The recently filed class-action lawsuit against the indoor cycling chain SoulCycle for allegedly violating California and New York wage laws could have a huge impact on the health and fitness industry. We're fascinated by it and are watching to see how it progresses. The complaint, filed by a former SoulCycle instructor, claims that SoulCycle instructors - who are paid only for the classes they teach - are "required to work above and beyond the time instructing a class." Their duties include training, preparation, communication with customers, meetings, special-event classes and assisting with marketing.employee vs. contractor thing is already a hot issue between the IRS and health clubs, and it would only get worse as more clubs protected themselves by converting employees into contractors. Instructors and trainers would have to show up, teach and leave. There would be no worries about additional duties, because contractors are in business for themselves. The other option for club owners would be to accommodate this notion of paying for everything. Everyone would have a low hourly wage and get paid, say, an extra half-hour to prep and an extra half-hour to schmooze with members. But they'd take home exactly the same amount of money, if not less. Superstar instructors wouldn't like it, nor would personal trainers who get paid on a percentage of the revenue they generate. We don't know what SoulCycle pays, but our guess is that they pay in line or better than their competitors. Their facilities are high-end and exclusive. Their classes and their instructors are highly regarded. We imagine that most of their instructors feel like fitness rock stars. This lawsuit could force them to be treated like everybody else. That wouldn't be good for SoulCycle's instructors. And it wouldn't be good for our industry.
- by Rob Bishop and Barry Klein
- May 2013
Whether 2014 is indeed the "year of the wearable" as predicted at International CES remains to be seen, but there's no doubt that the ability to capture data about lifestyle and exercise habits is significantly impacting the way people work out — and there's still a great deal of potential to be realized. "When people engage with tech, they're beginning to expect that something is being captured about that experience," says David Flynt, director of Precor's Experience Development Center. "Today's wearables are really great at capture. What we want to be able to do is reflect back to them something that is able to give them control over that data. We're looking at how to help them understand what that data means."read more
Not every kid likes to play sports. For the athletically disinclined, a game of gym class dodgeball or basketball can be an anxiety-inducing experience. In fact, a recent study by researchers at Brigham Young University found that kids who were ridiculed in gym class (by peers and teachers) were less likely to engage in physical activity one year later — not good news for a nation facing an obesity and sedentary-lifestyle epidemic.read more