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The future of fitness is here, with an immersive workout experience that encourages members to escape reality while they sweat. With the increase in disruptive technology and fitness options available to consumers, how do you grab their attention and keep them coming back for more?
The world around us is changing every day. As new technology brings to life ideas that we never dreamed imaginable, mindsets, behaviors and expectations change. The fitness industry and its consumers are no exception.
Disruptive technologies, such as virtual exercise, fitness apps and online solutions, have provided consumers with more options than ever when it comes to fitness. In many instances, they can be a replacement for fitness facilities, especially when free.
As the market changes, so does the consumer. Millennials represent almost 50 percent of the fitness club market, and their impact is set to increase as they dominate the global workforce during the next few years. Millennials are early adopters, seek variety and value things that are cool, smart and experiential. These characteristics live on, and arguably grow stronger, in the succeeding Generation Z population.
Gen Z makes up a quarter of the world’s population. The average member of Gen Z has an attention span of eight seconds, and, like so many other consumers, they want fast results. When they don’t achieve results quickly, motivation fades. For a health club owner, this means membership cancellations.
The typical fitness facility will lose 50 percent of its membership every year, leaving facilities constantly trying to attract new members. Attrition is a constant, not to mention expensive, issue that has unfortunately become the norm year over year for many clubs.
So how do we grab the attention of members, especially tech-savvy millennials and members of Generation Z, and get them excited enough about fitness to return? Innovate or die. It may sound drastic, but the truth is that failure to innovate will only result in becoming increasingly irrelevant to the generations of tomorrow.
Here’s the good news: change brings opportunity. In this case, change brings the opportunity to explore digital and immersive fitness.
Picture a gym. Now picture a gym with a cinema-scale video screen that transports your members into a fitness fantasyland where they feel like they are cruising along country hillsides, riding on the bottom of the ocean or viewing the northern lights. This is immersive fitness.
Immersive fitness marries physical and digital in an exciting way that caters to the needs of an increasingly selective consumer base. The unique and exciting characteristics of immersive fitness can help clubs cut through the noise and stand out in the ever-evolving fitness market. These programs can help put facilities ahead of the curve by providing a comprehensive solution that attracts younger members through technology and innovation while keeping them by adding entertainment value to exercise.
The immersive qualities of experiences like this create a visual sense of purpose to workouts. By suspending belief, participants stop thinking about the workout and push themselves further. Immersive workouts increase the intensity of a person’s workout without them noticing how hard they are pushing themselves. Research has shown that participants (especially novice exercisers) experienced a reduced perception of intensity from the audio-visual experience of these programs. It enhances their fitness experience and may assist them with continuing a regular exercise program.
The future of fitness is here. Don’t let change hinder the success of your facility. Be on the cutting edge of fitness and embrace the future.
Brian Gagne is CEO of Les Mills United States. He has more than 20 years of health and fitness experience. He previously served as COO for Health Fitness Corp. He holds a bachelor of science degree in kinesiology and a master of science degree in exercise physiology. Les Mills delivers a variety of group fitness classes that provide cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training, including an immersive cycle class called THE TRIP. Fresh class content is provided every three months. Learn more about the tools and resources you need to improve your members’ experiences in their workouts, in the group studio and across the entire facility—all of which contribute to increased member engagement and retention. For more information, email [email protected] or call 844-LES-MILLS.
This article was included in Club Industry’s 2018 report, “Forward Five Years: How the Fitness and Wellness Industry Will Change.” You can download the full report for free by going here.