Greg, what was the initial idea behind the Workout Anytime app?
We understood that fitness business owners were having to use multiple applications to meet their growing needs and that the speed of innovation was only going to increase, so we were looking for a branded app that would fully integrate with our membership and billing platform.
We knew we also needed a complete suite of features, including check-in and account access, club locator technology and an exercise library with preset workouts, as well as the ability to add exercises. In addition, we wanted to provide members with the opportunity to create and add their own workouts into an activity calendar.
To provide an all-in-one solution, the app required Video on Demand to be available natively, likewise with heart-rate monitoring, as well as a nutrition programme builder.
We passionately believe that the convenience, community and personalisation provided by technology can give people the confidence and motivation to work out more, so including an online community feature with a newsfeed to communicate with members was also important.
Finally, we wanted to be able to provide a dedicated support team, including assistance with marketing for franchise partners.
Why was it important to go digital?
Before the pandemic, we already knew that the shift towards integrated brand apps was quickening and that it would soon become the norm. This was reinforced by an anonymous survey we conducted with our franchise partners that revealed the number one thing they wanted was a mobile app.
Additionally, most of our customers are between the ages of 18 to 39 – a highly digitally savvy demographic – so being able to connect with them outside of the gym was essential.
How did the finished product turn out?
We’re extremely happy with the Workout Anytime app – it’s exceeded the expectations of our corporate team, franchise partners and members.
Ultimately, the app has enhanced our value proposition to our members, because we’re now providing them with an integrated, turn-key digital wellness solution. Our engagement has gone beyond the walls of our physical facilities and in-person workouts.
How did it help with the pandemic?
By ensuring that no matter the restrictions, we were providing people with an effective way to engage with their physical and mental health.
We added a banner that linked to workout classes, so members could consume them at their leisure – this was in addition to the exercise library and workouts that were already built into the app.
What new features are planned?
We plan to continue our integration with ABC Fitness, such as for scheduling, while maximising the opportunities offered by wearable technology by rolling out our heart rate monitoring with an integrated heart rate feature.
Hugo, tell us about the partnership with Workout Anytime
We spent a lot of time at the start of the partnership, understanding each other’s needs and committed to ensuring regular, transparent communication.
This helped greatly during the pre-launch development process as we went through the stages of customisation. It’s also led to the development of the client app, as well as second and third launch phases, which have been focused on an upgrade to an integrated professional membership and the development of a Workout Anytime Coaches app.
What did Workout Anytime need?
They wanted an app that was for members, not just trainers, that could do something that would previously have required four different digital solutions to achieve. We also knew that the team’s long-term aim was to have all members on the app and that a key motivator was to have a tool that would give members the flexibility to work out whenever and wherever they wanted.
Workout Anytime’s principles involve thinking big and keeping it simple, so we naturally ensured we kept this front of mind.
We looked to build an app that clients could use to develop personalised plans with their trainers, in order to work towards their health and fitness goals in a way and at a time that would be most suitable for them.
Another key requirement was providing Workout Anytime with the ability to report at a club- and enterprise-level on what individuals are using in the app, as well as full integration with billing partner ABC Fitness, including scheduling for trainers and members.
How did it go?
The main challenge was around integrating the app with ABC Fitness, so everything could work on one platform. This was vital for the launch, as without doing this, clients wouldn’t have been able to activate the app.
A combination of being able to find successful solutions to this challenge and being on hand to quickly respond to any teething problems meant we were able to create an integrated app, used by over 60,000 members and growing.
How did you future proof it?
There’s always a degree of stepping into the unknown when helping a fitness business launch an exciting new product. However, following a rigorous launch process between Virtuagym and Workout Anytime, we felt confident about how future proof the app is. The fact that both usage and development has increased during such a challenging period for the industry is testament to that.
In addition to this launch process – which included training, education and detailed onboarding of the Workout Anytime network – the key to future-proofing the app was following a detailed development roadmap that we created together. This encompassed new features to fit the changing needs of their member base.