Hands up who goes to the gym. Hands down if it's pay-per-use.
Bet that doesn't leave too many.
Gym-ing use to be a thing of commitment. I remember watching an episode of Friends (only if I'd brushed my teeth first - that was the deal) where Chandler tries to quit his gym membership and ends up extending it and adding Ross to the bill. Back then, gym-trap was a thing. The cliqued rush for cardio equipment in January was fierce, and by the time dry January wore off and everyone forgot their resolutions, users were already tied into a year contract.
Pay-as-you go gyms were the cheap, unspoken cousin to 'regular' gym packages. When I was at uni, there were two options for membership at the student gym on campus: normal (£70 a year. A YEAR!!) for anytime access or a much-lied-about £30 plus £1.20 per off-peak visit. I took the £30 option but then was faced with the decision of whether I wanted an extra dash and splash at Timepiece that night, or whether I wanted to spend that on the hamster wheel (aka treadmill. I was afraid of weights back then). The drink generally won, not because I'm a big drinker, but because it was the easy option and I didn't HAVE to attend to make the most of a membership.
Things changed when dedicated pay-to-train gyms emerged. Because now, they're fit AF. And there's a point to them.
Another Space in Soho has yoga, HIIT and boxing classes; the PT gym I train at (Duo Chelsea) is totally non-membership, and BXR just launched with a pay to train section downstairs. Of course the whole thing was arguably kicked-off when Barry's Bootcamp came over from the states, and places like BarreCORE have been going for years.
There's so much choice that there is literally no point in committing anymore. And that leaves classes full of people who really want to be there. I mean, you're unlikely to pay £20 for an hour class to then mess around or not push yourself. And through this there seems to be a greater sense of belonging. #Fitfam trends about once a week, and Chelsea's Lomax has a chalked-up leaderboard up the stairs. 1Rebel has something similar, but more like a hall of fame. I think. TBH I couldn't really see as I left the spinning room, so who knows.
So we're no longer a slave to the formal gym memberships. Hurrah. Will the decreased pressure help foundling relationships with the gym thrive? Or will we cheat on gym for bar and pub? Yikes.