Technology has become an important part of every aspect of our lives, and it’s made an equally big impact on the fitness industry. New technology and access to data helps fitness franchises run more efficiently and offer their customers more value.
While technology and data have long been used to keep business operations running smoothly, perhaps the most exciting area of innovation is where fitness and technology meet. Today, people are using technology to monitor their progress and help design their approaches to health and, unless fitness businesses learn how to embrace this shift, they risk losing their competitive edge.
At F45 Training, we know that no amount of technology will ever do the hard work for you and that health and fitness is a lifetime commitment that gives as much as you put in. Despite this, modern tech can really help your members get the most out of their training, track and optimize their recovery and progress, and even help keep them motivated.
Here are some of the biggest trends in fitness tech:
The wearable explosion.
Last year, over 400,000 people enrolled in a study conducted by Stanford and Apple to test how accurate wearable technology is in terms of detecting and diagnosing heart disease. The results showed the Apple Watch to be surprisingly accurate, particularly when it came to detecting atrial fibrillation, a condition characterized by an irregular heartbeat and linked to stroke and heart failure.
This is a great example of how technology can help monitor our health, but it doesn’t stop there. Wearable tech, F45 Training's Lionheart, is being used by casual and serious athletes everywhere to track heart rates, calories burned and rate of exertion (how hard you’re working out for the layman). Recovery, often a neglected part of a training program, can also be tracked and planned since users are able to monitor their sleep quality and workload over time.
Having quick and easy access to this information, especially over a long period, makes it easy to spot trends in users’ fitness, identify training plateaus, and spot when it’s time to change things up again. Fitness coaches and instructors will need to learn how to help their athletes understand what this new data means for them and how best to use it to get the results they’re after. It won’t take long before this becomes expected, rather than added value.
Maximizing motivation with leaderboards.
Competition brings out the best in us, and even the most easy-going fitness customers find themselves competing against themselves as they look to get fitter and stronger and live healthier. New technology makes it possible not just to track our own fitness and push for personal bests, but also take part in friendly competition with those training alongside us or even on the other side of the planet.
Many group fitness classes now use digital leaderboards to show members how well they’re doing and encourage them to get the most out of each session. From meters cycled and rowed, to best times, number of sets and reps, most consecutive days trained and more, leaderboard technology keeps customers motivated and coming back for more.
There’s an app for that …
Mobile app usage has skyrocketed over the last few years and fitness apps have seen a 62% increase in daily use, with online fitness class reservation growing by 144%. Mobile apps allow members to check schedules, interact with trainers, and improve their customer experience by seeing which classes might be at capacity or cancelled.
Apps are also being used to reward customers with members heading up leaderboards, showing the most improvement, and attending the most classes being gifted discounted rates or special training. This can be a great way to drive member retention and increase word of mouth, as evidenced by the F45 Training app.
How many followers do you have?
Social media really needs its own article when it comes to health and fitness, and its use and value has gone far beyond taking selfies in the gym. People have built their own fitness empires from a strong social identity and, as something that people are interested in and passionate about, fitness is one of the most talked about and shared topics on social media.
Fitness customers might check into a studio on Facebook or Instagram or tweet about an amazing workout they had. Social media is often used to share a great experience–or complain about a bad one–and understanding how to turn any interaction in the social space into an opportunity to create a positive experience is key.
Beyond adding value to customer’s lives, sharing content with your customers, tagging them (with their permission of course), and encouraging them to post about your studio will help build a sense of community and also expose your business to new customers.
It’s a brave new world.
One thing is for certain, technology is only going to play a more important role in fitness going forward. Without losing sight of good old-fashioned hard work and sweat, smart businesses and coaches will need to embrace this new technology, not only because of the health and fitness benefits, but because it makes good business sense too.