CONTENT BROUGHT TO YOU BY: Power Systems
Just when you think you have the latest car, computer, tablet or app technology, a reminder pops up on your smartphone screen to update your software. It’s true. No matter how tech savvy we claim to be, the next big thing is always around the corner. And we can’t wait to hear about it. Last month’s Apple announcement press conference had all of us glued to our computers, tablets and smartphones to hear about the latest iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch updates. Soon after, we updated our Christmas lists.
That being said, the fitness industry also has been consumed by the technology tidal wave. With the latest fitness trackers, we can now track steps, sleep patterns, heart rate, calories burned and get all the data right on our wrists. Yes, we’ve come a long way from the standard pedometer during the past 10 years. It doesn’t just stop with personal fitness technology. Now, entire fitness facilities are popping up across the map that provide a linked in approach to fitness by offering devices and equipment to monitor heart rate, rep counts, RPMs, etc.
In August 2015, Reportlinker, an award-winning market research organization, filtered and organized the latest fitness technology industry data. It summarized itsfindings to indicate:
“Sports, Fitness, Healthcare, and Clothing are emerging as key industries for the early market success of wearable technology. Mind Commerce sees wearables in Sports and Fitness alone reaching $9.4 billion globally by 2020...”
But with all the technology available, what are the best ways we can use it to help our members?
If you don’t have the budget available to run out and buy the most technologically advanced cardio and strength training equipment with record keeping and exercise programming apps, don’t sweat it. There are ways you can help your members get connected without a complete equipment overhaul. For example, members likely approach your staff weekly asking, “Do I need one of those fitness arm bands?” and “Which one should I get?” You might be inclined to recommend the fit trackers that you are selling in your pro shop, but first, ask them what they want to use it for. Remember, no one likes the salesperson that doesn’t listen. It’s like going to a car dealership and asking about minivans and being directed towards the luxury pickup trucks. Good member service is selling the customer exactly what they need, not more than they need.
What features of a fit tracker are important to clientele?
If they are runners, ask them if they run outdoors. In that case, they will want a band featuring a GPS so their distance is reported directly to their wrist. If they are more concerned with heart rate, remind them to check and see if the fit tracker comes complete with that technology or if they will need to purchase an additional heart rate monitor worn on the chest that syncs to the wristband. If weight loss is their main goal, suggest a fit tracker that will sync to an online food log (i.e. FitBit syncs with MyFitnessPal). This will give them the most accurate read on calories in vs. calories out. If they want to track all of the above, assure them that there is a device out there that will do so. A wearable fitness tracker is a great way to help hold your clientele accountable or to help them re-focus on a goal.
In addition to fitness trackers themselves and advice on purchasing, what else can we offer our members?
Digital assessment devices are great additions to your facility. It sends the message to your members that your club is up-to-date and values the importance of accurate fitness assessments as a measure of success. Digital scales are the simplest solution and don’t require calibration as often as the old doctor’s office scales with the sliding weights. Digital body fat analyzers are fairly inexpensive these days as well and are easy to use. If you’ve been using these types of digital assessment devices for years, consider an upgrade to an all-in-one device. Some digital scales are available that provide a comprehensive analysis of the body far beyond weight and body fat percentage. Some can provide additional feedback on hydration levels, muscle mass, Basal Metabolic Rate, bone mass and segmental body composition (right arm vs. left arm, right leg vs. left leg, and trunk).
You can also upgrade your facility by adding the latest fitness software, including offerings that will allow comparisons of clients’ chronological age to their health age. Most fitness software will allow members and potential members to create a profile based on their physical stats as well as identify any risk factors associated with their lifestyle. Most people join a gym to improve their fitness levels but are far more likely to make the commitment when they realize what an impact being inactive has made on their overall health and longevity.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways that you can help your members stay connected to their fitness journey through technology. Don’t worry about the newest, latest and greatest facilities that are being built across town. Although some folks want a lot of technology and little personal interaction, others are happy to get by with a little technology and a lot of encouragement, knowledge and support.
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Elisabeth Fouts is the education and trade show coordinator for Power Systems. She has 10 years of experience in the fitness industry as a personal trainer, a fitness manager and a regional fitness director. Fouts holds a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and is certified in three Les Mills group fitness programs. When Fouts isn’t teaching group exercise classes, you can find her training for or participating in an obstacle course race or watching Tennessee Volunteers or Dallas Cowboys football.