The Power of Fitness Metrics
Members join gyms because they want to see changes in their health and well-being. However, after a few months of not seeing any physical changes, they may become discouraged and feel they are wasting their time. A key way to prevent this is implementing testing and tracking technologies into your facility.
There are a variety of testing and tracking options for clubs to offer. Genesis Health Clubs, with 57 locations across six states — Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma and Iowa — provides its members 3D body scans, Myzone heart rate monitors and activity trackers, data tracking treadmills, an online coaching app, and VO2 max testing.
Preston Peterson, the vice president of fitness at Genesis Health Clubs, said these offerings allow the club to gamify their gym experience, and many members use the data as a motivator to get to the next level or achieve a milestone. A great way to get members on board with using these technologies is educating them on the value they can bring to workouts.
“We offer two weeks free with every membership for the virtual coaching platform, a Myzone activity belt to our members who enroll in our plus-membership program, and VO2 max testing to every new member in which we educate them about the features of the treadmill technology,” said Peterson. “With these offers, we interact to educate the member about how they can benefit from tracking activity, which will lead to results.”
Adam Zeitsiff, the former president and CEO of Gold’s Gym, said education is absolutely key to ensure proper use of the technology and, even more importantly, to gain proper understanding of what the technology is telling members. For Gold’s Gym, this starts one-on-one with their trainers and team members in the gyms, and extends to more centralized communications like emails and blog content.
Gold’s Gym’s company-owned locations use digital check-ins for their GOLD’S STUDIO programs to track attendance and reserve spots. Leaderboard technology is utilized as well to track performance and heart rate in the GOLD’S CYCLE programming. Additionally, many of the company-owned locations offer GOLD’S 3D, a comprehensive three-dimensional body scan and imaging analysis.
“Having the right tools and resources available for our members helps them track and see their progress over time, understand their full-body health, and ultimately achieve their personal fitness goals,” said Zeitsiff.
However, choosing the right testing and tracking tools for your club can be more difficult than you may think.
Jeffrey Jeran, the corporate director of fitness services for Valley Health Wellness and Fitness Center in Winchester, Virginia, said he has faced challenges with staying up-to-date with the latest testing and tracking technologies available.
“There are so many great products available,” said Jeran. “I think as an operator, understanding why and what you want to test is the biggest challenge. Once you figure out what you want to test and why, you can find a solution to match what you are looking to provide to members and clients.”
Valley Health Wellness and Fitness Center uses Polar BodyAge as their assessment software for testing their members and medical integration clients for their eight-week Healthcare Provider Referred programs.
Jeran said BodyAge is more natural for their members to understand rather than telling them what their estimated VO2 max would be. Additionally, they recently added the InBody 570 as a supplement for their testing protocols while shut down due to COVID-19.
“The Polar BodyAge system is more than a fitness assessment, and it is an excellent way of letting members know how healthy they could be,” said Jeran. “The BodyAge analysis is a health and fitness assessment developed by Polar to quickly and simply provide health club members with a baseline measurement of their overall fitness level, and reevaluate the member to show the progression on their health and wellness goals.”
While testing and tracking technologies can be very beneficial, Peterson said it is important to keep in mind technology will never take the place of human interaction.
“With technology, the features do not change behavior, they simply enhance the experience,” explained Peterson. “Oftentimes people are misled that the behavior modification necessary to change them from sedentary to a regular exerciser can be achieved through an app or device, which is a rare occurrence.”
While there are challenges that come with testing and tracking technologies, the benefits of implementing them in your facilities far outweigh those challenges. Overall, finding the right technology is critically important to creating the right member experience in the gym, and ensuring the effectiveness and overall results of a member’s training.
“Our personal trainers and fitness team members are key here, as working directly with our members to use and understand these technologies allows our fitness professionals to evaluate the efficacy of their programming and support our members in adjusting their workout plans to best meet their goals,” said Zeitsiff.