Gone are the days when you had to decide between being social and staying on top of your workout routine. We’ve already seen business meetings transition into the fitness room and now everything from dating to cocktail sipping has migrated with the opening of wellness social clubs, workout-based dating apps and fitness-based vacations.
“There’s an obvious cultural shift going on right now; people are thinking and talking healthier and boutique fitness concepts and juice shops are popping up on every corner,” explains Wellvyl’s founder and CEO Christopher Krietchman. “Wellvyl came about as I saw gyms and other fitness and wellness environments filled with these like-minded people yet not catering to the most basic human need, social connectivity. On the other hand, nightclubs were catering to another certain type of clientele. We said, let’s mash things up! We’re creating networks and influencing people to adopt a healthier way to socialize.”
Krietchman goes on to note that the wellness scene has gone from one dominant archetype to a multi-segment market. “It’s no longer just the bulky guy lifting in the gym or the hippie folk doing juice cleanses. The urban crowd caught on and now people are becoming savvier in regards to their health and the industry is evolving in response.”
For some, the boutique fitness scene has become the new after-work drinks and has even infiltrated vacation time with the rise of yoga and workout retreats. A growing number of popular wellness instructors are hosting consistently sold-out fitness-themed vacations for as long as two weeks and in places as far-flung as Israel where, for example, celebrity trainer Niv Zinder will be hosting a 10-day Holy Fit experience. Mixing workouts with relaxation, tourist attractions and socializing these getaways are a perfect way to detox and retox. If you can’t jet off to Israel or Costa Rica, Wellvyl is capitalizing on the aforementioned desire to connect via wellness by curating social experiences for people to meet and mingle while engaging in a health-oriented activity. Its events so far have included art meditation, speakeasy boxing, yoga for better sex workshops, healthy cooking classes, and health and wellness hangout dance parties.
Also getting in on the trend is The Aerie Collective, which was founded by Laura Sniderman and twin sisters Claire and Elle Bourgeois. The trio met at McGill University where, feeling burnt out by their library lives, they would escape to a cabin in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada. “It was here that we created our own ‘mini retreats,’ spending our days exploring diverse wellness practices, including dance, meditation, yoga, art, music and nutrition. Every time we left this dreamy cabin, we found ourselves asking why this retreat experience had to be confined to a space outside of daily life,” explains Elle Bourgeois.
This was the spark that ignited the first Urban Retreat. “Not everyone can press pause in their daily life and dive into an out-of-town retreat and they shouldn’t have to. We stand behind the idea that you can integrate the community and peace of mind that you find on wellness getaways into your every day.” The group now hosts regular events at Brooklyn’s trendy Wythe Hotel and in Toronto where events include mindful brunches.
Serene, another popular player, started with rooftop yoga and from there branched out with pop-ups like poolside meditation and dinners and talks at chic spots, such as The James New York and The Standard hotel in Los Angeles. It’s already expanded from New York City and Los Angeles to London and now regularly offers larger pop-ups like a NYFW wellness takeover with Bandier.
Curious to try an event, but don’t want to head over alone? There’s an app for that! Sweatt is a new dating app for the fitness community developed by Dan Ilani. Ilani says he came up with the idea for the app after realizing that it takes the same qualities to build a great relationship as it does to lead an active lifestyle: “Commitment, dedication and the motivation to work hard to achieve your goals. People have developed this love/hate relationship with dating apps because, while they are a great platform to connect, they are also filled with people who aren’t serious and just aren’t good matches. Instead of making life easier, they often feel like they create more disappointment. Sweatt solves that problem by bringing together a community of like-minded people.” While it launched earlier this year exclusively in New York, Sweatt will soon be available in a number of other cities including Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Love and health…seems like a winning combination to us.