Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Exercising at the Supermarket Might Soon Be a Thing

Supermarkets are trying to bust their way into the fitness sphere by offering classes where you grab your groceries. Convenient, or just plain crazy?

Stores like Athleta, Lululemon, and Reebok push their merchandise aside to host fitness classes for their customers. It might not seem weird to work out where you shop for your fitness gear, but is it weird to work out where you shop for your food?

Grocery stores have often included dry cleaners, banks, childcare centers, and other amenities to assist shoppers. And now they're jumping on the fitness craze by offering exercise classes inside their stores. Why? Traditional grocery stores are being edged out by discount stores and delivery services, according to the Wall Street Journal. More and more people are choosing sites like Amazon Fresh and FreshDirect to get groceries dropped straight at their door, or they're signing up for snack subscription boxes and ready-to-cook meal services like Blue Apron and Purple Carrot.

The idea? Make supermarkets a place where people want to spend time, rather than grab 'n' go with their groceries. It's something Jeff Turnas, president of 365 by Whole Foods, described to WSJ as a "hangout factor." While this means some stores include wine bars and cooking schools, for others it means fitness classes.

The ShopRite of Greater Morristown in New Jersey boasts a "shopping experience unlike any other," and has its own Health & Wellness Clubs, complete with both a resident registered dietitian and cosmetologist, and Zumba, barre, and yoga classes. Back in 2011, Whole Foods launched Wellness Centers in five different locations, offering fitness classes and nutrition counseling, while locations in communities around the country continue to offer fitness classes through partnerships with local gyms. In 2014, an Albany-based Hannaford Supermarket added a Healthy Living Center including a personal trainer, a registered dietitian, and a small gym equipped with cardio equipment, a Zumba room, and lockers available to the community for no extra cost.

These amenities might not yet be widespread, but keep an eye out for more grocery store fitness offerings near you, nestled between the kale and the baby spinach. The best part? Most of them are super affordable (if they cost anything at all). Supermarkets might just be the next budget-friendly way to get your sweat on.