Peter Whent

September 28, 2022

Six-pack as a service

If you didn't recreate the entire Star Wars trilogy in Lego, on Facebook Live, were you even trying during the first COVID lockdown?

I only mention it because my lockdown mission was to lose weight. Week one was clean food and plenty of exercise. By week four I was pouring the custard straight on to the pasta in front of Mad Men.

That’s how I’ve come to own several pairs of unemployed size 34 and 36 jeans. 

Several years later and I’ve finally got off my expanding arse to address the issue of my expanding waistline.

Now, you’ll find me every morning at 6.00am, gathered with 30 others. We’re packed tightly into a small boxing gym, huffing and puffing along to a banging 90s soundtrack in what most people would describe as a “boot camp”.

But this is different gravy.

There are dozens of group exercise classes around here. Some of them are begging people to join. Some are closing down.

But these guys are sold out well in advance, not just at 6.00am, but identical classes at 6.45am, 5.15am, and a very special bunch of hardcore headbangers at 4.30am.

Let’s get this straight. While everyone else struggles, these guys have a waiting list, but only if you’re prepared to get up three hours earlier than your normal “Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey” and pay up to three times what some of their competitors charge.

These guys are Dawn Breakers.

Morning 6.00am. It's Monday. We're bouncing.

Differentiation is an overused and misunderstood word. So I try to avoid it.

If you’re truly differentiated, you’re doing something your competitors can’t or won’t do; something new. We prefer to think of this as building your own category.

That’s exactly what Dawn Breakers has achieved. They’ve looked at the “fitness” market and made themselves good at what everyone else is bad at. They’re the anti-fitness class. How?

First, they pack you tightly into a small boxing gym and turn the music up loud. Fuck space. Hello vibe! Buckle up, we're just getting started.

They’re a tribe. Forty five minutes in the gym each day is the tip of the iceberg. They all live together in the most active Facebook group I’ve ever seen which is worked hard by Breaker-in-Chief, Andy. They socialise together. They even eat together in a private nutrition Facebook Group that looks as though Meta has met Masterchef.

But perversely, the magic ingredient is the class time. It quickly stops being an ungodly hour and becomes an identity.

Call us by our name – we’re “6.00am”.

Our class starts with the music turned up loud and instructor Sophie shaking us from our half-sleep:

"You don’t beat the market leaders by doing what they do. You beat them by doing what you do."

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“Morning 6.00am. It’s Monday. We’re bouncing!”

It quickly moves from being a fitness program, to being the only place you want to be. A commitment to yourself and your 6.00am gang. That’s what a tribe will do.

Dawn Breakers isn’t differentiated from the rest of the fitness category. It’s a category all of its own. Locally they’ve started the “Fitness and lifestyle tribe” category.

They’ve elevated fitness classes from functional, to community and experience.

They own the category. Everything else around is a pale imitation.

You don’t beat the market leaders by doing what they do. You beat them by doing what you do.

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