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Leisure Management - Digital gym floor

Innovation

Digital gym floor


Digitalisation is now at the heart of fitness and the gym floor can no longer afford to remain disconnected. Top equipment suppliers tell us about the innovations that will help operators meet consumer expectations

Freemotion says it has created a fully immersive ‘fitness and wellness ecosystem’ photo: freemotion

Tony Ali
Freemotion Fitness
photo: Tony Ali – Freemotion

The digital revolution set in motion by COVID-19 turned many at-home fitness brands and digital platforms into household names. It also enabled the likes of Google, Apple and Amazon to become major fitness players.

While the shift to digital will be permanent, it’s clear that brick-and-mortar clubs are also here to stay – with clubs reporting strong recoveries in membership numbers post-lockdown.

This all means that, in terms of club operations, the industry faces an omnichannel future – and having a connected gym floor will be at the heart of that.

Post-pandemic fitness consumers will be tech-savvy, digital natives who are literate in analysing exercise stats and health metrics. When it comes to assessing their progress, trainer feedback alone will no longer be enough. Consumers now expect data and measurements – preferably in real-time and in a format accessible on their personal devices.

Crucially, consumers also demand an engaging exercise experience, wherever they work out.

For Freemotion, connected fitness means much more than just streaming videos. Exercisers are fully immersing in a fitness and wellness ecosystem – which is provided via the iFIT digital fitness platform.

At the club, Freemotion links iFIT’s digital content to unique, interactive equipment. Members can also continue their fitness journey outside the club – at home on NordicTrack or ProForm equipment, or on the go via the iFIT app.

More: www.freemotionfitness.com

In terms of club operations, the industry faces an omnichannel future
Connectivity in and out of the gym creates a club without walls
Scott Trinder
Precor
photo: PRECOR / Rob Matthews Photography

New habits have been made and new lifestyles adopted during the pandemic. The huge surge in online fitness provision means gym members now expect a flexible, integrated service with digital connectivity at its core.

A fully-connected gym floor is no longer just a nice-to-have, it’s essential. Added to this, tracking functionality can no longer be limited to inside the four walls of a facility – wherever they are and whatever they do, members want it all to count, so operators need to offer a 360˚ solution.

Precor has fine-tuned its offer to ensure that Preva Mobile, alongside Advagym by Sony, offers operators a fully multifunctional software solution. The Preva Mobile member app is a springboard to stronger engagement, connecting members with their facility wherever they engage with fitness and capturing workout data from a host of fitness apps.

Advagym by Sony complements this all-round connectivity – users can track every element of their workout from a free weights session to a group exercise class, just by tapping their phone on Advagym pucks.

If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that we’re social beings who love to interact.

The Advagym Beacon feature supports facilities in welcoming members to the club and delivering important information – great if facilities have busy periods when that information can’t be delivered in person. The Beacon recognises members as they enter and sends a message – anything from a simple ‘welcome back’ to info about free slots in upcoming group exercise classes.

Using the right fitness software will ensure members always feel looked after and part of your community. I see connectivity as the future; it empowers exercise and makes a fitness facility central to every activity they do.

More: www.precor.com

I see connectivity as the future
The Preva mobile member app enables stronger engagement / photo: PRECOR / Rob Matthews Photography
Tanya Hall
Egym UK
photo: Tanya Hall – egym

No man is an island’, wrote English poet John Donne – and this observation has never been more true. Digitalisation provides limitless opportunities to connect products and services, creating entire digital ecosystems that deliver highly personalised experiences for the end user, whether it be the way they consume their entertainment, shop or manage their lifelong wellbeing journey. This is not the future, this is the now.

Over the last decade, we’ve been working with our network of global operators to develop a digital ecosystem that makes exercising smarter, more efficient and effective, and more measurable for everyone.

This year, we completed this mission with the launch of Fitness Hub, a gym floor centerpiece that enables touchless, self-serve onboarding and performance tracking. Fitness Hub seamlessly connects to Egym’s in-club Smart Strength Series and Smart Flex equipment, automating programming and progression, equipment set-up and regular performance feedback.

Training and performance data is collated and presented back to the member via Egym Digital, accessible anytime from anywhere via a connected device, creating an environment that extends engagement beyond the walls of the physical training facility.

Through its connected gym floor training and wider digital ecosystem, Egym provides a solution to a growing consumer demand for a highly personalised experience which is largely self-managed and based on real time performance data that is accessible anytime, anywhere.

More: www.egym.com

There’s a growing consumer demand for a highly personalised experience which is largely self-managed
Apps make exercise more measurable for everyone / photo: egym
Fitness Hub gives members feedback on performance / photo: EGYM / Benjamin Olszewski
Travis Vaughan
Core Health & Fitness
photo: Travis Vaughan/core health & Fitness

Modern fitness consumers have become accustomed to measurement of work as a means to drive results. Those who wish to track their efforts over time have more options than ever to do so – watches, bands, heart rate monitors, etc. Whether it’s trying to meet a daily steps goal or close rings, tracking has become integrated into everyday life for a growing number of fitness consumers, and health facilities are recognising the need to support them in this.

A connected fitness floor can offer opportunities that not only allow users to track their fitness activities, but also make the data being tracked more robust. A heart rate monitor can track user effort throughout a workout, but, for example, if that data can be combined with actual measurement of work – watts on a bike, speed/incline on a treadmill – then the total activity measurement is more complete.

We have a variety of connected platform options that serve different consumer segments – our philosophy is to connect with partners who are experts in their space to provide the best solutions possible.

We offer tap-to-pair with Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch across our cardio products, which provides a simple, straightforward way to get accurate workout data directly into your device. For a higher touch experience, we are partnered with Sony Advagym to provide workout tracking capabilities across the entire gym floor.

Our equipment integrates with Egym to offer a robust, guided workout experience and detailed data tracking. And with Bluetooth and ANT+ connections on virtually all of our cardio products, there’s a large and growing number of third party apps and services that can connect with our equipment to provide data tracking, as well as entertaining and motivating experiences.”

More: www.corehandf.com

With Bluetooth and ANT+ connections, a large number of third party apps can connect with our equipment
Members can tap-to-pair with their Apple watch / photo: core health & fitness / star trac
Adrian Nash
Life Fitness
photo: Adrian Nash – life fitness

Consumer expectations have risen in recent times; we’ve all had to interact and engage with each other as well as businesses using digital elements through the pandemic, which has led to our own personal ecosystem becoming uber-connected, and the gym is no different.

We’re all striving to live healthier lives and with health and fitness data becoming so easily accessible, providing another layer to aid our own journeys and behaviour with wellness. It’s important gyms are able to support this by having experiences that not only provide engaging workouts, but are able to connect to these individual ecosystems.

Life Fitness has a unique approach to creating a connected gym experience. First, we seek to fully understand our partners, the operator, by defining the member and operational experience. We then utilise our connected fitness platform, smart equipment, open architecture, open APIs, people and philosophy to co-create unique meaningful experiences. This provides an element of freedom and ensures we can support our partners’ digital decisions now and into the future.

The Life Fitness Connect app not only interacts with the gym floor equipment but provides engaging workouts through Life Fitness on Demand.

It also supports workouts with audio coaching. Workouts can be paired with a heart rate monitor for further seamless tracking and recorded workout data is accessible in the app or can be shared with other apps such as Apple Health or Google Fit.

More: www.lifefitness.com

It’s important that gyms are able to connect to these individual ecosyste
Readily available data assists people’s behaviour on their personal wellness journeys / photo: life fitness
The Life Fitness Connect app supports workouts with audio coaching / photo: life fitness
Richard Sheen
Pulse Fitness
photo: Richard Sheen/pulse fitness

At Pulse Fitness, we’re seeing a clear demand for digital, connected fitness solutions come out of the pandemic and responded with our latest innovation, the Trakk app. The aim of Trakk was to allow users to stay connected to their gym by allowing them to tap into ready-made workout plans, develop personalised regimes and stay connected to their trainers whether in or outside the gym.

As well as logging exercise on the move, members can digitally log into gym equipment before use and track the output of each workout, helping them to keep on top of fitness goals.

Apps such as Trakk are extremely important to both customers and operators; not only does it help customers maintain physical health but knowing they have a continuous form of connection contributes to positive mental wellbeing. Operators also benefit from increased member loyalty as trainers using Trakk can set personalised goals, track members’ performance and send personal or automated messages, to help engage members with both their fitness programme and the equipment.

As we continue to respond to an ever-changing external environment, the industry must adapt, respond and innovate by developing a connected fitness solution to maintain member’s loyalty and engagement.

More: www.pulsefitness.com

It’s important the industry adapts, responds and innovates by developing a digital and connected fitness solution to maintain member engagement
Apps like Trakk enhance members’ motivation, and their loyalty, to the club / photo: pulse fitness
Dave Wright
Myzone
photo: Dave Wright – myzone

We’re living in the era of the digitalisation of marketing and communications. From advertising on the London Underground to shop windows, the digital display of data is the new way forward. On the gym floor, the ability to display biometric data takes the guesswork out of coaching and provides opportunities for a more engaged and rewarding fitness experience for users. Coaches can focus on form and motivation while letting the technology display customers’ biometric data, to get a true insight into how they’re performing during group sessions or one-to-one workouts.

The Myzone system displays each user’s heart rate in tiles on a screen. The tiles are colour-coded into five effort zones, based on the client’s individual heart rate, so both users and coaches can understand how hard they’re working during activity. This allows coaches to personalise every training session, no matter how many people take part, to ensure an effective workout for all participants, helping them to achieve their goals.

Myzone’s MZ-Instruct feature allows club owners to display instructional videos on the gym floor. Using preloaded videos or ones they’ve shot themselves, MZ-Instruct lets the instructor focus on motivating participants and coaching each exercise, instead of programming, while clients follow the onscreen video. With Myzone tracking each participant’s heart rate, the MZ-Instruct helps to promote further class engagement and interaction.

More: www.myzone.org

On the gym floor, the ability to display biometric data provides new opportunities for a more engaged, rewarding and enjoyable fitness experience for users
Biometric data takes the guess work out of coaching, and motivates members / photo: myzone
Ernst De Neef
Funxtion
photo: Funxtion / emmmilyb

The introduction of widespread digital capabilities creates exciting opportunities for gym owners to super-charge the member experience and elevate gym floor training to a whole new level. This enables our industry to refresh its offer and maintain relevance in a world that is increasingly driven by digital innovation.

For years, the sector has recognised the value in delivering a highly personal experience, but has struggled to find the means to deliver this at scale. Digitalisation provides a solution to this challenge and enables gym owners to customise every visit for every member.

We’ve recently launched two new digital gym floor innovations that connect to members in-club and deliver an outstanding gym floor digital coaching experience.

Our Virtual Player provides class management software that can come with a huge library of high-quality and beautifully choreographed fitness content to enable virtual classes to be delivered in-club. This empowers members to attend classes at their convenience, rather than having to fit their schedule around a set class timetable.

We’ve also developed our MultiScreen Solution. This connects to the Virtual Player and enables any number of screens to display different exercise demonstrations concurrently, creating a digital circuit. This provides personal instruction to each participant throughout the entire workout and frees up gym floor trainers to adopt a more mentoring and coaching role.

Digitalisation is infiltrating every aspect of our lives, and we need to continue to innovate in order to maintain relevance with members. We’re only just starting to scratch the surface of what digitalisation makes possible, and I for one am extremely excited to be on this digital journey.

More: www.funxtion.com

Digitalisation is infiltrating every aspect of our lives and we need to innovate in order to maintain relevance with members
Digitalisation frees up trainers to take on a more mentoring role / photo: funxtion
The Virtual Player gives classes on the member’s time / photo: funxtion

Originally published in Health Club Management 2022 issue 2
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