:
This cult of hyper-performance is nurtured by a growing army of personal trainers and yoga coaches who make their living by fine-tuning and de-stressing business leaders…Business schools and corporate in-house “universities” compete to have the most expensive gyms. Deloitte’s new $300m training facility, near Dallas, Texas, has a 12,000 square-foot (1,100 square metres) fitness room whose classes start at dawn.
The Economist then goes on to – rightfully – warn of the potential downsides of the cult of overachievement, and organizations’ dependence on a small handful of superhuman individuals. But what also stuck out to me was how much the fitness business has moved decidedly upmarket, in both the enterprise and consumer space. Consider the recent Bloomberg profile of Peloton, the manufacturer of a $2,000 stationary bike, (and provider of $39/month virtual fitness sessions):
Peloton’s stationary bike has become not just a vehicle for a grueling workout and a social networking device but the latest status symbol for the conspicuously fit…Peloton and other cycling shops aren’t selling a workout so much as a lifestyle, which devotees can purchase in the form of branded clothing, accessories, and even food.
Fitness, particularly at the high end, is a fast-growing and incredibly lucrative market, with players like Lululemon and Soulcycle competing for wealthy consumers’ exercise dollars. There are two distinct verticals (I would include clothing and equipment in the same category of “gear,” at least for now), and abundant opportunity for brands to cross-promote their offerings.