Interaction and Relational Codes
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“Become a member of a club”, urges the brochure of a major British fitness chain for the 2007 annual joining campaign. The list of benefits provided by membership includes fitness classes, spas, pools, massage services, bars and the “improvement of social life”. The concept of a “club”, which is increasingly associated with commercial fitness gyms, certainly suggests intense sociability as a key element of the institution. Indeed, as the notion of the fitness centre consolidated, gyms increasingly presented themselves as sociable places, where one can meet people and spend some pleasurable time with others. As noticed by Nick Crossley (2006), with membership figures above 10 per cent of the population, “fitness gyms are a significant form of association in contemporary society”. Crossley’s work on fitness training, based on his own participation in a club belonging to a major UK fitness chain, stresses the role of social relations and networks among clients, especially regular, long-term gym-goers. For Crossley, much of the success of a gym has to do with the development of a proper club atmosphere, which provides vital relational incentives to clients. Crossley recognises that social networks are important mainly for enthusiastic gym-goers who attend at regular times and focuses his analysis on evening attendance at circuit-training classes. As he suggests, clients who tend to “make a night” of their gym attendance, spending a few evening hours in their club weekly, will also tend to look for a full leisure experience that may start with training together and end with a late beer in the pub.
KeywordsExercise Adherence Personal Trainer Relational Code Leisure Pursuit Personal Training
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