Last week I wrote about Fitness Racing and its drive to be recognised to form a governing body to be representative of a sport and be the Fitness Racing Federation.
I do think this is a necessary step in the evolution of fitness. Having witnessed the event at Bath and the atmosphere created there its almost a necessity.
However there are boundaries that need to be mentioned at this point and something that sets the differences between World Gym Challenge and what happens in Fitness Racing.
World Gym Challenge fundamental call for a sport, was centred around Equal Fitness Racing (EFR) that is the pre determined time of a fitness event for the individual taking place and then matched against somebody with the same (or close as possible ) time frame for completion. In this way, no matter what level of fitness you are, you are guaranteed and absolute fair and equal race, that has no boundaries in physical ability.
Its very important for the future of fitness racing to see the differences in both structures and the reason for this blog. So when the mist starts to fall with similar views, the boundaries have been mentioned and there is no call for blurred lines to cause confusion.
Where the Fitness Industry is and where Fitness Racing is.
Although WGC has been around since 2006 , the reality of what it envisaged then as a sport , has not materialised. In fact its fair to say that the Industry never in any format supported the need of a sport for gyms. That is essentially , members of gyms, competing in a fitness challenge against other gym members from other gyms to be the basis of a sport. And yet Fitness Racing has seen a positive growth in its infancy to produce a strategic and current plan to increase its format into a legitimate sport, in a relative short period of time.
Why is the reason for this ?
It’s the hardest question to answer, because the theory has always stood the test of time. What is needed for a sport to exist ? Members, equipment and venues. That has not changed and will not change, in fact it will only increase. Its the Fitness Industry itself that is the problem. The gyms are a financial source for revenue. That is their priority and a sport that centres on another source of income, a sport is just not needed because the current format works so well. That is why CrossFit had to form outside of gyms and create their own rules, because the existing infrastructure simply would not allow it to grow within their boundries.
The reality of growth
Unless your head has been buried so far in the sand that you are breaching the sands of Bondi Beach , you must have noticed how successful the model of CrossFit has been over the last ten years. The model works , so what is the Fitness Industry afraid of ?
Gyms just do not deliver on their promises of fitness
There is currently no benchmarking system on improvement in fitness in the Fitness Industry. Or none that I am aware of. So thats not to say that there are none out there, just that out of the 6 , 728 gyms , and the 9.7 million members (1 in 7) and a total value of £4.7 bn , not one gym will entertain the fact of challenging another gym to a fitness challenge, using the equipment they all have in their establishments. To put this in context this is like out of the 7000 football teams estimated in the UK, they would only play football amongst themselves, not other teams. They would never know just how good they were. Or in this case how fit they have become.
So at some stage the question has to be asked, how good am I ? Have I improved in fitness since I have joined this gym? And how do I find the answer? And the only logical answer I have ever come up with is to form a sport that records the information , has a governing body and has an infrastructure in place to over see its future growth. Fitness Racing Federation is certainly needed, but with an Industry with £4.7 bn and expected to increase to £5 bn in 2020 is it needed? The current format works in generating income, what it doesn’t do is deliver on the improvement in fitness with year on year statistics. And the only way I can see this happening, is by creating a sport for gyms, thats starts at school and continues into adult life.