Fitness technology has been around for at least a decade, but it was in the past few months that we witnessed a huge acceleration of its adoption, distribution and success. When COVID-19 became a major health challenge and leisure facilities globally were forced to shut down, gym owners had no choice but to discover what it means to support exercisers remotely.
- Streaming online classes on Zoom, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube
- Promoting virtual coaching on social media or through a branded mobile app
- Recording On Demand workouts as an alternative to train at home
Creating digital fitness offerings during the full lockdown was the only way for gym owners and PT’s to stay connected with exercisers and maintain them engaged.
Health and leisure clubs who adopted a digital fitness strategy during the lockdown kept their members engaged with branded content, thus increasing their chances of making a full post-COVID-19 recovery.
The question now is what does successful fitness engagement look like in the COVID-19 aftermath?
. . .
What’s a connected fitness experience?
To answer that question, we need to look at a traditional gym experience first.
Let’s imagine Tim wants to get in better shape and signs up for a gym near his work. He’s excited about this lifestyle change and anticipates training twice a week.
At first everything is going great. He makes it to the gym before work, does the reps and even meets some cool people. This goes on for a couple of weeks.
Then the workload becomes too much and Tim finds that he’d rather spend some extra time in the office. He makes the occasional appearance at the gym, but the anticipation no longer feels the same.
Tim has seen some results and knows that even if he takes a break now, he can resume with a more intense gym routine later.
That’s the average gym membership cycle for many who don’t have a set fitness routine. The initial excitement around trying something new quickly reverts to the previous state of mind when the engagements decrease over time.
Now let’s take a look at the connected fitness experience.
Just like Tim, John wants to get in better shape and signs up for a gym near his work. He finds that there’s a mobile app and downloads it. John is pleasantly surprised to see a couple of ready to use training plans and decides to try one of them. He checks the On Demand workouts and learns that there’s a trainer who does a martial arts class every Thursday.
John signs up for the next available class.
Weeks pass and John keeps going to the Thursday martial arts class, plus he takes a spin class every now and then. He feels that his routine could use a more intense training plan, so he requests an advanced programme from his PT.
An hour later he gets a notification: ‘Your trainer has sent you a new training plan’.
John can’t wait to get started with the new programme after work. He puts down the phone and keeps working on the big presentation for tomorrow.
With the advancements of fitness technology, gym owners now have the opportunity to bring another level of engagement to their fitness model and in turn grow their fitness community.
Better retention starts with better engagement.
. . .
If you’re wondering where to begin when creating a more connected fitness experience for your gym, we have outlined 3 starting points perfect for the current COVID-19 climate.
#1 The Contactless Entry
Introducing smart technology for your gym entrance is not just a convenient way to track attendance.
It means safety for your members.
Safety has never mattered more to exercisers than today. A contactless QR entry system means precisely that: safety.
When gym goers feel safe to make a comeback to your facility, that’s the first step to retention.
. . .
#2 The Online Coaching
The COVID-19 lockdown gave rise to online classes. PT’s seized the opportunity and gained cult following. Social media influencers became the ultimate source for fitness content.
So how do you take over the narrative as a gym owner?
Introduce online coaches as part of the connected fitness experience.
Social media is great, but do you know what’s even greater? Combining in-person sessions with home workouts.
Attending classes is not the only way to maintain a fitness community. Why accept early cancellations when you can meet the needs of your members.
. . .
#3 The On Demand Content
While life is somewhat back to normal, many are still working from home. When exercisers are taking care of family members, they might need to work out in their own time. This shift in lifestyle and routines calls for more fitness alternatives.
So why don’t you offer branded On Demand content directly from your gym.
Technology is redefining the way we support each other. Online is not the default yet, but we’re headed that way.
In other words, ‘Generation Active’ drives the main fitness attendance after COVID-19 and marks nearly 90% of total users of online or app-based workouts.
. . .
Technology has never played a more important role for the fitness industry than it does today in a post COVID-19 world. You can certainly influence your success as a gym owner by adding connected technology to your fitness club.
Invite exercisers to work out with you anywhere, anytime with gym memberships designed to empower.
If the pandemic serves to show us something, it’s that exercisers are more than ready to embrace the connected fitness experience.