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AB-Normal Fitness: Gyms going south, while non-traditional fitness is finding a larger market

The days of joining a gym are slowly coming to an end.
That's not to suggest that the American population isn't still interested in leading healthier lives or seeking out shelter from fatty foods and a lack of physical activity.
In fact, the population, despite our astronomical numbers as far as those overweight or clinically obese, actually are at the very least trying to lose weight and keep it off, not to mention incorporating a better eating plan in the process.
Sodahead.com, in conjunction with Timex, released some eye-opening statistics in regard to exercise in the United States. Although previous numbers show that less that 15% of the population belongs to a health club, Timex tells a different story: almost 30% try to incorporate physical activity at least once a week.
If nothing else, that's at least a start and a push in the right direction. The difference in percentages between the 15% (health club crowd) and 30% (one-day a week warriors) suggests that perhaps the gym is no longer the salvation it once was as far as exercise goes -- at least not by itself.

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Gyms and health clubs have their place but specific technology puts the broadness of buying a gym membership on the back-burner in place of specialized training that goes above a tepid treadmill or the intimidation of lifting weights.
The smart phone and tablet generation speaks volumes as far as fitness goes and actually serves a purpose higher than YouTube videos, Netflix and checking sports scores or weather in an instant. Plenty of applications available help promote and maintain a healthier existence, perhaps none as renowned as RunKeeper, MyFitnessPal or any number of the ones that meticulously count calories.
As far as the exercise or fitness regimen itself, yes, there's an app for that, too.
Take for instance CoachUp, which is a remarkable endeavor into not only finding specific training for adults but also can reach the realm of kids' sports. CoachUp allows users to search for a trainer or sports-specific coach based on a number of criteria, including the sport itself, location of the facility and price.
The convenience of CoachUp is just getting started: it can actually allow you to maintain contact, message and book appointments with your coach, once you've established an initial meeting and rapport. Furthermore, the CoachUp app shoots you reminders so that skipping a workout or training session is a thing of the past and offers assistance for parents on how to determine if or when your child needs a private, one-on-one coach as opposed to only team-oriented training.
Distinctive training supersedes -- as far as results go -- a run-of-the-mill session at the gym, whether you walk around aimlessly and continually do the same workouts over and over again. That's why CrossFit, marathon running of all distances and obstacle course racing have experienced a superb surge in popularity.
Simply put, the population no longer has a propensity for fulfilling or searching out the norm.
Even beginners who are hundreds of pounds overweight can aspire to compete in long distance races. Races not only destroy the stereotype that fitness has to be within four walls but is enjoyable and fun -- two essential attributes to keep exercisers motivated and engaged for the long term.
And isn't that the goal of fitness in the first place -- to cultivate a lifestyle change for good as opposed to a short-term fix or proclamation of exercise that typically lands flat on its face?
Obstacle-course races, fitness apps and out-of-the-box thinking certainly puts the paltry, pedestrian gyms on notice that their days are numbered.

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