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How to Gain a Competitive Advantage in Today’s Fitness Industry

In order to stay relevant and gain a competitive advantage in today’s fitness industry, it’s essential to evolve as times change. The fitness industry has changed significantly in 2020, partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the truth is, the industry was already evolving before that. COVID both impacted and accelerated these changes.

This year, gym owners have experienced and witnessed:

  • Club closures
  • Increased competition from gym chains and independent gyms
  • An increase in fitness alternatives
  • The rise of at-home connected fitness apps and membership programs

Since the pandemic, thousands of gyms have been forced to close–many permanently. COVID safety concerns have kept members of operating gyms from coming in as often as they might otherwise. And, there has been a spike in indefinite membership freezes.

These days, considering your competition goes beyond local gyms. Now, competition is anywhere your members can connect to a fitness experience. In order to stay connected with your target customer, you need to be able to differentiate your business so it stands out in the market.

Gaining a competitive advantage in the fitness industry now means that you need to deliver a Total Fitness Experience.

Fitness Extends Beyond the Gym

We’ve built the Total Fitness Experience on the idea that fitness is actually a continuum, and it extends beyond a workout in the gym. A Total Fitness Experience addresses the physical, mental, instructional, and inspirational needs of each individual. It also factors in the accountability and social aspects of becoming more fit.

The definition of fitness shifts over time, and from person to person. But what we’ve discovered is that a Total Fitness Experience should be personalized to fit how each person is motivated to achieve their fitness goals.

When you personalize someone’s fitness experience, it must involve continuous interaction with fitness professionals, in addition to access to equipment and programming that adapts to a person’s changing fitness levels. You must also help provide them with the sense of belonging they need to stay consistent.

Many people join a gym so they can access a variety of equipment and classes. However, it’s important to note that they also have fitness equipment at home–likely in addition to online programs and apps that help them stay on track. People need help navigating the massive amount of information and resources.

Fitness should be empowering, accessible, and easy

The best fitness solutions connect clubs, trainers, and members to help people achieve their fitness. If you want to stay in constant with your members at all times, then they will need wearable and mobile solutions that are easy to use, information-rich, and can integrate seamlessly into your daily routine.

It’s important to provide:

  • Instructional and workout content
  • In-person, on-demand and broadcast classes, virtual personal training
  • Personalized training programs
  • Nutrition planning
  • Habit and lifestyle coaching

People also want to boost their accountability and social motivation through features such as in-app text and video messaging, fitness challenges, community groups, and milestone badges.

Wearable technology changes the game

Automatic data collection through telemetry is a game-changer for the fitness industry because it makes it easy and quick for people to share fitness data with a fitness professional. This dramatically increases accountability.

Telemetry data includes:

  • Heart rate
  • Time spent in an exercise state
  • VO2 max
  • Power output
  • GPS distance
  • Pace tracking
  • Calories burned
  • Performance

It’s also possible for wearable and mobile applications to combine telemetry with other information, such as body composition sensors, sleep patterns, scales, and data from connected equipment. Users can plan in real-time or program adjustments that they can then share with their social network if they want.

Rather than tracking your progress and accountability through AI chatbots, a Total Fitness Experience requires an expert fitness professional to communicate with members. A fitness professional can help members navigate:

  • Range of exercise
  • Nutrition
  • Habits
  • Personal changes
  • Avoiding injury and burnout

Total Fitness Experience vs. Connected Fitness

When considering the concept of connected fitness, that generally means technology-enabled equipment from smartwatches to exercise machines. Connected fitness technology delivers:

  • Entertainment (Netflix, iFit, follow-the-screen)
  • Gamification (Zwift, Leaderboards, KoM, PR, Badges)
  • Education (how-to tips, information, audio cues)

In short, connected fitness keeps people engaged and helps them to keep making progress.

Connected fitness is part of a Total Fitness Experience, but only a component. The equipment helps members stick to their fitness program, provides telemetry data, and helps them track progress and stay accountable. A Total Fitness Experience goes further.

A Total Fitness Experience includes nutrition and daily habit-forming activities to help members create longer-lasting results, more quickly. It also adds the personal touch of a human fitness professional that helps to personalize the connection. That way, you’re enabling your members to personalize the program to their individual physical, mental, instructional, and inspirational needs. IN addition, it provides the accountability and social aspects they need for the long haul.

Gain your competitive edge in today’s fitness industry

In order to gain a competitive edge in the modern fitness industry, your gym should provide the following:

  1. A customer-centric brand experience focused on your core strengths
  2. Gain a stronger understanding of your business, your market, your customer, and what makes you different
  3. Use technology to your advantage

Learn more about the Total Fitness Experience

Want to know more about the Total Fitness Experience? ABC was featured at the IHRSA Innovation Summit webinar, Reinventing the Fitness Value Chain: Finding Your Competitive Advantage, hosted by CEO Bill Davis. Click here to view the replay.