How FitnessOnDemand is helping gyms navigate unprecedented change through an omnichannel approach to high-quality, premium fitness content.
The concept of virtual fitness is evolving.
For proof, look no further than FitnessOnDemand, a global leader in the collection, curation and provision of high-quality, premium digital fitness content.
Founded in 2011, the company has been on the forefront of virtual fitness since the concept’s inception. It got its start in digital fitness content and virtual fitness experiences at the outset of a very young industry, and has since evolved to kiosks, cloud connected tablets in studios, and most recently, on-demand content members can access on the go.
However, according to Uday Anumalachetty, the divisional vice president of FitnessOnDemand, the change happening in the fitness space today is unprecedented.
“I’ve been with FitnessOnDemand for four-plus years of my career out of 24 years in technology, and I can honestly say the fitness space is changing more rapidly than almost anything I’ve seen before,” said Anumalachetty. “We’re seeing a convergence of many things. A technological evolution with things like streaming and mobile delivery, emerging wearable technology that will soon interact with both content and user performance, and the quality of content being made and created by more producers all over the world. We’re also seeing changing consumer behavior intersecting with all of this: the desire to workout at home, and the prevalence of small screen, in-club content-driven workouts. That’s a far cry from even just a decade ago when fitness was all about cardio, weights and extreme performance.”
This presents a challenge for clubs. How can they keep up with not only shifts in technology, but also consumer behavior and demands?
This is where FitnessOnDemand excels, working hand-in-hand with operators to identify needs and offer solutions for the club of today.
“We’ve grown with our club customers over the past 10 years — seen what’s worked for them and how what we do helps them create a better, more well-rounded club experience for their members,” said Andrew Evenson, the senior director of operations and brand strategy at FitnessOnDemand. “In all of that time we’ve learned three things: how to excel with product development, how to excel with high-quality, premium content and how to excel giving clubs and their members what everyone wants: a seamless fitness experience in the real and digital worlds.”
In fact, FitnessOnDemand believes it’s time the industry stops talking about digital fitness versus other kinds of fitness.
“The way people work out today has evolved,” said Anumalachetty. “They may do a class or two each week with a live instructor in the club, augment that with on-demand sessions and short form exercises in their family room or apartment, but are also just as likely to stream a club instructor session now to suit their busy schedules.”
Essentially, fitness isn’t digital or traditional anymore. Mobile and streaming technologies and a shift in member expectations means the best clubs are now integrating content like that from FitnessOnDemand into all aspects of fitness engagement with members.
“Member interactions with your club brand must be more than a friendly hello at the front desk; it’s also making available to members a diverse library of specialty content they can access and build into their daily and weekly fitness routines, as well as live streamed fitness events and classes from their favorite instructors at your club while they’re home, on the go or traveling,” continued Anumalachetty.
Recognizing these evolutions, FitnessOnDemand has created a suite of solutions and products to help clubs be successful in the current and future environment.
In 2021, FitnessOnDemand launched the latest evolution of its platform for clubs and members. It brings the best of existing global fitness content, emerging fitness brand content and local club classes together into one venue that members can use in-club, at-home, on-the go and on any device or screen they choose. For club operators, that means an easier and highly manageable way to lock club members into one branded platform experience wherever they choose to workout.
In addition, the company has partnered with global fitness content producer brands like Jillian Michaels, Daily Burn and POPSUGAR, which provide highly visible classes and content members are instantly familiar with. This makes class promotion easier for club operators and draws members into the library of other content where they discover new activities, interests and ways to exercise.
“This method of content curation has also made our platform unique and appealing to content creators who are looking to monetize their skill as a product, as we have always rewarded talent and high performing content,” said Evenson.
The latest evolution of the FitnessOnDemand solution adds the ability for clubs to stream instructor classes members love — in the same single platform that also provides members access to hundreds of on-demand classes, workouts and specialty content.
“For instructors, livestream functionality means the ability to offer their trademark classes and interacting live with member participants, even if they’re not present in the studio,” explained Evenson. “For club operators, it offers an opportunity to easily scale-up live classes from their clubs to include additional, virtual participants. It’s also a great tool to promote top instructors and popular classes to more members, as well as create special streamed events as premium membership add-ons.”
The platform’s Instructor Broadcast mode enables any instructor using the live feature on the FitnessOnDemand platform to connect with a diverse audience of remote users for live, virtual fitness classes. Broadcast events can be pre-scheduled and shared through club websites and social channels, allowing participants to RSVP and book attendance instantaneously.
Once instructors go live, class participants can click on a class listing in the FitnessOnDemand app to instantly join and stream the class or join an event that is starting soon. Classes are available on iOS and Android apps, as well as web browsers, and events are automatically logged in participants’ personal workout histories with an ability for members to rate every session.
An additional instructor one-on-one mode also lets personal trainers and class instructors connect with individual members or small groups and provide live, highly-personalized sessions tailored to member needs, interests and fitness levels.
“Livestreaming from FitnessOnDemand also gives clubs and every other fitness facility operator the flexibility to plan for any eventuality in the evolving club landscape, whether that means unexpected club closures or evolving member interests in mobile workout options,” added Evenson.
These solutions and more are all in pursuit of FitnessOnDemand’s ultimate aim.
“Our main goal, simply put, is to create the very best fitness experiences virtually anywhere,” said Anumalachetty. “It’s important for club operators to know that five years ago virtual experiences and digital content were an add-on to what most people thought of as a member experience. Today they’re integral and expected. Members demand high-quality, premium fitness content on their terms, their schedule and to the devices in their homes and pockets.”
With this in mind, Anumalachetty shared clubs should keep the following in mind as we enter a new wave in fitness:
1. Ensure you are providing fitness experiences that match the brand values and service goals of your club. This includes premium classes and content wherever a member chooses to work out and always on their terms.
2. Offer truly diverse content to members, such as classes and workouts for every fitness level and by age for older and younger members too; and classes designed to optimize equipment use and accessed on mobile devices anywhere in the club.
3. Promote fitness content, streaming classes and on-demand access to members on a constant basis. Include content samples in marketing emails to members, play demo classes and content on displays around the club, create social media groups and pages around your classes and content, and socialize the digital experience for members.
Ultimately, in times of uncertainty and industry evolution, it’s important to stay flexible and prepare for any eventuality — particularly in a fast moving industry.
“It’s about solving club operator problems — how to engage members in a time when technology, choice and distractions can lure them away at any time,” said Anumalachetty. “And it’s also about helping clubs give members what they now demand: a seamless fitness experience from in-studio content to on-demand and streamed sessions that all work together in a convenient lifestyle experience.”