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The Gym Of the Future

Technology isn’t the only factor driving our fitness club experience – but it is the most interesting
Viro Race Hovercraft

The Gym as we know it is constantly evolving. It’s regularly been moving from wide spaces with top of the range fitness equipment to cross functional cardio spaces with fixed machines and equipment for high intensity interval workouts – and then it changes back again. As aerobics classes gave way to Zumba, Zumba classes have made way for cross fit. 

A club is an ever evolving door of fitness offerings, and the gym of the future will be more than just a physical space with hands on customer service and personal trainers. Automation will make way for the staff-less gym – technology will have to become more engaging, supportive in order for clubs to motivate and inspire members to achieve goals, without a costly physical presence. 

In the few rare occasions when clubs still hold dear the personal touch and would rather offer a premium service of support, coaching and customer service. However, they too will take advantage of technologies which will power “the internet of fitness things” to help retain and motivate members. 

That’s because it is now possible to inspire members to work harder and visit more often - with a focus that’s normally reserved for the most dedicated fitness fanatics. So how is the humble gym changing today, and where is it headed tomorrow?

The gym space

Since the early 1970’s Club owners, fitness innovators and architects have been trying to find the most engaging methods of driving people to a venue dedicated to making them fit and healthy. Changing from rows of fitness machines lined up side by side to wide open plan spaces with an abundance of room -and staff, to host group sessions. And then, it seems, back again to the space saving concepts designed to accommodate vast numbers of members at one time. 

The industry is being led and dominated by the low cost bigger space clubs - filled to absolute capacity with the widest range of mass market fitness tools and solutions. Fortunately these clubs have incorporated the open spaces needed for more engaging and addictive group sessions. 

Almost all clubs today operate a hot machine approach to usage, first come first served, with no ability to book or assign a unit in advance to a club member. Even the spaces allocated to machines and hardware are changing to cater to new modes of cooperative high intensity interval workouts. 

The gym layout of the future looks set to remain dominated by the low cost large box facilities, with more and more equipment designed to support cooperative training, therefore reducing the need for staff and increasing the potential to engage and motivate members.

 

Big Data

Gyms will build more fitness technology into the access points, walls, machines and even  the members’ phones in their pursuit to engage, retain and connect with members in a deeper, more meaningful way. 

Resource

Expect to see the rise of the smarter gym, embedded sensors which will gather and provide data to the automated fitness tools and apps tracking your progress as you move from machine to machine. Big data will play a more critical role in helping members achieve their goals and give better insights to members who try hard, but can't seem to progress towards their ideal fitness levels. 

Forward thinking fitness gyms and clubs will spend more time focused on analyzing member data and automating training routines and suggestions in their bid to ensure that members see results and remain at the club.  

 

The Sustainable Gym

What do we mean by sustainable gym? 

Well, the gym of the future will pay particularly more attention to members’ needs, wellness and results. Fitness technology and the data it provides will play a significant part in a gym’s capability to understand what services are driving retention. 

Poor service, not enough free units at peak time, lack of required services, poor engagement, or it might be as simple as consumers not having the correct level of coaching and support to see results. Whatever the reason, the gyms of the future will begin to pay more attention to gathering this data and learning how it can be used to motivate and engage members. 

It’s clear that gyms and clubs are being forced to cut back on workforce as they struggle to remain competitive in the market. That doesn’t mean that the consumer who opts for the cheapest option is not interested in flexing their purchasing power and moving on to a competitor's gym when a better, similar or cheaper offers presents itself – this is why gyms need to innovate and lead the way in order to stay ahead.

The competitive landscape for gyms in any one region or neighborhood can be cut throat, that’s because members are not as proud of their club membership these days than they may have been in the past – or will be in the future.

Gyms who use new technology and data to build a more sustainable business model will create deeper bonds with their consumers and will ultimately have the edge on their competitors who don’t put in any effort to understand why their members might be churning.  

 

The Social Gym

When was the last time you liked - or God forbid shared your gyms facebook post? When was the last time you didn’t look in disgust at the guy taking an insta-selfie near the mirrors? When was the last time your members shared your club’s offers with their friends and colleagues? It's probably been a while, right?

Social validation, love it or hate it, is still the most cost effective way to spread the word about the good things your club is doing for its members. 

But it's also the most difficult – fitness addicts love to share fitness milestones on social channels, new members love to tell their communities that they have arrived for another grueling day at the fitness office. But these types of posts are ad hoc and not usually posted in any meaningful way that is valuable for the club.

The fitness addict will see a few likes and maybe a reshare or two, but will hardly ever tag the gym. The new user will usually stop the posts after a week or two, because they either give up training or stop socially sharing when they don’t them self-see progress. 

The gym of the future will incorporate social and community building into every service, every machine and every workout they offer. They will use more social tools to win new members and will use new technologies to acquire a new type of member. 

Like our new offer? Share to get a discount. Completed a workout on a new piece of technology? Here is an easy way to share preformatted screen shot with your key successes and a link to the club. Digital technologies and mobile applications are helping gyms to get their messages across to members and potential members. 

Social and community building will become equally as pivotal for the gym of the future as technology and big data that will drive its growth. Mobile applications like Viro Fit are allowing clubs to build deeper ties within their club and towards their wider community.

Mobile applications will become the driving force behind a club’s social activities such as

  • Managing leaderboards
  • Building club teams and tracking tournaments statistics
  • Predicting revenue
  • Sharing tips and tricks
  • Building club pride
  • Enhancing customer service
  • Landing events and new product, collecting data and information. 

Consumers expect services to be mobile, they expect to be engaged socially and they expect to be able to have their questions answered quickly by whichever channel they feel is most appropriate to them. 

A team of two dedicated community managers can deliver the highest level of customer care to a member base of thousands – in a better and more efficient way than a team of desk clerks ever could in the gym of yesterday. 

Viro’s virtual reality fitness gaming technologies is not only creating the gym of the future, but also empowering the gym of today. Our suite of fitness gamification solutions along with our mobile application has the power to future proof any gym or fitness club. 

We are winning a new type of member, inspiring even the most avid of sports people and encouraging those who need more coaching in a cost effective but deeply engaging way. 

We predict our virtual fitness training technologies will cut the cost of engaging and motivating a club member to achieve their fitness goals. 

  • Our socially enabled apps and tools will dramatically reduce the cost of acquiring new members.
  • Our fitness gamification solutions will help gyms and clubs win a brand new types of client. 
  • The addictive nature of our games and competitions will reduce churn, increase frequency and satisfaction.. 

Clubs which embrace our solution will realize a decreased churn and notice a considerable increase in club pride and teamwork.

Thanks for your attention.
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About the author
Paul

Paul

A passionate virtual cyclist, rower, hop skip and jumper. If it's virtual and it's fitness - sign me up! 

Fitness gaming technologies that gamify fitness workouts are driving new types of members to gyms and clubs and immersive gaming elements keep them returning.

Our suite of virtual fitness gaming solutions allows your members to share actual workouts with friends and followers and link them directly to your club social sites.

Your club benefits from added exposure which comes with social sharing along with the traction from offering the most immersive fitness gaming solutions in your area.

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