Fitness technology and the gym

Fitness Technology

Fitness technology has been a powerful force in shaping the 21st century gym experience. Gone are the days of punching age, height and weight into the cardio machine and relying on estimated heart rate, distance and calorie expenditure. Fitness Tech plays a pivotal role in the modern day fitness industry. Hence, it touches all aspects of the customer journey revolutionising the way customers use and interact with the facility.

What is Fitness Technology?

This is the driving force that supports your journey to fitness, health and well-being. Instinctively, you may think of an app like Pacer, that helps you reach a daily target, such as 10,000 steps. Or, how about fitness wearables such as the hugely popular Fitbit combining? This combination of app and tracker seamlessly work together to help you reach your goals.

So, it’s no real surprise that the global fitness app market is expected to reach a colossal $13,016m by 2025.

But fitness technology is far more than this. Imagine you’re transported to a virtual reality world that immerses you into a gaming experience that’s so positive your almost forget you’re working out! Game over, you check your workout stats and discover you’ve smashed your daily goals.

This ground breaking combination of fun workouts that yield impressive results can set a gym’s offering far apart from its rivals. This illustrates the huge competitive advantage embracing the latest fitness technologies has to offer the modern day tech-savvy gym.

Fitness Wearables

Take a quick glance around the gym and you will find a vast array of wearable technology in use, transforming the workout experience. Devices like fitness watches can easily synch to smart phone dedicated apps.

These enable members to set and track huge amounts of data giving real time, detailed analysis on progress, goal attainment and a wide range of personalised statistics. For instance; speed, distance, incline, resting and maximal heart rate, calories, respiration, sleep wake cycles, fitness age and stress levels.

But it doesn’t stop there! Targets, badges and rewards, personal bests, communities, workout aids, safety tracking, schedules and reminders are just a few examples of feature add-ons.

With so much data on hand most of us will be left scratching the surface of what lies beneath the data. As a result, we think fitness professionals who can help make sense of the data and what it means on an individual client level are likely to be highly sought after.

Savvy gym owners will be bang up to date with these trends offering membership add-ons like an exclusive gym member app. This helps deliver a first class experience ensuring they truly get the most from their workout, the expertise of the onsite gym team and their own wearable tech. All of which comes together to deliver the ultimate workout.

Smart Fitness Equipment

Smart fitness technology or fitness tech is not restricted to wearables. Modern day strength equipment and cardio machines are equipped with ‘smart’ intelligence offering the user a whole host of cutting-edge data and feedback. For example, feedback on user technique, progression, regression and a whole host of interactive workouts tailored to the individual’s workout goals.

There’s a whole host of smart home gym options that transform workouts into customised experiences. This was a hugely popular option during the pandemic as people sought solutions to maximise the benefits from the home workout.

But post pandemic as people return to the gym top class facilities are able to offer access to equipment that is in a class of its own.

A great example of this in action is Everyone Active’s adoption of Technogym equipment. Here, a personalised key is inserted into the equipment as a member moves around the gym. As a result, there is automatic access to their personalised profile, performance data and results.

This is where the modern day gym induction comes into its own making sure members are up to speed in how to operate equipment. As a result, a pathway is set for optimum results and feedback. Plus, having team members on the gym floor ensures members get the best from the technology every time they workout.

Keeping customers happy

Smart gym technology offers a huge competitive advantage. By linking in a bespoke member only gym app there’s access to a ready-made gym community. This offers members much more from their membership as they are able to make connections and join in with tailored challenges and incentives. And customers who are seeing results and feel ‘part of the family’ are far more likely to be retained as long term members.

What’s more the use of smart fitness equipment can also help the gym team operate more efficiently. This is because this equipment can highlight technical glitches, faults and routine servicing. All of all this means less down time with out of order equipment.

Live and Pre-recorded Streaming

There’s nothing more frustrating than being well settled into a workout routine to then be stopped in your tracks. All too quickly your hard work gets undone and your motivation dwindles.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to huge growth in live fitness streaming as gyms and leisure centres were forced to close. As a result, gyms embraced technology like never before.

Consequently, the demand for pre-recorded and live online streaming sky rocketed.

The benefits of live streaming classes

Gyms needed a solution to retain clients, help them stay active and keep them aligned to their brand. What’s more clients wanted to train from the safety and comfort of their own home and keep to their usual workout schedule.

Live streaming was the answer, helping to;

  • Bridge the gap when you can’t get to the gym

  • Maintain a strong feeling of community

  • Build strong instructor and client relationships

  • Deliver safe exercise routines led by qualified experts

As the pandemic passes, gyms are keen to offer clients a whole range of workout options. Hence, they can work out where, when and at the time of choice.

It follows that savvy gym owners will see live streaming as a bolt-on service. Used correctly this technology offers clients who cannot make it to the gym or to class, or simply prefer not to attend in person, the ability to participate.

What’s more if under normal circumstances a client would have to take a break from training, they can choose to mix it up instead.

For example, consider a client who has two personal training sessions a week, is super committed and achieving great results. They are away for two weeks on holiday and ideally don’t want to take a training break. So, they switch to live streamed online personal training sessions for the holiday period.

Artificial Intelligence in the Fitness Industry

It’s easy to feel a little perplexed by the term artificial intelligence or A.I in fitness. Even in the 21st century is feel a little sci-fi! Simply put A.I. is the use of intelligent machines, algorithms and programming to undertake tasks. Traditionally these tasks would have typically been performed by a human.

Artificial intelligence can offer huge operational advantages to the fitness sector. As a result, qualified staff members are able to devote more time to the gym goers experience.

How A.I. is revolutionising fitness

  • The use of automated class bookings and reminder systems.

  • Members can access real-time, 24×7 chat support, serviced via chat bots.

  • Access to the gym is automated through a ‘virtual’ reception.

On the negative side however, A.I. can pose a risk that the gym experience becomes dehumanised. Potentially this could mean gyms risk losing memberships as clients struggle to see the cost benefits of a virtual experience.

However, when used correctly artificial intelligence delivers a more efficient service to customers. It removes the mundane and repetitive aspects from team roles and replaces it with a slicker, real-time customer experience.

This raises staff retention as they have more time to engage with clients, and inevitably will be more fulfilled in their roles. And, regular staff in situ, devoting quality time to customers achieves a far more attentive service.

Virtual Reality Fitness

It comes as no surprise that listening to music whilst exercising has been proven to deliver improved results. In fact, a recent study by the NCBI discovered that high tempo music has the capacity to prolong high intensity exercise.

Virtual reality works in a similar way, adding a sense of thrill, fun and excitement to workouts. Here, the client is absorbed into an interactive, gaming type experience. Because of this the cardiovascular or strength training elements become less arduous as they are diverted towards the gamification.

Can VR be a workout?

Clearly keeping up with fitness trends is important business for fitness operators. After all clients expect to access high tech equipment, the latest classes and test out new trends. So it stands to reason that gyms will regularly refresh the class timetable, gym apparatus and its member services.

But what about VR? Can it really be a workout experience or is it just nothing more than a fitness fad? Stuart Dredge seems to think VR’s got mileage. His article ‘Can virtual reality really get you fit?’ examines the value this tech has to offer. Interestingly it is summed up as complementary to rather than in place of the real-life gym visit.

Getting the most from VR fitness

When it comes to getting the most out of virtual reality fitness here’s a few ideas to help maximise results.

1 – Switch up games regularly.

2 – Use a wearable fitness tracker to compare VR and real-world results.

3 – Consider mixed reality. This combines the fitness technology of VR with traditional fitness items and equipment offering a 50/50 approach.

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