Forget networking. Get ready for sweatworking!

Boozy lunches with clients are out – today's executives prefer to conduct their business meetings in the gym

Into the glossary of business buzz phrases – "greed is good", "lunch is for wimps" and the ubiquitous "thinking outside the box" – have come some lean new contenders. Consider the horrors of a "spin-spin situation" or, worse, "earn while you burn". The new corporate lingo has been adopted by dealmakers of the future who prefer, literally, to sweat over the details of a contract.

Despite the gym being a place of refuge from work's strains and stresses, sweating it out in a spinning class (hard pedalling on stationary bikes) or the weights room is increasingly an influential part of the way business is conducted.

The concept of networking while working out – dubbed "sweatworking" in the US where the trend originated – is proving increasingly fashionable in the UK. The New York Times reported last month that business people are taking clients to the gym instead of entertaining them with drinks and meals out. Spinning classes are particular popular because participants can exercise at their own pace. British health clubs, already equipped with cafes and internet access, say they are witnessing a similar trend.

Some informal sweatworking already takes place in inner-city gyms, according to David Petersen, regional manager for Fitness First's London clubs: customers take business associates along to personal training sessions. One member even conducted a job interview at the gym.

Fitness First will soon launch a structured breakfast networking meeting at one central London club. After making introductions, attendees will do a spinning class before heading to the juice bar for more networking. If successful, the idea could be introduced in the chain's other gyms.

The rival gym firm LA Fitness says it has already responded to demand from companies for free guest passes by including them in corporate packages, demand for which increased 60 per cent last year.

Peter Harrington, LA Fitness's sales director, said guest passes mean companies can give clients the option to swap the traditional "boozy lunch" for the gym. While corporate entertaining at gyms was still new, he said, the Olympics could boost its popularity. As people socialise with friends and meet partners at gyms, he said, extending that to professional networks was a natural progression.

Morgan's Group is launching Exec Health Club, a business networking forum with gym membership, at centres in Plymouth and Truro in April. Members will meet for monthly seminars. During "learn and burn" classes, they will pick up tips on improving their business while burning calories on an exercise bike.

"It's fun and time-saving," said Denise Boaden, Morgan's managing director, who said having leaders educated in health, well-being and nutrition was beneficial for workforces.

Michelle Mone, founder of the lingerie brand Ultimo, said that while sweatworking sounded interesting and was a different way of entertaining clients, the gym was a place where a lot of people go to unwind and recharge their batteries.

Working alone gives them the chance to think, she said. "It may not be the best place for a business meeting but a lot of good ideas can come when you're exercising, so it may be worth trying as a teambuilding challenge with colleagues."

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Technical Support Engineer

    £19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

    £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

    Recruitment Genius: Developer

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Account Manager - OTE £25,000

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing, ambitious, en...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future
    Berlusconi's world of sleaze: The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM

    Berlusconi's world of sleaze

    The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM
    Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

    Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

    Films and theme parks are just the beginning. Disney believes its control of the now decades-old franchise can bring in merchandise and marketing millions for years to come
    Could the golden age of the gaming arcade ever be revived in the era of the Xbox?

    Could gaming arcades be revived?

    The days when coin-ops were the only way to play the latest video games are gone. But a small band of enthusiasts are keeping the button-pushing dream alive
    Edinburgh Fringe 2015: The 'tampon tax' has inspired a new wave of female comedians to reclaim period jokes

    Heard the one about menstruation?

    Yes, if you have been at the Fringe, where period pieces are taking centre stage