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Promoting Happiness

“Gyms remain hesitant to embrace this huge, happy opportunity to expand their reach. What are we waiting for?”

For as long as I can remember, the fitness sector has pushed a ‘no pain, no gain’ message of physical transformation; indoor cycling has arguably been among the sector’s worst culprits.

Could it be that mindsets are finally changing? From the conversations we’ve had for this edition of RIDE HIGH, it would seem so – among consumers at least.

On page 36, boutique operator and former IHRSA chair Carrie Kepple says the post-pandemic consumer is pushing back against physical perfection, and that it will hurt our sector if we continue to sell it.

“This isn’t about making workouts easy,” she explains. “It’s about helping people find instant joy and reward in the effort itself.”

There’s a similar theme in ‘Happy Hour’ (page 40), where leading experts discuss the almost immediate mental and emotional benefits of exercise. Their suggestion: that happiness and improved energy – how you feel – should be the focus of our marketing. 

If this all sounds rather familiar, it should. This isn’t new news. 

It was in 2014 that London-based Psycle launched to the world, its brand defined by the mental and spiritual connotations of ‘psy’. (For the latest news from Psycle, see page 6.)

Journalist and RIDE HIGH contributor Kate Cracknell tells me she first wrote about this topic in that same year. In one of her 2014 thought leadership pieces – entitled The feelgood factor – she commented: “Quite simply, exercise makes you feel good: happier, less stressed, more alive, more energetic. This is a very compelling, instant benefit that gyms and studios should absolutely be harnessing in their marketing.”

In another, she noted: “Focusing on the immediacy of how people feel straight after their workout will keep them coming back for more.”

And there’s data to prove it, she adds: “It was over 10 years ago that research by Michelle Segar, published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, showed how those motivated by quality of daily life – lower stress, better sleep, increased vitality and so on – exercised 34 per cent more than people with weight- or appearance-based goals.”

Yet all these years on, gyms remain hesitant to embrace this huge, happy opportunity to expand their reach with an inclusive, encouraging message. 

My question: What are we waiting for? I hope this edition of RIDE HIGH further fuels the conversation, and I welcome your views.

In this issue of RIDE HIGH

Focus on the feelgood

If consumers no longer seek physical perfection, we have to stop selling it, says Carrie Kepple, owner of Styles Studios Fitness and former IHRSA chair

Uffe A Olesen

As BODY BIKE marks its 27th birthday, its CEO celebrates his own milestone of 20 years with the company. He takes a walk down memory lane with Kate Cracknell.

Happy hour

Exercise, and cardiovascular exercise in particular, has proven benefits for brain health and happiness – and they come far quicker than physical results. So, are we marketing fitness all wrong? Kate Cracknell asks the experts.

The power of light

Profound experiences can be achieved when illumination is combined with movement, music and motivation, says fitness studio design expert Barbara Chancey

Life cycle

Indoor cycling can be hugely beneficial as we age. Our panel of experts discuss the science, the secrets of engaging older people, and why our sector must embrace this agenda

Kaleigh Cohen Fitness

From creating an online class for her mum, to full-time content creation and a community that’s hundreds of thousands strong – Kaleigh Cohen shares her story with RIDE HIGH.

David Watt

As Psycle celebrates its 10th birthday, its CEO outlines plans to scale the brand in the London market as a springboard to growth across the UK and beyond. He speaks to Kate Cracknell.

Conceived, powered and funded by BODY BIKE®, RIDE HIGH has a simple mission: to celebrate and champion the very best of indoor cycling, sharing ideas, stories and experiences from around the world to inspire the sector on to even bigger and better things. Subscribe for free by leaving your details below and we'll send indoor cycling's hottest news direct to your inbox three times a year.

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