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Quan­ti­fied self: three strate­gies to inte­grate new tech­nolo­gies in fit­ness and health clubs

Quan­ti­fied self: three strate­gies to inte­grate new tech­nolo­gies in fit­ness and health clubs

Every­one is talk­ing about how the quan­ti­fied self move­ment reshapes the fit­ness and health indus­try. In this post we intro­duce three strate­gies to inte­grate new tech­nolo­gies in fit­ness and health clubs.

In our last post we’ve talked about the quan­ti­fied self move­ment and how the fit­ness and health indus­try can ben­e­fit from people’s urge to track them­selves in order to improve their over­all well­be­ing. How­ev­er, where­as the advan­tages for fit­ness and health clubs are quite obvi­ous, the ways to inte­grate new tech­nolo­gies into their facil­i­ties might not be as straight­for­ward. That’s why we’ve come up with three strate­gies to inte­grate new tech­nolo­gies in fit­ness and health clubs.

1. Sell wear­able fit­ness devices and pro­vide edu­ca­tion

Even though many peo­ple are still reluc­tant to embrace fit­ness track­ers, they are nev­er­the­less a tech­no­log­i­cal devel­op­ment that is here to stay. That’s why it might be a good idea for fit­ness entre­pre­neurs to start think­ing about ways to inte­grate them in their busi­ness. Sell­ing them might be one way. But even if that’s not for you, there are oth­er options.

For exam­ple, we know that more and more peo­ple use wear­ables today. But often-times, they have no idea what to do with the data they col­lect. As a fit­ness spe­cial­ist you are in a unique posi­tion to pro­vide edu­ca­tion about how to use fit­ness track­ers. So why not offer class­es that help your mem­bers use their wear­able fit­ness devices in a way that actu­al­ly ben­e­fits their health?

You could teach class­es like “Wear­ables 101 — what the num­bers real­ly mean”. Or you could opt for a more fit­ness goal ori­ent­ed ver­sion, in which you work on defin­ing mea­sur­able and attain­able fit­ness goals. No mat­ter what you decide, remem­ber that adapt­ing to change is one of the things that will make your busi­ness stand out.


2. Cre­ate or buy a fit­ness app for your club

Anoth­er option to ben­e­fit from the quan­ti­fied self move­ment is to cre­ate or buy an app for your club. Depend­ing on which func­tions you choose to inte­grate, this app might not only enable your mem­bers to track their work­outs, log the foods they eat and, in gen­er­al, see if they are achiev­ing their fit­ness and health goals. An app can also change the way you com­mu­ni­cate with your clients. With noti­fi­ca­tions you can reach them any­time. Also check­ing into your club or book­ing class­es becomes more con­ve­nient for your mem­bers.

Cre­at­ing or buy­ing a cus­tom app for your club there­fore has many more ben­e­fits than just self-track­ing.


3. Offer data-dri­ven work­outs

Data-dri­ven exer­cis­es are cur­rent­ly rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing the fit­ness indus­try. That’s why data-dri­ven work­outs are prob­a­bly the best option to not only stay rel­e­vant as a fit­ness club, but also to join in on the quan­ti­fied self-move­ment and reap its ben­e­fits. Offer­ing ser­vices such as quan­tifi­able exer­cise rou­tines, cus­tomiz­able work­outs and insights into your clients’ fit­ness progress will not only set apart your busi­ness from your com­pe­ti­tion. It will also improve your clients’ over­all expe­ri­ence in your club. Because who wouldn’t want tai­lor-made work­outs and quan­tifi­able suc­cess?


Sum­ma­ry: Three strate­gies to inte­grate new tech­nolo­gies in fit­ness and health clubs

  1. Sell wear­able fit­ness devices and pro­vide edu­ca­tion
  2. Cre­ate or buy a fit­ness app for your club
  3. Offer data-dri­ven work­outs



Why the Quan­ti­fied Self Move­ment Is A Busi­ness Oppor­tu­ni­ty For Fit­ness And Health Clubs

Why the Quan­ti­fied Self Move­ment Is A Busi­ness Oppor­tu­ni­ty For Fit­ness And Health Clubs

Every­one is talk­ing about quan­ti­fied self these days. With the rapid devel­op­ment of new apps and wear­able devices, we’ve wit­ness a grow­ing inter­est in col­lect­ing data about our bod­ies and lives in order to improve our­selves. This trend also impacts the fit­ness and health indus­try. It cur­rent­ly presents a busi­ness oppor­tu­ni­ty for club own­ers to dis­tin­guish their club from oth­ers. In this arti­cle we there­fore con­sid­er the ori­gins of the quan­ti­fied self move­ment and its cen­tral ideas. We then look at quan­ti­fied self in fit­ness and health clubs and how this move­ment can become a use­ful tool to increase mem­ber reten­tion by increas­ing client expe­ri­ence.

Some his­to­ry: What is the quan­ti­fied self move­ment?

The quan­ti­fied self move­ment already start­ed in 1981, when Allen Neuringer wrote a paper in the jour­nal Behav­iourism, in which he pre­sent­ed a his­to­ry of self-exper­i­men­ta­tion and called for self-mon­i­tor­ing. Although the move­ment would only receive its name much lat­er, the paper estab­lished in the ear­ly 1980s that the idea of quan­ti­fy­ing the self through track­ing one’s own behav­iour is an old one. How­ev­er, with the onset of the dig­i­tal age, the pos­si­bil­i­ties of self-exper­i­men­ta­tion and self-track­ing have been rad­i­cal­ly altered. New wear­able devices, for instance, allow the doc­u­men­ta­tion of almost all parts of human life today. Yet, the aspi­ra­tion of “exter­nal­iz­ing our bod­ies through data to learn more about our­selves”, as researchers at the Berke­ley School of Infor­ma­tion define the quan­ti­fied self move­ment, remains the same.

Quantified Self in Fitness and Health Clubs

What data is exter­nal­ized?

Usu­al­ly peo­ple with an inter­est in improv­ing cer­tain aspects of their lives, start col­lect­ing data about any of these four larg­er aspects. 

  • Inputs: food, qual­i­ty of air
  • Phys­i­cal health: pulse, blood pres­sure
  • Men­tal state: mood, qual­i­ty of sleep, sat­is­fac­tion
  • Phys­i­cal per­for­mance: exer­cise, calo­ries burnt, steps tak­en

This is also known as lifel­og­ging. In gen­er­al they col­lect this data via smart­phones, apps or wear­able devices and only about their spe­cif­ic area of inter­est. But is data enough to quan­ti­fy or even improve the self? Of course not. It needs to be processed and ana­lyzed first. This essen­tial­ly means that the col­lect­ed data is processed into visu­al rep­re­sen­ta­tions like tables and graphs. After that, these are cross ref­er­enced with oth­er data sets, such as dai­ly rou­tines.

Can you give an exam­ple?

For exam­ple, Bian­ca is wear­ing a watch that tracks her pulse. After com­par­ing peaks with her dai­ly sched­ule, she real­izes that her heart rate is high­er than usu­al, when she is in her car on the way to her office job. It also peaks on her way back home. Con­sid­er­ing this, Bian­ca might try to com­mute via pub­lic trans­port for a while, if only to see whether this change improves her stress lev­els.

Bian­ca was only able to come to this con­clu­sion by cross ref­er­enc­ing the col­lect­ed data of her wear­able device with her work sched­ule.

Now you’re prob­a­bly think­ing: inter­est­ing, but what does this have to do with the fit­ness indus­try? Hang in there, we’ll get to it in a sec­ond.

Quan­ti­fied self in fit­ness and health clubs

As peo­ple feel inclined to col­lect more and more data about them­selves to improve their over­all well-being, they also want to track their work­out progress and opti­mize their exer­cise rou­tines accord­ing to their needs. Some peo­ple, for exam­ple, might sim­ply want to track how many times they are work­ing out, how long their work­outs gen­er­al­ly take and how their heart rate adapts over time, which they can do with fit­ness apps and wear­ables. Oth­ers, might also be inter­est­ed in exer­cise pre­ci­sion and the accu­ra­cy in which they per­form, for exam­ple, func­tion­al exer­cis­es, as they are in the midst of recov­ery.

How­ev­er, many fit­ness and health pro­fes­sion­als are still wary of fit­ness apps and wear­able fit­ness track­ers. They fear new tech­nolo­gies might replace per­son­al train­ers and fit­ness facil­i­ties alto­geth­er. But in real­i­ty there’s no rea­son to be afraid. Thats because train­ers are unique­ly qual­i­fied to help clients ana­lyze their data and make sug­ges­tions to improve the fit­ness rou­tine of their clients.

In fact, mem­bers will more and more rely on the ana­lyt­i­cal skills and over­all knowl­edge of their train­ers, since data with­out the abil­i­ty to con­tex­tu­al­ize, real­ly, is no data at all.

Thus, the knowl­edge of train­ers as well as fit­ness and health pro­fes­sion­als is essen­tial in order to use these new tech­nolo­gies the right way.

New tools for fit­ness and health pro­fes­sion­als

Fit­ness track­ers, apps and oth­er devices that gen­er­ate data are there­fore new tools fit­ness and health pro­fes­sion­als across the board can use to improve the expe­ri­ence of their clients. If used the right way, these tools can help you to cre­ate new and inno­v­a­tive approach­es to fit­ness that are not only more effi­cient but also tai­lored to the needs of your mem­bers.

So here’s three rea­sons why the quan­ti­fied self move­ment is a busi­ness oppor­tu­ni­ty for  fit­ness and health clubs:

1. Bet­ter coach­ing

New data-dri­ven work­outs will not only help you to improve the work­outs of your clients accord­ing to their indi­vid­ual goals but also enhance the over­all qual­i­ty of your ser­vices.

2. More moti­va­tion

Bet­ter coach­ing and bet­ter ser­vices will inevitably increase the moti­va­tion of your clients. Because real­ly, who would not want to work­out in a club that val­ues the expe­ri­ence of their mem­bers above all things?

3.Happier clients = increased reten­tion

No mat­ter if dig­i­tal natives or dig­i­tal rook­ies, any­one appre­ci­ates tai­lor-made work­outs. And with increas­ing­ly hap­pi­er clients, you will see ris­ing reten­tion rates.

Quantified Self in Fitness and Health Clubs



The quan­ti­fied self move­ment is a busi­ness oppor­tu­ni­ty for fit­ness and health clubs. Cre­at­ing apps, sell­ing wear­ables or offer­ing data-dri­ven work­outs can improve cus­tomer expe­ri­ence by mak­ing suc­cess quan­tifi­able.

5 Ways To Increase Mem­ber Reten­tion In Your Gym

5 Ways To Increase Mem­ber Reten­tion In Your Gym

Any gym own­er knows, when it comes to busi­ness suc­cess, mem­ber reten­tion is the name of the game. This is not only because the cost of acquir­ing new mem­bers is much high­er than retain­ing old ones. In addi­tion, clients who are hap­py and moti­vat­ed are much more like­ly to rec­om­mend a gym to their fam­i­ly and friends and there­fore also help to gen­er­ate rev­enue. But as plau­si­ble as the idea of mem­ber reten­tion for busi­ness suc­cess is today, as intan­gi­ble solu­tions seem, because deter­min­ing “frag­ile” mem­bers and the caus­es of why they want to leave remains dif­fi­cult. Yet, there are a few mem­ber reten­tion strate­gies to keep in mind which can help you to keep clients in the long run.

1. Know your mar­ket


The first step toward increas­ing mem­ber reten­tion is to iden­ti­fy your mar­ket. Who is using your gym? Veg­an yoga-queens? Body-builders on a paleo-diet? Mid­dle-aged bankers, who want to stay in shape or senior cit­i­zens, who want to do some­thing about their back pain? For each of them exer­cise, fit­ness and health have dif­fer­ent mean­ings.

In deter­min­ing age-, gen­der iden­ti­ty as well as their socioe­co­nom­ic sit­u­a­tion, you will be able to design your gym in a way that engages your spe­cif­ic audi­ence, accord­ing to their needs. For exam­ple, if you real­ize that many of your cus­tomers work from 9am to 5pm, a switch to longer and more flex­i­ble open­ing hours would make it eas­i­er form them to inte­grate gym-time into their dai­ly rou­tine. Or if you dis­cov­er that most of you clients are senior cit­i­zens, instead of a new HIT train­ing ses­sion, you might want to offer work­outs based on func­tion­al train­ing or yoga class­es, which are more appeal­ing to them.

There­fore, under­stand­ing your mar­ket can help you fine­tune and redesign your con­cept in a way that is mean­ing­ful to your clients.

2. Cre­ate a lifestyle brand

Brand­ing, with­out a doubt, it is one of the best ways to increase and at the same time retain your client base, because ever since the rise of bou­tique fit­ness we’ve wit­nessed that once peo­ple have com­mit­ted to a lifestyle, they stay loy­al, some­times even with­out con­tracts. And let’s be real, nowa­days fit­ness and healthy liv­ing are lifestyles.

Still, the idea of brand­ing might be intim­i­dat­ing at first. But in the dig­i­tal age many of the resources you need are more acces­si­ble than ever. You can for exam­ple cre­ate your own web­site and blog with a few clicks and share your ideas on var­i­ous social media chan­nels with the world, with­out pay­ing a cent.

Actu­al­ly, the hard­est part about cre­at­ing your brand is ask­ing some tough ques­tions like: What is our vision? How do you set your­self off from your com­peti­tors? What makes your gym unique? Who is your pri­ma­ry audi­ence and how can you engage them effec­tive­ly?

Once you have deter­mined that, get cre­ative! Design you own logo, write down your brand mes­sag­ing and find your voice that reflects your gym’s phi­los­o­phy. Keep in mind to be con­sis­tent with your mes­sag­ing and be true to your brand. This is also where knowl­edge about your cus­tomer base comes in handy (see point one) as you, for exam­ple, don’t want to over­whelm peo­ple in their mid-for­ties and fifties by using too many hash­tags and flashy graph­ics. Adjust­ing your tone accord­ing to your audi­ence is essen­tial as it also forges a more per­son­al con­nec­tion with your clients, which in the end is an essen­tial fac­tor that dri­ves mem­ber reten­tion.



3. Shar­ing is car­ing: use social media to build a com­mu­ni­ty

As men­tioned before, social media is a great tool you can use for brand­ing your gym. But it can be used for more than just putting your logo out there. You can build your own com­mu­ni­ty using Face­book, Insta­gram, Twit­ter and Pin­ter­est and change the way you com­mu­ni­cate with your mem­bers.

There are a few things to keep in mind, when it comes to social media. The first is to under­stand that no mat­ter which ones of the many social net­works you’re using, it’s all about com­mu­ni­ca­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion isn’t a one-way street. This means that your chan­nel should not just bom­bard your fol­low­ers with ad after pro­mo­tion­al video, after new dis­count etc.

You actu­al­ly want to engage your audi­ence by post­ing about things that mat­ter to them, ask ques­tions and facil­i­tate exchange.

Maybe you want to curate pin­ter­est boards about new exer­cis­es, nutri­tion or sports wear, which your mem­bers can pin? Or maybe the right way for you is to set up an Insta­gram account and doc­u­ment #fit­nesslife in your gym? You can even cre­ate your own gym-spe­cif­ic hash­tag and encour­age your mem­bers to post about their work­out rou­tine. Or maybe you want to cre­ate groups on Face­book and orga­nize post-work­out-mee­tups for mem­bers to facil­i­tate com­mu­ni­ty build­ing? The pos­si­bil­i­ties on social media are end­less and with the right strat­e­gy, you will not only increase the loy­al­ty of your clients, but also attract new mem­bers.

4. Hon­or mile­stones

Every­one loves gifts. Mile­stones and anniver­saries are a per­fect rea­son to cel­e­brate and keep your clients moti­vat­ed. A mem­ber com­plet­ed three months of train­ing and didn’t miss a week? Maybe that’s the right time to bring their part­ner or best friend for a free work­out togeth­er. As an alter­na­tive you could hand out a free tow­el or water bot­tle. Anoth­er sim­ple way to hon­or your client’s com­mit­ment is to offer dis­counts on your online mer­chan­dise or mem­ber­ship fees for a month. No mat­ter what you do, it will com­mu­ni­cate that you val­ue your mem­bers and pay atten­tion. 



5. Moti­va­tion through new tech­nolo­gies

As you’re run­ning a busi­ness in the fit­ness and health indus­try, one of your main goals is to help your clients live health­i­er and bet­ter lives, while also run­ning a suc­cess­ful busi­ness. Thus, keep­ing your mem­bers moti­vat­ed is at the heart of all suc­cess­ful mem­ber reten­tion strate­gies.

So why not ben­e­fit from some of the new insights and tech­nolo­gies of the dig­i­tal age?

In 2015 UC Berke­ley pub­lished a study that sug­gests the “gam­i­fi­ca­tion of fit­ness” will change the way peo­ple exer­cise through inte­grat­ing “col­lab­o­ra­tive and com­pet­i­tive games” into work­outs. The study points out that cre­at­ing “moti­vat­ing fit­ness games” could make long-term fit­ness engage­ment more attrac­tive for peo­ple who are not intrin­si­cal­ly moti­vat­ed.

Now, you’re prob­a­bly not an app devel­op­er, but you can nonethe­less ben­e­fit from some of these find­ings. You can, for exam­ple, invest in mod­ern motion-cap­ture tech­nol­o­gy and inter­ac­tive cir­cuit train­ing, which  lets your clients track their own suc­cess and com­pare and share it with oth­ers. That way you could have month­ly com­pe­ti­tions about who exer­cised the most, or who was the most con­sis­tent. In any case, stay­ing up to date and con­sid­er­ing new ways of keep­ing your clients engaged is essen­tial for boost­ing reten­tion.

Boutique Fitness

Bou­tique fit­ness” — is the US con­cept a mod­el for the future of fit­ness indus­tries world­wide?

With a turnover of 27.6 bil­lion dol­lars in 2016, the US fit­ness indus­try is clear­ly the largest mar­ket glob­al­ly, earn­ing as much as the UK (6.1 bil­lion), Ger­many (5.5 bil­lion), Japan (5.1 bil­lion), France (2.7 bil­lion), Cana­da (2.5 bil­lion), Aus­tralia (2.5 bil­lion) and Italy (2.45 bil­lion) com­bined. So clear­ly, there is much to be learned from the fit­ness entre­pre­neurs of the land of the free. Espe­cial­ly when it comes to new busi­ness mod­els and new con­cepts. In the last five years there was much buzz about “bou­tique fit­ness”, an up-and-com­ing busi­ness con­cept — and rumor has it that it will turn work­ing out into the new going out.  But what exact­ly is bou­tique fit­ness and what can we learn from this trend?

Boutique Fitness blog

What is bou­tique fit­ness?

Bou­tique fit­ness stu­dios are small gyms of usu­al­ly between 100 – 300m², which spe­cial­ize in cer­tain fit­ness areas. For instance, they offer box­ing class­es, cycling, func­tion­al train­ing or bal­let. This spe­cial­iza­tion allows them to design their stu­dios in min­i­mal­ist ways and to invest only in the equip­ment their cus­tomers tru­ly need. At first glance they often resem­ble exclu­sive clubs, lofts and even art gal­leries more than actu­al fit­ness stu­dios. As they focus on cus­tomer expe­ri­ence, they dif­fer from old­er fit­ness mod­els. They empha­size the social aspects of exer­cis­ing, while also offer­ing high qual­i­ty work­outs. Sounds expen­sive? It is. Skirt­ing tra­di­tion­al con­tracts, bou­tique fit­ness clubs are usu­al­ly pay-per-hour. But this comes with a pre­mi­um price tag. For one group ses­sion they gen­er­al­ly charge between $20 – 35 per per­son. Yet, peo­ple are more than will­ing to pay for an hour of train­ing, accom­pa­nied by hip hop or elec­tro beats, espe­cial­ly if they are led by top-notch coach­es. Accord­ing to Forbes, some of the cus­tomers of the exclu­sive fit­ness stu­dios work out up to 15 times a month, spend­ing around $142 in total — way more than the $70 they would pay in an aver­age gym. Bou­tique fit­ness there­fore has evolved into a lucra­tive busi­ness mod­el that promis­es high rev­enues to entre­pre­neurs. Soul­Cy­cle, one of the most strik­ing bou­tique fit­ness chains, gen­er­at­ed a prof­it of over $25 mil­lion before their ini­tial pub­lic offer­ing in 2015. And they are not the only ones turn­ing a prof­it. Oth­ers have long caught on to the idea and com­pa­nies like The Bar Method or Cross­Fit rank among the most promi­nent com­peti­tors in the bou­tique fit­ness busi­ness, with some of them gen­er­at­ing $4 bil­lion in annu­al rev­enue.

Boutique Fitness blog

Data-dri­ven work­outs are the future

But bou­tique fit­ness is grow­ing increas­ing­ly com­pet­i­tive with more and more play­ers enter­ing the mar­ket. This also puts pres­sure on busi­ness­es to stay inno­v­a­tive. Alex Fell, the cofounder of War­rior Fit­ness Boot Camp, a suc­cess­ful bou­tique fit­ness stu­dio that focus­es on func­tion­al train­ing, sees the future in going dig­i­tal. Tech is key, accord­ing to him, and not only when it comes to book­ing class­es, com­mu­ni­ty build­ing and adver­tis­ing. The indus­try is head­ed towards data-dri­ven work­outs that make progress quan­tifi­able. There­fore it’s not only about cre­at­ing “lifestyle com­pa­nies”. It’s also about enabling clients to track their own progress and achieve­ments through per­son­al­ized feed­back.

Boutique Fitness blog

So what can we learn from bou­tique fit­ness?

Fit­ness in the dig­i­tal age is not mere­ly about get­ting peo­ple to sign a con­tract to a fit­ness club. It’s most­ly about fos­ter­ing long-term engage­ment. That way, busi­ness con­cepts that rely on pay-per-hour mod­els can be more lucra­tive than tra­di­tion­al gyms. Most of all, cus­tomer expe­ri­ence is essen­tial. Cre­at­ing spaces that facil­i­tate com­mu­ni­ty build­ing and accom­mo­date the lifestyles of clients, while also offer­ing high qual­i­ty work­outs, is cru­cial to retain­ing them. There­fore new tech­nolo­gies and data-dri­ven work­outs are increas­ing­ly gain­ing impor­tance and are now key com­pet­i­tive advan­tages.