Without a doubt, the right fitness apps can improve the overall experience for your gym or studio members. Not only that, they will help you offer an experience that consumers now expect from a fitness offering in the current moment.
In 2020 fitness apps have never been more critical. As we are all tired of hearing by now, COVID-19 has transformed the fitness industry for the foreseeable future. Consumers need to be able to get fit wherever they are in the world – regardless of if they’re in a brick and mortar studio or not. Your offering, and the marketing strategies you use to promote it, need to appeal to this.
According to the World Economic Forum, which cites a study by customer engagement platform Moenage, fitness app downloads grew by nearly 50% in the first half of 2020. An incredible increase that shows how popular home fitness has become this year and how digital fitness has taken over
With consumers now very familiar with digital technology, you need to start thinking about how you incorporate this into your gym or studio – both in your online and in-studio offering. Start looking at some of the most successful on-demand platforms out there and begin taking inspiration from what they are doing for your digital offering.
First, let’s come back to this article’s opening line and look at how fitness apps will improve your member experience.
Skip ahead to:
- How Can a Fitness App Improve Member Experience?
- 6 Fitness Apps That Will Improve Your Member Experience
How Can a Fitness App Improve Member Experience?
First things first. It’s a huge mistake to think that incorporating a few apps into your offering will suddenly be the answer to delivering a great member experience. In reality, you need to have the correct systems, values, vision, and most importantly, attitude to make sure your members are getting the best experience possible. The apps are just tools you can use to help deliver this.
Member experience expert Chris Stevenson couldn’t have put it better when he joined us on the Fitness Founders Podcast a few months back; “Fundamentally, you have to have an organization that believes having a great experience is important. You have to hire the right people. You’ve got to create the right culture. Your vision, mission, values, purpose have to be wrapped around creating it, and then you, as the leader, have to lead by example.”
So if you are looking for the answer to delivering a great member experience, go back and check that episode out before continuing.
However, if you feel you lack those essential tools to help you deliver on your vision, using fitness apps can certainly help get to that level. Here are a few reasons why:
Ease of Use
Your main goal should be to help your members achieve their goals. The only work that they should have to do is show up and put 100% effort into their training sessions. Everything that helps them, be it booking and logging into a live-streamed workout or tracking their daily calories, needs to be as uncomplicated as possible.
Whether it be on an Android or Apple phone, most commercially available apps in today’s market are incredibly easy to use. And there is a reason for this – with everyone’s lives being on their phone; the experience needs to be uncomplicated and seamless – this needs to be the same for your members.
Accountability is the key differentiator. By this, we mean it’s the critical difference between a member achieving their desired result and not achieving it. Gym Launch owner Alex Hormozi lays this out very clearly in his value-packed interview with us, which took place earlier this year.
He makes the excellent point that largely every workout is the same, especially online. What gives you the edge over Beachbody or Kayla Itsines is that you can keep your members accountable to the goals they have set for themselves.
Fitness apps for tracking activity and nutrition are great ways to get members regularly communicating what they are doing. Tracking forces them to think about all aspects of their lifestyle and slowly make habits healthier as they go through your program.
Ownership of the Process
As well as keeping members accountable, tracking apps help members feel in control of their journey and “own” the process of their transformation. By inputting data regularly, they create a big picture of their change and can step back and see the progression of their journey. Like progression pictures, tracking activity can motivate the person to keep improving.
Realistically you are trying to get the person to a stage where they don’t need hands-on help all the time to achieve their goals. Eventually, the member should be able to take ownership of their fitness journey. By getting them into the habit of tracking their progress, you can help them with this.
6 Fitness Apps That Will Improve Your Member Experience
Technology has become integral to the modern fitness experience, and an app can manage every aspect of a person’s journey on their phone. From tracking personal bests to making sure daily macros are hit, fitness apps have become incredibly popular as they can help people get the results they want.
Now that we have looked at a few different ways fitness apps can help improve member experience, let’s look at some existing apps that can do this. We have decided to split this into three categories.
The first category will look at some of the most popular demand workout apps and what lessons you can learn from their success. The second category will look at activity tracking apps. In contrast, the third category will look at nutrition tracking apps. Both of these types of apps could really make a difference when it comes to your member’s fitness journey.
On-Demand Workout Apps to Learn From
Before this year, there had been a steady rise in apps that either live-streamed or host on-demand workouts for consumers. Peloton is probably the one that has broken into mainstream consciousness the most.
Here are two on-demand workout platforms that you can take lessons from for your digital offering.
Sworkit: With the tagline of “Fitness Made Simple” Sworkit, like Freeletics, doesn’t require you to have a Golds Gym style set up in your garage. The app offers you a range of fitness plans based on time or focused on specific body parts.
The Guardian reviewed this app recently and pointed to some great features. Not only can you alter the music, but there is an instructor voiceover that directs you. Sworkit will also send out push notifications to remind you to workout.
Key lesson to learn: Small touches, like clear voice instructions and synced music, can help bring your online offering to life. Listen to the recent Glofox Connect talk on tuning a hybrid fitness business for some great tips and tricks to improve your digital platform.
30 Day Fitness Challenge: Transformations usually work best when there is a time limit set, which is the idea behind this app. Available for free or on a premium package (still relatively cheap at £1.99 a week), 30 Day Fitness Challenge allows users to choose a specific plan to follow (fat burn, muscle gain, etc) and has over 400 workouts in its library.
As we have written about previously in this article, fitness challenges and contests are so important for keeping your members motivated and engaged. This is especially true when your members are working out remotely. Competition can help a person focus on their fitness goals and offer a way to show off their hard work.
Key lesson to learn: When you are forced to go online due to a lockdown, run online fitness challenges. Like this app, engage with members individually and set out plans based on an area they want to focus on.
Activity Trackers to Keep Members on the Right Path
You may not have realized it but activity trackers have been around since the early 1980s, albeit a professional athletic level – heart rate monitors were available in 1981 for professional athletes. It wasn’t until the early 2000s that fitness and activity trackers became commercially valuable to everyday consumers.
Fitbit is one of the most well-known brands in the space. According to AP, established in 2007, it now has 28 million active users worldwide and has sold over 100 million active devices. The brand is now a part and parcel of fitness culture and has paved the way for more and more brands in the space.
Here are two activity trackers that could be an excellent fit for your fitness program:
Polar: This company has a more extended history than you may think, founded in 1971 in Kempele, Finland. Polar has the distinction of being the inventor of the first wireless heart monitor in 1977. The company has gone from strength to strength since and boasts a whole range of trackers and wearable in its product range.
The most interesting and relevant products for you as a fitness business owner are Polar Club and Polar Flow for Coach. Club uses heart rate monitors in a group fitness setting to showcase your members’ live performance as they work out. The app also adapts to remote workouts. Flow for Coach, meanwhile, allows you to tailor specific plans for your members based on their workout data.
Charity Miles: One of the most positive things you can do as a fitness business owner is giving back to the community. Not only are you helping a worthwhile cause, but you are giving your members something to aim for that’s bigger than the goal of just getting fit. This is why Charity Miles is such a great app.
It allows you to donate money to the charity of your choice through logging miles while running, walking or cycling. Money can be donated through their corporate sponsorship fund or from friends and family – you can see more about this in their FAQs. This app is an excellent tool for helping organize a charity event for your gym or studio community.
Nutrition Trackers That Will Keep Members Clean in the Kitchen
We all know from experience that nutrition is an area where many members slip up when they are trying to achieve their goals. It can be hard to stick to a nutrition plan – especially if you aren’t tracking any of it.
That’s why encouraging the use of a nutrition tracking app is so essential in getting your member the results they want. Not only does it allow them to keep track of what they are eating, but it also gives you oversight and makes them accountable. Nutrition tracking apps are also a great way to help members develop good habits.
Here are two apps we recommend:
MyFitnessPal: Developed by sporting goods manufacturer Under Armour, MyFitnessPal has jumped to the top of the pack regarding nutrition tracking. It allows you to figure out how many calories you need to consume to gain, maintain, or lose weight and track all your consumption and activities. It has an extensive database of food and drink and has a barcode scanner to identify what you are eating.
The best part of this app is that it’s free. (with premium options available) For your members, the best way to use this to calculate a member’s maintenance calories yourself so its as accurate as possible and then use the app only for nutrition tracking – the activity tracker can sometimes lull the user in a false sense of how many calories they have actually burned through exercise
MyPlate: This nutrition tracking app is similar to MyFitnessPal and has been developed by the non-profit organization Livestrong. The critical difference is that you get more in-depth macronutrient information in the free version of the account than you do with MyFitnessPal,
If you are looking for something a bit different from MyFitnessPal, then consider looking at MyPlate. The free version has loads of great features; all you need for basic nutrition tracking – the key to this is not to overcomplicate the process.
The explosion of digital fitness in 2020 has meant there are so many options out there for consumers. As a fitness business owner, it’s easy to see these platforms as rivals to your offering, but you shouldn’t see it this way.
Instead, you need to embrace the technology that can streamline your member’s experience and ultimately get them the results they want. Also, take inspiration from the best on-demand platforms and improve your system and what you offer as a whole.