In the 1980’s we started seeing more and more neighborhood gyms. They were typically all about body building, owned by someone who was a body builder themselves and they were frequented mostly by young men. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career was just beginning. The appearance of these gyms itself is a result of the industrial revolution: having freed ourselves from having to work with our bodies we turned to stressing our muscles in controlled settings as a sport.
In the last couple of decades we witnessed the disappearance of these body building gyms and saw them being replaced by large fitness club chains. These are more than just about body building and are joined by young and old as well as by men and women. If the old body building gym turned a body builder into a small business owner and had young men as a clientele these fitness clubs are now a non-negligible job creator: fitness and nutrition experts, personal trainers and the like. Moreover they contribute to the physical health of their clientele who are now mostly holding clerical jobs.
In the last couple of years strolling around in Cologne you will now see an increasing number of boutique fitness clubs. After fitness left the neighborhood for the chain store fitness club it now returns to the neighborhood revisiting and refining the concept. You can have 20 minutes sessions with a maximum of 4-5 other people under the supervision of an (almost) personal trainer. You can almost go from your living room to the gym in under one minute.
In reference to the discussion of whether or not there will be anything for humans to do when “machines or robots take over” this vignette says that the answer is emphatically that the market for humans will continue to exist even if we end up giving massages to each other.