Fitness Technology Is Transforming the Industry in 2019 and Beyond

Published on: 
29 May 19
Posted in: 
10 min read

Source: theguardian.com 

Trends within the fitness industry are closely linked with overall trends in society. Technology is increasingly finding a place within people’s fitness routines. This technology ranges from apps to wearables, to booking systems. Setting aside the novelty factors of new advances, the convenience that technology can offer is incomparable. In addition to technological advances, there is also a shift toward consumer awareness. Gym-goers are no longer content with simple information such as their weight. What they are curious to know more about is their progress, from body fat percentage to sleep quality.

2019 marked the 13th year that the American College of Sports Medicine has enlisted the help of over 2000 fitness professionals to rank trends in the fitness industry. Wearable technology took the number one spot, having fallen to No. 3 in 2018, and fitness apps were up at number 13.

It’s clear that technology is changing the face of the industry. And the change is both from the aspect of the consumer (gym goer) and the suppliers (gyms/ personal trainers.)

In this article, we are going to discuss the latest fitness technology trends and what they will mean for your members and your fitness business.

Global Fitness Market

Experts value the global health club market at approximately $87.2 billion, with 201,000 clubs and over 174 million members worldwide. The US alone counts for about $30 billion and shows a consistent growth of about 3-4% per annum. Current figures in the US show that about 20% of adults are members of a gym or health club.

What Is Driving This Enormous Surge?

There are several significant factors:

  • Health Insurance costs – it’s simple: Healthy people are cheaper to insure!
  • Increased demand for healthy food – there is a gradual shift away from junk food towards healthier options.
  • Wearables – encouraging people to get more active.
  • Ability to stream exercise classes – making it a lot easier for people to access fitness.
  • Budget-friendly gyms – the fitness has expanded exponentially in two very different directions: Boutique studios, and “high-value, low-price” clubs.

What Technology Is Emerging in the Fitness Market in 2019?

CES conference sign

The Consumer Electronics Show is the biggest event on the tech calendar, and 2019 did not disappoint. There was everything from folding phones to major automobile innovations, and the health and fitness industry brought their A-Game. CES brings together the top technology companies who are showcasing their latest creations, alongside many upcoming companies and innovative startups.

There were lots of pioneering, unique products to check out and here are a few of our favorites: 

Ultimate Gym Tech

JAXJOX KettlebellConnect is a smart kettlebell that has multiple weight options. It has a stacking system that allows users to lock on added weights in seconds, making it time and space efficient. The kettlebell also features sensors which will enable you to track content, intensity, and duration of your training session!

Smart At Home Boxing Gym

FightCamp is designed to give you a full boxing, or kickboxing, workout from the comfort of your home. The complete kit includes a free-standing punch bag, hand wraps, and gloves. Included in the package are smart-connected trackers that provide real-time feedback (such as your punching power!) through the app.

The New Generation of Fitness

The Flexit App provides consumers with more options than their hotel gym if they are frequent travelers. This mobile app allows users to access fitness facilities wherever and whenever they wish. There is no upfront cost, and customers pay per minute for the time they spend in their facility of choice.

An Affordable Fitness Tracker with Classic Style

Withings Move has a unique approach: They design fitness trackers that walk a fine line between high tech and classic style. Prices are low; they track all major activities (walking, running, swimming, sleeping, etc.); they are fully customizable and have an unsurpassed battery life!

Sleep Better

Somnox Sleep Robot is a tool designed to help you fall asleep more rapidly and wake up feeling more refreshed. The device imitates the breathing of a human chest.  According to Somnox, this will help you relax you and drift off.

What Types of Fitness Technology Are Available?

The technology industry is starting to make a real mark in the fitness realm. This ranges from personal at home us for the fitness enthusiast (such as wearables, trackers, apps, etc.) to the more corporate side of fitness. There are a variety of tools appearing on the market that benefit the fitness business owner (such as smart machines and management software.)

From Wearable Technology to Fitness Apps

With the swift progress of wearable technology, AI, and even mixed reality, the health and fitness tech market is making leaps and bounds, making it an exciting time for both customers and app developers.

In addition, more and more people are working on getting healthier and getting society healthier! The future is bright! Here are a few interesting trends to watch out for:

Wearable Technology

Wearables have become far more than a fashion accessory. They provide valuable data for those who are serious about their progress and developments. There is an option out there for everybody. Apple has now added an electrocardiogram (ECG) function on the Apple Watch Series 4, which allows for a more detailed analysis of its users’ heart health. Meanwhile, Fitbit’s latest Charge 3 works with more progressive heart rate sensors that use algorithms to reveal insights on your heart, while giving instantaneous feedback allowing you to make the most of every workout. Users can track all of their activities from home-workouts, to spin classes, to sleep patterns.

Fitness Apps (For Consumers)

The global market size of fitness apps will reach over $14.7B by 2026, according to a study published by Polaris Market Research. Many factors have contributed to the enormous market growth: a noteworthy increase in the obese population, changes in lifestyles and rising health concerns are amongst these. On top of that, people have less time to commit to the gym. The increased diffusion of mobile devices, coupled with the availability of high-speed internet services means many people are turning to apps. Gear Patrol has named Sworkit, Aaptiv, and NEOU as some of the top apps of 2019.

Fitness Apps (For Gyms)

Technology is shaking up the health and fitness industry and making even the most well-known gym chains wipe the sweat off their brow. New apps are challenging traditional members clubs and introducing a more flexible approach to the market and the notion of a gym membership. Most gym management software platforms now offer apps as part of their package. Class Pass has made a big name for itself; it offers consumers the chance to skip out on gym memberships and have access to a multitude of gyms across their chosen cities for a flat fee. Similar services are popping up around the world as entrepreneurs see opportunities to confront the concept of membership. While some clubs feel like they are losing out on memberships, they are also being introduced to a whole new client base. As with any change, the industry as a whole will have to start adapting accordingly.  

Virtual Reality

Virtual training and coaching are becoming an indispensable tool in the fitness world. Many health clubs are now encouraging the use of professionally coached classes brought to customers via streaming.  Apps like Endomondo allow users to simulate the experience of having a personal training session with a coach through their headphones. Indicated as the new cutting edge tool in training, virtual reality has already been embraced by thousands of gyms and fitness clubs internationally, most remarkably in big name brands such as Pure Fitness and Virgin Active. Beyond the fitness club scene, athletes are finding a new way to communicate and share with fans, Floyd Mayweather has developed his own Mayweather at home boxing.

Online Coaching

Many coaches are now offering digital training services. Gym goers are increasingly searching for services that work around them, i.e. not a gym with specific hours. This is where long-distance online coaching excels. Services are often given at a reduced rate (from their physical competitors), it can be made available 24/7, and it is increasingly becoming an attractive alternative for many. For the more gym-shy, this is also a handy tool. As well as that it can be a way of introducing a whole new clientele to the fitness industry.

Machine Technology

Smart technology is making its way into gyms, with the likes of Peloton bikes. They saw a significant gap in the market and jumped in to elevate at-home fitness to match an in-class experience. Peleton equips stationary bikes or treadmills with monitors that consumer uses at home. These monitors stream workouts live or on demand and offer users unique options centered on user preferences. To further add to the experience, users can choose whether to synch their workouts to worldwide leaderboards and add a fun element of competition! Another great device in this category is the Mirror; this slick device allows users to follow a variety of real-time fitness classes.

High Tech Clothing

We can’t live in a world filled with technological advances and not be fashion forward about it too! New pioneering workout gear is allowing customers to meet fitness objectives faster with high-tech clothing that is both smart and stylish!  Record all of your running data with Under Armour’s Gemini 2, check your running form with the Sensoria smart sock, or measure heart rate, cadence, and steps with this Hexoskin high-tech tank.

Fitness Trends: How Facilities Must Respond

Times are changing, and technology is creating significant shifts within industries. Consumers now have many more options on how they accomplish wellness, and fitness clubs will need to make the relevant changes to allow for these advances. This can come in many shapes and forms.

To utilize technology most effectively, you must first identify your target market. Knowing who your customers are will be instrumental in choosing the right path and choosing which technology to integrate into your programming to enhance member retention and acquisition.

Technology must not be seen as the enemy; it must be used to its maximum potential:

  • Enhance member experiences by tracking activities and outcomes.
  • Incorporate technology to assemble data and info about your members and their fitness habits. Create better programs based on this information.
  • Technology can be included inside your club, offer wearables and video content to members.
  • Mix technology into your programming. Technology has transformed simple machines into complex devices capable of providing all sorts of data. It leads to better results for clients and enhances member retention.
  • Finally, use technology to design winning marketing campaigns. Create valuable and relevant content for your members.

Keeping up to date with the current trends in fitness technology will certainly help to give your club a competitive advantage. However, we must be careful not to put all of our eggs in one basket. While technology can play a pivotal role in many aspects of your health and fitness club, it can never replace face-to-face interaction with clients.

As with any major overhaul, the addition of new technology within your gym or health club will almost certainly come with a learning curve. However, the payoff is worth it, with increased member rates, better outcomes for consumers, and ultimately, more financial success.

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