The changing face of the fitness industry

Posted on January 25, 2017


Kokodafit Team

With a multitude of models for fitness programs and memberships, the fitness world is overflowing with different options that weren’t available only a few years ago. From conventional gyms to online coaching, the face of the fitness industry is not only changing at a drastic pace, but it’s growing at high speeds as well. At Kokoda, we are continually examining the fitness industry as a whole in order to learn what works and what doesn’t. Today we’re going to share breakdowns of some fitness options that are available to help make it easier to choose a program that works best for you.

Online Fitness Programs/Coaching

Doing things online seems to be the trend these days. With websites like, we can see why. Online programs are extremely convenient, offering access to fitness programing and nutrition from the privacy of your own home. And if you’re just starting out, it can be a cost effective way to be introduced to the world of fitness.

So why isn’t this the “home” run of fitness? First of all, equipment doesn’t come with these online gym packages, so you’ll need to pay extra or bring your own equipment to do these virtual workouts. On top of that, there is no way of being held accountable or being corrected in the moment. No one is watching you, no one is there for guidance, and no one is there to motivate you into action other than you. Business Insider just released an article that talks about a study that shows people watch Netflix more than they hang out with their friends, exercise, and read…combined!  So, if getting and staying motivated isn’t a strong point for you to start with, online classes may not be the way to go.

Conventional Gyms

Regular gyms like Crunch guarantee you access to a large space with lots of great equipment. And for the most part, memberships can be attained for a low fee. The big catch here though is that you get what you pay for, and even if you’re not going in and getting it…you’re still paying for it. These gyms use pricing models that count on you not attending the gym! Thats right they don’t actually want you to attend and they bank on you keeping your membership going anyway because the amount is so low. Check out this article from the Washington post. Are you starting to smell that sweaty feet smell too? Spaces like this generally offer no trainer for direction or advice, unless you’re ready to pay extra for a personal training session, so hopefully you already know what you’re doing.

Don’t get us wrong, if you’re looking for an efficient option where your focus is on access to gym equipment, this may be a great and affordable choice. Just keep in mind, most members of conventional gyms will have this same mindset, creating an atmosphere that has no sense of real community or encouragement except for maybe the odd “high school head-nod”. If you choose the regular gym route, for the most part you’re embracing the solo gym rat route.

Boutique / Specialty Gyms

SoulCycle is a great example of a specialty gym. Many boutique gyms offer innovative styles of fitness including dance, yoga, pilates, crossfit, etc. They are able to bring a community of people together by honing in on something more unique. These places tend to employ instructors that push boundaries to keep their members motivated in a positive and friendly environment. Having a sense of community is important to us at Kokoda, and we love how some of these focused gyms have brought people together.

If you love biking, SoulCycle might just become your soul sister. However if you like to change up your workouts, consider choosing a program that mixes it up a bit more as these gyms have a tendency to stick to only one specific training style. At Kokoda, we keep things fresh with a multitude of different training styles from strength training to function fitness and more.

One other thing to be wary about is price and popularity with these types of gyms. What’s on trend brings in large crowds. Something like Barry’s Bootcamp may reach up to 65 attendees all led by only one instructor, whereas a gym like Kokoda has a maximum 14 to 1 attendee/instructor ratio and we keep it that way for many reasons. Also because these specialized studios are high in demand, memberships can come with a hefty price tag you will great a workout but so will your credit card.

Third Party Fitness Options

Somewhat new to the game are third party fitness options like ClassPass and ZenRez. Though both are similar, they have somewhat different working models so let’s look at each platform on their own.

ClassPass offers access to multiple gyms and studios across one area for a single membership price. Some of these classes can be expensive to purchase individually, so being able to incorporate the more expensive studios into one ClassPass membership fee is pretty nice. On top of that, just as ClassPass introduces members to a variety of different gyms and studios, the fitness companies in turn get exposure to clientele they might not have been exposed to otherwise.

Variety in your workout can be great, but it has its downfalls as well. ClassPass’ unlimited membership still limits a member to three visits per studio in a month, so even if you really like a workout you can’t keep coming back unless you want to pay extra. This can be a bummer if you find a favorite studio but are already paying for a ClassPass membership. In being forced to roam around between programs, it becomes difficult for members to follow an effective training schedule that produces actual results. You may find your self with sore legs after a Spin class and then fall in to a legs day for your next studio visit because they’re programing doesn’t align with the other studio.

Because Classpass requires its own membership from their customers, they are actually directly competing with the businesses they use for their buffet-style fitness model. This can also cheapen the fitness trainer industry and give consumers an unrealistic idea of what fitness classes should cost. In New York Times Article, “Is ClassPass Still Worth It?” the article states, “No matter how many specials are offered, running a studio is expensive, and customers will always want to spend less money. We all do.

Now let’s take a look at Zenrez, another third party fitness option similar to ClassPass but fundamentally very different. Zenrez provides last minute deals using available spots in classes for the following day only. This helps gyms and studios fill spots that would have otherwise been left empty while still helping customers snag affordable last minute deals on workouts.

With an algorithm that calculates the best possible price available at time of sale for both gym/studio and consumer, Zenrez is offering a service that benefits both parties. And unlike ClassPass, Zenrez does not require a membership, which means they aren’t actively competing with the gyms that are participating on their platform. This leaves customers to shop for affordable last minute workouts without taking away value from gyms or studios.  Feel free to check them out at Zenrez


Now that some of the fitness options out there have been broken down, it’s time to ask yourself what your needs are. Most fitness programs worth your time aren’t free, so it’s important to know what it is you value most. After all, you get what you pay for. So take a step back and keep these questions in mind:

  • Is the fitness program effective? Am I feeling or seeing results?
  • Do I want to go? Is it enjoyable, fun, and sometimes hurts so good? Or do you dread going and it feels like a chore?
  • Does it promote community among its members? Do I feel like they promote encouragement and support for one another? Is my trainer passionate about his or her work?
  • Does the trainer/student ratio fit the price? The trainer may be good, but am I getting the attention I need for the money I’m paying?
  • What am I getting for my money? Equipment? Seminars? A trainer’s attention to your form? A Motivated and inclusive community? Acces to different training styles?
  • Is it convenient? Does it work with your lifestyle, location and schedule?

At Kokoda we invite you to ask these questions just as we are constantly asking these questions about our own program. As the face of the fitness industry changes, we study it and adapt to make sure we are as well-rounded, innovative, and accessible as possible. Offering a variety of outdoor workouts at East Beach, San Francisco and Lake Merritt, Oakland, with our small class sizes we are able to give you the personal attention that everyone putting in their time and effort deserves. We have fun, but we get results here at Kokoda, and we work hard to be a sound fitness option for anyone looking for a fitness program in the Bay Area.

Come outside and share our love for all things fitness.

See you soon,

The Kokoda Team