Responding to the Way Millennials Work Out

Responding to the Way Millennials Work Out

By Sara Perry
Published On Oct 30, 2014

An article this year from, talks about the unique ways the millennial generation views their workouts. As a millennial fitness junkie myself, I can relate; it’s no longer simply about heading to the gym to do a few bicep curls. The millennial workout is more connected and more experiential than ever before.

What makes the millennial workout different?

Millennials, more than any other generation, value meaning and experience in their fitness routine. The number of “experience” races has exploded as millennials now have the spending power to attend these types of events on a regular basis. Obstacle runs (Tough Mudder, Spartan), color runs (The Color Run, Color Me Rad), and even blacklight runs are everywhere. The reason? We want to combine our fitness routine with an experience that will last forever.

Millennials are connected. The growth of fitness wearable devices and fitness-related apps speaks to this trend. Sharing fitness progress and even the types of activities is motivating and says something about who we are. We’ve grown up with social media and we feel comfortable, even energized by sharing our fitness activities online.

Millennials value quick workouts. Heard of T25? It’s a new workout from the makers of Insanity. It takes an intense workout and condenses it into fast paced 25 minutes. Les Mills is in the action with a quick HIIT workout series, Grit. CrossFit workouts are often over in less than 30 intense minutes. Why? Millennials want the same results but don’t want to spend forever in a gym. We are connected at all times to so many things (our work and our families to name a few) that quick routines are extremely important.

What does this mean for member-based nonprofits like YMCAs, JCCs and community centers?

Think about what you can do to facilitate these trends. Can you offer smaller, more intense group exercise classes to mimic the feel of an elite training gym? Can you help your members stay connected to your facility whether they are working out on a treadmill or training outside for an obstacle race? If your members can track their progress both inside and outside your facility with a wellness engagement app, it goes a long way towards keeping them engaged with your association.

Finally, work to help your members understand the mission of your organization. Working out at a YMCA or JCC is a way to connect with the community on a bigger level. Connecting millennials to the greater nonprofit mission is a way to foster the sense of meaning millennials crave in their fitness routine.

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