Leon Rudge, our Director of Customer Solutions shares his views on equipment and technology for the fitness industry.
“Life Fitness pioneered smart, internet-connected fitness equipment around five years ago with the introduction of our LFconnect Digital Solutions. This included our android-based Discover SE Tablet Console, our online portals for gym owners and exercisers, our exerciser app and our open platform.
Since the launch of Discover SE we have continuously improved our digital solution. This is a great feature for equipment manufacturers; as our products are no longer a ‘finished good’ we can continuously enhance them for performance, efficiency and usability and send out updates over the internet, just like an iPhone update.
The second great feature for manufacturers is that we can use the product data analysis to understand how the products are used, spot trends and enhance the areas that exercisers are utilising most often. In response, we released our Discover SE3 HD Console that boasts a 21-inch screen and features such as Netflix for entertainment and immersive experiences like RunSocial, which allows exercisers to race people all over the work while on a Life Fitness treadmill.
Why is this important to gym owners?
We already know that as early as 2012 health and fitness app downloads and usage outgrew any other category on the app stores by almost double, so we know your members and more importantly prospects are using apps….a lot. We’ve also all seen the huge growth in wearable technologies. Fitbit, for instance, has been a top selling Christmas gift for the last couple of years and when you connect your Life Fitness equipment you connect your members or prospect to Fitbit as well.
It’s worth considering that over half of your members would have made a personal choice to use a particular app or wearable that your gym team probably won’t support. Next, think about all the non-members within a 3-mile radius of your gyms that are using an app, wearable or Joe Wicks, the Body Coach to get fit. What are your plans to close the gap between your physical business and their digital version? You’ll need one as the divide is growing.
What can you do to keep up? Here are Leon’s top tips:
- Make sure that any equipment you purchase can connect directly to the Internet, anything else is simply out of date.
- Get your gym team comfortable with being able to train and interact with members using the popular apps. Your members have made a choice.
- Digitise your business. You can obtain complete digital fitness solutions for as little as 100 euros a month. These have apps and software to run your gym, gym team and for exercisers to self-serve. This will return within the first month. Look at organisations such as membr.com, Virtuagym, MyVitale and TrainingGym.