Much like the fashion trends that change from season to season in the pages of Vogue and Elle magazine, fitness has evolved and gone in many different directions over the years. Media has played a huge role in what the fitness industry has brought to the market and how people perceive fitness as a whole. What we look like, how we exercise and the fitness club where we exercise became the next fashion accessory and status symbol. Trends came in the form of fitness attire, exercise workouts, home gym equipment, celebrity personal trainers and reality weight loss television shows (like “The Biggest Loser”). Media has become the engine behind trends in fitness and has spurred the growth of an industry that is now represented by 133,500 club locations around the world and a revenue of $71 billion in 2010 (2011 IHRSA Global Report).
The greatest contributor to these changing fitness trends has traditionally been the television. Although the internet has become an integral part of the day-to-day lives of the newest generation of trend mongers (Generation Z; born 1995-present), television is the gateway to evolving generations across the board … changing their perceptions about fitness and exercise and dictating how their money is being spent (how they should look, how they should feel, how to accomplish these results). “The Evolution of Modern Fitness (as portrayed by the media)” highlights milestones through the ages that have brought us to the fitness and exercise trends of the twenty-first century including:
- Superman (the original “Man of Steel”)
- Vic Tanny Health Clubs (endorsed by Cher, Farrah Fawcett and Raquel Welch)
- The Jack Lalanne Show (pioneering “home fitness” targeted for women)
- “Pumping Iron” with Arnold Schwartzenegger and Lou Ferrigno (an inside look at the world of bodybuilding)
- Jane Fonda’s Workout (from Academy Award winner to exercise guru)
- “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John (Grammy award winning video with muscle-bound men, leotards and headbands)
- “Hans and Frans are going to PUMP … YOU UP!” (Saturday Night Live spoof of Arnold Schwartzenegger and “Pumping Iron”)
- “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” with Richard Simmons (making fitness fun and motivating and helping millions lose weight and take control of their fitness destiny)
- Thighmaster by Suzanne Somers
- Zumba (Latin-inspired, calorie- burning dance fitness-party)
- The Biggest Loser (incredible weight loss stories and lifestyle transformations with the help of Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels)
- Nintendo Wii Fit (taking home fitness to the next level where your body becomes a “human joystick”)
- The Shake Weight (“strong, sexy, sculpted arms and shoulders … fast!”)
- Brazil Butt Lift (“The Supermodel’s Secret to a Perfect Butt”)
Although fitness and exercise are not as fashionable as UGGs or an Apple iPhone 4s, media has certainly helped drive awareness in positive and motivating ways. It is a welcome message versus the frightening statistics about obesity, coronary heart disease, cancer and other preventable disease that may deter people from seeking out a fitness and exercise option.
The fitness marketing message is a good one … fun (sometimes funny), motivating, feeling good and looking fabulous!