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Virtual Fitness and the State of the Fitness Industry

virtual fitness

Fitness is arguably the world’s biggest sport.

Adrian Heffernan, regional accounts manager for Les Mills, touched on this fact in a recent webinar titled “The Future Is Virtual: How New Digital Technologies Can Help You Grow Your Business.” He explained that currently, 79 percent of the U.S. population over the age of 18 exercises regularly or would like to.

But, the fitness world is changing. There’s more competition than ever from brick-and-mortar concepts. And club operators are facing competition from other disruptive fitness trends, such as virtual exercise, fitness apps and wearables, online home solutions and other alternatives to traditional fitness facilities.

What’s a gym to do?

As Heffernan explains, clubs are discovering the benefits of virtual group fitness to staying competitive. There are now more than 12,000 clubs globally offering a virtual solution to satisfy the changing needs of members. In the past few years, it has experience 300 percent growth. And it is forecast that this will double within the next 24 months.

“It’s really not a question around having or not having virtual programming in a health club,” said Heffernan. “The question is more about how far clubs want to take the studio experience, the audio and visual investment and what content they want. Clubs are discovering they need to make this part of their offering and value proposition in the market to remain relevant.”

And virtual fitness doesn’t have to cannibalize your live offerings. In fact, Heffernan explained it can actually bolster participation in live programs. According to research by Les Mills, 75 percent of virtual fitness users also attend live classes, and clubs that run virtual workouts saw a 12 percent average increase in live class attendance.

“Now that virtual is becoming more prevalent in the fitness industry, continued success for clubs will lie in providing the highest quality virtual fitness options,” said Heffernan.

To learn more about the state of the fitness industry and the importance of virtual fitness, access the full webinar here.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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