Is this the end of the gym membership?

We like to think we’re a healthy bunch here at PrettyGreen with company incentives aimed at supporting people’s wishes to do something active. Whether that’s flexible time to exercise during the working day, or money towards subsidising anything from dance classes to cycling schemes – just a few things that keep us motivated to stay fit and healthy.


Ultimately, everyone is different and they like to stay active in a variety of ways. Some people might love to spend hours in the gym, others might like to run, play team sport or even take Parkour classes. This goes in line with the noticeable trend of the last few months which has seen an ever-increasing number of people shunning the traditional gym workout and opting for intense fitness classes instead. Companies such as Barry’s Bootcamp (a favourite of David Beckham), 1Rebel and F45 are becoming more of the norm for our busy lifestyles; offering the flexibility to dial up and down your training regime whether you are just looking to stay in shape or you have a larger target in mind such as a marathon, triathlon or Tough Mudder.




Pay-as-you-go exercise does seem to tap into the perceived lifestyles of Millennials, who in general don’t want to be tied down to anything for a long period of time. We’ve probably all been there at some point, standing at the reception of your gym asking to cancel the membership which has seen £50 going out of your account every month while your gym kit remains at the bottom of your wardrobe. Then that feeling of guilt for not only wasting the money, but also the obvious reminder that you haven’t been keeping yourself in shape.


We all lead busy lives and there are now so many different forms of exercise which people can choose from and dip in and out of. So why not tap into the flexibility of doing a couple of classes one week, then not feeling guilty about wasting money the following week when that pitch you’ve been working on is taking place and you can’t get out of the office.


You can see why intense fitness classes in particular have become so popular. You definitely get a different experience from these classes verses working out on your own. The social aspect, the comradery of everyone being in it together, the tailored music which ramps up to complement the intensity, the fact you have a dedicated trainer pushing you past what you would normally do in the gym when you are the only one policing yourself.


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Given their pay-as-you-go nature, these classes have to be a great experience every time. James Balfour from 1Rebel recently said that “we have to be best-in-class every class to make people come back.” You could definitely argue that kind of attention to the customer really shows the brand as a servant, something which doesn’t really happen in your ordinary gym as you are left to your own devices. We want to feel like we have a more personalised experience. This trend has also seen an increase in female attendance, with most classes suggesting they are around 75% female. This is mainly put down to the reduction of the traditional male dominated and often intimidating environment which puts a lot of women off going to an ordinary gym.


All in all, it’s clear that the way we are working out is definitely changing. We all have our own repertoire of exercise which we enjoy that varies greatly from person to person, and with many of these not now requiring a monthly gym membership, why tie yourself in? Some gyms such as PureGym and Gym Box are reacting to this new trend, and all the others will no doubt shortly follow unless they want to see empty treadmills during their peak hours.