Historically, working out has been pretty straightforward. Put on your sneakers and go to the gym or for a run. Burn some calories. Improve your health or drop some pounds. Simple.
Yet today it is much more than that. Fitness is in vogue and it's becoming a multi-dimensional facet of life that goes way beyond burning calories and staying fit. Group fitness classes, boutique studios as well as road races and triathlons, have become cultural norms AND social and professional tools.
As properly coined by the New York Times ("For Real Sweat Equity" on Dec. 16, 2011), sweat-working is the new form of networking for busy professionals. Instead of wining and dining clients, professionals are now bringing their clients to a sweaty spin class or boxing session for some face time. (Once the endorphins are up, "YES" becomes the operative word.)
The sweat phenomenon is bigger than just networking though. As co-founder of FITiST.com, an online platform dedicated to revolutionizing the gym through one membership to all the best of the best boutique studios, we believe we are living in the world of "Sweat Everything."
Check out the newest ways to sweat:
Happy hour at the bar is now becoming happy hour at the "barre." Friends and colleagues are opting for a class pre-dinner instead of drinking their way to dinner. Working out with friends is an efficient means of getting your workout in, a great way to create accountability (are you really going to stand up your friend at that 6 p.m. class?) and an excellent way to get pumped up for a night out (or a night ordering take-out on the couch).
Many fitness studios are playing into this trend. Barry's Bootcamp now has a Saturday night dance party class, and indoor cycling studios are hosting both theme and pre-game rides in the evenings. Such classes are proving that you can work out and have fun too.
Couples who sweat together, stay together. At FITiST, we call it "sweat-hearting," and you can keep OR meet your sweetheart through fitness.
An example of this is the burgeoning trend of the "Singles Class." This past Valentine's Day, Soul Cycle hosted a singles ride where riders posted their twitter handles on their bikes for post-class rendezvous. In the age of online dating, what better way to meet your mate than through being active and doing something you both love? One who is fit and health conscious likely has more in common with someone he or she meets at the gym or at a race than at a bar. (I actually met my husband in an indoor cycling class.)
Now, for keeping your "sweatheart": Data shows that couples are more likely to stay together when they have similar interests and find extra-curricular activities together.  So, this weekend, go out for that run or take that boxing session together (good for getting out frustration, too) and then head to brunch. Also, research shows that physical fitness has a correlation with a healthy sex life (see: increased confidence, stamina, coordination, and flexibility!).
The gift of sweat is the perfect one-size-fits-all present that people love. Who needs another sweater? We saw a spike in sales during the holiday season, but, moreover, all year round we see customers "sweat-gifting" their loved ones for birthdays, new babies, bridal showers, and other important occasions. It's the gift of healthy, happy, and hot.
Millions of dollars have been raised by numerous charitable organizations through marathon and triathlon sponsorships throughout the years. This past year, Cycle for Survival, an indoor cycling event, raised over $8 million for research on rare cancers. Next time you commit to a race or event, be sure to put an important cause behind your sweat. With organizations like Crowdrise, doing so is super easy. Crowdrise actually allows you to start a fundraiser for any race or event you do.
So, in short, jump on the bandwagon and get SWEATING, any way you want.
 Crawford, D. W., Houts, R. M., Huston, T. L., & George, L. J. (2002). Compatibility, leisure, and satisfaction in marital relationships. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64, 433-449.
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