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From Connected Equipment to Connected Content: Member-centric Hybrid Fitness Programs are a Must for Fitness Brands

Trailblazing Hybrid Fitness Programs

The recent news that iFIT is to purchase SWEAT, the online social influencer-led fitness training platform for a reported $300 million, is a compelling example of how the fitness industry is evolving and adapting to the changes in consumer behavior.

Just as the entertainment industry had to embrace a multi-screen, omnichannel approach to reach moving audiences, the fitness industry is now as much a content provider as Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu. iFIT is an excellent example of how a company has moved through this journey to become greater than the sum of its parts.

woman prepares for hybrid fitness program

iFIT, formerly ICON Health & Fitness, was born out of the equipment world and was one of the first players to add connectivity to its in-gym hardware. As technology evolved, they layered programmatic content into their devices to drive engagement and extend relationships with end-users. Parallel to their evolution is the rise of online and mobile fitness content and, thanks to the likes of brands like Peloton and Tonal, a renewed interest in home gym equipment.

The acquisition of SWEAT by iFIT is reveals just how powerful consumer relationships are to brands. Initially reaching people through equipment and programming in the club, iFIT has now earned its position in consumers’ homes. They are effectively pursuing the consumer via B2B and B2C channels, and investing as heavily in digital as they have in brick and mortar fitness. The company is now valued at almost $7 billion and has IPO rumors swirling.

How to get started at your own gym

Now we know not every company has $300 million to invest in an omnichannel strategy. What’s important here is the trend: in-and-out of the gym experiences are converging, and brands need to meet consumers where they are.

Every club operator, regardless of size, is no doubt exploring such strategies, whether as simple as creating a YouTube channel or experimenting with technology infrastructure to provide live and on-demand content. As a premier provider of club management software, ABC is vested in helping operators navigate this paradigm shift.

The introduction of ABC+, our member-centric mobile platform, is an excellent example of this. It allows club operators of all sizes to participate in the digitization of the health and fitness industry without having to invest heavily in their own content, or deal with multiple vendors to deliver services such as online training, video-based classes, live tutorials and habit and nutrition tracking.

Hybrid fitness programs and virtual strategies are a must for any club that wants to create a truly member-centric experience, deliver across the wellness continuum, and touch ever aspect of their members’ lives. It is time to think outside of the box, outside of the gym, and embrace our role as omnipresent fitness life partners.