Sweat Concierge - a fitness review website based in the US - is bringing its popular sweat crawl to London this autumn and it looks set to become the next big thing for the capital’s fitness fanatics.
What is a Sweat Crawl?
A sweat crawl is both similar to a pub crawl and yet - at the same time - absolutely nothing like one. It’s a morning, afternoon or evening spent boutique gym hopping and instead of shots you do classes. Made up of three thirty minute sessions, it’s one social event that shouldn’t leave you with a mouldy hangover the next morning.
The popularity of Sweat Crawling has grown rapidly in the US. Tori Scott is Sweat Concierge’s founder and she says initially they had just 30 participants but now they’re selling out with 450 people per event.
We found this schedule for a crawl in Philadelphia which should give an idea of what the London events might look like, but, whilst the format is often the same, the classes can vary crawl-to-crawl.
1:30-2 p.m. – HIIT cardio (spin and treadmill class)
2:10-2:40 p.m. – Functional strength training (TRX and weights)
3-3:30 p.m. – Yoga
The focus isn’t only on fitness but on a social element that you’d typically associate with group sports; it’s ideal, therefore, for team players or those who prefer to sweat alongside others rather than plug away in the gym alone. And it’s clear to see from the Sweat Concierge social media feeds that the events are very much part of the millennial aesthetic: insta-worthy workouts designed to be aspirational, intense but fun and primarily aimed at women.
Maybe they’re onto something.
Week-on-week, motivation isn’t an endless resource and whatever encourages people to lace up their trainers and get a sweat on is no bad thing, no matter how avocado-on-toast, belts braces and beards in Hoxton it might sound to some.
And it’s easy to be cynical.
Commentators on the Guardian article we reference below accuse millennials as being image-obsessed, and it’s certainly the popular thing for older generations to say about anyone under 35 with a smartphone, but the Sweat Crawl isn’t really aimed at middle-aged cynical Guardian readers so that’s okay.
In a post for City Lab, Tanvi Misra wrote that when she attended the Washington D.C crawl she noticed that there seemed to be a lack of diversity amongst participants. When she spoke to Tori about this, the founder agreed that typically it attracted 25-35-year-olds who are somewhat affluent and white. She went on to explain that it wouldn’t make sense to make the crawl cheaper as the whole point was that people will (hopefully) go back and pay for classes.
The Philadelphia schedule that we shared earlier cost $40 which is around about £31. It’s not unreasonable, but you can see how it would be a challenge to those on lower incomes, and you can almost certainly expect that the London Sweat Crawl will come at a premium.
It’s easy to see why something like this could catch on in the UK. Millennials don’t appear to be as interested in binge-drinking and boozing as previous generations. Environmentalism, veganism, fitness and well being aren’t as derided as they were a decade or more ago. But this goes beyond Millennials versus everyone else. Many people are changing their habits, and perhaps it’s naive to think that the traditional gym and aerobics-in-a-church-hall are enough to satisfy everyone.
A report published last year by Event Bright and entitled: Brighter Futures: Challenging perceptions of Millennials, found that the average millennial drank fewer than five units of alcohol per week. The Independent suggests that it’s never been ‘cooler’ to be healthier. Health and fitness Influencers on Instagram have a huge amount of say on what’s hot and what’s not, and right now people, younger people, in particular, are buying into the lifestyles (and products) they’re selling. That the Sweat Crawl fits so well into all of this is probably what’s made it so successful.
But this doesn’t mean that people are dulling down. People still want their kicks, their socialisation and memorable days and nights out but fewer may want the hangover and beer belly.
The key element to the sweat crawl is the boutique gym: these small gyms tend to have a more personalised approach to fitness with niche workouts and specialist instructors. Unsurprisingly, they do tend to be a little pricier than your average high street gym.
In an article for the Guardian, one journalist wrote about her own experience of visiting a boutique gym in Sheffield, saying that it had all the feeling of a big night out: the loud music, the flashing lights and movement, the social element and the increased heart rate but she was in a HIIT class, not a club. There was no hangover the next morning, and we’re assuming she didn’t chow through a carton of cheesy-fries from a dubious Chinese chippy on the way home, either. She did say there was a glass of prosecco waiting for them when they’d finished.
What the sweat crawl does well is change-up your exercise routine. If you’re guilty of hitting up the same muscle groups or pounding away on the same cardio machines each session, then this could be a great way to take the strain off overused body parts, give your brain a break and have a little fun, and you never know you just might fall in love with something you’ve never tried before.
If you do end up doing the event in London, then we’d love to know how it went and whether or not you think it’s worth the hype and the price tag.
Colour us intrigued by the Sweat Crawl but the clue is in the name, so if you’re willing to give it a go then make sure your headphones are protected from the moisture damage caused by excessive sweating.
Ear Hugs are sweat-resistant headphones covers that use wicking fabric to keep your cushions dry, smelling fresh, and they stop moisture getting into the delicate internal electronics of your Beats, Bose, Sony or Sennheiser headphones (and many, many other brands).
£1 from every sale goes to the Mental Health Foundation, too.