Fitness Tracking as an Amenity

Why you should consider offering fitness tracking as an amenity in your gym and how it can bring your gym into the future

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For a gym to survive, it needs several things in its favour. It needs to be well run, it needs loyal members, it needs an effective method for bringing in new members, and it needs something that helps it to stand out from the crowd. Not a gimmick, something that allows the gym to provide better results, or a better customer experience than the competition.

This article will take a look at how fitness tracking could be the answer. We will take a look at why fitness tracking is so popular, how to properly implement it in your gym, and the benefits that this can offer to you as a gym owner.

What is Fitness Tracking?

Fitness tracking has been around in one way or another for a long time. The first pedometer (step counter) was invented as far back as 1780 by Abraham-Louis Perrelet. Though pedometers didn’t become truly popular till the 1960s, when they were introduced to the Japanese public by Dr Iwao Ohya who was concerned about the increasingly sedentary lifestyle of the Japanese public.

The ten-thousand step goal was also created by Ohya, and his pedometers were named Manpo-Kei which literally translates as 10,000.

It’s difficult to convey just how popular the Manpo-Kei pedometer was. This was basic technology, yet entire walking clubs were set up independently by fans. Turns out, people enjoy tracking their fitness, and they also enjoy sharing their progress with others.

Today, fitness tracking has reached new levels in terms of what it offers and what it is capable of. Your iPhone can track your heart rate, your smartwatch can track the number of reps you perform in the gym. You can travel virtual distances and complete the walk of the Pilgrims in Spain while never leaving Iowa.

But personal fitness tracking is only the beginning, more and more gyms are starting to cotton on to the benefits of offering their own fitness tracking system. Realising that this can help to motivate and please their members and help them to build loyalty and raise profits.

Fitness Tracking for Gyms

If anyone can download a fitness tracking app to their smartphone, then why bother with fitness tracking in your own gym? Well, there are many benefits to having your own specific fitness tracking technology, here are the main ones:

  • Stand out from the crowd – Even if the benefits were minimal (they’re not) having something that no other gym in your area is offering is a benefit in its own right. You can highlight it in your marketing, emphasise how you do things differently than your competition, and present yourself as forward thinking.
  • Deliver better results – When analysed properly, fitness tracking can help your members to improve their performance in the gym. Some technology can even help to recognize and correct bad form or overtraining. This can mean better results, less injuries and happier members. Another benefit of fitness tracking as an amenity is the support your members will have from your staff. Fitness technology and in-person support is a powerful combination. Your staff will be able to educate your members, help them understand their analytics and help them make progress. Which presents a great transition into the next benefit.
  • More upsell opportunities – We’ve talked about this before in our article on the benefits of data for your business. But there are many upselling opportunities for a gym that provides fitness tracking as an amenity. Coaching sessions where you go through their data and help them make changes based on it. Personal training that can integrate with their fitness tracking. Workshops where you teach them how to analyse their own data. Get your imagination flowing and you can find many ways to improve your profits. Or do this for free and see how popular your gym becomes!
  • Motivated members – It’s easier to gamify your gym experience with fitness tracking as an amenity. And fitness tracking is even more effective when you apply gamification to it. We mentioned before how gamification can improve your member experience. Gamification applied to fitness tracking can help your members achieve their goals and stay motivated. Fitness tracking can allow you to reward them for smaller achievements along the way to their goals and give them a little push when they need it. There are plenty of ways to incorporate external motivators with fitness tracking. Consistent external motivators could even internalize and instill intrinsic motivation along the way. A motivated member is more likely to achieve their goals, and a successful member is more likely to stay with your gym for longer. This leads to the member having a better opinion of the gym and its staff, and are more likely to recommend it to friends and family.
  • Improved cohesion – In the previous section we talked about how the introduction of pedometers in Japan in the 60s led to large groups of people starting walking clubs across the country. This was completely organic and had not been planned by the organisers. People enjoy competition and team spirit, and as crazy as it sounds, fitness tracking can provide that. A well-integrated fitness tracking system in your gym can help your members get to know each other, and it can help them to get on better. Which helps to build a strong gym community.
  • Better engagement – If your members start getting to know each other and getting on better, they’ll start to feel more comfortable at your gym. As a result, they’ll be more likely to participate in community events and become an integral part of your community. Engaged members make the gym experience better for the entire community. And they are also more open to upselling opportunities. 
    It could also be a tool to organize a routine and give members a better sense of what to do at the gym. So you might notice less floaters wondering the gym floor lost and confused, and more members getting after it. Which will prevent those floaters from getting bored and cancelling their membership. Fitness tracking not only helps to improve member engagement, but also to retain your members longer and even opens doors to new revenue streams.
  • Useful data for your gym – An often overlooked aspect is that most fitness technology can also give you data about how your members use the gym. If 70% of the fitness trackers are logging the incline leg press, then you know that this is a popular machine. If there is a 60% increase in gym members logging in at 6pm then you know that this is a busy period. A fitness tracking solution could help you collect this data use it to make informed decision. Fitness tracking is an example of a data-driven solution that can help improve your gym to suit your members needs.

A look into the future

The fact is that within 10 years, almost every gym in the country will be offering some form of fitness tracking for their members. That’s pretty much guaranteed. There are too many benefits for the fitness industry to ignore, and the risk/reward ratio is heavily in the gym’s favour.

This is your opportunity to get ahead of your competition and have everything in place for when the rest of the industry finally catches up. The fitness industry can be incredibly dynamic, but it can also be surprisingly resistant to change.

Look at how some aspects of the fitness world have changed in the last five years. The rise of social media, the changing of attitudes to diet culture and inequality. Whether you agree with these stances or not, it is undeniable that these topics are influencing the fitness world.

If you really want to see how quickly things can change, look at the attitudes of most fitness industry members to home workouts before the Covid-19 pandemic! The industry pivoted so fast on this issue that it was seeing stars.

Online coaching is one of the fastest growing sectors in the fitness industry, and yet it is still looked down on by many gym staff as a fad. Becoming adaptable is crucial, and the use of fitness tracking and data analysis is one area where you cannot afford to tread water.

Fitness Track as an Amenity

What is an amenity? It’s defined as a desirable feature of a building, or in this case a gym. An amenity is designed to help you feel more comfortable, make your life easier, or improve your happiness. Can a fitness tracker provide this? Absolutely. It can make the process of program design easier. Through its ability to increase gym cohesion it can help members feel happier and more comfortable in the gym.

It won’t make a workout easier, and that’s not something that your members would even want. But it can make tracking your reps, sets, and the weights/exercises used a lot easier. But for this to happen, you need to properly introduce it to your members and get them enthusiastic about its capabilities.

How to Implement Fitness Tracking Successfully

The only way to implement new fitness tracking technology into your gym is to go all in. You can’t just quietly release it and expect members to embrace it. You need a lot of build up to the first day, you need promotions, leaflets, emails, texts, incentives, and you also want to introduce the technology to every new member who signs up to the gym.

Really emphasise the benefits to your members, talk about how it can help them to train smarter, to keep track of their progress better, and to engage with each other through the app. Offer a free coaching session for users (which could drum up a lot of business for new PTs) and run talks about how to get the most out of the app.

Our article covering how to introduce new fitness technology talks more about how you can properly implement a technology such as fitness tracking at your gym. 

Final Thoughts: Fitness Tracking as an Amenity

Thinking of technology such as fitness tracking as an amenity is a smart move. It grounds the technology, and will help you see it as an integral next step in your business, rather than an afterthought.

If you invest your money into a new piece of gym equipment or new locker rooms, it’s common sense to encourage your members to use them more. You would put posts up on Instagram, mention them in your weekly email, and give members quick inductions in how to use that piece of gym equipment (few people need help with locker rooms!).

Fitness technology should be no different. This technology is going to take over the fitness industry in the next few years, helping with the inevitable blend of online coaching/classes and bricks and mortar gyms. Don’t get left behind, embrace this technology today.

To learn more about how you can offer fitness tracking as an amenity, contact us.

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