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The latest trend in the world of health and wellness is relational fitness. Forget cardio and strengthening workouts – the new-new Thing is a social workout class. The new brand Peoplehood is among the companies and organizations offering relational fitness classes and social workouts to help adults find new friends and maintain healthy friendships. No equipment required.

from Soul Cycle to social relational fitness

Loneliness. It’s something all of us experience. We don’t see our friends and family as often as we’d like, and when we do see them, we feel a disconnect. And for some of us – and there’s no shame in this – we have trouble even forming those close relationships we crave. We don’t feel like anyone understands us. We don’t feel like anyone is listening.

But there is some good news. If this resonates – if you’ve been feeling lonely or isolated or disconnected – you’re not alone. We are all suffering from a lack of platonic intimacy in our lives. We are all struggling to find fulfillment.

And it looks like finally – finally – there may be a solution. We are all in need of some relational fitness.

1. What is Relational Fitness?

Contrary to what you might think, the term relational fitness does not refer to a social workout class (though we love those too). No, relational fitness is a workout class for your social skills. A place where you get to stretch, flex, and strengthen your muscles of connection – the same way you would any other muscle.

Peoplehood is offering relational fitness classes and social workouts to help adults find new friends and maintain healthy friendships.

The term comes from Julie Rice and Elizabeth Cutler, who happen to be the co-founders of Soul Cycle. And who better to help us tone our social skills than the women behind one of the most connective exercise oases of all time?  Welcome to Peoplehood.

2. What is Peoplehood?

Peoplehood is the newest invention from Rice and Cutler, who wanted to create a space where people could learn how to better connect with others. It’s a place where you can make friends, but it’s also a place where you can learn to become a better friend. Rice and Cutler refer to it as a “vitamin” – you might take a vitamin c pill to help fight off a cold; you might join Peoplehood to help break the tide of loneliness before it can reach the shore.  And since the Peoplehood platform has both online and in-person components, you can be a part of it no matter where you are.

3. How does it work?

Peoplehood members participate in group exercises called gathers. There are both virtual and in-person gathers, and each one is run by a special Peoplehood guide. These guides are highly trained facilitators, and they work to establish a warm and open atmosphere in the space.

Peoplehood is offering relational fitness classes and social workouts to help adults find new friends and maintain healthy friendships.

Gathers are unique. They are somewhere between a support group, a yoga class (but without the yoga), and a book club (but without the book). In truth, there is no easy comparison. In each gather, you’ll do breathwork, you’ll discuss big ideas, and above all, you’ll learn to listen.

4. All about active listening

Peoplehood believes that active listening is what’s missing from many of our relationships. We don’t feel fulfilled in our relationships because we don’t feel understood, and we don’t feel understood because we don’t feel like anyone is actively listening to the words we say. It’s a vicious cycle, and though we don’t want to point fingers, we are all probably a part of the problem.

But that’s okay. Because how do you get better at something? You practice. And Peoplehood offers a place where that practice can happen. Think of each gather like a session at the gym – only this time, you’re not training to run a seven-minute mile; you’re training to become a better friend.

5. How much does it cost?

If you’re new to Peoplehood, you can purchase an intro pack for only $55. This will get you access to three gathers in your first 30 days – and those can be in-person at the New York flagship location, or they can be virtual.

And once you’re hooked (because you’re likely to get hooked), you’re going to want to get a membership.  For $95, you can purchase a virtual membership, which grants you access to unlimited virtual gathers, as well as exclusive virtual events.

Peoplehood is offering relational fitness classes and social workouts to help adults find new friends and maintain healthy friendships.

Peoplehood is offering relational fitness classes and social workouts to help adults find new friends and maintain healthy friendships.

But if you happen to live in New York, you can purchase a virtual-and-in-person membership for $165 a month. With this package, you can attend as many virtual gathers each month as you’d like, as well as up to five in-person. You’ll also get complimentary coffee and tea, concierge booking, and access to special events both in-person and online.

If you’ve been struggling these past few years – and who hasn’t – it may be a good idea to try a membership; we all know that consistency breeds success, and a membership is the best way to guarantee a regular effort towards your relationships.

6. Do I have to do it alone?

You do not. Another thing nobody talks about? Being in a romantic relationship does not make most of us feel less lonely. In fact, our romantic relationships can often exacerbate the problem – we spend less time with our friends, and we don’t feel understood by our partners either.

That’s why it might be a good idea to try Peoplehood as a duo. Couples are invited to Couplehood, a special couples-only version of Peoplehood. You can attend gathers together, and they will help you to connect better with others and also with each other. Perfect. Couplehood intro packs are $95 for the both of you, while memberships are $145 (virtual) and $250 (virtual and in-person).

7. Is is this really gonna work?

As with anything, the problem of loneliness is complex. And it’s important to acknowledge, it’s not all our fault – today’s society simply doesn’t lend itself to fulfillment or connection. However, we think Peoplehood offers a definite step in the right direction.

When you identify a problem, the best course of action is always to give that problem your time and attention, and that’s what Peoplehood enables. It provides a place where our relationships – not our work, or our success, or our lengthy to-do lists – are front-and-center; where the task of learning to actively listen is the only task at hand. And once we learn to better listen, we can become better friends. Once we become better friends, we will foster stronger relationships. And those stronger relationships are the answer to better long term health and wellness.

Why Relational Fitness is the New Approach to Better Health

The solution may not be one-size-fits-all. The journey may be long. But it’s a journey that we are ready and able to start – together.

Abbie Martin Greenbaum

Abbie Martin Greenbaum is a writer, reader, and pop culture connoisseur, who loves storytelling, coffee, and dessert. Her work has also appeared in Playbill.