Industry Buzz: Are Fitness Trackers the Enemy?

photoAs Hannah Clark Steiman, an associate at Innosight, said recently in an interview with us, “disruptive” fitness services such as online services and fitness trackers are becoming increasingly popular, serving as competition for health clubs.

In fact, fitness trackers have even infiltrated Club Solutions Magazine’s staff. Of course, we won’t be using them to replace gyms, but instead encourage us to go more. Which leads me to a thought — of the “disruptive” fitness services out there, fitness trackers might not be the enemy.

It all started with a friendly suggestion. The Club Solutions team is going to run a 5k together in early June, so we thought it might be fun to see who could log the most miles this month, with the winner earning a prize. At first, we considered purchasing cheap pedometers that just tracked steps/distance. But after more consideration, we decided that if we were going to spend any money at all, we might as well have fitness trackers that ran the gambit of tracking abilities.

We landed on the Fitbit Flex, which not only tracks steps and distance, but calories burned, sleep and active minutes. In addition, Fitbit gives us the ability to create challenges amongst our group.

As employees in the health and fitness industry, most of us don’t have a hard time staying active. However, I’ll admit that even though I’m constantly reading about health and fitness, and how clubs can help their members with this, I sometimes struggle to make it to the gym on a consistent basis. In fact, consistency is what I struggle with the most.

I’m hoping our fitness challenge, which we dubbed “The Fittest Gladiator” challenge, will encourage me to be more consistent with my gym habits. This brings me back to my point: fitness trackers might actually encourage members to go to your gym, versus discouraging them. In fact, I’m sure there are dozens of members in your gym tracking their fitness with devices such as the Fitbit Flex, right now. Find out! And use that information to your advantage.

Send out an e-blast or poll on social media, asking members with Fitbit Flexs or Nike + Fuelbands to create an in-club fitness challenges amongst themselves. This will encourage club usage, and likely, member success. And even if they don’t move more in your club, but move more elsewhere (such as during an extra jog up the stairs), what’s the harm? The more our citizens move in general, the better.

“The Fittest Gladiator” challenge officially starts next week, so I’ll keep you updated on how it goes. Will my gym activity go up? Will I see more results? I guess we’ll find out, and you’ll be the first to know.


Rachel Zabonick is the assistant editor for Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at Reach out to her about exciting events or programs your club has implemented, or to share the amazing accomplishments of a member.

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