The Millennial Work Out

Posted by: Jeff Fromm

If you think the best place to find a Millennial is at the gym, think again.  Millennials are redefining what personal fitness means and are moving away from traditional gym membership plans.  Millennials are an active generation that values experiences over stories.  The drive for adventure and excitement is pushing Millennials towards new forms of fitness instead of the traditional routine of going to the gym.  Obstacle races, marathons and smartphone fitness apps have taken over the market and are connecting with Millennials through a new form of communication that has never before been used in the fitness industry.

Millennials are reacting positively to this new wave of personal fitness because it aligns with key Millennial values – the communal mindset and an active lifestyle.  Millennials are an on-the-go generation and are loyal to brands that can keep up with them and adapt to their multitasking way of life.

 Community is key

5994451568_9fb8ffa4f1_nAs we have seen through various studies, Millennials value a communal environment.  Social settings are no longer reserved for happy hour and dinner parties.  Instead, Millennials are taking their desire to be social into the fitness arena.  Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association’s annual report found that Millennials are more likely to partake in physical activity that is more focused on togetherness instead of competition.  In 2011, Millennial participation in cycling and aerobics (usually done in groups) rose by 30 percent and 20 percent respectively.  For Millennials, group fitness creates an environment where everyone helps to push each other to be their best instead of competing for a victory.

Keep it active

Millennials are commonly referred to as stimulation junkies.  As a result of being raised in the digital age, Millennials have been surrounded by technological advancements that have made multitasking a part of daily life.  Even in a traditional gym setting, you will find Millennials running on the treadmill, while listening to music, while watching TV, while scrolling through their Twitter feed.  Doing just one thing at a time is not enough for Generation Y.  Work out regimens that encourage Millennials to switch exercises every few minutes or incorporate high-level cardio like zumba are becoming increasingly more popular.


Brands like FitBit and Nike have completely adapted to this new Millennial fitness trend.  By creating smart phone apps that incorporate both the communal mindset and active lifestyle of Millennials, these two brands are coming in strong within the Millennial demographic.  Both the Nike Fuel Band and the FitBit have devices that monitor steps, heart rate and caloric intake that are recorded on the corresponding smartphone app.  Millennials are able to keep track of and share their progress with friends at any point in the day.   This incorporation of social media with physical activity is the future for the personal fitness industry and Millennials are at the starting line leading this new trend.

Leah Swartz contributed to this post.

Photo credit: Flickr via  Paul-W,  A&A Photography Services & servantofchaos

About Jeff Fromm

Although not a Millennial as defined by his age, Jeff Fromm is the Millennial Marketing Guy. Jeff is President of FutureCast, a marketing consultancy that specializes in Millennial trends, and is a contributing writer at...See Jeff's full bio.