Light manipulation at gyms on the rise to make users less self-conscious and improve workouts

Light manipulation at gyms on the rise to make users less self-conscious and improve workouts

April 23, 2019 0 By Sarah Jones
  • More fitness studios around the world are dimming their lights to help reduce the anxiety of users and help them focus on their moves
  • While light manipulation is effective in eliminating feelings of self-consciousness in the gym, can it help your performance?

Liftonic is a gym where members can lift weights in a dark room.

Inside a chic studio in Hong Kong, a group of young professionals wearing form-fitting outfits are shuffling along to blasting dance beats and flashing blue and red lighting. But this isn’t a bar or dance club. It’s a boxing class.

Lights Out, in Causeway Bay, is a concept boxing gym that infuses a club-style decor and pulsating music with high-intensity movements.

Owner Billy Tam has been in the fitness industry since 2012, first opening a Muay Thai gym in Hong Kong then moving into personal training and general fitness. He opened Lights Out in 2018 and is looking for a second studio location closer to Central.

“I’ve been seeing a lot of women approach Muay Thai and boxing in the last few years but a lot of the hesitation has been the intimidation factor,” Tam says

“Early last year, I went to the United States and the United Kingdom and checked out a couple of gyms that have similar concepts, and I realisedthere was a [large] female presence.”

To ease the intimidation factor, Tam decided to turn the lights out and instead use LED strips and spot lighting that creates varied colour schemes, most frequently employing the moody colours of blue and red.

Liftonic is a boutique fitness studio in the Meatpacking District of New York that focuses on strength training. Founder Radan Sturm, who is from Switzerland, but grew up in Australia, started Liftonic two years ago with the goal of creating a studio where people could focus on weight training in a room with dimmed lighting.

“[The lighting] gives participants a level of comfort whereby they can focus on themselves without being self-conscious,” Sturm says.

The Liftonic workout varies in darkness and directs participants’ attention toward a video screen that shows the proper technique for each exercise. The lighting in the studio helps participants maintain focus on instruction instead of overanalysing their appearance and seeking visual cues from other clients.