The Rise of the Brogi
By Denise Prichard
What do Adam Levine, LeBron James, and David Beckham all have in common? Other than massive amounts of fame and talent in their own right, they are also part of a growing fitness segment known as the “brogi.”
When you picture an avid yoga practitioner, what do you think of? Is it a small, athletic woman who is able to do handstands at a moments notice or has the ability to twist her body into a pretzel? While those types of yogis certainly exist, an exciting discovery revealed itself in our 2019 Fitness in America Report; men are starting to catch the yoga bug. What was once thought of as a predominantly female-saturated workout sesh is now covering all bases—and is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways men stay fit in America.
From yogi to brogi
Being a yoga practitioner of 15 years, and an instructor with five years under my belt, I can honestly say the practice of yoga in America is more inclusive than it ever has been based on my personal experience. Not only will you find men and women alike getting their asana on, but you have other demographics showing interest in the practice—like children, athletes, and trauma survivors all looking to reap in the benefits of this thousands-year-old practice.
I remember rolling my mat out before my first class when I was a junior in high school. I had never taken a yoga class before, was by far the youngest person in the class, and there were no men in sight. At that moment, I thought yoga was all about stretching and balancing in head-scratching poses—little did I know how profoundly difficult the sequences would be and how physically-demanding this supposedly “relaxing” workout actually was. I could not understand how anyone could ever consider this practice to be too feminine or that it isn’t really a workout. Fast forward over a decade later, and my yoga students are predominantly male. Yep—you read that correctly. Predominantly male. So what changed?
Yo bro... do you go to yoga?
Luckily, common understandings of yoga have changed drastically over the course of a decade since the offerings in yoga have grown substantially to help lure people of all ages, genders, shapes, and sizes to take their workout to the mat. And once anyone who has a preconceived notion about yoga gets a taste of what a class has to offer, it will be the last time they ever think yoga isn’t a real exercise. Studios all around the country have been adding more high-energy and physically-taxing classes like power yoga, hot yoga, and ashtanga—just to name a few—which could be one of the main reasons men seem to be flocking to mat as of late.
According to our research of nearly 17,000 participants, the men who practice yoga are actually spending more time on the mat, on average, than the women who practice. While 30% of women and 19% of men participate in a yoga class at least once a week, the fact of the matter is the men who are going to yoga are going more frequently and practicing for longer bouts of time. Thirty percent of men who practice yoga hit the mat four or more times a week. Only 16% of women who do yoga practice that frequently.
If you want to coax male athletes to your studio, there is something to be said about fine-tuning your classes to match your target demographic. My yoga studio happens to be attached to a large indoor rock climbing facility and an American Ninja Warrior training studio; when we added a class dedicated to building strength and flexibility in rock climbers and elite athletes, our numbers started climbing (no pun intended) pretty quickly. Each week, we have more and more rock climbers and ninja warriors wanting to get their downward-dog on to help enhance their capabilities. Some of these newfound yogis have also continued with their yoga practice because it helps their bodies recover after a grueling day on the rocks or on the rig.
What can yoga studio owners do to capture these brogis?
- If your yoga studio embraces other types of workouts within the same walls—maybe your studio also has cycling classes or HIIT classes—try to create a class that helps enhance everyone’s preferred method of working out. Along with our usual Vinyasa, Yin, and Restorative Yoga offerings, our studio has created a class called “Climber’s Yoga” and “Flow for Flexibility” to cater to our rock climbers and ninja warrior athletes.
Take a look at the other fitness businesses near your yoga studio to see if there is an opportunity there. I’ve seen yoga studios partner with bodybuilding gyms and boot camps by offering a recovery class once a week for these athletes. You never know, after one yoga class, these guys could be hooked for life. It worked for LeBron!
Talk to the brogis that already show up for class and ask how you can enhance more of your studio offerings. Get a sense of how they work out when they aren’t on the mat, and maybe ask them what could possibly lure their friends into your studio as well!
Think about hosting a pop-up event at a local brewery to help draw in some of those beer-sipping and yoga-curious guys in your city.