Four Experts Discuss How Tech Changed the Fitness Game Forever

By Neesha Kanaga

Published 24 February 2021

Technology in fitness has been around for some time now with consumer fitness apps being the fastest-growing category in the app store over the last few years. However, most gyms and clubs are still attempting to ride the tech wave.

But with the COVID-19 crisis, the digitization of the fitness industry has been accelerated. Everyone has been forced to find a way to provide coaching services and maintain customer contact without physical interaction.

In the FitNation panel discussion titled Big Tech & the Fitness Industry, our speakers Hugo Braam, Avrum Elmakis, Andrew Kolman, and Stefan Wild dive deep into the effect of technology in the fitness industry.

Meet our experienced speakers and watch the recording of the panel discussion below!

Meet the Speakers

Discover the emergence of tech in the fitness industry

CEO of CLMBR

CLMBR Co-founder and CEO Avrum Elmakis is no stranger to innovation. This serial entrepreneur won the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2013. At CLMBR, he is responsible for leading a team of design, fitness, and tech visionaries in creating the world’s most advanced climbing machine. CLMBR boasts celebrity investors such as Jay-Z, Ryan Seacrest, Pitbull, and more.

FitNation panel discussion on big tech and fitness

Co-founder & CEO of Virtuagym

Hugo Braam is the Co-founder and CEO of Virtuagym. After an initial career as a lawyer in intellectual property law, he founded Virtuagym with the mission to make the world a healthier, happier place through innovative technology for coaching and engagement. Virtuagym is now a leading mobile technology provider in fitness, supporting 7,500+ fitness businesses and 20+ million end-users in 80 countries.

FitNation webinar on big tech and fitness

Digital Experience Manager at Life Fitness

For over 50 years, Life Fitness has been dedicated to creating innovative fitness solutions that benefit both facilities and exercisers. Stefan Wild is a former 110m hurdler turned personal trainer and fitness manager at top-notch clubs. He is notable for facilitating and expanding the use of tech as a solution within the DACH fitness industry.

FitNation presents big tech and the fitness industry

Senior Director of Technology & Business Development at Matrix

Andrew Kolman is the Senior Director of Technology & Business Development for Johnson Health Tech, headquartered in Taiwan. He oversees product development, strategic partner management, and product strategy for technology products at Matrix.

 

Watch the recording by clicking below.

How is big tech affecting the fitness industry?

Here are the key highlights from the conversation:

Technology in Fitness: The Gift That Keeps Giving

Without question, technology has hugely disrupted the fitness industry. And although many fitness gyms and clubs have been caught off-guard, there’s a lot of benefits that come with digitization.

“What happened with COVID, it was actually the gym industry who had been really behind who needed to catch up with consumer demand… Now we have been forced as an industry to make technology an integral part of our services. Moving forward, consumers will expect this to remain part of the experience.” – Hugo Braam

With physical fitness gyms, you are bound by opening and closing times. But with technology, customers can access your services 24/7 from their living rooms, basements, or outside. That means more interaction, more sales, and scalability.

Technology also creates a wider funnel and increases reach. Technology is not limited by regional or physical boundaries. You can now reach clients all over the globe and that translates to more sign-ups, more revenue. What’s more, technology will help reach consumers who are not “gym-goers” previously.

Thirdly, technology will help solve the persistent membership churn problem that a lot of gyms deal with. Technology will help improve retention by providing convenience, increased touchpoints, and personalization — all key factors in building loyalty and increasing retention.

The Changing Needs Fitness Consumers: Content and Connectivity

Going forward, consumers are going to demand more connectivity and more content delivered 24/7and tailored to their specific needs. Most fitness consumers are tech-savvy and a large percentage of them use wearable fitness tech or apps to track their fitness progress.

“I think where we’ll see this go is the consumer deciding who they like based on their own avatar and they might want somebody that’s hyper-focused on what they (consumers) do versus what I’m (operator) attempting to push out.” – Avrum Elmakis

They’ll want around-the-clock interaction and up-to-date content at all times. They also want personalization and value from their fitness providers. Fitness providers will therefore need to rethink how content is created and how it is distributed to reach consumers and meet their dynamic needs and demands. Consistency and quality are going to be key in content creation.

The Move to Omnichannel Marketing

To be able to thrive in the future, fitness clubs and gyms will need to utilize the vast digital landscape and marketing techniques to meet their consumers’ needs and demands. They will need to be available 24/7 on multiple platforms and in different formats and to do so seamlessly.

“What fitness technology is doing to operators, I think, it’s opening up and creating a wide funnel. And what I mean by that is it’s bringing, potentially, fitness and what they (operators) can offer to a larger audience.” – Andrew Kolman

Gyms will need to maintain the physical brick-and-mortar locations while at the same time creating tons of digital content and services to reach the different consumers in their living rooms or wherever they are at any time of the day.

With Technology Comes Increased Competition

There are a lot of new entrants and competitors now in the fitness industry. Tech companies are now competing with personal trainers and fitness clubs for the same consumers.

This means that consumers will have more choices and variety to choose from. Now, this might lead to lower prices to attract and retain customers. However, it’s also an opportunity for fitness gyms to differentiate themselves and provide value to their target market at favorable price points.

“Be very consistent even for free content you share. At the current stage, it’s the best and only way to be in touch with your customers.” – Stefan Wild

Whether that’s providing cheap, value-for-money products and creating high-priced, exclusive services, fitness providers will need to differentiate and segment the market to achieve their growth and revenue goals.

For more insights on the current trends in the fitness industry, you can follow Hugo Braam on LinkedIn or visit Virtuagym to learn more about fitness software. You can also follow Andrew Kolman on LinkedIn or visit the Matrix Fitness website, and you can find Stefan Wild on LinkedIn or on Life Fitness. Visit CLMBR to learn more about the CLMBR workout machine by Avrum Elmakis.

Don’t forget to visit our podcast page and our webinar page for more insightful conversations with fitness industry experts and successful personal trainers.

Neesha Kanaga

Neesha is a copywriter and wanderer who currently finds herself bound to the weather-challenged Netherlands due to the unforeseen circumstances of 2020.

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