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Operations: Health Clubs Without Walls


Virtual fitness is the future. In health clubs without walls, consumers are creating a new era.

In the world we live in, consumers are empowered to make choices based on research they conduct and the reviews they read. Consumers are incredibly empowered and making their buying decisions based on a lot more information than what traditional marketing can provide. Our technology-driven economy has created a consumer that is faster and smarter than they have ever been.

What does that mean for the fitness industry? In my opinion that means a ton of disruption to old ideas and a whole new evolution that involves meeting people where they are at instead of them coming to us.

Consumers are choosing to exercise differently. This is largely a result of virtual exercise experiences. There are three specific categories of virtual fitness that are expanding rapidly and creating a movement that busts through the brick-and-mortar business model.

Streaming group fitness classes to the home user:

Going on vacation or on a business trip? No problem — stream your normal functional training workout straight to your hotel room! Many gyms are adopting the concept of offering a set number of workouts per week and creating a video version of one of them for members to upload and utilize when not able to get to the gym. This is super convenient and matches the way that many people live their lives — on the go.

Virtual personal training or coaching via wearables:

Another way to be on the go and stay active is through wearables and their matching app platforms. The magic of this technology is in the community it creates. Within each app there is usually always a way to find friends or create a challenge. Between the notifications, prompts and workout choices, there is significant modeling of a personal trainer or coach. Many athletes use these items to keep them on track without going to a gym for the accountability.

Equipment that includes exercise instruction:

Many different types of cardio equipment now can come with built-in workouts to be streamed for exercise instruction. Many niche facilities and now fitness brands have created home user experiences that include the equipment. In a lot of cases, these workouts can also be streamed so you can follow along as the class happens live.

Based on the nature of today’s consumer, health clubs could benefit from evaluating the delivery of their programs to include a virtual offering. By adding a virtual component to your health club, the potential goes far beyond the club walls and literally right into the pocket of your member!

Thanks for reading!


Lindsey Rainwater is an experienced consultant and coach to the fitness and wellness industry.  She specializes in business development and leadership. Currently she is working with the Fitmarc Team helping club owners all over the south central region of the United States propel their business forward via group exercise solutions.  For more information about Lindsey, follow her @lindseyrainh2o.

Lindsey Rainwater

Lindsey Rainwater is an experienced business advisor, executive coach and the founder of The Women in Fitness Association (WIFA). WIFA is the global association supporting women in their career trajectory helping them rise to their fullest potential in business and life.

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