Welcome to the future of health clubs. It may look something like this:
- When members are in the general area of their club, a text notification might ask, "Where have you been lately? We miss you!"
- Sensors, Wi-Fi scales and Internet-connected home devices will track member activity, weight and nutritional habits.
- When members visit their club, they can chat with their health coach who has access to their records.
- If traveling or work interferes with gym visits, members could book an appointment with a nutritionist or health coach who can provide thoughts and support via a live video while reviewing members' customized dashboard data.
- People who don't have a gym membership and want to try one can access free apps that provide a list of gym options in their immediate area to book and try.
- Training classes would be conducted in rooms with special walls and ceilings that enable the creation of digital worlds for playing exercise games, racing through obstacle courses and taking part in other creative interactions and classes with interactive walls and floors.
- Yoga will be in studios that can visually bring participants to a beach in Maui or atop the Himalayas just as if they were there.
- Fitness equipment will be embedded with sensors and a common wireless network standard that enables tracking on strength and cardio equipment across brands.
- Machines will automatically modify effort to fit training protocols that adjust based on physiology and goals.
- Virtual personal trainers will offer technology that tracks form, exertion and gives real-time feedback.
- Proven behavioral and exercise science will be incorporated into all of these systems to ensure safety and better training and health outcomes.
- The fitness facility will not have a front desk. Sensors will detect members when they arrive via wearable devices or smartphones, and check them in automatically.
- Personalized experiences, such as having a favorite smoothie ready post workout for members or delivering via an app tailored offers and notifications about that day's or week's events at the club, will all be available.
- Members with questions about a class, machine or schedule will pull out their phone and geolocation sensors managed by beacons will provide the answers.
But wait. That future is here. Health clubs today have the ability to leverage connectivity, applications, sensors, devices, big data and software that will all converge to deliver more customized, insightful and helpful services. All of the technologies described above exist today, and a new era of entrepreneurs are busy creating and implementing them. Of course, not all clubs will use all of these tools. However, it is the most exciting time in the history of the health club and fitness industry for forward-looking leaders who see the future is ripe with new tools and technology that can make it all possible.
So what do you think? Does this describe the health club of the future? Do apps, wearables, sensors, networked equipment, cool fitness studios and software help the industry reach a broader audience? Let me know by sharing your thoughts in the comment section below.