GET FIT TECH
Sign up for the FREE digital edition of Fit Tech magazine and also get the Fit Tech ezine and breaking news email alerts.
Not right now, thanksclose this window I've already subscribed!
The Leisure Media Company Ltd | Fit Tech promotion
The Leisure Media Company Ltd | Fit Tech promotion
The Leisure Media Company Ltd | Fit Tech promotion
features

Insight: This is not a drill

The last year has been a washing machine of chaos, and although there’s room for optimism, we can’t stand still and as the world changes, so must our industry. Emma Barry gives her view on what’s coming and how to face the challenges ahead

Published in HCM Handbook 2023 issue 1

All the willpower in the world can’t out-muscle the seismic and subtle shifts currently shaking the global stage of fitness as we reconcile change, while expanding our wingspan to include wellness.

There’s more going on under the hood than we realise. Overzealous projections by F45 et al, the rollercoaster of crypto and non-fungible tokens, and connected fitness – drafting behind Peloton – made for interesting headlines and funding headwinds. Claims that 30 per cent of our market is being shuttered are only the tip of the iceberg.

Memberships are skewing younger, some members are attending more, others less. High Value, Low Price (HVLP) clubs are experiencing the ‘Roaring ‘20s, well-capitalised brands are scaling, big brands are buddying up and technology is stacking as we carry-on and consolidate. Expectations are transmuting and more organisational carnage will occur before we nestle into a new norm.

Boundaries have blurred. With geopolitical issues bleeding through continents. The work-life balance has melted and gender-fluidity has found a new era of acceptance. Real life experiences are back beating digital classes at a 60/40 split. Equinox is mixing things up with ‘omni-multi-channel’ with 30 per cent of its digital content being consumed by members while inside the clubs.

Atomic habits
As an industry we’re running a marathon, so draw your shoulders back, keep your eyes on the road ahead, carbo-load for the long haul, celebrate your milestones, and remember that tiny changes in foot strike and mindset can yield remarkable results at the finish line. If you need some pep in your step, inhale the 2021 bestseller, Atomic Habits by James Clear to appreciate the impact of little things done daily.

Take the lessons from the last 36 months of high winds and uncertainty. Look beyond the correction of the next 12-24 months. Lean into efficiencies gifted by technology and expect tech to start bringing real change. Modern medicine has extended our life, but we have not extended our health and the former without the latter is an expensive exercise in existing.

Lock arms with your colleagues in business and industry. Chase change with the same ferocity it seeks you. Unlock latent value to serve your members in new and interesting ways. In the end, we all need to belong, and we all want to matter.

Set your sites on the horizon! If you shoot short, you’ll end up sitting on your meaningless milestone while the rest of the cavalry gallop by.

Workplace shake-up

The gig economy, fractional roles, hybrid and work-from-home are now established. Last year 83 per cent of Americans said they’d prefer to work a four day week – even if that meant longer hours – and 42 per cent of people now work at least some of the time, leaving work culture evolving at a canter. Mass layoffs litter LinkedIn, sending the pendulum back from a candidates’ to an employers’ market.

Is the chequebook closing on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging initiatives? Or worse, were they never opened? Are all colours yet represented at the top tables of fitness? Will a white man of a particular age ever be hired again? With so many societal norms under renovation, you wouldn’t be alone in feeling as though you’re riding a massive ripple in time.

McKinsey’s report on future-ready business exemplars treats purpose, values, and culture as supreme, along with radically flattened structures, accelerated learning, turbo-charged decision-making and investment in data-rich tech platforms.

Innovation time

While we’ve been toying with third spaces for the last decade, arguably we’re becoming a second space and what new variations are emerging to whet our local appetite? Working back from a boutique to a multi-experience facility with additional services, under a membership model? Or big boxes buying in boutiques? Micro-clubs close to home? Asia-style lock and leave digital fitness booths? Budget boutiques?

Good things come from downturns - cue Uber, Airbnb – so expect new brands we haven’t heard of to start emerging with great ideas, while the rest of us run in circles debating the recession.

The future is partnerships. If Apple and Strava can do it so can you. If Apple and their US$3tn can’t own the entire ecosystem, neither can you. Look over the wall for inspiration to meet the unmet needs of those you serve. Expect a shift from concepts and relationships being tangentially interesting, to highly relevant.

Hello Gen-Active

Move over Boomer wallets – there’s a new handbag in town as millennials trade money for purpose and Gen Z trade it for freedom. Together they assert their me-first wellness priorities, demand transparent and sustainable practices, hold zero tolerance for corporate BS in favour of peer chat channels, and exercise cancel-culture toward brands which cross their moral threshold.

Kids are yearning for a past they never had and we can’t stop talking about how things were. Either way, all roads lead to digital detoxes, going dark on social media and blocking the blue light for scientifically proven, sanity.

Now phones are becoming our digital companion they risk being locked inside other technology to force a tech hiatus. Using technology to limit technology use? When will the irony stop?

Takeaways

• Service is the new battleground.

• Build community first, commerce second.

• Move from being transactional to transformative.

• Use tech to personalise, automate and predict future needs.

• There is no silver bullet. There is no perfect playbook. Try stuff.

• Deal in the currency of human connection. Foster love and loyalty.

• Move beyond omnichannel. Don’t just recreate an old world in a digital format.

• UX is the differentiator. Experiment with how your club can enhance socialisation.

• Be curious. Invite change.

• Stay in action.

• Stop saying ‘best’. It’s fleeting. It’s finite.

• Play the long-game.

• Adopt an infinite mindset.

Market segments

Pilates is on fire and strength has muscled its way up the rig to be worth its weight in kettlebells buffed up by ‘girls who lift’.

Active ageing and exercise for older adults mark the continued investment in Boomers as we breathe quality into extended life expectancy.

Finding the niches and serving the underserved is big business. From Barbara Chancey’s architectural team designing CYCED the first indoor cycling studio with customised bikes for riders with physical limitations to, Thomas Drew – cofounder 1and1 Life, focusing on mental health, and Corey and Kiara Johnson creators of Atl Kula serving underserved BIPOC communities in NYC and Atlanta respectively.

The graduating class of NARPS (non-athletic regular people), has become the 80 per cent we struggle to attract. As we find ourselves in the business of motivating the unmotivated it’s time to open our arms wider and become non-judgmentally, non-denominationally welcoming.

"Chase change with the same ferocity it seeks you" – Emma Barry

• Emma Barry is co-founder of executive search agency Good Soul Hunting and author of Building a badass boutique – your 10-touch journey to designing a fitness studio that rocks. The Audiobook is now available

Sign up here to get Fit Tech's weekly ezine and every issue of Fit Tech magazine free on digital.
Gallery
More features
Editor's letter

Into the fitaverse

Fitness is already among the top three markets in the metaverse, with new technology and partnerships driving real growth and consumer engagement that looks likely to spill over into health clubs, gyms and studios
Fit Tech people

Ali Jawad

Paralympic powerlifter and founder, Accessercise
Users can easily identify which facilities in the UK are accessible to the disabled community
Fit Tech people

Hannes Sjöblad

MD, DSruptive
We want to give our users an implantable tool that allows them to collect their health data at any time and in any setting
Fit Tech people

Jamie Buck

Co-founder, Active in Time
We created a solution called AiT Voice, which turns digital data into a spoken audio timetable that connects to phone systems
Profile

Fahad Alhagbani: reinventing fitness

Let’s live in the future to improve today
Opinion

Building on the blockchain

For small sports teams looking to compete with giants, blockchain can be a secret weapon explains Lars Rensing, CEO of Protokol
Innovation

Bold move

Our results showed a greater than 60 per cent reduction in falls for individuals who actively participated in Bold’s programme
App analysis

Check your form

Sency’s motion analysis technology is allowing users to check their technique as they exercise. Co-founder and CEO Gal Rotman explains how
Profile

New reality

Sam Cole, CEO of FitXR, talks to Fit Tech about taking digital workouts to the next level, with an immersive, virtual reality fitness club
Profile

Sohail Rashid

My vision was to create a platform that could improve the sport for lifters at all levels and attract more people, similar to how Strava, Peloton and Zwift have in other sports
Ageing

Reverse Ageing

Many apps help people track their health, but Humanity founders Peter Ward and Michael Geer have put the focus on ageing, to help users to see the direct repercussions of their habits. They talk to Steph Eaves
App analysis

Going hybrid

Workout Anytime created its app in partnership with Virtuagym. Workout Anytime’s Greg Maurer and Virtuagym’s Hugo Braam explain the process behind its creation
Research

Physical activity monitors boost activity levels

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have conducted a meta analysis of all relevant research and found that the body of evidence shows an impact
Editor's letter

Two-way coaching

Content providers have been hugely active in the fit tech market since the start of the pandemic. We expect the industry to move on from delivering these services on a ‘broadcast-only’ basis as two-way coaching becomes the new USP
Fit Tech People

Laurent Petit

Co-founder, Active Giving
The future of sports and fitness are dependent on the climate. Our goal is to positively influence the future of our planet by instilling a global vision of wellbeing and a sense of collective action
Fit Tech People

Adam Zeitsiff

CEO, Intelivideo
We don’t just create the technology and bail – we support our clients’ ongoing hybridisation efforts
Fit Tech People

Anantharaman Pattabiraman

CEO and co-founder, Auro
When you’re undertaking fitness activities, unless you’re on a stationary bike, in most cases it’s not safe or necessary to be tied to a screen, especially a small screen
Fit Tech People

Mike Hansen

Managing partner, Endorphinz
We noticed a big gap in the market – customers needed better insights but also recommendations on what to do, whether that be customer acquisition, content creation, marketing and more
More features
Core Health & Fitness: level up your HIIT game
Core Health & Fitness
Looking to level up your HIIT game? Meet the dynamic duo that’s about to revolutionize your workouts: the StairMaster HIIT Rower and HIIT Ski! Read more
Study Active is a UK leading provider of health & fitness qualifications including Gym Instructing ...
PSLT Fitness Solutions manufacture, remanufacture and buy back commercial gym equipment. We supply and maintain ...
Cryotherapy
Lockers
Digital
Spa software
Flooring
08-10 Oct 2024
Malaga - FYCMA, Malaga, Spain
Study Active is a UK leading provider of health & fitness qualifications including Gym Instructing ...
PSLT Fitness Solutions manufacture, remanufacture and buy back commercial gym equipment. We supply and maintain ...
Core Health & Fitness: level up your HIIT game
Core Health & Fitness
Looking to level up your HIIT game? Meet the dynamic duo that’s about to revolutionize your workouts: the StairMaster HIIT Rower and HIIT Ski! Read more
Get Fit Tech
Sign up for the free Fit Tech ezine and breaking news alerts
Sign up
Cryotherapy
Lockers
Digital
Spa software
Flooring
08-10 Oct 2024
Malaga - FYCMA, Malaga, Spain

latest fit tech news

Boutique fitness software platform, Xplor Mariana Tek, has launched in-app gamification to help studios motivate more members to reach their ...
news • 09 Jul 2024
A UK-based technology has created a sensor-enabled performance running track with advanced sensors, paired with cameras, to generate real-time data ...
news • 08 Jul 2024
F45 Training has become the first health and fitness operator to make its functional/HIIT group workouts available on Strava, the ...
news • 27 Jun 2024
Nike and recovery brand, Hyperice, have partnered to create two tech-driven recovery products – a vest and boots – ahead of Paris ...
news • 22 Jun 2024
Apple has previewed the upcoming watchOS 11, which has more health and fitness insights and offers more personalisation than ever ...
news • 12 Jun 2024
Noraxon’s next-generation motion capture system, MyoMotion, can be used by PTs to enable custom training programmes, minimise injuries and help ...
news • 11 Jun 2024
New research shows that following social media health influencers motivates young people to exercise more vigorously and eat more fruit ...
news • 28 May 2024
Peloton has secured a critical US$1bn five-year loan to shore up its finances. The loan has repayment terms which are ...
news • 24 May 2024
Peloton Interactive Inc is believed to be working to get its costs under control in a bid to align with ...
news • 08 May 2024
HoloBike, a holographic training bike that simulates trail rides in lifelike 3D, is aiming to push indoor cycling technology up ...
news • 08 May 2024
More fit tech news
features

Insight: This is not a drill

The last year has been a washing machine of chaos, and although there’s room for optimism, we can’t stand still and as the world changes, so must our industry. Emma Barry gives her view on what’s coming and how to face the challenges ahead

Published in HCM Handbook 2023 issue 1

All the willpower in the world can’t out-muscle the seismic and subtle shifts currently shaking the global stage of fitness as we reconcile change, while expanding our wingspan to include wellness.

There’s more going on under the hood than we realise. Overzealous projections by F45 et al, the rollercoaster of crypto and non-fungible tokens, and connected fitness – drafting behind Peloton – made for interesting headlines and funding headwinds. Claims that 30 per cent of our market is being shuttered are only the tip of the iceberg.

Memberships are skewing younger, some members are attending more, others less. High Value, Low Price (HVLP) clubs are experiencing the ‘Roaring ‘20s, well-capitalised brands are scaling, big brands are buddying up and technology is stacking as we carry-on and consolidate. Expectations are transmuting and more organisational carnage will occur before we nestle into a new norm.

Boundaries have blurred. With geopolitical issues bleeding through continents. The work-life balance has melted and gender-fluidity has found a new era of acceptance. Real life experiences are back beating digital classes at a 60/40 split. Equinox is mixing things up with ‘omni-multi-channel’ with 30 per cent of its digital content being consumed by members while inside the clubs.

Atomic habits
As an industry we’re running a marathon, so draw your shoulders back, keep your eyes on the road ahead, carbo-load for the long haul, celebrate your milestones, and remember that tiny changes in foot strike and mindset can yield remarkable results at the finish line. If you need some pep in your step, inhale the 2021 bestseller, Atomic Habits by James Clear to appreciate the impact of little things done daily.

Take the lessons from the last 36 months of high winds and uncertainty. Look beyond the correction of the next 12-24 months. Lean into efficiencies gifted by technology and expect tech to start bringing real change. Modern medicine has extended our life, but we have not extended our health and the former without the latter is an expensive exercise in existing.

Lock arms with your colleagues in business and industry. Chase change with the same ferocity it seeks you. Unlock latent value to serve your members in new and interesting ways. In the end, we all need to belong, and we all want to matter.

Set your sites on the horizon! If you shoot short, you’ll end up sitting on your meaningless milestone while the rest of the cavalry gallop by.

Workplace shake-up

The gig economy, fractional roles, hybrid and work-from-home are now established. Last year 83 per cent of Americans said they’d prefer to work a four day week – even if that meant longer hours – and 42 per cent of people now work at least some of the time, leaving work culture evolving at a canter. Mass layoffs litter LinkedIn, sending the pendulum back from a candidates’ to an employers’ market.

Is the chequebook closing on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging initiatives? Or worse, were they never opened? Are all colours yet represented at the top tables of fitness? Will a white man of a particular age ever be hired again? With so many societal norms under renovation, you wouldn’t be alone in feeling as though you’re riding a massive ripple in time.

McKinsey’s report on future-ready business exemplars treats purpose, values, and culture as supreme, along with radically flattened structures, accelerated learning, turbo-charged decision-making and investment in data-rich tech platforms.

Innovation time

While we’ve been toying with third spaces for the last decade, arguably we’re becoming a second space and what new variations are emerging to whet our local appetite? Working back from a boutique to a multi-experience facility with additional services, under a membership model? Or big boxes buying in boutiques? Micro-clubs close to home? Asia-style lock and leave digital fitness booths? Budget boutiques?

Good things come from downturns - cue Uber, Airbnb – so expect new brands we haven’t heard of to start emerging with great ideas, while the rest of us run in circles debating the recession.

The future is partnerships. If Apple and Strava can do it so can you. If Apple and their US$3tn can’t own the entire ecosystem, neither can you. Look over the wall for inspiration to meet the unmet needs of those you serve. Expect a shift from concepts and relationships being tangentially interesting, to highly relevant.

Hello Gen-Active

Move over Boomer wallets – there’s a new handbag in town as millennials trade money for purpose and Gen Z trade it for freedom. Together they assert their me-first wellness priorities, demand transparent and sustainable practices, hold zero tolerance for corporate BS in favour of peer chat channels, and exercise cancel-culture toward brands which cross their moral threshold.

Kids are yearning for a past they never had and we can’t stop talking about how things were. Either way, all roads lead to digital detoxes, going dark on social media and blocking the blue light for scientifically proven, sanity.

Now phones are becoming our digital companion they risk being locked inside other technology to force a tech hiatus. Using technology to limit technology use? When will the irony stop?

Takeaways

• Service is the new battleground.

• Build community first, commerce second.

• Move from being transactional to transformative.

• Use tech to personalise, automate and predict future needs.

• There is no silver bullet. There is no perfect playbook. Try stuff.

• Deal in the currency of human connection. Foster love and loyalty.

• Move beyond omnichannel. Don’t just recreate an old world in a digital format.

• UX is the differentiator. Experiment with how your club can enhance socialisation.

• Be curious. Invite change.

• Stay in action.

• Stop saying ‘best’. It’s fleeting. It’s finite.

• Play the long-game.

• Adopt an infinite mindset.

Market segments

Pilates is on fire and strength has muscled its way up the rig to be worth its weight in kettlebells buffed up by ‘girls who lift’.

Active ageing and exercise for older adults mark the continued investment in Boomers as we breathe quality into extended life expectancy.

Finding the niches and serving the underserved is big business. From Barbara Chancey’s architectural team designing CYCED the first indoor cycling studio with customised bikes for riders with physical limitations to, Thomas Drew – cofounder 1and1 Life, focusing on mental health, and Corey and Kiara Johnson creators of Atl Kula serving underserved BIPOC communities in NYC and Atlanta respectively.

The graduating class of NARPS (non-athletic regular people), has become the 80 per cent we struggle to attract. As we find ourselves in the business of motivating the unmotivated it’s time to open our arms wider and become non-judgmentally, non-denominationally welcoming.

"Chase change with the same ferocity it seeks you" – Emma Barry

• Emma Barry is co-founder of executive search agency Good Soul Hunting and author of Building a badass boutique – your 10-touch journey to designing a fitness studio that rocks. The Audiobook is now available

Sign up here to get Fit Tech's weekly ezine and every issue of Fit Tech magazine free on digital.
Gallery
More features
Editor's letter

Into the fitaverse

Fitness is already among the top three markets in the metaverse, with new technology and partnerships driving real growth and consumer engagement that looks likely to spill over into health clubs, gyms and studios
Fit Tech people

Ali Jawad

Paralympic powerlifter and founder, Accessercise
Users can easily identify which facilities in the UK are accessible to the disabled community
Fit Tech people

Hannes Sjöblad

MD, DSruptive
We want to give our users an implantable tool that allows them to collect their health data at any time and in any setting
Fit Tech people

Jamie Buck

Co-founder, Active in Time
We created a solution called AiT Voice, which turns digital data into a spoken audio timetable that connects to phone systems
Profile

Fahad Alhagbani: reinventing fitness

Let’s live in the future to improve today
Opinion

Building on the blockchain

For small sports teams looking to compete with giants, blockchain can be a secret weapon explains Lars Rensing, CEO of Protokol
Innovation

Bold move

Our results showed a greater than 60 per cent reduction in falls for individuals who actively participated in Bold’s programme
App analysis

Check your form

Sency’s motion analysis technology is allowing users to check their technique as they exercise. Co-founder and CEO Gal Rotman explains how
Profile

New reality

Sam Cole, CEO of FitXR, talks to Fit Tech about taking digital workouts to the next level, with an immersive, virtual reality fitness club
Profile

Sohail Rashid

My vision was to create a platform that could improve the sport for lifters at all levels and attract more people, similar to how Strava, Peloton and Zwift have in other sports
Ageing

Reverse Ageing

Many apps help people track their health, but Humanity founders Peter Ward and Michael Geer have put the focus on ageing, to help users to see the direct repercussions of their habits. They talk to Steph Eaves
App analysis

Going hybrid

Workout Anytime created its app in partnership with Virtuagym. Workout Anytime’s Greg Maurer and Virtuagym’s Hugo Braam explain the process behind its creation
Research

Physical activity monitors boost activity levels

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have conducted a meta analysis of all relevant research and found that the body of evidence shows an impact
Editor's letter

Two-way coaching

Content providers have been hugely active in the fit tech market since the start of the pandemic. We expect the industry to move on from delivering these services on a ‘broadcast-only’ basis as two-way coaching becomes the new USP
Fit Tech People

Laurent Petit

Co-founder, Active Giving
The future of sports and fitness are dependent on the climate. Our goal is to positively influence the future of our planet by instilling a global vision of wellbeing and a sense of collective action
Fit Tech People

Adam Zeitsiff

CEO, Intelivideo
We don’t just create the technology and bail – we support our clients’ ongoing hybridisation efforts
Fit Tech People

Anantharaman Pattabiraman

CEO and co-founder, Auro
When you’re undertaking fitness activities, unless you’re on a stationary bike, in most cases it’s not safe or necessary to be tied to a screen, especially a small screen
Fit Tech People

Mike Hansen

Managing partner, Endorphinz
We noticed a big gap in the market – customers needed better insights but also recommendations on what to do, whether that be customer acquisition, content creation, marketing and more
More features