Put to the Test
Ensuring members achieve results is the key to retention. And thankfully, it’s easier than ever to show members their gains through fitness testing technology like 3D body scanning or fitness assessment software.
“It’s one thing for a coach or trainer to tell members what’s going on, but I think they buy-in when they visually see their results,” said Clint Gehde, the owner of e3 Fitness in Denver, Colorado.
According to Craig Pepin-Donat, the executive vice president of Crunch Franchise, another benefit to fitness testing technology is that it supports a club’s personal training programs. “The benefit of body scanning technology is to support personal training, so it has to be embedded in the fitness orientation and offering,” he advised.
With this in mind, here is an overview of two fitness testing technologies, their main benefits and best practices for implementation.
TRX MAPS technology performs a complete body movement assessment in less than 30 seconds. Results are then delivered on-screen and via email to participants, and include targeted exercise plans that address areas of weakness.
“We’re the only gym in the state to have this piece up and running in our club,” said Gehde. “So that’s a differentiator in and of itself.”
At e3 Fitness, TRX MAPS serves a purpose in engaging members across all types of workouts, especially small group and personal training.
“We use TRX MAPS as a way to get the training session started,” explained Gehde. “The member will come in and we’ll see what their body is functioning like in real time. TRX MAPS reads mobility, activation, posture and symmetry, so we’re going to get really good details [from it]. It’s a great tool to enhance the depth of the session I want to give to that person.”
According to Gehde, TRX MAPS offers a quick, convenient method of pinpointing where a member needs to improve their posture or certain aspects of mobility. “An advantage of TRX MAPS is the speed,” he explained. “We’re doing the analysis within 30 to 45 seconds, so we’re able to pump out feedback quickly.”
Another advantage to TRX MAPS is that it serves as a talking point for trainers, and is therefore used as a selling tool for personal or small group training.
“Trainers aren’t [always] the best salespeople,” said Gehde. “TRX MAPS gives them something to help highlight what their strengths are and show people there is value behind not just the TRX MAPS system, but the trainers we have in our club.”
The other advantage to TRX MAPS lies in showcasing a member’s results. “It’s a pre-workout thing and it’s a post-workout thing,” explained Gehde. “It gives you feedback immediately — you can see where you were when you started — and after a good coaching session, getting everything activated, you do your score again on the way out the door and you’re going to get back that good feedback.”
This has led to increased retention at e3 Fitness, ultimately adding dollars to the bottom line. “It’s a great retention tool,” said Gehde. “It’s always such a hard thing for a club owner to keep earning new members. This is a great piece to get members engaged and a great path of entry for talking to potential clients.”
The initial success of the technology has led Gehde and his staff to get more creative in blending TRX MAPS with existing programs. “We’ve done other things to integrate it, like free TRX MAPS sessions with coaches,” he said. “We take five minutes per session and go through it with the member to spark their interest and break down that barrier of entry.”
Styku’s 3D body scanning technology allows clubs to monitor the changes in a member’s body shape and dimensions.
According to Pepin-Donat, implementing Styku was an easy decision for Crunch Fitness, as it allows members to track their progress. “Almost everyone who joins a gym has a goal,” he said. “And unless there is a plan to achieve that goal and a proven platform for monitoring and managing results, you’re shooting in the dark. If your monitoring system only measures one component of the results, you don’t have all the information you need to effectively consult your member.”
Styku delivers those results, calculating a wide variety of body measurements to determine each user’s focus areas. “Having the ability to share fitness progress on multiple fronts including bodyweight, body fat and circumstance measurements with progress overlays and 3D rendering provides a unique tool to guide the process for a results-based platform,” explained Pepin-Donat.
Pepin-Donat added the addition of Styku to Crunch’s offerings has improved its ability to engage members. The technology has also helped set Crunch apart from other health clubs that use less advanced measurement techniques.
“Most clubs use some form of body composition measurement with skin fold or bio electrical impedance,” said Pepin-Donat. “When you can say, ‘Our club offers the most sophisticated 3D body scanning technology on the planet that tracks your exact total body composition results and helps you get to your goal faster,’ you have a competitive advantage.”
People go to health clubs to improve their physical fitness, and most will only stay engaged as long as they’re seeing some results. Styku delivers quick and accurate results, as well as actionable data as a starting point for workouts.
“When people see a two scan overlay and you show them how bodyweight can fluctuate while body fat and circumference measurement show improvements, it’s a game changer,” said Pepin-Donat.
Those real-time results allow Crunch’s trainers to work with greater intensity on the specific areas that members need to improve. Attention to detail at this level is what helps clubs improve their retention rates.
Of course, buying fitness testing technology and installing it in your club is just the start. There are several steps you have to take in the product’s integration to achieve the greatest results.
“Any time you introduce any new technology or process, there’s a lot of training and development involved to make sure it’s used properly to get the best possible result,” said Pepin-Donat. “The challenge is simply making sure the training guides that process, and you test the process and prove success before a large-scale rollout.”
Before members even see the technology, your staff members should be familiarized with it. Require staff to go through the technology from start to finish and become acclimated with how it works. Without a proper understanding of what your new technology can offer, your trainers won’t be able to help drive its usage by members.
“Making sure my team is dialed in with [TRX MAPS] is important,” explained Gehde. “If the trainers and coaches are comfortable with it, they will put their clients on it. If they’re not comfortable, it’s not going anywhere. Management needs to know if they’re going to make a purchase, they need to educate their team before anything else.”
According to Gehde, it’s also important to be attentive to which members could benefit from a piece of tech. “We have to keep our eyes and ears open,” said Gehde. “Otherwise, members may walk by this thing 20 times before they ever even try it.”
There’s also a fine line between featuring fitness testing technology in your club without overwhelming members with it. Pairing the scans with already existing offerings will help transition members smoothly into making it a part of their fitness routine.
“We’ve found doing a tech package has worked better through some of those challenges,” said Gehde. “They pay maybe $25 on top of their membership and they can do unlimited scans. My coaches can do the scans with them and add that little bit of extra value.”
It’s important to remember, however, that fitness testing technology can never replace the value of your trainers. They are still the personal connection point between the member and the gym.
“You shouldn’t go into this thinking about using it as a separate profit center,” said Pepin-Donat. “Think of it as a value add to personal training. You get one scan when you do the fitness orientation but to see results, you need to work with a nationally certified trainer who will put you on a path to success, which includes a free body scan every two weeks. The value is with driving personal training, not selling body scans.”