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The annual fitness technology trend report is provided to the global health club and fitness industry to assist foreword looking participants in the industry to understand key trends in technology, fitness and their implications. The non-profit FIT-C has a mission of driving greater thoughtful adoption of technologies in the fitness industry to improve user experience and thereby grow the industry.
2017 Fitness Technology Council Fitness Tech Trend Report
Thank you for reviewing the Fitness Industry Technology Council’s 2017 Tech Trends Report.
This report is the companion piece to our Fitness + Plus Technology Podcast that launched on
November of, 2016, and continues to launch a new interview each week. Upcoming interviews
are with the ﬁtness industry leaders that have contributed to this year’s Tech Trends Report.
We appreciate the time and eﬀort that each of our contributors put in, and special thanks to
goes to our board and our host Josh Trent of Wellness Force Radio.
The leadership and board of directors at FIT-C believe that the thoughtful adoption of
technologies needs to accelerate at a faster pace, and that there is a need for greater
collaboration among players in our industry to unleash technologies
for the beneﬁt of all. These factors are necessary when considering
the surge of disruption that is emerging. Failing to adopt at a more
rapid pace, or to work more closely together could result in
impediments to our eﬀorts to serve a surging market of global
customers. The opportunity is too great not to embrace the change
technology is bringing.
During 2016 FIT-C traveled the world and shared support, content and
collaborated with leading organizations to drive user adoption of new
technologies. We will continue to do so in 2017. As a non-proﬁt council
made up of companies, executives, ﬁtness professionals and startup talent we need your
support to make a diﬀerence. Please consider joining our organization as we seek to educate
and promote the mindful adoption of technologies to beneﬁt everyone in the industry.
Here’s to great success in 2017! Let us know how we can support you.
Bryan K. O’Rourke, President and CEO
Join us www.ﬁttechcouncil.org
1. The New Era of Exponential Technology - Bryan O’Rourke, Vedere
Ventures, Integerus Advisors, Moon Mission Media
This November of 2016 I saw the announcement by Amazon of their new grocery store
concepts: one is named Amazon Go. Amazon will start by opening 20 stores over the next
couple of years as a pilot program, while also testing out two different store concepts.
One concept is a “click and collect” store, where customers can pick up groceries they
previously ordered online. The second is similar to a traditional grocery store but automated to
the point that you can enter, select what you want and depart the store all without dealing with a
human being ( I call it touch less luxury). If you want to take a look at what these business
concepts represent check out this video: https://youtu.be/NrmMk1Myrxc .
What does the Amazon grocery concept have to do with the fitness and health club industry ?
For the past eight years I’ve been talking and writing about how the mega trends of changing
consumers, rapidly advancing technologies, economics and globalism are converging to create
a revolution that is impacting any and every industry. The Amazon concept is evidence of what
I’ve been referring to and so are a lot of other business models that have been appearing on the
horizon. Omnipresence, AI, sensor technologies, mobile, new payment platforms, all of these
technologies and the consumers that love the convenience of using them are entering the
mainstream and so will health club and fitness brands. It is a time of great change and we need
to see the upside of this disruption, although it is perceived as a threat to many.
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"Here is the bottom line: in a
decade from now many will
be envious of not having
been involved in what will
become a hugely impactful
industry. It would be like
seeing the ﬁrst plane take off
at Kitty Hawk. That is where
we are now and that’s how
exciting our future will be.”
Bryan K. O’Rourke
Join us www.ﬁttechcouncil.org
Think about how restaurant dining experiences are being delivered to consumers in new ways
by apps like Grubhub, which also creates dining experiences. Reflect on investment advisors
that charge high commissions for the purchase of their products as opposed to wealthfront, an
app that manages your portfolio for a fraction of the cost. Now think about fitness experiences
and how those have been delivered by health clubs and professionals. Now look at the
initiatives from global club chains like Anytime Fitness : check out the latest on their
omnipresence strategies here: http://read.bi/2gRI5ZP .
Do you want to here the good news ? We know that the economics of the sick care system is
not sustainable. We know that primary prevention is a key to healthier lives and from a public
policy and global economic perspective it simply makes a lot more sense to prevent sickness
than to cure it with over seventy-five percent of chronic disease being preventable by engaging
in healthy lifestyle including exercise.
Now we need to embrace aligning business models with the market opportunities which will
continue to avail themselves around the world in the next decade. We touched on this idea in
the Europe Active’s 2016 book, Growing The Fitness Sector Through Innovation. Rising tides lift
all boats and as we move through an S Curve reinvention of the fitness industry being impacted
by the convergence of changing consumers, advancing technologies, economics and globalism
I believe we will reach over 1 billion global health club customers by 2025. Hopefully the
thoughts and insights of global professionals shared on our new Fitness + Technology podcast
and in this trend paper will help you see why we at the Fitness Industry Technology Council are
so excited about the future. We hope you share our enthusiasm and look forward to your
thoughts and contributions.
2. Mobile Apps for the Future of Fitness - Greg Skloot, Netpulse
Fitness Industry Technology
Technology is quickly becoming among the most powerful forces in the fitness industry. As
we’ve seen in other spaces, from retail to food service, technology has the power to be the great
equalizer: making services available for a larger audience to use in ways that are best for them.
For the fitness industry, many operators have had the same processes for marketing, retention,
and engagement for years. Technology opens up new doors and requires new approaches to
age old problems. We are starting to see a variety of new technology tools, from mobile apps to
CRMs that are changing the game for how we operate in the fitness industry.
Mobile for the Fitness Industry
We look at mobile for the fitness industry serving operators and members in 3 distinct ways. The
first is for Operations. By now, members expect to mobile conveniences like checking into the
club with a digital barcode, seeing the class schedule on a phone and looking at a mobile map
to quickly see locations nearby. The second is Engagement. Digital and mobile offers a
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tremendous opportunities to engage members through workout tracking, digital fitness
challenges, and rewards programs. If we pull that off well, we unlock the third way that mobile
serves operators and members: marketing. If members are successfully engaging in a club’s
digital world (i.e. their mobile app), the club wins the opportunities to market to those members
through push alert notifications, special offers in the app, promotions for personal training and
most importantly, driving new member referrals.
Mobile for Different Generations
Millennials are very mobile centric and expect to the convenience of purchasing from their
phone. They crave flexibility and are anti-commitment. This poses a challenge for the traditional
health club that relies on monthly membership revenue. As we evolve, we need to offer different
purchase models that cater to the impulses of the millennial member. These members are social
in more traditional ways, still frequently leveraging Facebook. For younger people in Generation
Z, we should expect to offer more opportunities for higher levels of socializing digitally. These
members are more likely to want to upload a “selfie” while working out and using Snapchat. For
the 60+er crowd, we should ensure the mobile experience is easy to use and gives them quick
access to the important operational information they need, like hours of operation and class
Unlocking Mobile Feedback
When we create a world-class digital experience for health club members through a mobile app,
we unlock other opportunities to use the app for innovation. One example is through collecting
seamless feedback from members after each club visit, similar to Uber does for taxi rides. Using
the club’s mobile app as a vehicle for getting feedback, instead of traditional surveys or email,
opens the doors to get quick insight from more members, and use that insight to target
marketing messages, improve staff performance and retain members.
Scarcity vs. Growth Mindset for Technology
The most successful operators are going to use technology as a critical competitive advantage.
They’ll be able to access and serve their members in ways unimaginable 10 years ago. Within
our industry, it will be those that embrace this new technology that will grow their businesses
3. Omnipresence with Virtual and Digital Fitness - Daniel Waide, Wexer
Fitness is digital
Delivery of digital fitness content to purpose built rooms will continue to increase in 2017. No
longer an add on or afterthought, clubs and studios are now designed to create an immersive
atmosphere in all of their group fitness studios. While digital class experiences will continue to
evolve through lighting and connected devices, live class experiences will also be improved by
digital infrastructure. Animated and video backgrounds for live classes, as well as in studio
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streaming of the instructor will make large live classes more of an event experience. Live
streaming of classes will allow club groups to break into new markets and make training with
your favorite instructor possible from anywhere. This will mean a wider variety of quality content
for different membership types and goals and facilitate the break down of the 4 walls of the club.
Giving members the freedom to train inside and outside of the club on their terms will be a key
theme in 2017.
Fitness is digital. Clubs will move to create a consistent experience both inside and outside the
club. For millennials (a growing percentage of member bases industry wide) digital support is an
expectation, not an additional add on.
This expectation will force clubs to create a seamless experience that flows from app download
to digital membership, in club membership, digital group fitness and digital support on the gym
From a digital content standpoint group fitness has always been the core product, in 2017 that
will extend to the rest of the gym floor and into members pockets and homes. On the gym floor,
specific areas will be designated for gym floor players where functional programs can be
created by a trainer or exercises viewed by members. Screens throughout the club will contain
not only entertainment but fitness content and instruction. Clubs will provide members and
prospects the ability to use their app to train at home and those apps will contain content
consistent with that available in club. Creating a unique and personalized member experience.
In 2016 we saw some gym chains move to digital tours and on-boarding for new members.
Hybrids of this will continue to grow in popularity, e.g. "This is the mind body studio, here's a
30sec video of one of our yoga classes". From first contact, whether that's app or physical sign
up gyms will begin to build profiles of members and personalize support and programs
accordingly. Automated and manual nudges, in the form of messages as well as direction as to
what you should do today will show a member value outside the 4 walls of the club. Everything
will be member personalized, making the member experience unique.
4. Technology for Fitness and Wellness Studios - Josh Leve,
Association of Fitness Studios
The fitness studio/gym market is comprised of over 100,000 businesses (IBIS World data).
While the franchise models tend to get the most press (Orange Theory, Soul Cycle, Crossfit,
Bure Barre, etc) - the independent market is exploding.
In fact, fitness studios currently serve more consumers than any fitness industry segment.
According to the 2016 Health Club Consumer Report published by the International Health,
Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), 35% of all health/fitness consumers (19.3 million)
now claim to engage with one form or another of fitness studio.
As Stephen Tharrett, Co-Founder of Club-Intel and main contributor to the AFS 2016 Operating
and Financial Benchmarking Report states..."While boutique fitness studios attract more health/
fitness consumers than traditional industry segments (e.g., commercial for-profit facilities and
non-profit facilities), it’s not a one-size-fits-all dynamic. Instead, consumers are engaging with a
wide range of boutique studio offerings including personal training, barre, cross training, cycling,
yoga, and even multi-disciplinary studios. This dynamic speaks to an evolving social construct
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among consumers, in particular those of the Millennial Generation seeking specialized, novel,
and aspirational experiences."
While the average size is just over 3800 square feet and makes just under $300,000
(referenced in AFS' 2016 Operating and Financial Benchmarking Report), the growth has been
contingent on being a high-touch, results oriented philosophy. Further, it's the customization and
personalization of these facilities and their ability to focus on one (sometimes two) disciplines
and make that experience exceptional. Talk to any studio owner and I guarantee you their #1
traffic generator is word of mouth marketing - generating referrals by leveraging the "talkers"
within the facility will and always be a product of exceptional customer services and a results
From a fitness studio owner perspective they wear multiple hats - meaning technology is and
will continue to be their friend. Adopting a CRM to keep billing, reporting, and on-going metrics
of their business in tact will continue to lead the charge. Further, as technology improves and
more data is gathered from the human body, trainers (and thus studio owners) will need to be
educated in how to make sense of this data. While heart rate training is making a huge impact
now, soon there will be so much data from sensors, wearable devices and the like - that the
owner will need to build new types of programming to offer something new and unique, and to
stand out in a crowed market.
My top 3 takeaways are as follows...
1. Technology should always be seen as your friend not foe. Leverage current systems
such as heart rate training to bring together your members/clients and educate them on the
value of understanding their body. By doing so they'll see results faster.
2. Make sure your business education and skill set runs parallel of your fitness
education. What I mean is simple, attend conferences, workshops, masterminds and the like
to see what else others are using from a technology stand-point to differentiate themselves and
determine if it's right for you.
3. Leverage your own clients and their results from using the technology offered at your
studio to drive client delight. One of the biggest differentiators in the studio space is the fact
that a client or member doesn't simply have their trainer or coach as their motivation but the
"cheers affect" is in full force as it's also the members of that facility, in an intimate environment
that can push you to see results that were never possible before.
5. Sensor Technology in Global Fitness - Paul Lockington, Orange
Sensor technology: the most significant trend in the sensor world these days is the fact that the
average consumer is coming aware that personal health and fitness information is readily
available. It has been ~35 years since the first commercial heart rate monitor hit the market.
These days, heart rate is commercially and economically available real-time on your wrist.
People are beginning to see the value in that piece of information and are beginning to expect
that those who are more involved will know what to do with it.
That means that fitness professionals must expect that their client/members will be asking more
probing questions about the capture, display and monitoring of personal data – (heart rate being
only the most visible at this stage). As a club owner or manager, you should be prepared to
have these kinds of conversations. It gives you a great opportunity to get closer to your clients
and become their preferred source of information and support in their fitness journey.
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Standards and interoperability
The consuming public of 2016 expects that things will just work. Some initial set-up sure, but
then your phone keeps the same appointment schedule as your computer. Your watch tethers to
your phone and it doesn’t matter what brand of phone or what brand of computer. An app for
fitness should work on any phone and the brands are finally giving up the concept of keeping all
of the components in their silo. Giving the customer a choice that best suits his/her needs but
still allows that person to use the device of their choice means that standards must be followed
if interoperability is to be achieved.
Interoperability for the club owner means that they no longer need to supply all the technology
needs of their members. Bring-your-own-device is being accepted as a common expectation.
That means that the two most common operating systems IOS and Android are seen as
standards and the two most common short range data transmission protocols BLE and ANT+
are also standards. While there will be outliers, as a club owner you can capture 95% of your
client devices if you purchase equipment that has these technologies – and it is not difficult for
the equipment brands to include them so it is incumbent on you to make sure they are there
before you buy. You need to do at least this much homework.
Future in Fitness/Wellness
There are two aspects to the future of technology in Fitness that I would like to discuss. First is
the tip-of-the-pyramid developments for special demographics such as elite athletes or at risk
clients. This technology would include sensors such as blood lactate levels, blood oxygenation
levels, micro fracture sensors, core temperature sensors etc. the integration of this detailed data
with exercise intensity data can reveal aspects of the personal condition that might otherwise be
missed. For example, continuous blood pressure measurement can be put on a timeline against
inactivity and capture episodes of hypertension caused by mental or emotional stress instead of
physical stress. At EuroBike this summer, a bike was displayed that had 16 integrated sensors
feeding to the bike computer to be stored and forwarded to a PC for analysis. For elite athletes
sensor technology is becoming commonplace and is eagerly anticipated.
The ability of personal positioning sensors to be commercially small enough and precise enough
will provide training feedback to improve running stride, stroke analysis for golf or racquet sports
or hockey. This can also be integrated with personal sensors to know not only when something
happened but where.
The second aspect of future developments happenings at the other end of the pyramid. The
general population will have easy access to simple sensors offering intensity, duration, and
frequency, with quality data that will raise awareness of their normal daily behaviour. This
knowledge alone, will encourage them to raise their own personal bars of fitness and make for a
healthier community. As an added bonus that healthier population should lower health care
costs for us all.
Personally, I see the rise of technology in Fitness and wellness to be a very positive movement.
I know that some critics have concerns about privacy and “overtech” but we cannot get better if
we can’t know what needs to be fixed, and technology is allowing that to happen. The issues
that come with it are to be expected and can be managed.
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6. Behavior Change, Technology & Fitness - Michael Mantell
If the head doesn’t work, it’s bad news for the legs. Behavior change, an entirely mind based
enterprise, results in a temporary modification or sustained transformation in lifestyle behaviors
that in the fitness-related context, relate to promoting and advancing optimal health. As the
fitness industry elevates its training and education standards to include clients first, and more
than a “read a book, pass a multiple choice quiz,” professionals have recognized that the
fundamental work they do with clients is aimed at guiding transformative, sustained, behavior
change – in exercise, nutrition, and other health related behaviors. The contemporary trained
fitness professional’s level of education provides curated, time-tested, best-in-class strategies to
support positive communication, inspiration, motivation and other critical behavior change
tactics and services.
Indeed, as fitness professionals leave entry-level exercise instruction to those with the “book/
quiz” preparation, and astutely recognize the profound role they play as agents of transformative
behavior change, they will undoubtedly identify new opportunities for employment as health
coaches with improved revenue streams locally and remotely via digital connectivity.
This may lead these advanced educated coaches, fitness/life/health/, to be better able to seize
on such highly valued strategies such as those anchored in mindfulness and meditation, fueling
all health-related behaviors such as improved self-management, decreased stress, increased
focus/clarity and decision-making skills, heightened resilience, and overall improved emotional
wellbeing – leading to healthier daily choices and more successful client engagement.
I have little doubt, none actually, that AI will play an increasingly more powerful and sweeping
role in fitness and health-care, both preventively and in terms of treatment. The digital delivery
of these services is only beginning with an exploding marketplace ready to absorb far more.
Indeed bio-sensing wearables are already playing an impactful role in the activity monitoring
and weight reduction industries. The fitness professional educated and properly evaluated to
deliver behavior change coaching, rather than being challenged by robots entering the exercise
training and health promotion arenas, will be well situated to embrace AI and lead its
introduction into the field – whether it be the gym, or the more forward thinking optimal health
7. How New Technologies are Changing our Fitness Landscape -
Ted Vickey, FitWell Inc.
All across the country, people are struggling along their personal journey towards better
health.They struggle with obstacles that have kept them from being more physical active,
making better choices in what they eat and finally committing to make their own personal health
a priority. They struggling to adopt the lifestyles they need to decrease the chances of
preventable disease, live longer, spend less on health care and live happier. They are living in a
vicious cycle of temporary change often fueled by quick-fix solutions, and as a result, many of
their achievements are short lived. These people need help.
Research suggests that the current reactive ‘disease-centric’ system of healthcare is not
sustainable. The current educational model for nurses and doctors often teaches more about
treatment and less about prevention. The current healthcare payment system would rather pay
for a costly heart attack and the years of drug therapy rather than educational wellness
programs and the much lower cost of a health coach or a personal trainer to avoid unneeded
healthcare expense. The rising costs associated with treating the increase of chronic diseases
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such as Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer have been predicted to bankrupt
countries unless a very different approach to healthcare is adopted. One proven cost effective
method of dealing with this healthcare challenge is through the integration of lifestyle medicine,
and a key component of this integration if through the effective use of disruptive health
The current healthcare model is broken. A patient visits their doctor for their annual check-up
(and if they are lucky their insurance covers the cost). The doctor suggests the patient exercise
more, eat a more balanced diet and lose weight and sends the patient home without any sort of
education or follow up. The next time the patient sees the doctor is the following year, when the
doctor now says to the patient that since things didn’t change from last year, it is time to control
the situation with medication. It isn't the fault of the doctor, they don't have the time or
experience to walk the patient along the journey to better health. This however is where the
health coach and personal trainer can and should play a role in the health care system. By
being the bridge between the two annual doctor appointments, the certified health professional
can play a critical role in the success of the overall wellness of each client. And by using the
proper disruptive health technologies as a tool, this success can be even greater.
So why technology? Is it the magic pill that many have been seeking? No, it isn't. Any
technology is just a tool at the disposal of a trainer or coach, just like a scale or a dumbbell or a
yoga mat. And any technology that promises anything more should be viewed with skepticism.
When used effectively, this technology and the collected data can provide deep insights into
behavior, motivation and an understanding of a person that was impossible just a few short
years ago. A recent study by the American Council on Exercise suggests that disruptive health
technologies (such as wearables or health or fitness apps) should focus on having a meaningful
impact on users’ behaviors and habits, as that should be the true end goal for everyone involved
with the long-term use of the devices dependent on three factors:
1. HABIT FORMATION. Sustained use of a device depends on its ability to help the user form
and maintain new habits. To trigger the deep- seated psychological sequences that lead to the
establishment of new habits, data (such as calories burned or steps taken) is not enough to
influence the “cue–routine–reward” habit loop. This is an area of tremendous opportunity for
group fitness instructors, personal trainers, health coaches, facility owners and the fitness
industry as a whole.
2. SOCIAL MOTIVATION. Social connections are a particularly powerful source of motivation
that can be leveraged in many creative ways. Social media and networking sites affiliated with a
device or app can be exploited to alter habits for positive outcomes. Health and fitness
professionals can help drive this process.
3. GOAL REINFORCEMENT. The achievement of stepping- stone goals has long been seen as
an integral part of larger goal attainment. This is yet another opportunity for the fitness industry,
as the real-time updates provided by wearable devices can be integrated into the ongoing
This is an exciting time for all involved in the health, fitness and wellness industry. Big changes
to the industry are fast approaching, and technology is leading the disruption. Those in the
industry that understand and embrace technology will continue to see success and grow, those
that don't may struggle to survive.
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8. Leveraging Fitness Technology for Group Health Programming -
Graham Melstrand, ACE Fitness
Industry reports suggest that the fitness industry is thriving. The number of membership-based
facilities with authentic programming and increasingly qualified and professional staff which can
be found across a broad range of price points are at all-time high. Fitness facilities are building
on the success of traditional group fitness and personal training services by adding small group
programs, a more affordable option that improves access to the expertise of their staff. Despite
this progress, the fitness industry has yet to broaden its customer base beyond traditional
fitness-seeking customers to capitalize on new, emerging opportunities. Given the increased
attention and focus placed on reducing inactivity, obesity, cardiovascular disease and the
potential cost savings associated with the prevention and management of chronic disease
conditions, the fitness industry has never been in a better position to become the trusted
resource in the community to aid in the adoption and maintenance of healthy, active lifestyles.
In order to realize the full potential of this emerging opportunity, we need to expand our
understanding of group programming for health and better leverage technology.
By offering scalable, time-bound, outcome-based exercise and behavior change programs that
target specific health goals, facilities have the opportunity to extend well beyond the 15-18% of
the population that we have historically been able to reach. Programs specifically designed to
support individuals trying to reach or maintain healthy weight, prevent or manage chronic
diseases like diabetes, or simply adopt a physically-active lifestyle would be extremely attractive
to employers and referring health professionals. It would also create new business and
Further, by extending program access to non-members we could create a stronger bond with
our communities and earn the opportunity to change long-held perceptions and stereotypes of
our industry. A terrific example of how organizations can build their business with these type of
programs is the Physician Referred Exercise Program (PREP), offered through ACAC facilities
in the Mid-Atlantic. PREP which has a strong track record of conversion to membership and
Technology represents another significant opportunity for the industry. Many within our space
are concerned that technology will reduce our relevance for consumers, but I would suggest the
opposite is true. With the emergence and proliferation of wearable technology and fitness
applications, consumers have access to health and physical activity data that needs to be
interpreted and translated. This creates tremendous opportunities for facilities and the exercise
professionals they employ. Technology enhances our ability to better manage the participant
experience, creates a relationship with members that extends beyond the walls of the facility,
and manages groups of individuals working towards similar goals. Further, the rapidly
expanding variety of incentives attached to things like including your physical activity to your
electronic health record, health and life insurance discounts and affinity programs that reward
physical activity will help bring consumers to our doors.
In order to realize the potential of these opportunities we still have work to do. We have to
adapt our business model where access to programs is contingent on membership, provide
additional training and education for our staff to be prepared for a new group of health-focused
members who may not have had any previous exercise experience and embrace technology as
a tool that leverages our expertise rather than competes with it. At ACE we are up to the
challenge, we hope you are too.
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9. Using IOT Fitness Technology to Maximize Your Facility - Michael
Piermont & Dave Johnson, Ecofit
Big Data is different from a typical relational database. There are many things which classify by
big data with an easy approach.
Few things of big data which are relatively used in the Fitness industry. Minimal Structure: As
above mentioned, big data structure is different from the database. Consequently, it has some
additional features to demonstrate the various categories within the minimal structure. This
works efficiently for the healthcare industry.
Works as Raw Data: The collection of data in big data not transformed in any other way. There
is no need of cleansing as well. Which means it saved a lot of time and represent data in an
IOT(Internet of Things) : Because of this, big data become useful in the healthcare industry. It
is a growing network of everyday objects from industrial machines to consumer goods that can
share information and complete tasks while you are busy with other activities.
Big Data and Care Management : Because of this, big data become useful in the healthcare
industry. It is a growing network of everyday objects from industrial machines to consumer
goods that can share information and complete tasks while you are busy with other activities.
One day we will be able to connect big data in fitness space and healthcare space to reach
10. The One Thing that Hasn’t Changed in Fitness - Robert Dyer, Fitmarc
It’s my view that the “old school” operations need to adopt more of the “new school” operations
that are focused on technology and the “new school” operations should adopt some of the “old
school” operations practices not necessarily related to technology. The margin between the
labeling of old vs new is narrowing, and before long I don’t feel we will continue to use those
terms. Old School isn’t representative of a certain demographic or age and New School doesn’t
necessarily relate to demographic or age either. I would say if we have to categorize OLD vs
NEW it’s more about attitude, ability to understand their marketplace, what’s the best answer
moving forward and such. The gap for this topic is that the old school players are more likely to
press pause on the new technology for good reason. Old school are more likely to move slower
because disruption to a membership base for the sake of disruption that has not been
thoroughly proven or hasn’t been on the market long enough in their view is a higher risk than
letting it play out to see what really is going to be of value. New school operations are more
likely to adopt the latest technology in new start ups and existing operations for many good
reasons as well.
I recall explaining to a top consultant in our industry a few years ago that they had to get away
from categorizing small business operations as ‘Mom and Pops’ that he was alienating really
great operators by labeling them, the same will happen in the Old vs New School. Time to
bridge that gap!
Real life, on the ground to me relates to what we are currently able to offer in the technology
space. That would be determined by many factors such as what type of facility they have now,
the right personnel on our team that will champion the offering (changes may have to be made
here prior to), cost, inventory, support from provider beyond initial installation, ability to get buy
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in from our members, where are we going as an organization, etc. Real life on the ground is
being able to execute excellence!
It’s not technology vs humanity it’s for humanity. Technology that tracks biometrics, human
movement, helps people understand and reach their goals, gives people a better quality of life,
that motivates them, reminds them and the list goes on, has to be for humanity. If our real goal
is to get more people moving and aware of their lifestyle then it’s my view that technology will
prove to be that pivoting element that helps make that a reality… up to now we haven’t done a
good job as a society of accomplishing this on our own.
I believe that training, support and integration of technologies has not kept up with the
introduction of new or existing technologies as a whole. As more and better technologies are
developed and if we want and expect better adoption this area has to be top of mind. A point
could be made that a continuing education model should be available and possibly in some way
integrate this into other certifying bodies for CEC’s/CEU’s. The goal is to properly maximize the
technology to it’s fullest. This leads into a whole different set of topics in the future for another
12. Mac Gambil, Nudge Coach
Over the past ten years we’ve witnessed technology reshape the fitness industry, creating a
new paradigm for fitness businesses. It started with the exploration of social media to attract
new prospects, and then matured with adoption of powerful new marketing and automation tools
to capture, nurture, and convert leads to paying customers.
The previous several years we’ve seen early signs of businesses beginning to focus on their
mobile strategy in order to extend their brand’s experience past the four walls and provide value
to clients throughout their busy lives.
In 2017 we will see this trend mature and take shape in the form of more formal digital
memberships powered by virtual coaching.
Where devices, like Fitbit, have mixed reviews in the eyes of consumers, there is no denying
that these devices have steadily become a mainstay in client management models. Gone are
the days of when a facility blindly waved their members goodbye after a session with hopes in
seeing that person return the following day.
This day in age, fitness businesses are catering to a new breed of consumer that is constantly
connected and demands a more relational approach to business services.
This has created a huge opportunity for fitness businesses to move beyond basic training
methods, and as a result, we are seeing digital models being introduced that largely emphasize
accountability and coaching through mobile interaction and use of unlocked data sets.
What’s driving this shift? Studies suggest that…
58% of smartphone owners have downloaded at least one fitness app
84% of mobile health users believe that mobile health devices can boost health
81% of consumers will buy a wearable if recommended by a professional
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In plain English, clients have been equipped with smart devices that collect incredible data on
their lifestyle habits, AND they are actively looking for professional involvement to provide
insight on those habits.
As a result, there is now an opportunity to introduce new digital offerings, ranging from low-cost,
digital-only products to attract prospects, to premium offerings that consist of more intimate
lifestyle coaching as an up sell to current clients.
With Nudge Coach, we’ve seen facilities like Delta Life Fitness, embrace the health tracking
tools their ladies enjoy using and add a social component to increase the value of the network.
All the while, using their white label platform to drive non-member app leads to find their closest
facility. A beneficial externality has been that even their previous members have taken to their
new app and begun reengaging with the brand.
Nudge Coach illustrates just one potential solution fitness businesses are incorporating
technology to reinvent the user experience of the facility. Depending on the needs of the
business there are alternative solutions that enable facilities to introduce offerings that fit their
For instance, tools like OffDayTrainer allow trainers to leverage text message campaigns to
deliver regular value and accountability to clients in between sessions.
Additionally, we’ve see more traction with new management platforms like, OneFitStop, which
make it easier to run your business, collect assessments, and deliver programming, all from a
Regardless of the software itself, tech-enabled facilities will continue to differentiate themselves
and take advantage of the benefits of being a smart facility.
Increase Customer Lifetime Value
A portion of clients will always be willing to pay for higher value. Even facilities with a higher
membership price point can introduce premium tiers as up-sells to their client population.
Digital memberships can be incredibly effective up-sells that further strengthen the bond with
your clients, keeping your facility top of mind and strengthening retention.
Expanded target market
A facility’s target market drastically increase through the use of digital memberships, allowing
them to engage clients living outside of driving distance.
Increase Conversion and Retention Rate
Much like how internet software companies invest heavily on customer success staff, remote
coaching allows facilities to be in direct connection with clients in-between sessions, giving them
a better gauge of customer needs and helping them ensure a client is set up for success and
likely to return for another visit.
The fitness industry is experiencing a transformation similarly to how the internet and e-
commerce disrupted retail. Those that have not adopted have slowly become outmatched by
other businesses competing for the same dollars. Over the next couple years expect to see
more businesses license or deploy their own technologies to tether clients to their facility and
introduce new digital offerings to the ecosystem.
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13. Group Fitness Solutions - Lindsey Rainwater, Lindsey Rainwater LLC
The current state of group fitness technology solutions?
Gone are the days of leotards, 80’s style step aerobics and glowing neon lights trimming the
borders or the group exercise room. Each decade ushers in a unique and expressive version of
how culture and fitness are intersecting. I love that so much of fashion, music and even
theatricals are all influencers of the group fitness experience found within health clubs. With
that being said, 2017 is of course making waves in the way group fitness has become an
expression of the times. In an era where everyone can access a workout from their mobile
device and truly empower themselves to have a fitness experiences anytime, anywhere, where
does that leave the health club group fitness programming? It certainly leaves room for
innovation and connections with the consumer. When evaluating current popular group formats
both inside and outside the club, one can find common threads that speak to what’s working.
Studio spaces offerings cycling communities, boutique clubs offering hard core workouts and
barre classes packed to the brim, to name a few. A consistent reason the boutique and small
studio’s are doing so well is driven by community and a competitive edge, something different
and new. As a reference, I have included a handful of the impressive group fitness experiences
that have integrated technology into their environments and are offering out of the box ways of
impacting their space. *references at the bottom
How new technology can open up the groupX room and increase club revenue?
The good news is with a reasonably small sum of money you can make a handful of
improvements that can revolutionize your group fitness environment. The florescent lights and
“cold feeling” group fitness rooms often give off does not take rocket science to spruce up and
give a face lift. With some colored lighting, disco balls and a MYZONE system, you have
completely remodeled the space. It is additions like these that can allow for a huge spike in
attendance that will eventually make its way to the bottom line. Usually this happens by way of
retained members and new friends of friends joining the club.
What roadblocks and opportunities are there for group fitness using technology in
Road blocks come in the form of choices, their is a title wave of content available and choices to
consider. As a club operator, knowing what to choose and why can be the most daunting task.
If you have 15K to invest, what are you going to do? It can be very scary to know what the right
choices are for your business. The most important task is to slow down and begin evaluating
what’s currently working and start surveying members on how you might improve. If cycling
classes are packed and popular, considering a face lift in that studio space could enhance
something your members already like making it something they love! Look for ways to make
subtle improvements going from good to amazing. Lighting alone can carry you a long way and
an easy fix without having to bring in massive consulting efforts to advice decisions.
Any other highlights you feel operators and owners need to know for 2017?
Choose Wisely and do your homework. It is highly important to enhance group fitness spaces,
but not without considering what your customer really wants and how it will impact your club
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