Human Connection, Digital Transition (Not Transformation), And A Company Culture That Counts: Key Messages To Emerge From Fitnation 2020

(Photo courtesy of Virtuagym)

Club Industry was not involved in the creation of this content.

“It’s all about human connections. Forget the time of transactional interactions,” said FitTech Summit founder Natalia Karbasova at last week’s FitNation event. The online event held on October 9th was a huge success. Participants from around the world tuned in to watch important speakers discuss the issues directly facing the industry in this turbulent year. 

Guests could watch and interact with a lineup of expert speakers, try workshops, and listen to talks. The diverse line-up extended from Beyoncé’s personal trainer, Mark Jenkins, to Barry’s Bootcamp co-founder Sandy Macaskill, and EuropeActive co-founder Herman Rutgers and beyond. 

Three core messages emerged from the event this year. The first, outlined by Natalia Karbasova detailed the importance of community-building. Key messages from this talk were that fitness business owners should: 

  • Build relationships; business will follow.
  • Use existing platforms like events, organizations, and LinkedIn to better understand the key players in the industry and establish new connections.
  • Provide a service before you ask for one – create value-laden transactions that go beyond money and business.

Tech philosopher and industry insider Somi Arian held a talk on the concept of digital transformation. She said, “The term ‘digital transformation’ is misleading. It suggests a process with a clear end goal that can be achieved conclusively. You need to think about it as a constant transition.” 

Crucially, business owners should not resist the change that is taking place right now. Instead, they should embrace the digital shift as a constantly evolving aspect of their business.

Marjolijn Meijer, founder and CEO of Urban Gym Group (TrainMore, Club Sportiv, High Studios), is well versed in executing innovative business transitions. Key insights from her speech included: 

  • Go big or go home. Meijer’s gyms have pretty much taken over the Netherlands, and her main motivation is the notion that she’s creating something that does not exist in the market.
  • Collaborate with experts. She attributes the success of her businesses to her ability to surround herself with like-minded experts who helped her mobilize her ambitions.
  • Create a culture around your gym or studio so people know what to expect when they walk through the doors, anywhere in the world it may be.

FitNation’s talks and workshops have been recorded and are available online for ticket-holders. Journalists and editors wishing to access these recordings, please feel free to contact a member of the Virtuagym team. 

About Virtuagym 
Virtuagym offers an innovative fitness software platform for customer engagement, coaching, and club management. The platform consists of a complete ecosystem with integrated mobile apps and includes modules for fitness training, nutrition guidance, class booking, online coaching, business analytics, member and staff administration, scheduling, invoicing, access control, and more.

With over 200 employees and offices in Amsterdam and the Americas, Virtuagym supports over 15 million consumers, more than 6,000 health clubs, and 30,000+ trainers worldwide, including Workout Anytime, XSport, Newtown Athletic Club, Rochester Athletic Club, and more. For more information, visit



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