THE WEEKLY HOWL ISN'T GETTING FINED ANYMORE

Breaking 2: Wired has a behind the scenes look at Nike’s attempt to break the 2 hour barrier in the marathon. Eliud Kipchoge came up just short (2:00:25) but it was an amazing effort from the Olympic Champion. There is a lot of talk about inspiring people to do things that may be considered impossible but you have to assume that Nike really wanted to promote its new Vaporware running shoes.

                To be clear, this was not a race. It was an event designed to maximize the performance of 3 runners chasing the 2 hour barrier. It was held on a race track in Italy in order to eliminate hills or turns i.e. any impediments to running fast. They used a rotating cast of pace setters, something not allowed in a race. And they had a pace car that drove at exactly 2 hour marathon pace. So even though this performance is over 2 minutes faster than the world record, it will not count as the official world record.

                I’m still waiting to be bombarded by the ad campaign. I’ve seen one ad so far but they weren’t pushing the shoes yet. I probably shouldn’t doubt the Nike marketing machine but I feel like the story right now is how Nike engineered the optimal running environment and what a tremendous runner Kipchoge is. As Spike Lee would say, it’s not the shoes.

It’s All About the Pull: Pact, formerly known as GymPact, is closing up shop. The app attempted to solve the workout motivation problem by fining people when they failed to workout. The underlying theory behind Pact is that humans are more motivated by loss aversion than anything else. In other words, we hate to lose something we already have more than we love to gain something new. In this case, you would be losing your hard-earned money when you skipped the gym.

                If this sounds like a negative approach to motivation, I agree. The key to motivation is pull, not push. If someone doesn’t want to work-out, then you need to give them a reason to get excited about going. You have to pull them there. Pact was just another way to push them there. Besides most people who belong to a gym are already losing money every day that they don’t workout. It’s called their monthly dues.

The airport gym:  Roam Fitness, which has already opened a location in the Baltimore airport, is looking to expand. Bloomberg did a piece on the company and discussed their business model:

“It has been attempted in the past, but in our minds just not very well-executed,” Manegold, who serves as Roam's president, said Wednesday in an interview. “A lot of people did a copy-and-paste of a street version of a gym. And that really doesn’t translate that well because of the economics involved.”

By economics, Manegold is referring to the unique costs associated with such an endeavor. There’s the steep outlay for equipment and facilities, including apparel, laundry, and shower accoutrements, plus the various higher expenses associated with operating in such a highly regulated environment, which Mangold said is roughly five times that of, say, a strip mall.

                I assume that by “street version of gym”, they are referring to the fact that they won’t be able to sell traditional memberships or personal training. So they’re charging $25 for a day pass which is pretty steep but probably doable for business travelers. If their operating expenses are 5X that of a traditional gym in a retail space, will $25 be enough to make money?

And third, the airport landlord must believe that the gym is part of a larger whole, helping to soothe harried travelers and boost spending elsewhere in the terminal. This is because, on a revenue-per-square-footage basis, an airport gym will never compete with a sit-down restaurant, Sandall said. And this may be the concept’s biggest problem.

                It seems like they’re were hinting that the airport will cut them some kind of break because an airport gym will attract high-spending travelers They never stated what that break would be but it seems like this may be another case of using fitness to attract affluent consumers.

Street Workout: CrossFit has a new competitor in the sports fitness space. Urban Fitness League is launching in 2018 and looking to professionalize the Street Workout here in the U.S. Street Workout is extreme calisthenics. Think muscle-ups, front and back levers, and human flags. It originated in Brooklyn but has now spread around the globe. UFL is attempting to bring a team format to the sport and has pulled in athletes like Stephon Marbury and David Ortiz to serve as team leaders. They held a World Cup event on July 4th on Coney Island as counter-programming to Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.

                Will this catch on? Who knows? CrossFit sucks up most of the oxygen in the room but I wouldn’t count out the appeal of Street Workout. CrossFit’s biggest weaknesses as a spectator sport is there is a lot of repetition and some of the movements are not understood by people who don’t participate in CrossFit themselves. Street Workout is watching people defy gravity. It will attract some eyeballs.

Ninjas: The Ninja Warrior format is headed Down Under. Australian Ninja Warrior is premiering this Sunday on Nine.

Nine's head of content, production and development Adrian Swift tells AdNews the network has been looking to bring over Ninja Warrior for five years, but felt now was the right time because the show “looks and feels different” to the seemingly endless stream of cooking and renovation formats on free-to-air.

Another reason Nine brought the concept to Australia is this country's growing obsession with fitness and the gym.

“I think what changed things was the rise and rise of crossfit; Tough Mudder and Spartan are already out there and I just think it's got a critical mass,” Swift says.

“What Ninja represents is this big, competitive version of crossfit and it's all of these things coming together that made us think the time is right.”


            Apparently, this guy has never heard of the CrossFit Games but whatever. I’m seeing more and more Ninja Warrior gyms pop up all over. I am absolutely fascinated watching Ninja Warrior cross over from a Japanese game show into a legitimate sport. The big question will be can the sport survive if the show ever goes off the air?

TidBits:

-There are slackline machines now

-CrossFit has started to announce events for the CrossFit Games next month

-Do you like old-school strongmen?