Gym fitness at 50 plus

Posted: March 8, 2014 in Fitness, General, Musings

I came across a couple of websites that caught my eye while meandering across the interwebs.

Fit After 50 and Fitness After 50.

My first thought – Only in America…

But that’s probably a bit unfair. The idea of having a gym with a minimum age limit of 50?  The demographics make sense, the 50-65 age group tend to have a bit more disposable income and at a complete guess I’d expect them to be a bit less demanding to deal with when it comes to fitness. On the surface both the organisations I’ve noted seem pretty similar except the first is a stand alone business and the second is a franchising opportunity.

I’m slightly uncomfortable with the marketing behind these organisations, yet at the same time can’t help but think they may just have hit a good idea. A lot of the focus seems to be on potential customers fears:

  • Apprehensive because you didn’t know how to use equipment or properly perform exercises?

  • Overwhelmed in the gym without expert guidance and personal attention?

or :

  • The Welcyon exercise machines are ideally suited for aging adults, including those with health issues.

  • To minimize the risk of injuries, Welcyon is equipped with machines that provide stable, controlled, objective, and reproducible exercises.

They both seem to pick on the potential customers’ fears or lack of confidence. I know I’m not quite over the 50 mark yet but I don’t want to be choosing my fitness options on the basis of which one I’m less scared of. But there are others out there who feel differently, I’ve certainly seen enough people in gyms moving timidly from exercise machine to exercise machine clearly not confident in their abilities and clearly too shy to ask anyone for help. So a gym that provides a safe environment for that kind of person to be confident in, is that such a bad thing? Looking at  it like that it doesn’t sound unreasonable.

Both set ups offer group involvement. Fit After 50 has a wide array of classes and Fitness After 50 promotes its lounge area for sharing a coffee or a game of cards after a – well it doesn’t really say after an anything. Just that it has an area to socialise in. To me it sounds a bit like an old folks home at this point.

The Welcyon site has a photo tour of the gym and describes it as smaller and more intimate than a normal gym. The pictures don’t fill me with confidence, the clientele look a good bit older than in their 50’s. Or perhaps they just had tough paper rounds when they were kids. Lots of machines and no pictures of free weights.

Fit After 50 doesn’t have a photo tour, but at least there’s a picture of someone using some dumb bells (albeit very small ones). One thing that amused me was at the About You section you get to rate your fitness level – beginner or intermediate. No other options. I think that sums up where they see their client base coming from. It’s not over 50s who are training regularly and already in good shape, but those who aren’t at that level and without the self-confidence to go to a mainstream gym and train there.

One thing missing from both sites were any details of costs, there is talk of plans and of course its the usual ‘contact us for pricing information’. So I can’t give detail on what they charge. I suspect it will be above the usual costs for a standard gym as the marketing focus is on what they offer that regular gyms don’t and not about cheap prices. If you want a comfy area where you don’t need to worry about your personal fears, that is bound to cost extra. They are targeting a niche market and its unlikely they do that on the cheap side.

I can’t blame them for what they do, business is business and all that. But for me, I think I want to ensure I’m still looking for a box well above ‘intermediate’ when it comes to assessing my fitness rate in years to come. Neither of these locations do anything for me other than fill me full of fear! All I see is ‘attempts at fitness for old people before you die’ – that’s not what I’m looking for. Instead of living a younger life, that is living an older life. Count me out.

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