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5 Things that Virtual Fitness Can’t Replace

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One of the biggest selling points of gyms is their built-in community. This can be replicated partially in digital form, but not fully. Many attendees reported their senior citizens in particular struggled with social connection during the pandemic. This is something that virtual fitness can't replace.

With digital offerings on the rise, attendees at the 2021 Club Solutions Leadership Retreat recently shared the top five things virtual fitness can’t replace.

Last week, fitness professionals from across the globe gathered for the 2021 Club Solutions Leadership Retreat at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona. During the event, participants sat in on a number of roundtables geared toward tackling the biggest issues facing health club operators today. 

This included digital transformation. As a result of the pandemic, many gyms shifted resources toward virtual fitness, whether it was on-demand videos, virtual personal training, or live streaming classes led by an instructor. 

Although many operators believe in the value of these investments, the group acknowledged there are a lot of things that can’t be replaced by virtual fitness that the in-club experience provides. 

Following is a summary of the top five things virtual fitness can’t replace or can’t be digitized in entirety

Physical Activity

Although members can access guided classes online, the act of being physically active can’t be digitized. If you want the benefits of exercise, you have to physically do it. 

Childcare

The group acknowledged childcare is a gamer-changer for many parents in allowing them to exercise free of distractions, or at all. 

Robust and Wide-Ranging Equipment

The reality is almost all members will not be able to afford even a fraction of the equipment health club operators provide within their four walls — especially larger pieces of equipment, such as selectorized strength and ellipticals. 

Community

One of the biggest selling points of gyms is their built-in community. This can be replicated partially in digital form, but not fully. Many attendees reported their senior citizens in particular struggled with social connection during the pandemic. This is something that virtual fitness can’t replace.

Tactical Sensations and Sounds

Operators in attendance stressed the importance of the little things an in-person experience provides, such as the sound of weights dropping or seeing emotions on people’s faces. 


What else do you feel virtual fitness can’t replace? Leave a comment! 

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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