Every year the opportunity to “start fresh” is upon us, especially in the club environment. The fitness industry really lends itself to be strong in business in January, therefore creating an opportunity to make the most out of the first few months of the year.
I recently contributed to The 2017 FIT-C Tech Trends Report that offers up a considerable contribution from many industry leaders. I would love to share with you a few of my thoughts relative to this year’s trends and opportunities.
The current state of group fitness technology solutions? Gone are the days of leotards, 80s-style step aerobics and glowing neon lights trimming the borders of the group exercise room. Each decade ushers in a unique and expressive version of how culture and fitness are intersecting. I love that so much of fashion, music and even theatricals are all influencers of the group fitness experience found within health clubs.
With that being said, 2017 is of course making waves in the way group fitness has become an expression of the times. In an era where everyone can access a workout from their mobile device and truly empower themselves to have fitness experiences anytime, anywhere, where does that leave health club group fitness programming? It certainly leaves room for innovation and connections with the consumer.
When evaluating current popular group formats both inside and outside the club, one can find common threads that speak to what’s working. Studio spaces offering cycling communities, boutique clubs offering hard-core workouts and barre classes packed to the brim are a few examples of things that are working well.
A consistent reason the boutique and small studios are doing so well is driven by community and a competitive edge, something different and new. As a reference, I have included a handful of the impressive group fitness experiences that have integrated technology into their environments and are offering out-of-the-box ways of impacting their space.
What roadblocks and opportunities are there for group fitness using technology in 2017? Road blocks come in the form of choices — there is a tidal wave of content available and choices to consider. As a club operator, knowing what to choose and why can be the most daunting task. If you have $15,000 to invest, what are you going to do? It can be very scary to know what the right choices are for your business.
The most important task is to slow down and begin evaluating what’s currently working and start surveying members on how you might improve. If cycling classes are packed and popular, considering a facelift in that studio space could enhance something your members already like, making it something they love.
Look for ways to make subtle improvements going from good to amazing. Lighting alone can carry you a long way and is an easy fix, without having to bring in massive consulting efforts to advice decisions.
It is very important to consider all of the competing forces that come along with running a facility and helping people reach their fitness goals. With all of the fads coming and going, it becomes more important than ever to pay close attention to what does and does not work for your clients’ needs and goal achievement.
Lindsey Rainwater, also known as Lindsey RainH2O, is a sought-after business consultant, leadership coach, writer and presenter to the fitness and wellness industry. For more information about Rainwater, follow her on Twitter @LindseyRainH2O.