As the beat dropped in my 305 Fitness class and the amazing instructor instigated us to push harder, I couldn't help but think, what was the cost of my sweat? With social media and the branding age that we are in, fitness has quickly become an elitist activity. Smartly branded companies like Physique 57, Soulcycle, and Pure Barre, are taking their unique workouts and putting an image with them which constitutes driving the price up. With most group fitness classes exceeding $30 a class, it's become difficult for those who enjoy a workout different than your basic gym routine to afford staying in shape. While branding and social media has made fitness more elitist in the past, the same thing is making fitness more accessible as of late. Clothing brands partnering with popular fitness programs, by donation classes, and the power of social media are all things that are changing the face of the fitness industry.
Something we are seeing quite commonly in NYC is clothing brands that partner with fitness instructors and brands to bring affordable group fitness to the masses. The trend no doubt started with Lululemon, who has always offered a walking and exercise club in Central Park, free yoga classes in their stores, and more. They have even recently created a free community space in their flagship in the Flatiron district that is adjacent to a fitness studio where they offer free and inexpensive group fitness opportunities. I think this is a great philanthropic and business mood as it creates the need and demand for their product, fitness attire, but also spreads the resource of quality and fun fitness with people who may have not been able to afford it before. Following suit, Sweaty Betty recently launched free classes in Soho with Core Fusion Barre a program that would normally cost around $39 a class.
By donation classes have recently become more and more popular as well. One of the leaders of this concept is Yoga to The People. Boasting several spacious locations in Manhattan, my favorite is on St. Marks Place. Yoga to The People has several studios in the brownstone. Kind and welcoming instructors walk you through various basic yoga classes, my favorite being candlelight vinyasa flow on Sunday evenings. Instead of charging per class, Yoga to The People is ran on a pay what you can basis and because of that, every class is packed. Similar set ups have arisen since. Broadway by Donation is a wonderful musical theatre inspired dance class that is ran entirely on donation.
I believe social media is whom we have to thank for this recent change. Because we are a society so driven by social responsibility and social media is a way to keep tabs on that. Companies are being held accountable to launch programs that do good for their communities. In turn, their outreach and the advertising of it on social media brings in more business because they become a company that the masses are inclined to shop at. Check out Lululemon classes here.