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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
If you would like to get each issue of Fit Tech magazine sent direct to you for FREE, plus the weekly Fit Tech ezine, sign up now!
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Get Fit Tech
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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
If you would like to get each issue of Fit Tech magazine sent direct to you for FREE, plus the weekly Fit Tech ezine, sign up now!
More features

Les Mills Showcase

Bannatyne has driven member engagement with Les Mills during the lockdown

Unique challenge

Ken Hughes, expert in consumer culture and human behaviour spoke as part of the Technogym Talks series of webinars about how operators can navigate the new consumer landscape

Super soft

As gyms reopen, restrictions on numbers are demanding more of their software. HCM asks the experts how their systems can enable gyms to cope with post lockdown requirements

Wattbike partner on world-first group cycling software

Wattbike has partnered with Intelligent Cycling to transform indoor cycling with innovative new technology that enables automatic personalisation for riders in a group cycling class

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

Soft power

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing gyms across the world to temporarily close their doors, staying connected to your members digitally has never been more important. Software suppliers tell Steph Eaves how they’re contributing

PureGym scales up Funxtion’s digital integration

With the spread of COVID-19 forcing more people into isolation, PureGym worked with FunXtion to rapidly include a digital on-demand workout offering to support members at home

Get connected

Sony and Precor are collaborating. Henrik Bengtsson, head of business at Advagym, tells Wendy Golledge about Sony’s latest foray into fitness

Lover app

Sexual wellness enters the mainstream with the launch of new Lover app
interview

Ali Yetisen

Lead researcher, Technical University Munich
The tattoos use a dye that changes colour according to changes in levels of three elements found in the blood
interview

Christopher Ruddock, INCUS

I quickly got hooked on how data could improve people’s enjoyment of sport, and having demonstrated a basic prototype, I entered a competition to go to America to develop the concept as a business
interview

John Foley

Founder and CEO, Peloton
We were creating an entirely new category
Hedgehog Concept Ltd
Hedgehog Concept Ltd