Trade in your cardio machines for bubble machines: Fitness is migrating from health clubs to nightclubs thanks to young professionals who are combining their exercise and social needs and attending "party workouts," group exercise classes hosted in nightclubs.
Glow sticks, laser lights, waitlists and DJs are par for the course at these classes where attendees sip on vitamin water shots or flutes of champagne. And they are gaining popularity, according to the The New York Times, which dubbed the trend the "gym and tonic" movement.
Although party workouts have primarily popped up in New York and are often run by niche fitness companies, at least one major industry player is cashing in on the trend. Zumba Fitness recently debuted the Zumba Nightclub Series, taught by celebrity Zumba instructor Gina Grant with music by DJ, rapper and producer Lil Jon, best known for his unique pronunciation of the words "What," "Okay" and "Yeah" (or his success on the "Celebrity Apprentice," depending on your pop culture tastes).
The sold-out tour started earlier this month in Boston before moving on to stops in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Queens, NY, with tickets selling for $35.
Although the series was a first, Zumba classes are actually already being hosted in nightclubs in many cities. Zumba even has a website where nightclub owners interested in hosting events can search for local instructors to teach classes.
The classes allow instructors to grow their business and for club owners to bring in customers outside of peak hours. But can health clubs benefit from offering nightclub classes?
Laser lights and thumping beats might not appeal to your group exercise audience, but it is something to consider if your club is trying to cater to Millennials. And although partnering with a local nightclub is one way to offer the classes, some clubs and studios have found success by offering a nightclub environment in their own facility for adult parties.
Others bring the nightclub environment to the studio all the time. At 305 Fitness, New York, every dance fitness class features a DJ who mixes music on the spot, and many feature other club elements such as strobe lights or body paint, says Sadie Kurzban, founder of 305 Fitness. The company also throws themed pop-up parties at locations such as nightclubs and penthouses.
Kurzban started the company last year after deciding dancing in a club was a fun alternative to working out in a traditional gym. Her clients, mostly women in their 20s and 30s, share her philosophy.
"I think there is just general a lack of enthusiasm about going to the gym," Kurzban says. "This is what they come to once or twice a week when they're bored of getting on the elliptical again."