For most of the world, going to the gym used to mean rushing to make sure you made that six-thirty class on time. Or it meant traveling through an empty town or city as the sun comes up to be first in while everyone else is in bed. Now though, the experience is much different. Our living rooms and bedrooms have become our gyms, while our laptop screen has become our instructor.
Digital fitness has never been more prominent in our lives with most fitness facilities moving their services online. Be it your local gym down the street or a global franchise like Barry’s Bootcamp, there a vast selection to choose from, and that’s before you count the thousands of online fitness businesses that existed before the impact of COVID -19.
Because in truth digital fitness was a fast-growing industry before the pandemic and is certainly experiencing a huge boom now. Digital fitness encompasses everything from at-home workouts like Peleton and Mirror to fitness trackers like Fitbit. In fact, ACSM’s 2020 survey of fitness trends placed wearable technology at number one and it has been consistently in the top 3 since 2016.
The question gym owners have to ask themselves is if their digital experience is up to scratch. Obviously you will not get to the level that Peleton is at but you still need to provide something that engages your members. As Stuart Brauer pointed out in a recent episode of our podcast members will be forgiving in the first couple of days but won’t be after a number of weeks.
In this article, we will look at what a digital fitness experience is, why it’s so important right now and 7 ways you can improve your digital experience for your members.
Skip ahead to:
- What is a Digital Fitness Experience?
- Why the Digital Fitness Experience is So Important in 2020
- 5 Awesome Digital Fitness Brands Examples
- 7 Ways to Create a Great Digital Fitness Experience
What is a Digital Fitness Experience?
Digital fitness refers to digital devices, software, and applications that are used in health and fitness. So, things like wearables, fitness apps, digital fitness devices, digital on-demand fitness, and streaming.
The gym member experience is essential and if you’re taking your services online, you need to maintain that high level of experience. A good member experience helps to retain members in the long-term and boost engagement. When you’re thinking about your digital fitness experience, think about what services your members would love, and how it ties in with your overall business.
When thinking about your digital fitness, here are some points to consider:
- What hardware and software do you use or need?
- Is your website responsive?
- Do you use wearable technology?
- Do you provide an optimal payment experience?
- How do you manage members?
- What are the current and future digital fitness trends?
This may seem like a lot to think about, but it will help you figure out your priorities when it comes to digital fitness and what areas need improvement to increase the overall experience. It’s important to deliver high-quality and valuable content online and connect with members.
This could mean investing in new technology such as equipment for streaming or creating a members-only platform for on-demand fitness content. By sticking to consistent branding and tone, you can expand your digital services and bring a fantastic digital fitness experience to your members.
Why the Digital Fitness Experience is So Important in 2020
When moving your business online, the key differentiator will be your ability to keep your members accountable. However, once you have that aspect of your service running smoothly the next part you should focus on is making sure your digital experience is the best it can be for your members.
The home fitness revolution has been happening for a while but with the closure of gyms and a lot of the public on lockdown, home fitness has become the norm. With the increase in home fitness and demand for personalization, people are looking to technology to create the perfect digital experience.
New fitness trends and technology are constantly disrupting the fitness industry. Fitness apps, wearables, and connected home solutions have already changed the way you workout away from the gym. The combination of consumer expectations and digital innovation is fueling growth in digital fitness. A proper digital fitness experience needs to meet consumer expectations. It’s time for brands to innovate and get creative.
The Fitness Business Asia Podcast explores the topic of creating a first-class digital fitness experience. The episode discusses the technical aspects of creating a digital fitness experience that represents your brand well. It’s about injecting soul and personality into your on-demand and live-streamed content.
5 Awesome Digital Fitness Brands Examples
Well-known fitness digital brands like Peloton were already well-equipped to offer online fitness when the coronavirus pandemic hit. While some fitness brands have come out with completely new online digital platforms, others aren’t as prepared. Let’s take a look at five amazing examples of digital brands providing a great fitness experience to members and users.
Some fitness brands had little to no online fitness content ready to go. 1Rebel is a London-based fitness boutique with seven locations in the capital. They’ve now launched Rebel TV using US on-demand video platform Uscreen. With over 200 workouts, the platform is updated daily with content from its 40 trainers. It features everything from HIIT workouts to yoga and meditation. The service is available on a monthly subscription basis.
Equinox Group is a huge name in fitness clubs and luxury gyms around the world. They are now throwing their hat into the digital fitness ring. Equinox has created a mobile platform with hours of original video content. Members can also join exercise classes remotely. The Equinox app syncs up members’ personal data with the Equinox gym management system.
On top of this, Equinox is taking on Peloton with connected fitness equipment that offers streaming. Equinox-owned brand SoulCycle has recently announced its $2,500 at-home bike that streams on-demand classes.
Les Mills has an extensive online digital platform. During the COVID-19 disruption, Les Mills offered free on-demand workouts through its On-Demand Club Affiliate program. Members can access more than 100 workouts from home including recognizable Les Mills offerings, with a major focus on streaming right now. The brand is also encouraging club operators to create online challenges for their members to keep them engaged and active.
Find What Feels Good
Find What Feels Good is a yoga streaming platform created by YouTube’s Adriene Mishler. The platform has over 700 hours of yoga and meditation for all abilities. With daily practices, workshops, accountability series, and a huge community, the platform has a big following. The varied video content and connectivity gives users complete control over their fitness experience.
Frame is another London-based studio that got its digital offering up in a very short period of time. In just one week, the boutique gym launched Frame Online. In what normally takes months to pull together, Frame Online was created in just one week. The platform launched in March and has a variety of on-demand fitness classes streamed straight to your living room.
7 Ways to Create a Great Digital Fitness Experience
Technology impacts every part of our lives and fitness is no different. Digital fitness allows you to take advantage of technology to provide a new and unique experience to your members. In the era of live streaming and on-demand fitness day and night, here are eight ways you can start creating a fantastic digital fitness experience.
1. Live Streaming
Although you may be a pro at delivering fitness classes in-person and your instructors are world-class, live streaming can be a different game altogether. Your branding, lighting, sound, tech, and personality all play a part in live streaming fitness classes.
Live streaming has been picking up in popularity with a huge increase in at-home workouts. With the instructor cheering you on, live in your living room, it can really help up members’ motivation and accountability. As the workout is streamed at a certain time, members are less likely to push it back. At the same time, they can choose a time that suits their schedule.
To help get you started live streaming your fitness classes and workouts, we’ve pulled together a step-by-step guide on everything you need to know about recording live streams. We talk about the kind of setup you need to get started, elements you should consider, and how to keep members engaged and motivated during a live stream.
2. On-Demand Fitness
Live streaming involves you recording yourself in the moment, as the name suggests. Whereas on-demand fitness is a little different. On-demand fitness is pre-recorded video content. The benefit of on-demand video is that you can edit videos and really refine content. Not every location lends itself to live streaming and some people prefer the option to edit out mistakes. Pre-recorded workouts should complement your usual offering.
To support your digital experience, Glofox has recently launched a new platform for live streaming and on-demand workouts. Gyms and studios have had to transition to online businesses practically overnight. The new platform allows businesses to enter the digital fitness market seamlessly by adding on-demand and live workout streaming content to its services.
3. One-on-One Virtual Coaching
Online personal training gives users access to a virtually limitless number of trainers. Instead of being locked into a specific gym schedule, virtual training can fit around your diary. While home fitness is on the rise, many people still feel the need for individual coaching. Online personal training is a great way to keep clients motivated and hitting targets.
Many people know they need to be more active and eat healthily, but actually sticking to it can be tough. With online personal training, clients get professional advice and a program tailored specifically for them.
We already live in a digital world which means there are so many options when it comes to staying in contact. Platforms like WhatsApp, Slack, and Skype make it easier to communicate and support clients digitally. One thing to remember is that your digital fitness experience should support your business. If you already offer personal training as part of your gym package and feel like your members would love it, then it’s something worth developing.
4. Tech-Enabled Personalization and Immersive Experiences
The IHRSA reported that hyper-personalization is the next biggest trend in fitness. Workouts will be completely tailored to a person’s biomechanics. Consumers are getting used to personalization in all areas of life. The power of analytics and data presents a huge opportunity in digital fitness that focuses completely on experience.
Technology allows fitness clubs and gyms to personalize experiences and create an immersive environment. Incorporating more technology into your gym experience can take your ability to personalize your services to the next level. For example, integrating wearable technology with your app so that members can monitor and keep track of their progress. With this data, you can give members advice on what they should be doing and motivate them to keep going.
5. Create an Online Supportive Environment
Social digitalization is well underway and needed more than ever at a time where many businesses have to go online to connect with customers. One way to support and develop a great digital fitness experience is by creating online fitness communities.
Online fitness communities allow you to support your members on their individual journeys while creating a sense of belonging. The support you provide shouldn’t stop because you don’t physically see your members. Brands like Strava, Fitbit, and MyFitnessPal are great examples of online communities that encourage like-minded members to connect with one another and work on their fitness goals as a collective. Online communities can also create a feeling of competition which is ideal for members who thrive off a little friendly challenge.
6. Online Fitness Challenges
Online fitness challenges are a great way to offer motivation and advice digitally. You provide expert guidance while encouraging and engaging with members. This is just another way to create a friendly digital fitness experience to support your members. Online fitness challenges can be as simple or complex as you like.
Depending on the time and resources you have available, you could create a six-week weight loss challenge with weekly recipes and printables or you could do a 30-day push-up challenge. To get you started, we’ve put together a guide on how to run an online fitness challenge and the elements you need to think about to deliver a successful challenge for your members.
7. Health and Fitness Apps
Health and fitness mobile apps can form a major part of your digital fitness experience. The global fitness app market is expected to grow by $1.68 billion during 2020-2024. The running and cycling app Strava has 50 million athletes and three billion active uploads. While the Fitbit app has around 28 million active users. As you can see, health and fitness apps are huge.
Consumers want more control over their health. Having access to personalized fitness and nutrition tips through their smartphone is very attractive. Allowing members access to their gym membership information, workout metrics, and on-demand video content all in one app can be hugely beneficial in creating a good digital experience.
From virtual workouts and on-demand fitness classes to health apps and connected home solutions, new fitness trends continue to disrupt the traditional fitness industry. Consumer expectations are increasing and the need for a seamless digital fitness experience is clear. By evaluating and developing your digital fitness offerings, you can reaffirm your position in the fitness industry in the digital era. Through innovation and creativity, technology allows you to personalize the fitness experience like never before.