Visit a typical gym and you will encounter a highly standardised notion of what the human body should look like and how much it should weigh. This strictly controlled body ideal is spread across the world by large actors in the fitness industry.
A new study explores how the fitness industry in many ways resembles that of fast food. One of the authors is from the University of Gothenburg.
McDonaldisation of the gym culture is the theme of an article published in Sports, Education and Society, where Thomas Johansson, professor at the University of Gothenburg, together with Jesper Andreasson, senior lecturer at the Linnaeus University, have explored the development of the modern fitness concept. The study is partly based on interviews with personal trainers and group fitness instructors.
14 000 gyms across the world
With the example of the company Les Mills, established in New Zealand in the 1960s, the authors describe the emergence of a strictly regulated and globalised culture in the field of group fitness training. Les Mills – a giant in the fitness industry – operates based on a franchise model where permission to use the company’s programmes is sold across the whole world. Today, over 14 000 gym offer a Les Mills programme. The company is represented in over 80 countries, including Sweden, and caters to over four million fitness class participants every week.
Strictly regulated movements
‘Les Mills implies a standardised set of techniques that look basically the same in all forms of group fitness training. It’s really a business empire built around group fitness,’ says Johansson.
The concept consists of the company’s head trainer presenting strictly regulated movements, including which music should be played while they are performed. The instructions are updated every three months and then spread throughout the whole chain of certified Les Mills instructors. As a result, local instructors have a very marginal influence over the fitness classes they lead.
Limits utilisation of competence
‘This of course limits the individual instructors’ chances of tapping into their full competence, as they have no way of changing the movements, music or the way they give instructions. Their abilities are not fully utilised since they have to adhere so strictly to a pre-designed terminology and choreography. At the same time, individual gyms often promote the whole thing as a quality index,’ says Jesper Andreasson.
This summer, the authors will publish a book titled The Global Gym. Gender, Health and Pedagogies (Palgrave Macmillan).
Read the article Doing for Group Exercise What McDonald's Did for Hamburgers: Les Mills and the Fitness Professional as Global Traveler in Sports, Education and Society - http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13573322.2014.885432#.U1ZslyTJ4Xy
For more information:
Thomas Johansson, Department of Education, Communication and Learning, University of Gothenburg, email@example.com, +46 (0)31 786 2003
Jesper Andreasson, Department of Sport Science, Linnaeus University, firstname.lastname@example.org, +46 (0)702 585678
Torsten Arpi | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Loyola study reveals how HIV enters cell nucleus
23.06.2016 | Loyola University Health System
Updated DIfE – GERMAN DIABETES RISK TEST Optimized for Mobile Devices
22.06.2016 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke
High resolution rotational spectroscopy reveals an unprecedented number of conformations of an odorant molecule – a new world record!
In a recent publication in the journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter...
Strands of cow cartilage substitute for ink in a 3D bioprinting process that may one day create cartilage patches for worn out joints, according to a team of engineers. "Our goal is to create tissue that can be used to replace large amounts of worn out tissue or design patches," said Ibrahim T. Ozbolat, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics. "Those who have osteoarthritis in their joints suffer a lot. We need a new alternative treatment for this."
Cartilage is a good tissue to target for scale-up bioprinting because it is made up of only one cell type and has no blood vessels within the tissue. It is...
Physicists in Innsbruck have realized the first quantum simulation of lattice gauge theories, building a bridge between high-energy theory and atomic physics. In the journal Nature, Rainer Blatt‘s and Peter Zoller’s research teams describe how they simulated the creation of elementary particle pairs out of the vacuum by using a quantum computer.
Elementary particles are the fundamental buildings blocks of matter, and their properties are described by the Standard Model of particle physics. The...
A year and a half on the outer wall of the International Space Station ISS in altitude of 400 kilometers is a real challenge. Whether a primordial bacterium...
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have developed a way to swiftly and precisely control electron spins at room temperature.
09.06.2016 | Event News
24.05.2016 | Event News
20.05.2016 | Event News
27.06.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
27.06.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
27.06.2016 | Life Sciences