We've recently been asked this question more frequently. Some by members, some by other gym owners.
We believe we've been asked because
we've drastically changed the way that we've run our own operations in the last 2 years
like the lifecycle of any industry, things are constantly changing & this industry is ripe for change.
It's ripe for change because "what got you here won't get you where you need to go". That's a nice way of saying that "anything works until it doesn't". What we are seeing is that any entry point for anyone into regular exercise is great.
There isn't any meta-research we can find that says you have to exercise a certain number of days a week and there isn't any consistent message that says that you have to participate in ______ type of exercise in order to get in shape.
If that's true, then one might find initial progress in any group format (and there are ALOT out there now), with any type of exercise, but very quickly (which is different for everyone), it WILL stop working.
It will stop working for two reasons.
One, as your training age* advances, you will demand greater levels of specificity in order to continue to progress. We could use all kinds of analogies here, but as you get more reps on your body, there will be movements that don't need to be included, there will certain types of fitness that don't mean as much to you, and throughout your life, your goals will continually change. (Not to mention the fact that you won't feel great doing all types of exercise**.)
The second reason is that there is only so much influence that exercise has on our gene expression, on our metabolism and on our overall well-being. At some point you will have to focus on other aspects of health and fitness and those are:
This pyramid you see isn't from the W.H.O., we just made it up, but hopefully it provides a nice visual for what it really means to be FIT. Exercising regularly is not easy, but it's not as hard as eating right for your body type and activity level. You know what's harder than putting the right things in your body? Cognitively training to live with purpose, resiliency and autonomy!
So, where fitness is going is
harnessing all the great things we've learned over the last 15 years (positive socialization that happens in groups, high level movement coaching and balanced program design) and
COMBINING that with customizing and including what you need and none of the junk you don't.
[*that means we can look at ourselves as babies or senior citizens when it comes to the years of exposure to training that we have. You could be 25 and have 15 years of training experience or you could be 60 and still be a baby when it comes to exercise!]
[**there is some emerging research pairing neurotransmitter dominance and exercise type - this means that there are those of us that are 'wired' to lift heavy or buffer lactate or enjoy endurance based activities and therefore be deficient in other type exercise - neurologically]