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
Technogym
Technogym
Technogym
features

Coronavirus: Pivot to digital

The coronavirus pandemic has inspired a huge pivot to digital right across the industry, from sole traders to large chains and trusts. Kath Hudson looks at some of the offerings pulled together in lightning fast time to keep members active and sane

Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 4

Although the subject of embracing the age of technology to expand beyond the four walls of the club has been a talking point for years, not all operators were making it a priority above their day-to-day operations. However, the sudden onset of COVID-19 meant everyone had no choice but to respond immediately, and they did an absolutely sterling job, utilising a variety of digital technologies.

Some operators have turned to established content providers, such as Les Mills or Virtuagym, which have been offering support and some free usage. Others have recorded workouts for YouTube, or streamed classes via Facebook, Instagram or Zoom.

Within days of the enforced shutdown, the amount of content available online meant the world’s confinement needn’t be sedentary or miserable. From bodyweight training to HIIT, yoga and nutritional advice, a wealth of inspiring, nourishing content is being pumped out daily.

Now the argument for expanding beyond the four walls is over. Most operators have pivoted to digital and, as the new normal gets underway, can look at nuancing, and monetising, the offer and working out how it will complement their clubs when curfews are lifted.

BLOK
BLOK’s Ed Stanbury says their team managed to film 30 workouts before lockdown was announced
"We’ve been talking about an online offering for a while, but our digital strategy was longer-term, so we’ve had to think on our feet and rapidly change our plans,” says Ed Stanbury, co-founder of boutique brand BLOK. “What we’ve launched is not the finished project, but is still part of our long-term strategy, rather than a quick response.”

First to launch were 15 classes on Instagram, in partnership with Beats by Dr Dre, which will include headphone giveaways. This was followed up with a schedule of around 20 livestream classes a day and video on demand – before the lockdown was announced the team managed to film 30 workouts. In order to continue to support the team – which includes around 200 freelance instructors – this will be a paid-for service. At the time of going to press the team were working out the options, including pay-as-you-go options.

“We’ll continue to work on the full platform, which will be hyper-personalised with an app, a smart tv app, PT, live events, as well as editorial and audio content,” says Stanbury. “Going forward this will be an additional service and retention tool for existing customers, as well as providing a marketing tool to raise brand awareness in a city prior to launching a club."
“What we’ve launched is not the finished project, but is still part of our long-term strategy, rather than a quick response”
Everyone Active
“Although we’ve had to close our clubs until further notice, operators still have a huge role to play” – Duncan Jefford
UK-based leisure trust Everyone Active has a very broad membership from five-year-olds to 75-year-olds and, as soon as the shut-down was announced, the team set to work finding a suite of solutions to keep all the members active. This is now being offered at £9.99 a month.

“Although we’ve had to close our clubs until further notice, operators still have a huge role to play in keeping people healthy and active, and supporting mental health during this crisis,” says director Duncan Jefford.

“We’ve partnered up with Les Mills on Demand to offer a broad range of their workouts, as well as NEOU to offer thousands of dance, HIIT, sculpt and stretch classes, including pre-recorded workouts and live streamed sessions,” he said. “Live sessions help people to still feel part of a community, as they can arrange to go to the same class with their usual workout buddies. NEOU also includes NEO Kids which is ideal for kids PE lessons.”

Everyone Active is also offering 8FIT, an app which includes pilates, meditation, meal plans, yoga and general wellbeing. Further programmes are also available on the EA platform and discussions are ongoing to further add to the offering

“I’m hugely excited by what we’ve created,” says Jefford. “We’ve managed to cover online workouts, as well as live streamed classes which help our members retain a sense of community.
Frame
Just as Frame was gearing up to launch its eighth studio it had to do a quick pivot to launch Frame Online instead. Free for current Framers and frontline workers, it costs £10.99 a month for newbies.

Three genres of workout are on offer: Sweat, Sculpt and Party, made up of 18 classes with a series of high quality workout videos, including 80s Aerobics, Ass and Abs, and Mat Pilates.

Personalised training with expert instructors will also be offered via one-to-one video sessions, while digital corporate wellness packages give employees access to the on-demand classes, as well as the option of bespoke corporate workshops encompassing meditation, sleep and happiness workshops.

Weekly workshops and events are also going online, including group hypnotherapy sessions, kicking off with Calming Anxiety in an Uncertain World.

Co-founder, Pip Black, says: “This is a difficult time for everyone. With the launch of Frame Online, we can continue to dish out those sweet endorphins and look after the nation’s physical and mental health from the comfort of their homes.”

Frame Online is free for frontline workers and current members
David Lloyd Leisure
The week after the shutdown, high-end family club operator David Lloyd Leisure launched David Lloyd [email protected], offering virtual workouts for all ages and levels, which can be done in the home or garden.

The classes will be added to over the next few weeks and will be accompanied by expert wellbeing advice and information, and fun activities to keep the younger ones occupied in the weeks ahead, including arts and crafts and superhero workouts.

Live streamed classes will be available for HIIT, strength – using props like tins instead of weights; as well yoga, pilates, mindfulness classes and expert wellbeing advice. There will also be a programme of workout and meditation playlists available on David Lloyd Clubs’ Spotify page and new content will be added on a continual basis.

Initially available through the David Lloyd Clubs members’ app, the on-demand workouts will also soon be available to non-members in a more basic form through social media and the website, in a bid to broaden the reach of the business.

Non-members will soon be able to access David Lloyd’s digital content
Urban Sports Club
Benjamin Roth says members want to support their local clubs
Within three days of the club closures, Berlin-based Urban Sports Clubs had set up its first live classes and in 10 days launched a new product offering livestream courses directly from the studios. Every day around 50 new livestream workouts are being made available, and by the end of March there had already been more than 10,000 check-ins.

Members are being charged for the content, which is being used to support all of the partner venues under the company’s umbrella, including those that are not able to offer their services at the moment, such as bouldering and swimming centres.

“Many of our members are showing their solidarity with our partners,” says co-founder Benjamin Roth. “Even those who paused their memberships when their countries went into lockdown are now reactivating their memberships. They really care about their local studios and their trainers.

“The digital product is something we had in mind for a long time, but we had other priorities. When the lockdown came it was time to do it and we had the first live classes online after two days and a whole new online product in one and a half weeks!

We needed to do something for our partners and members. Although there’s still a lot to improve on and a lot to do, our partners are already working well with it and our members can stay active and healthy at home.”
Motosumo
Users only need a smartphone and a heart rate monitor
To make home exercise more sociable, Motosumo launched HomeTeam in response to the crisis, which gym operators can set up in a matter of minutes.

Home users only need a smartphone and a heart rate monitor – and a stationery bike for cycling classes – and can tune into a live stream, race against other people, compare fitness data and enjoy other interactive features.

Kresten Juel Jenson, CEO of Motosumo, says HomeTeam aims to bring the group fitness vibe into the living room: “The world is going through some tough times right now and we all have to adjust. “Livestreaming classes are great, but they don’t capture the social experience of a real indoor cycling class or HIIT session.

With HomeTeam, users can actually work as a team, compare stats or even compete and race against each other.”

Available to gym operators on a monthly subscription, HomeTeam costs £106 (US$124, €115) or, for indoor cycling, £177, ($208, €192) and there is no binding contract.

“The world is going through some tough times right now and we all have to adjust” – Kresten Juel Jenson
Sign up here to get Fit Tech's weekly ezine and every issue of Fit Tech magazine free on digital.
More features
people

Kevin Dawidowicz

President, CoachMePlus
Fitness apps are designed to train clients, without a trainer on the other side. We give coaches a tool for connection
people

Devi Mahadevia

Facebook director of sports and fitness partnerships
With Facebook paid online events, publishers can charge viewers to attend a video livestream on their Facebook pages or a third party video service
interview

Blurring the lines

Les Mills has launched a suite of digital solutions to help gyms future-proof by expanding their reach in the booming online fitness space, while complementing their live offerings. Steph Eaves talks to Les Mills International’s CMO Anna Henwood to find out more

Virtual wellbeing check

Feelings of pressure, isolation and performance anxiety are commonly experienced by athletes, however it isn’t always easy for clubs to identify those who are struggling. Richard Lucas, founder of GoVox, explains how technology can help

Collect wind power as you move

Researchers in China have designed a tiny device that can scavenge wind energy from the breeze you make when you walk or run
interview

Preston Lewis, Black Box VR

We’ve had to create training experiences that show users how to grab handles in the virtual world that are mapped to our real-world machine

Funxtion: A brand new app

FunXtion and GoodLife Fitness are collaborating to help Canadians stay fit in the gym and at home
interview

Rodrigo Jesus, Salus Optima

The result is a powerful, holistic data-driven, outcome-focused, highly personalised application that helps people to achieve their goals and deal with the natural day-to-day problems
interview

Robotic muscles

We identified the need to step beyond the current approaches to muscle weakness, and move instead to placing robotic muscles exactly where they’re needed – inside the body

Staying sticky

Bob Lawson explains how digital fitness platforms and apps can maximise retention and prevent churn
Editor's letter

Big (fit) tech

We’re entering the age of the wellness mega-corp, with the ultimate goal for investors being to dominate health and wellness markets in every channel. Prepare to expect the unexpected in this convergence of health, fitness and wellness

Digital retention top performers

Three digital fitness platforms tell Fit Tech how they work to achieve higher levels of customer retention

Sky x Fiit

Fiit has secured a deal with TV giant Sky, to make its virtual workout platform available through the subscription-based Sky Q service. With 20 per cent of Fiit users now accessing the app through Sky, Fit Tech speaks to Fraser Stirling and Daniel Shellard to find out more

Fit Tech Leadership Report

Fit tech is a growing, competitive sector. Executive search firm, Stronger Talent, recently analysed the backgrounds of more than 300 fit tech executives to provide insights into recruiting strategies, as Pete Leibman explains
people

Andy Etches

Founder and sports director, Rezzil
Rezzil was able to have an injured player learning his new manager's philosophy, positioning and playing style – all from a seated position

Clubs without walls

Venueserve Fitness is working with the Health Club Collection to drive its digital customer engagement
interview

Forme Life: Trent Ward & Yves Béhar

I think the big ‘a-ha’ moment was when we had the idea that a mirror would be the best way for somebody to learn
interview

Paul Bowman, Wexer

The future of fitness is hybrid, says the CEO of Wexer. He shares his thoughts on why and how the industry should embrace this change

Create your own energy

A breakthrough in technology means wearable devices and other health and fitness products could soon be self-powered. Steph Eaves talks to Dr Ishara Dharmasena to find out how this could impact health and fitness
people

Richard Hanbury

Founder and CEO, Sana
I was in Yemen, close to the capital, Sana’a, when I had the accident that put me in a wheelchair and gave me a chronic nerve damage pain problem. This led me to develop the underlying technology of Sana
interview

PureGym

We’ve been ranked number two on the App Store for health and fitness, second only to Fitbit
people

Ian Mullane

Founder, Keepme
Using predictive and machine learning models, operators can hyper-personalise engagement
interview

Digital ecosystem

The digitisation of the sector was going to happen anyway. COVID-19 has simply accelerated the digital transformation
interview

Will Ahmed, Whoop

Whoop is taking wearable technology to the next level, providing deeper insights into individuals’ physiology and enabling optimised training. Founder and CEO Will Ahmed talks to Steph Eaves about the importance of personalised feedback
Featured supplier: New consumer expectations demand an exceptional customer experience
fibodo believes that providers who meet consumers needs of service, flexibility, richness of content and accessibility will thrive as we build new and different models of working in leisure, health and fitness and across all sports and activities.
Featured supplier: First digital ecosystem for fitness equipment is launched after £300,000 funding boost
Orbit4 is the first digital ecosystem that manages and facilitates the entire commercial fitness product cycle.
A new Zone is here
MyZone Group Ltd
A new zone is here for your club, for your members and for you. Read more
Company profile: fibodo Limited
fibodo is the digital solution helping people lead healthier and happier lives. From grassroots individual ...
Company profile: Quoox
With more than 200 integrated features, Quoox is confident there is a solution for every ...
Fitness equipment
Technogym: Fitness equipment
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Spa software
ResortSuite: Spa software
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Featured supplier: New consumer expectations demand an exceptional customer experience
fibodo believes that providers who meet consumers needs of service, flexibility, richness of content and accessibility will thrive as we build new and different models of working in leisure, health and fitness and across all sports and activities.
Featured supplier: First digital ecosystem for fitness equipment is launched after £300,000 funding boost
Orbit4 is the first digital ecosystem that manages and facilitates the entire commercial fitness product cycle.
Company profile: fibodo Limited
fibodo is the digital solution helping people lead healthier and happier lives. From grassroots individual ...
Company profile: Quoox
With more than 200 integrated features, Quoox is confident there is a solution for every ...
A new Zone is here
MyZone Group Ltd
A new zone is here for your club, for your members and for you. Read more
Get Fit Tech
Sign up for the free digital edition of Fit Tech magazine and the free weekly Fit Tech ezine
Sign up
Fitness equipment
Technogym: Fitness equipment
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Spa software
ResortSuite: Spa software
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy

latest fit tech news

Glofox will begin offering health clubs, gyms and fitness studios instant access to financing, following a deal struck with Stripe ...
Apple has previewed its much-awaited watchOS 8, the operating system for its Apple Watch. The latest update to the system ...
The combining of physical and digital has been playing an important role in membership-based fitness businesses, according to a new ...
On-demand fitness streaming platform iFit has introduced a new programme of interactive body and mind workouts, designed to "expand the ...
HCM understands that Fitness International, which operates more than 700 health clubs under the LA Fitness, Esporta Fitness and City ...
Fit tech firm Vaha is launching its interactive fitness mirror into the UK home fitness market. Vaha has been developed ...
Hussle has secured a deal to become the selected fitness partner of digital banking app Revolut. Revolut has around 3.6 ...
Peloton is recalling all of its Tread and Tread+ machines in the US, after striking a deal with the US ...
ABC Fitness Solutions is the latest supplier to launch a service to help operators cater to the increasing demand for ...
Actor Mark Wahlberg has officially joined Power Plate as an investor in parent company, Performance Health Systems and brand ambassador ...
Sports equipment and apparel giant Adidas has revealed plans to produce a mycelium leather version of its classic Stan Smith ...
Fitbit is introducing stress management tools to millions of its users by bringing them to its activity trackers for the ...
More fit tech news
features

Coronavirus: Pivot to digital

The coronavirus pandemic has inspired a huge pivot to digital right across the industry, from sole traders to large chains and trusts. Kath Hudson looks at some of the offerings pulled together in lightning fast time to keep members active and sane

Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 4

Although the subject of embracing the age of technology to expand beyond the four walls of the club has been a talking point for years, not all operators were making it a priority above their day-to-day operations. However, the sudden onset of COVID-19 meant everyone had no choice but to respond immediately, and they did an absolutely sterling job, utilising a variety of digital technologies.

Some operators have turned to established content providers, such as Les Mills or Virtuagym, which have been offering support and some free usage. Others have recorded workouts for YouTube, or streamed classes via Facebook, Instagram or Zoom.

Within days of the enforced shutdown, the amount of content available online meant the world’s confinement needn’t be sedentary or miserable. From bodyweight training to HIIT, yoga and nutritional advice, a wealth of inspiring, nourishing content is being pumped out daily.

Now the argument for expanding beyond the four walls is over. Most operators have pivoted to digital and, as the new normal gets underway, can look at nuancing, and monetising, the offer and working out how it will complement their clubs when curfews are lifted.

BLOK
BLOK’s Ed Stanbury says their team managed to film 30 workouts before lockdown was announced
"We’ve been talking about an online offering for a while, but our digital strategy was longer-term, so we’ve had to think on our feet and rapidly change our plans,” says Ed Stanbury, co-founder of boutique brand BLOK. “What we’ve launched is not the finished project, but is still part of our long-term strategy, rather than a quick response.”

First to launch were 15 classes on Instagram, in partnership with Beats by Dr Dre, which will include headphone giveaways. This was followed up with a schedule of around 20 livestream classes a day and video on demand – before the lockdown was announced the team managed to film 30 workouts. In order to continue to support the team – which includes around 200 freelance instructors – this will be a paid-for service. At the time of going to press the team were working out the options, including pay-as-you-go options.

“We’ll continue to work on the full platform, which will be hyper-personalised with an app, a smart tv app, PT, live events, as well as editorial and audio content,” says Stanbury. “Going forward this will be an additional service and retention tool for existing customers, as well as providing a marketing tool to raise brand awareness in a city prior to launching a club."
“What we’ve launched is not the finished project, but is still part of our long-term strategy, rather than a quick response”
Everyone Active
“Although we’ve had to close our clubs until further notice, operators still have a huge role to play” – Duncan Jefford
UK-based leisure trust Everyone Active has a very broad membership from five-year-olds to 75-year-olds and, as soon as the shut-down was announced, the team set to work finding a suite of solutions to keep all the members active. This is now being offered at £9.99 a month.

“Although we’ve had to close our clubs until further notice, operators still have a huge role to play in keeping people healthy and active, and supporting mental health during this crisis,” says director Duncan Jefford.

“We’ve partnered up with Les Mills on Demand to offer a broad range of their workouts, as well as NEOU to offer thousands of dance, HIIT, sculpt and stretch classes, including pre-recorded workouts and live streamed sessions,” he said. “Live sessions help people to still feel part of a community, as they can arrange to go to the same class with their usual workout buddies. NEOU also includes NEO Kids which is ideal for kids PE lessons.”

Everyone Active is also offering 8FIT, an app which includes pilates, meditation, meal plans, yoga and general wellbeing. Further programmes are also available on the EA platform and discussions are ongoing to further add to the offering

“I’m hugely excited by what we’ve created,” says Jefford. “We’ve managed to cover online workouts, as well as live streamed classes which help our members retain a sense of community.
Frame
Just as Frame was gearing up to launch its eighth studio it had to do a quick pivot to launch Frame Online instead. Free for current Framers and frontline workers, it costs £10.99 a month for newbies.

Three genres of workout are on offer: Sweat, Sculpt and Party, made up of 18 classes with a series of high quality workout videos, including 80s Aerobics, Ass and Abs, and Mat Pilates.

Personalised training with expert instructors will also be offered via one-to-one video sessions, while digital corporate wellness packages give employees access to the on-demand classes, as well as the option of bespoke corporate workshops encompassing meditation, sleep and happiness workshops.

Weekly workshops and events are also going online, including group hypnotherapy sessions, kicking off with Calming Anxiety in an Uncertain World.

Co-founder, Pip Black, says: “This is a difficult time for everyone. With the launch of Frame Online, we can continue to dish out those sweet endorphins and look after the nation’s physical and mental health from the comfort of their homes.”

Frame Online is free for frontline workers and current members
David Lloyd Leisure
The week after the shutdown, high-end family club operator David Lloyd Leisure launched David Lloyd [email protected], offering virtual workouts for all ages and levels, which can be done in the home or garden.

The classes will be added to over the next few weeks and will be accompanied by expert wellbeing advice and information, and fun activities to keep the younger ones occupied in the weeks ahead, including arts and crafts and superhero workouts.

Live streamed classes will be available for HIIT, strength – using props like tins instead of weights; as well yoga, pilates, mindfulness classes and expert wellbeing advice. There will also be a programme of workout and meditation playlists available on David Lloyd Clubs’ Spotify page and new content will be added on a continual basis.

Initially available through the David Lloyd Clubs members’ app, the on-demand workouts will also soon be available to non-members in a more basic form through social media and the website, in a bid to broaden the reach of the business.

Non-members will soon be able to access David Lloyd’s digital content
Urban Sports Club
Benjamin Roth says members want to support their local clubs
Within three days of the club closures, Berlin-based Urban Sports Clubs had set up its first live classes and in 10 days launched a new product offering livestream courses directly from the studios. Every day around 50 new livestream workouts are being made available, and by the end of March there had already been more than 10,000 check-ins.

Members are being charged for the content, which is being used to support all of the partner venues under the company’s umbrella, including those that are not able to offer their services at the moment, such as bouldering and swimming centres.

“Many of our members are showing their solidarity with our partners,” says co-founder Benjamin Roth. “Even those who paused their memberships when their countries went into lockdown are now reactivating their memberships. They really care about their local studios and their trainers.

“The digital product is something we had in mind for a long time, but we had other priorities. When the lockdown came it was time to do it and we had the first live classes online after two days and a whole new online product in one and a half weeks!

We needed to do something for our partners and members. Although there’s still a lot to improve on and a lot to do, our partners are already working well with it and our members can stay active and healthy at home.”
Motosumo
Users only need a smartphone and a heart rate monitor
To make home exercise more sociable, Motosumo launched HomeTeam in response to the crisis, which gym operators can set up in a matter of minutes.

Home users only need a smartphone and a heart rate monitor – and a stationery bike for cycling classes – and can tune into a live stream, race against other people, compare fitness data and enjoy other interactive features.

Kresten Juel Jenson, CEO of Motosumo, says HomeTeam aims to bring the group fitness vibe into the living room: “The world is going through some tough times right now and we all have to adjust. “Livestreaming classes are great, but they don’t capture the social experience of a real indoor cycling class or HIIT session.

With HomeTeam, users can actually work as a team, compare stats or even compete and race against each other.”

Available to gym operators on a monthly subscription, HomeTeam costs £106 (US$124, €115) or, for indoor cycling, £177, ($208, €192) and there is no binding contract.

“The world is going through some tough times right now and we all have to adjust” – Kresten Juel Jenson
Sign up here to get Fit Tech's weekly ezine and every issue of Fit Tech magazine free on digital.
More features
people

Kevin Dawidowicz

President, CoachMePlus
Fitness apps are designed to train clients, without a trainer on the other side. We give coaches a tool for connection
people

Devi Mahadevia

Facebook director of sports and fitness partnerships
With Facebook paid online events, publishers can charge viewers to attend a video livestream on their Facebook pages or a third party video service
interview

Blurring the lines

Les Mills has launched a suite of digital solutions to help gyms future-proof by expanding their reach in the booming online fitness space, while complementing their live offerings. Steph Eaves talks to Les Mills International’s CMO Anna Henwood to find out more

Virtual wellbeing check

Feelings of pressure, isolation and performance anxiety are commonly experienced by athletes, however it isn’t always easy for clubs to identify those who are struggling. Richard Lucas, founder of GoVox, explains how technology can help

Collect wind power as you move

Researchers in China have designed a tiny device that can scavenge wind energy from the breeze you make when you walk or run
interview

Preston Lewis, Black Box VR

Game designers have figured out how to keep people unhealthily addicted to games. If only you could be the hero in a game that levelled up your life

Funxtion: A brand new app

FunXtion and GoodLife Fitness are collaborating to help Canadians stay fit in the gym and at home
interview

Rodrigo Jesus, Salus Optima

Everything we do is evidence based and scientifically proven. Our technology is grounded in science and we have dozens of scientists and experts who collaborate with us in human performance
interview

Robotic muscles

We identified the need to step beyond the current approaches to muscle weakness, and move instead to placing robotic muscles exactly where they’re needed – inside the body

Staying sticky

Bob Lawson explains how digital fitness platforms and apps can maximise retention and prevent churn
Editor's letter

Big (fit) tech

We’re entering the age of the wellness mega-corp, with the ultimate goal for investors being to dominate health and wellness markets in every channel. Prepare to expect the unexpected in this convergence of health, fitness and wellness

Digital retention top performers

Three digital fitness platforms tell Fit Tech how they work to achieve higher levels of customer retention
Technogym
Technogym