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. Now that hes hitting streaking teammates with pin-point passes for easy layups, Love is asserting himself as one of the true superstars in the league. Aarti Kapoor was a regular consumer of spin classes and green juices while she worked on Wall Street in New York -- that was, at least, until she looked around, saw how many people were attending classes alongside her, and crunched a few numbers in her head. She realized how much money was likely flowing into the boutique fitness industry and had an idea. Now she leads coverage of health and wellness banking at Moelis & Co.espnW talked to Kapoor about the fitness industrys quick growth and how women are playing a crucial role in its success.This interview has been edited for length.espnW: You were fairly green in finance when you started making big moves in the fitness, health and wellness space. What drew you to that industry?Aarti Kapoor: My 14-plus-hour workdays are rooted in a deep personal passion for the category. I was an avid consumer with a laser focus on healthy living far before it became as mainstream as it is today -- drinking green juice before it became cool, and going to spin classes when waitlists werent even part of the boutique fitness vernacular.I had become immune to the sting of the $35-per-class price tag and even stomached an unlimited membership to a boutique fitness spin studio where I went to the 7 a.m. class daily.Within the blink of an eye, it seemed, suddenly green juice was becoming cool, classes were selling out, more people were wearing yoga pants all day, and the notion of health and wellness was becoming top of mind for the consumer, money flowing alongside it.One day in spin class my eyes scanned the room to find not one empty bike seat, and in that moment a lightbulb went off. How much money must this business be making?! I asked myself. I did a little bit of math in my head -- bikes per class, classes per day, days per year. It became quickly apparent that a new economy was in formation -- the New Age economy of health and wellness.I wanted to be the first one on Wall Street to get to it, and that was the first thing I kicked into motion when I went into work that day.espnW: Why do you think others had largely ignored that industry?AK: While health and wellness is top of mind for todays consumer, this awareness is still relatively new and a product of the last five to seven years.The Digital Age has impacted our purchasing behaviors and what we expect from the money we spend. Equipped with more information than ever before, we want more out of the products and services we spend on. Weve fueled brands that offer specialization in a niche, personalization and customization for the consumer, elevating specialized boutique brands over traditional models that embraced a more broad-based, one-size-fits-all approach.We are more educated about health and wellness than ever before. We now understand not only the physical benefits of exercise and the important of preventive measures, but weve also learned about the mental and emotional benefits and the social and cultural benefits.Id also point to demographic drivers. We talk so much about the impact of millennials: 85-plus million in number, and their spending power is immense and will be the greatest of all generations over the next decade. And they happen to embrace healthy lifestyles as an everyday priority versus an option, and are more focused on experiences than things.Brand identity, brand ethos, brand connection, brand experience -- brand matters to the millennial. And in a digitally dominated social landscape, millennials seek opportunities to connect in person, fueling the group fitness category.Its the confluence of all of these changes that have really rapidly transformed the industry in the last several years. The fact is that this new economy started so recently and with such small companies, that much of this growth was happening under the radar. I was lucky enough to see it early because I was a consumer. But Im not sure that male consumers from older generations were in that spin class with me five years ago, so I had a bit of a leg up in catching the trend early.espnW: What impact do women consumers specifically have on the fitness industry?AK: Women are highly impactful consumers in the fitness industry and will continue to be for the long term for a number of reasons.Women control 85 percent of household purchasing decisions in the U.S. (and influence up to 95 percent), and our sway in the economy will only increase as womens dollar earnings continue to grow over time and the gender gap slowly but surely closes.Women naturally spend disproportionately on what they care about most: health, wellness, beauty and anti-aging, to name a few. I also believe cultural shifts have had a meaningful impact on womens participation in the fitness category -- I couldnt love more that strong is the new skinny. This new beauty standard finally offers an alignment of personal and societal aspirations, which we all know has been a historical struggle. Today, our most beautiful selves are also our healthiest selves.We still have a lot of work to do, but we are certainly moving in the right direction. This shift has naturally driven many more women to participate in fitness and has even changed how they are working out (for example, more participation in strength-based training, realizing yes -- women should be lifting weights too).Finally, we all know that women love to exercise in groups -- enjoying the benefits of a social community, the inspiration from those around them, a greater accountability and more. Women constitute the majority of boutique fitness participants. The takeaway is that fitness has become a highly rewarding pursuit for women as the new standard of beauty and a means to enjoying community and personal strength.espnW: How are women who are actively involved in fitness defying stereotypes about women in sports and athleticism? AK: I believe that influential women in fitness and sports are held in greater esteem by society than ever before, largely tied to the shifting cultural standards weve experienceed over the last few years. Mens Nike Flex Experience RN 4 Black/Anthracite/White/Metallic/Dark Grey Running Shoes. Todays woman has become empowered by embracing strong over skinny, and health and wellness has become an aspirational lifestyle for many. So when we look at top fitness personalities and athletes, we place them on a pedestal because through our new lens, they have truly made it.Looking at fitness specifically, for example, fitness instructors have become micro-celebrities within their communities; they boast cult-like followings, consumers emulate their every move, and their friends have gained bragging rights overnight (and for decades, we might recall, being a fitness instructor was just one of many jobs in the marketplace).In the sports world, women have become more talented and accomplished than ever before -- and not only is society following this growth, but society is also egging on our female athletes to keep pushing the envelope, to keep breaking new records, to keep rising on up.Finally, Id touch on a third category of the mainstream consumer -- the woman who may not be a big sports or fitness personality, but who is representing a large group of consumers who are simply embracing a healthier lifestyle the best way that they can. It has been truly refreshing to see everyday women doing their part in reinforcing healthier norms and daring to share their fitness journeys with the world, and reminding women around them that after may be 20 pounds heavier than before and that can be a good thing.For professionals and average consumers alike, there is a real female empowerment movement underway. Its a very exciting thing.espnW: Youve said that fitness has become a new status symbol. What do you mean by that?AK: As consumers have learned more about health and wellness and the various benefits, living a healthy lifestyle has become more of a priority than ever before. On top of that, we have seen major cultural shifts with a new standard of beauty holding strength and fitness in the highest esteem. So women are motivated to pursue their fitness goals and be their best self by being their healthiest self.Consumer preferences and purchasing habits have shifted to favor brands that offer specialization in a niche category and offer true brand engagement and experiences -- thereby giving rise to the category of boutique fitness. Highly branded and specialized offerings across wellness categories have been priced at a premium to traditional brands -- $35 per class, $10 per green juice, $100-plus yoga pants, the list goes on.Simply put, many consumers pursuing a healthier lifestyle are enjoying the side order of high social status that comes with it.espnW: Much of the movement around womens health seems to be rooted in brands that could be considered prohibitively expensive for many. How do we expand this space to cater to broader socioeconomic levels?AK: The accessibility of health and wellness is an incredibly important question. From a social perspective, we obviously want all of society to be able to embrace healthier habits regardless of purchasing power. Now equipped with more knowledge about preventive measures, we all deserve the opportunity enjoy better quality lives, for longer.We would also have a healthier economy bolstered by a more productive workforce with hundreds of billions of dollars in savings from lower obesity and related disease.Most of the wellness brands we read about tend to be on the high end of the pricing spectrum in urban hubs such as New York City or Los Angeles, where population density and purchasing power are high. The question is, can these concepts scale to various other geographies and still be successful? Many of these businesses have robust margins, translating into an ability to lower price while still having a lucrative business model. But the fact is, boutique fitness and green juice may be out of the question for most of the country.Thankfully, a new economy has begun to emerge on the other end of the pricing spectrum as well with new budget-friendly wellness offerings in the marketplace. Planet Fitness is a great example, with accessibility as a key tenet. Additionally, were seeing the growth of fitness media -- streaming fitness classes bringing the boutique fitness experience into the home -- at a similar accessible price point. Food, beverage and personal care are moving in the same direction, which is great. That said, we still have a lot of work to do, and the onus will fall on multiple constituents in our system to get where we really want to be.espnW: What do you say to those who might dismiss the rise of the fitness industry as a passing trend?AK: Its a great question -- the rapid surge in fitness and all-things-healthy has certainly gotten many people wondering if theres a bubble that might burst in the near future. I believe that while certain brands may come and go, and certain products or services may ebb and flow as consumer preferences change, the broader focus on healthy living -- and fitness in particular -- is certainly here to stay long term.Physically, the benefits today are feeling stronger, more energetic and living healthier day-to-day lives, and for the future, we reduce our risk of disease and can stay active for longer. Mentally, we can manage stress better, enjoy greater clarity of thought and be more productive in the workplace. Emotionally, we can feel more confident and more positive about ourselves. Socially, boutique fitness offerings have made fitness a highly social endeavor creating strong, tight-knit communities that transcend the studio and become a part of our broader lives.Fitness has become so much more than an hour in our day -- its a meaningful pillar in various aspects of our lives supported by several long-term megatrends. Some of the workout programs we try or brands we connect with may come and go -- but our investment in ourselves is here to stay. Cheap NFL Jerseys ' ' '