Inside the Club: Technology Can’t Achieve Results
Recently I’ve noticed a lot of articles discussing technology and the opportunity for it to replace trainers in the future. I wanted to take a minute to give my opinion on how technology may, or may not, affect our industry in the coming years.
First, I believe that it will depend on the type of club. I could very easily see technology replacing trainers in small franchise 24-hour locations. Many already use technology for Group X classes, providing members with the opportunity to partake in Group X, but still on their time — the basic undertone of the 24-hour fitness clubs.
In my own opinion I think technology is great at getting some people moving in different modalities, keeping workouts from becoming stagnant. However, at this time I believe technology caps out the same as in-home exercise routines. Even if an app continually sends you a notification to exercise it is easy to turn off, delete or plain ignore.
Technology in the fitness industry has been extremely helpful in terms of nutrition. Clubs no longer have to worry about spending vast amounts of money on nutritionists or dietitians to help program for individual members. However, you tend to run across the same timeframe that you do for in-home training. There is an inevitable drop-off for how long someone can stay on the wagon.
The basic issue with technology is it struggles with accountability. It’s easy to just ignore an app, not use a virtual trainer or stop logging information into the nutrition program. What works is people working with people. I believe we are on this Earth to work together, help one another and interact. More and more we try to find ways to avoid this, but somehow we still get drawn back together.
In the future technology will help clubs save on the expense of mass numbers of trainers, but results will drop, accountability will fade and the club will lose a touch point with its members. Technology is great for so many things, but the absence of human interaction is simply bad for business. I know a lot of people walk into the club every day, put their headphones in and never talk to another soul, but I don’t believe this is best for our industry.
It’s vital that we embrace technology, but not use it as a crutch. It can change your business, be a useful tool to help get people in shape, but the true solution for results involves people working with people.
How do you see technology working in your club? How are your trainers using technology to help get people in shape? Does technology make fitness better or worse? What’s your opinion?
Tyler Montgomery is the Editor-in-Chief of Club Solutions Magazine. For thoughts on his blog, the print issue or the industry, reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.