Exergames and Gamification – Fun and Games in Fitness

Exergames and gamification have been steadily gaining popularity in fitness—not only through the explosive rise in at-home fitness but also through the immense evolution in technology. It is however, not an entirely new phenomenon: in 2008 Nintendo launched Wii Fit, a fitness game offering yoga, aerobics and strength training.

Accessible, affordable, and multifunctional, it became the 3rd best-selling game worldwide for the console. Arguably, the next big wave of exergames came in the form of Pokemon GO – a mobile app utilizing augmented reality and GPS to get the players outside to catch and train critters through walking. Now your game is going with you wherever you go!

The internet is rife with stories about how people use video games for their workouts, and how gamification keeps their motivation up. The question is: how you put the fun in fitness with gamification and exergames, and how can you utilize the meteoric rise of video games for comprehensive and personalized workout plans?

Effects of Exergames and Gamification on Fitness

Before we dive in, let’s take a look at how exergaming can help you and your business. One of the biggest struggles in the fitness industry is retention: customers start off with all the energy in the world, but fall off the radar when they get into a funk with their progress.

There are many strategies and tactics that can be implemented to curb churn and keep retention rates up: from personal training to gym buddies to community-based motivation and accountability. But have ever considered making fitness fun? Inherent motivation keeps longer and stronger when people truly enjoy what they are doing.

And it’s exactly what gamification does: it adds game-based elements such as scores, badges, music in an immersive fitness experience. Moreover, it adds short-term goals to each exercise. Improving your personal best on a 5k becomes a lot more exciting while you try to outrun a pack of zombies, and a dance lesson feels more impactful when you unlock the next level.

The grind, scoreboards, and level up!

Games might seem like the antithesis of fitness, but there are many things we can learn from it. Video games have perfected the addictive elements through competition and short and long-term goals. Leveling up, seeing your abilities and strength improve in clear-looking charts, prizes, and competition—it’s these small hits of dopamine that keep you coming back for more.

Fitness is mostly focused on long-term goals: changing your body doesn’t happen overnight, after all. Gamification doesn’t change that, but it can make the grind feel a whole lot easier.

Putting Fun in Fitness with Exergames

So how can you add techniques and elements from video games in your fitness offering? In this section, we will take a look at different strategies and technologies you can use to keep your retention numbers up, no matter the circumstance.

1. Challenges

The more, the merrier! It’s hard to see your own progress, and changes to your body take a while. But taking on a challenge with peers and seeing effort translated onto scoreboards will keep your customers motivated for longer: taking on a direct challenge gives your customers something concrete to work towards.

Moreover, you can assign your clients personalized short term goals that fit into their long term ambitions. And this doesn’t have to take place in a group class setting. Utilize wearables and our challenges and rewards software to get a healthy competition going between your customers!

It’s easily customizable for all levels. By challenging your customers with a daily step goal, or overall weekly active hours or calories burned. Getting healthy doesn’t have to be a drag, so make it fun, engaging and motivating to do!

2. Rewards

Leveling up, unlocking a new map, getting that one rare items… it’s the tried and true mechanic that makes games so moreish: the satisfaction of getting rewards. If you really want to motivate your customers to take part in challenges, and get engaged with your community, consider offering a range of rewards!

With Virtuagym you can offer different digital rewards like medals and badges. But do consider real life rewards too! A free item of your merchandise, a gift card for sports nutrition, a free session with a personal trainer, or a discount coupon for a wellness treatment—the possibilities are endless.

3. Progress Tracking & Personal Profiles

With your club community, your customers and trainers can make their own personal profile to track their progress, share results and successes and keep in touch. Keeping an eye on a progress bar, goals hit, no scale victories, but also a place to store and show off digital rewards, is a form of gamification that fits seamlessly with fitness goals.

Having a visualization of how much your health and strength improved, and how much closer you are to your ultimate goal, is incredibly valuable. Not only for your customer: sometimes it’s hard to see how far you’ve come—but also for trainers: they track their customers’ progress precisely and personalize and optimize their training plans.

4. Social Shares & Community

Sharing successes, or getting a shout-out from your trainer, are amazing ways to keep engagement  and motivation high. Celebrate success together in your own online community!

Being motivated to work out extends beyond the gym. For most people, it’s getting ready to go that the hardest part of working out! With an active and engaged community, your customer can stay in touch with peers and their trainer. Seeing other people’s success, getting recognition for their own victories and praising others will help your customers to stay motivated.

New Fit Tech for Exergames in Your Gym

With the fast digitization of the fitness industry, there are more and more new ways to implement exergaming and gamification in your hybrid business model. Wearables offer new possibilities in further gamifying fitness. Tracking steps, sleep, and heart rate are all elements that can be gamified.

Heart rate trackers especially are a great example of this: they can be worn as watches or as a chest strap, and track live data about the exercise.

Consider adding a competition element to your group lessons with a live score board measuring things like heart rate—it’s an immediate incentive for your customer’s to give it their all every lesson!

 

Keep Cultivating Your Remote Fitness Community With The Help of Tech

Following the global pandemic and subsequent closure of gyms, we’ve seen a soar in popularity for online workouts as businesses and self-employed fitness instructors go remote. According to the World Economic Forum, fitness app downloads grew by nearly 50% during the first half of 2020, and there are no signs of slowing.

However, with spring approaching and outdoor workouts back in the mix, how can tech still be of value? And how can you meet your clients in the middle?

Whether you are a gym owner or fitness instructor, here’s our how-to on using tech to grow your fitness business.

Flexible Training

Getting outdoors is a brilliant way to train, but the benefit of technology is the ability to train anytime, anywhere- making your business accessible to clients 24/7.

Not only can utilizing tech create a new stream of revenue, but it also allows you to add value to your services. Offering both pre-recorded and live workouts lets you connect digitally with members and create an online community, which helps increase motivation and engagement.

Members can also complete these workouts outside in the warmer months, bringing both the outdoors and online forum together in one place. Outdoor fitness has become popular with many businesses.

One gym utilizing the online platform is Anytime Fitness, which offers tailored plans and regular check-ins for members. They also provide their clients with nutritional advice, recipes, well-being tips, and on-demand workouts.

Members not only benefit from in-person training when the gyms are open but they also have a range of available add-on services needed regardless of whether their gym is open or closed.

Add a Gym Management Software to the Mix

Adding gym management software to the mix to bring all your fitness and well-being needs together can be a one-stop easy way to attract and retain clients.

One humble gym increasing its membership engagement and revenue is The Training Club. They’ve given members access to PRO+, Virtuagym’s personalized digital membership app.

The software combines online training with challenges, wellness tips, and meditation to deliver a complete-package experience to members – all powered and managed by Virtuagym.

Read more: Five Clients Share How Virtuagym Software Helped During the Pandemic

If you already have your packages in place, software apps can also be a fantastic upselling tool for more varied and flexible training, in addition to in-facility exercises.

Read how one of our clients, San Diego-based Pacific Beach Training, digitized their neighborhood gym during the pandemic in order to take back control and add value for their members.

Read their story

Increase the Value of Your Subscription

Going the extra mile and bringing something different into your offering can help you to tap into a more niche market and diversify. Nutrition tracking, for example, is a great way to add value to memberships.

Offering nutrition tracking and advice to your clients makes them feel that they’re getting more bang for their buck, which can ultimately help grow your business!

However, customizing nutrition plans for clients can be time-consuming, especially for personal trainers. Virtuagym nutrition coaching software allows for bespoke customization of meal plans for clients within the software itself, derived from an existing in-app database.

The software also lets you have your own branded app in which you can share diet plans directly with your clients or allow them to personalize plans themselves, according to their goals.

The Virtuagym nutrition software for gyms allows you to add food diaries, recipes, and ingredients, which completely tailors the experience.

Creating a Community Hub

We all know the benefits of exercising, but it can be hard to quantify the emotional and social benefits derived from making connections with fellow gym-goers. Such interactions help us stay motivated to exercise and keep us looking forward to going to the gym.

So, how can building a community increase member motivation and help grow your business?

Creating a community hub for your members can be a great way to increase engagement and socialization – a key motivator for people to exercise. Firstly, consider offering community access as premium content to your existing packages; this not only adds value but can diversify your revenue stream.

Ensure you regularly update your content and consider Q&A’s, organizing guest talks, and sharing conversation-starters to get people chatting and connecting.

Setting up a YouTube or Instagram account a great way to livestream or load pre-recorded workouts. By housing your content in one place, you can cross-post to your other social media channels.

Encouraging people to share, download, and comment on your videos can increase engagement and get people talking!

Going One-to-One

Whether you own a gym or are a self-employed personal trainer, offering digital one-to-one sessions, as well as small group sessions, is the way to go.

While this might seem obvious, organizing one-to-one programs is a time-consuming task, which is what hinders most gym owners from doing it.

Employing a more personalized approach to remote training can help you build a premium training package for your clients and encourage new business.

One-to-one training increases connection with both new-to-exercise members (who may require more attention) and clients who are looking to up-the-ante on their existing training. There’s something for everyone to gain when it comes to personalized, one-to-one training!

As we know, personal training sessions involve consultation and deep-dive analysis into goals and current fitness abilities – all eyes are on the client.

By offering a unique and personal experience, clients are more likely to hit their goals and see the added value of one-to-one training. Remote client coaching allows you to still regularly check-in with your clients, share tips, receive and send videos, monitor progress, and adapt programming – regardless of geography.

This lull in the fitness industry is an opportune moment to utilize software by inputting your clients’ programs and providing them with comprehensive nutrition plans they can receive and customize online.

Move it Outdoors

For very good reasons, people are still a little wary of the idea of returning to the gym, so why not take it outside? Offering socially distanced outdoor training helps people to feel safer and springtime is perfect timing for taking things outside!

This approach builds community and gets people back outdoors while keeping your business operating.

According to research conducted by RunRepeat, outdoor training is set to become a 2021 trend, so it’s a great time to build these sessions into your packages.

You can then film and share these sessions online to help build your brand.

All set? Next, learn how to promote your classes and workouts.

Getting Rid of the Paper Weights – Why Digital Training Plans are the Future

At long last the health and fitness industry seems to finally be making a turnaround. After lengthy COVID-19 related shutdowns and clients wary of returning to in-person training, what we have long hoped for is becoming a reality: people are returning to gyms and health clubs.

Gym giant Planet Fitness just posted a 241% increase in revenue from 2020, and hope is on the horizon for smaller boutique fitness studios as well.

The fact is that people still want to work out, to focus on their health and appearance, but now, post-COVID and the rather quick digitization of fitness, they now want it fast and completely tailored to their life and personal goals.

The shift consumers have gone through in the past year and a half has had a huge impact on their expectations within the realm of health and fitness. Clients no longer want to schedule their day around their workout – they want something hyper-personalized that fits into their daily life.

Many gyms and personal trainers alike still design exercise programming using paper training plans, old-school clipboards or binders to deliver workouts to their clients. Some then “digitize” these pen-to-paper plans by painstakingly adding everything into an Excel spreadsheet to map out client progress.

But what if we told you there was an easier, faster and more client and trainer-friendly solution? There is: digital training plans, by using a training plan software.

Customers Have Higher Expectations

While we celebrate the return of in-person and on-site training, we have to acknowledge the fact that the expectations of gym-goers have irrevocably changed. The consumer is more empowered than ever and if we want to support them in their health and fitness journey as well as keep them coming through the doors of our gyms and health clubs, it is crucial to get on board with a streamlined set of services.

As a personal trainer or gym owner, you want to spend your time making sure your clients are on the right track to reach their goals and give them the personal attention they desire and deserve. You want to do your job: training and supporting your clients.

One way to get back to doing what you love is to stop wasting precious time writing out and then meticulously digitizing paper training plans, and instead look to the future with digital training plans.

The Member Experience

It cannot be overstated how much the member experience comes into play with the return to onsite training. Research shows that your returning gym members are expecting more and more personalized experiences and services. In fact, some 63% of consumers expect personalization as a standard of service.

They want personalized communications, amenities, and, of course, exercise programming. This means that cookie-cutter training plans and run-of-the-mill spreadsheets are not going to cut it for your clients.

61% of the people surveyed in the above research felt they were treated like case numbers rather than people. As a gym owner or fitness trainer, this means we’ve got to get away from seeing our clients and members as another name on a roster and put the personal back in personal training.

Your members want to be treated as individuals, and if they don’t find this experience at your gym, they will most definitely look for it at another. Both client acquisition and retention is going to hinge heavily on hyper-personalizing the experiences and services you provide- and a digital fitness plan is just one way to do so.

Personalized training plans could not be easier with thousands of exercises available to create the perfect plan for your clients based on their individual goals and personal needs.

Show your training clients their progress from a multitude of angles with detailed achievements, hundreds of available metrics to display and spot trends at a glance. Your digital training plan dashboard gives you access to graphics complete with statistics, detailed progress tracking, and over 250 measurement metrics to truly personalize the member experience.

Fitness Technology to Help Your Gym Thrive

So we understand that consumer demands and expectations have changed and that people want fitness services that accommodate their schedules – not the other way around. Fitness technology is the answer to push your business forward. Digital fitness plans provide clients with additional value and flexibility they are looking for outside the gym.

For trainers, they are easy to create, simple to edit or duplicate and can be seamlessly sent straight to clients’ smartphone or computer. With an ever-growing exercise database of 4500+ movements and a drag and drop setup, designing fitness and training plans is simple, user-friendly and time-saving.

Case in point: Virtuagym Success Story Akasha London. The simple and straight-forward Virtuagym system has allowed Aksaha to simplify and integrate almost every detail of their business- not just digital training plans, saving hours of time each week. What it comes down to is that fewer hours spent on performing menial tasks means more time that can be spent on growing your business and increasing your bottom line.

With Virtuagym’s platform, you can automate things like client acquisition and retention, managing booking and scheduling classes, email marketing, membership management, and renewal billing, financial reporting, client coaching, and more.

Ready to Say Goodbye to Paper Training Plans?

Moving on from pen and paper plans doesn’t mean opening up a clunky Excel spreadsheet. With Virtuagym’s workout editor, you can create and assign professional training plans in minutes. Save a base workout to personalize for clients with similar goals, as duplicating a training plan is easy and simple.

The plans can be accessed on any computer, on your branded fitness app, or even as branded print-outs. Digital training plans work for every kind of business, from independent personal trainers to boutique studios all the way to big box gym chains. With new exercises being added to the database and new features to use, we strive for constant innovation to make sure the Virtuagym app keeps working hard for you.

Getting more clients into your gym means having a seamless user experience. It may start with digital training plans, but it certainly doesn’t have to end there. Hybrid business models give gyms and personal trainers the opportunity to find new streams of revenue. They help create a cohesive online and offline experience for clients. Digital training plans are the future of personal training, as they follow the clear path of the overall digitization of our industry.

They’re easier and more comprehensive than any Excel spreadsheet or Google sheet could ever be, and they are always accessible through your Virtuagym app or online portal. They are easy to edit and with a clear overview of plans and progress, both trainers and clients benefit. So, out with the old and in with the new: get rid of the paperweights and offer your clients an easy-to-use modern solution to reach their fitness goals- wherever they need.

5 Reasons a Video Workout Offering Is Key to Creating a Successful Hybrid Fitness Business

You probably already know that business offerings that combine both real-life and digital services have become paramount in helping businesses thrive in light of the ongoing crisis. Nowhere has this been more pronounced than in the fitness industry, where opting for a hybrid fitness program is the choice du jour. If you need convincing, just check out the Les Mills 2021 Global Fitness Report, which found that 80% of gym members now want digital workout options that are fully integrated into their fitness plans.

Your clients still love coming to your facility. But clients want to be able to access you at home too. And what is the easiest and most dynamic way to reach your clients from afar? It’s by utilizing the humble exercise video, of course.

Adding a video workout offering to your services could involve pointing your clients in the direction of videos that already exist, or creating a video workout for yourself and posting it in your club app. It could mean creating your own video and posting it on social media, or it might mean that you live stream classes with a link in your class calendar in order to create a sense of community. Whichever way you deliver your video workout offering to clients, the key thing is that you make it a part of your hybrid fitness program in order to drive long-term success for your business.

Here, we outline the essential reasons why a video workout offering will prove essential to you and your fitness business as we move into 2022.

1. Use a Video Workout Offering To Reach Clients More Frequently

Unless your clients are living next door to your facility, getting them to come into your club most days of the week might prove a challenge. To keep clients in touch with you day-to-day from home, you can utilize exercise videos that will increase the contact time your clients have with you and your business.

If you have a company app like those offered by Virtuagym, you can ensure that video workouts are scheduled into your client’s calendars, giving them even less reason to flunk out on their program.

2. Retain Members by Making Working Out Easier

Skipping a workout at the gym can prove tempting, but when that workout takes place right there in your living room, this becomes somewhat trickier. A video workout offering can help a client stay on track by making it easier for them to pursue their fitness goals.

If a space at home is set up for working out, your clients will receive a visual cue to start their workout, open up your personalized branded app or website and start working out with you. When clients do this, they are more likely to stay on course with their fitness. In the long run, that means you buy yourself more loyal clients, who tell others about your business. It’s a no-brainer that having a fitness program that actually works is a proven way to reduce churn and encourage new clients to sign up for your services.

3. Keep Clients Safe From Injury

A hybrid fitness program has many merits. But simply leaving your clients with a PDF instruction list of how to work out when they are outside of your facility is not without its problems. Not only can it leave clients feeling uncertain, and spending more time googling an exercise than performing one, but it can also lead to injuries.

In order to reduce the chances of injuries suffered through incorrect form, you can provide your clients with a video workout offering to learn from, rather than a piece of paper that lacks the nuance of what the body looks and performs like in motion. A video also contains an instructor’s voice, guiding clients through common mistakes and how to avoid them.

Using a digital avatar like those available in Virtuagym’s app can also help prevent injury in this way by providing clients with a sound understanding of what the correct form of a given exercise should look like. It may sound simple but if a client does not get injured they can keep working out. This means they keep putting their money into your business and you continue to drive revenue long term.

4. Save Money in The Long Run

Using a pre-recorded video workout is a great way to provide your clients with a high-value service at a low cost. Unlike hiring talent to assist clients in your gym on a daily and hourly basis, a video workout, once recorded, is always available as an effective asset you can use to train clients. By combining online and offline classes you can provide your clients with additional offerings at a fraction of the cost, while still profiting from client sign-ups.

5. Promote Your Services and Bring in New Clients

A video workout created by your studio, gym or club not only has the potential to reach your clients when they are at home, but it also has the power to help you find brand new clients too. Encourage your clients to post about their video workouts on social media, share their results, and heck, perhaps you can even run your own video workout on social media too — now that’s one way to truly go hybrid.

Online videos are watched by everyone, making this a foolproof way to advance your business strategy. According to research from Social Media Week 78% of people watch online videos every single week, and 55% of them view online videos every single day. They also found that 54% of consumers want to see more video content this year.

Want to learn more? Read about the 7 Ways to Promote Livestream Classes en Workout Video’s Online

By showcasing what your classes look like via a video workout offering, you’ll not only drive new clients towards your business by showing them what your digital offering looks like, but you’ll also give them a sense of who you are as a company and what they can expect when they go to your facility. It’s a no-nonsense example of just one of the many ways that virtual and physical fitness can work together harmoniously.

For more ideas on why and how to incorporate a video workout offering into the package you to your provide clients, check out Virtuagym’s at-home video training options.

How To Define Your Brand Promise in 5 Steps

A lot of incredibly hard work and diligence goes into creating a brand promise. A brand promise is the experience that your customers can expect to receive every single time that they interact with your business. No matter if members are walking into your health club in person or logging in virtually, the brand promise must extend across the board to all the ways a client might interact with your fitness business. The more your health club or gym delivers on this promise, the stronger the value of your brand in the mind of both your clients as well as your employees. With a strong brand promise that delivers results, staff will stay longer and be happier and members will stay longer and be happier. So, just how do you craft a solid brand promise and deliver on it? Here is how to design your brand promise in 5 steps.

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What do you sell?

To begin creating your brand promise, it is important to get clear on what you sell. Here we’re talking about things like: health, fitness and fun, confidence, wellness and well-being, lifestyle changes, a healthier mind and body, motivation, support and guidance, and a sense of community. This is keeping it really general: all health clubs and gyms sell these things to some extent- your competitors included. What your competitors cannot recreate, and what will become the absolute basis of your brand promise is how you make your customers feel. The actual experience that members have within your club and when they interact with your club is what is completely unique to your brand. So how do you start delivering that?

What do you do, and for who?

Crafting your unique brand promise means answering this basic question: what do you do, and for who?  Your brand promise will depend on taking the things you sell and combining them with three main elements: what you offer, what your customers need and what the market is missing. This defines the purpose of your brand and the fundamental value you commit to delivering to your members day in and day out.

Define the Top 5 things Your Customers Talk About: 

What are your customers – both members and staff- talking about? What are you doing well and what are you doing badly?  Gathering feedback from within your gym is one of the most important steps within the branding process. It will help you to give your members what they want instead of what you think they want. Feedback also helps you to identify your superhero clients: the ones who come in most often, who give the best reviews of your business and the ones who refer the most new clients. These are the customers- the superhero clients and long term members whose voice will really resonate in your brand promise. Commit to making decisions based on what staff and customers are saying and you will reap the benefits. 

Look for Common Themes Across the Board

What separates your health club from the other clubs around? Why is it that your members keep returning? What is it your staff is working for? How do they feel about you? Do they put themselves wholly behind the values of the organization?  Everyone should be on board when it comes to creating and guiding the brand promise. From senior managers to the PT team, reception team, etc. Gather intel from all departments and be sure to not leave anyone out. What separates you from your competitors is how you make them feel, and the brand promise arises by getting feedback from a full cross-section of your members and staff. Once you’ve collected all the data from staff and members, you can begin to look for themes that are common to everyone.

Deliver Values vs Virtues

Delivering the experience is the last step of a strong brand promise. Virtue is what you do rather than what you say you do. In your fitness business, your values must meet the virtues or today’s fitness consumer will lose interest in your brand. What you do must be in line with what you say you’re going to do. Once your brand promise is defined you need to make sure it is not only words, but also actions that every member of staff can follow to deliver the same experience.

Here it is important to reiterate that your customer experience is not on-site or online- its both. If your online offering is not providing the same level of customer experience as your in-club offering, then it’s taking away from it. And if your online product isn’t reflecting your brand promise and brand values, then it’s a different product. Racing to build an online offering and losing your brand promise is not reflecting your values. Both experiences should be relevant to your values and brand promise, taken separately as well as together.

The immediate takeaway to craft a better brand promise is that it’s all about listening. Make sure everyone is clear on what you want to achieve and why. Help them feel that they’re a part of it. The whole team will turn up and staff and members will both be happier.  Once you start to get that info it’s time to take action. Remember that your business does not HAVE a culture, your business IS its culture. The leadership and the people at the top need to be the examples for this culture in order for everyone else to be ready and willing to live out the culture as well, and for that purpose, the brand promise must be clearly defined.

Get the Most Out of Your Hybrid Fitness Program by Utilizing Omnichannel Customer Engagement

You don’t have to be Zuckerberg to know that a blending of the virtual and physical worlds is where the future of commercialization lies. Nowhere is that more pronounced than in the fitness space, where an approach driven by omnichannel customer engagement is making waves across the industry.

Like tight hamstrings after a long run, fitness and technology are irreparably linked. In fact, the Les Mills 2021 Global Fitness Report found that 80% of gym members now want digital workout options that are fully integrated into their fitness plans. Not to mention the fact that those with a hybrid fitness program involving digital workout options train 22% more than those who only work out in a physical club space.

This new model is also known as omnichannel fitness: a process that has proven tantamount to improving client engagement for gyms, clubs, and studios; it will continue to be a crucial means of delivering services in the new landscape of our industry post-pandemic.

Here, we break down what omnichannel fitness means exactly, plus some of the ways you can make the most out of a hybrid fitness program.

Why Do I Need Omnichannel Customer Engagement?

Shifting to an omnichannel approach means going beyond the four walls of your facility and providing a complete ecosystem of options for your clients in order to meet their diverse needs and expectations.

Put simply, omnichannel customer engagement is a way of integrating all of your on and offline services into a format that is highly valuable to your clients, drives revenue for your business, and reduces churn by keeping members loyal and engaged long-term.

The promise of what optimizing on this might mean is clear — adopting a hybrid model is key to retaining and engaging members by helping them stay fit and healthy long-term. Fitness businesses that have already begun adopting a hybrid model — one that blends the fitness offerings of a physical studio with those orchestrated online through a website and app like this one — are way ahead of the game.

How Can I Adopt a Hybrid Fitness Program for My Clients?

With more hybrid fitness options to choose from, developing your unique approach to omnichannel fitness is now easier than ever. We’ve lined up four of the most popular and effective ways business owners are utilizing omnichannel models of fitness for their businesses.

1.Video Workouts

Video workouts have proven highly popular throughout the pandemic and will continue to be a sure-fire favorite among fitness consumers in the years to come. For you, this is great news. Video workouts provide you with the opportunity to optimize the experience you provide to your clients making your hybrid fitness program a high-value addition to your services.

By creating and uploading your own video workoutsto your personalized club app, you can help your clients stay on track with their training even when they are nowhere near your facility. 

If clients can access your fitness classes through an app on their phone or by casting your instructors to the TV set in their living room via Apple TV or Chromecast, you can boost engagement and forge a strong sense of community between your clients who are all participating in virtual workouts, despite any distances or access issues.

2. Livestream Your Workouts

To make tuning into your businesses’ video workouts as easy and interactive as possible, consider making livestreaming a part of your omnichannel model of fitness. You can add livestreamed classes or workout video links to your regular booking schedule through your personalized branded app.

Alternatively, you can livestream the odd promotional class on social media. While in the long run, this is not the best way to drive revenue for your business, it can be an effective way to show prospective clients what they can expect from you and the classes you have to offer.

By running the occasional Instagram live class or Facebook live session, you can drive new clients to your business and encourage clients you already have to engage with your business outside your facility, in online spaces. This helps develop social proof for your business. It is a marketing tactic that works by fostering a community feeling and a strong sense that, due to its popularity with others, yours is a business worth signing up to.

3. Incorporate wearable devices

Today, it is estimated that there are over 75 million dedicated smartwatch users in the US alone. This is a number that is set to keep on growing, as a holistic approach to health becomes the most popular way in which consumers pursue their fitness goals.

By tracking not just their workouts but also their calories, steps, VO2 max, sleep, and all kinds of personal biometric data, consumers, and specifically your clients, can optimize their health and, as such, better reach the fitness goals that they hope to pursue with your gym, club or studio.

By jumping aboard this technological trend and incorporating wearable devices into your offering, you can not only create a new line of omnichannel customer engagement, but you can also drive profit by introducing a new revenue stream.

For example, by integrating a heart rate tracking function into both your app and your fitness classes, you can create a new experience for your clients and supplement your income by reselling wearable fitness devices.

4. Utilize Exergaming

Exergaming is technology-driven fitness at its most fun. It’s an interactive method of fitness that incorporates a physical workout with the excitement of a video game. As featured in Facebook’s new Meta promotional video, exergaming is set to prove hugely influential in the way future consumers stay fit. But this does not have to be a threat to your business. Rather, it could work as an effective add-on when incorporated into your hybrid fitness program.

One example might be encouraging your clients to start using Xbox games like Olympic Games or Just Dance, which get them up and moving, or the Ring Fit Adventure or Fitness Boxing games on PlayStation. By combining hardware motion sensors with fun virtual activities, your clients have more reason to stay fit.

VR — or virtual reality – headsets are growing ever more popular, and have also infiltrated the world of fitness. The Oculus Quest 2 is an affordable range of VR headset that offers dancing games and fitness games like Supernatural that have users stand in beautiful landscapes as they squat, lunge, and smash orbs to an awesome soundtrack.

Another way to gamify the experience of your hybrid model is to encourage your clients to take part in fitness challenges. We have found that, even with our own Virtuagym staff, this is an effective way to keep people on track with their workout goals, introduce a sense of competition, and create a feeling of connection with others.

Implementing just some of these hybrid models will be crucial to adapting your business for the demands of the future. When we conducted a survey of our clients in 2020 to see how they were coping with the challenges of the pandemic, results showed overwhelmingly that businesses that quickly adapted their offerings into the digital domain fared better than those that did not Discover the lessons the fitness industry has learned from the pandemic and for more tips on how to go hybrid, keep your eye on the Virtuagym blog.

Get a Grip of Your Time With the Appointment Schedule!

Save a tonne of time with our newly updated appointment schedule software.

Manually processing appointments is an inefficient way of spending time that you could be using to work on your brand, business, and clients. In addition, getting multiple texts, emails, and other messages can be hard to keep track of. It’s easy to miss something or double book a 1-on-1 training session.

Luckily for you, we updated our appointment schedule so you can spend more time on the most important tasks, such as hosting classes and keeping your clients happy.

Fill in Your Own Time

Our brand new design ensures that you can maximise efficiency with ease. You don’t have to put everything in manually any longer.

Instead, let clients book a spot on your agenda. This will help you avoid making double appointments and getting lost in all the messages you usually get.

For example, what if a client wants to make an appointment with you in three weeks? No problem! You can easily schedule ahead of time. Make your gym fun and welcoming to all without the manual hassle, just like Halima and Valeria from FemmeGym did!

“Virtuagym’s online signup helped us grow by 80%.”

Halima Hollenberg, Co-founder FemmeGym.

Of course, you also have a life outside of work – getting a haircut, celebrating a birthday, etc. That is why you can manage your availability and block time periods in the newly updated appointment schedule. Party time!

In case you work with other trainers, you can easily keep track of their agendas too. This ensures that your clients always have a trainer to go to!

With our constantly updated schedule, you can see the weekly activities, set and publish availability, and let clients choose their favorite timing. Besides that, you can easily use a laptop, tablet, or Smartphone to make appointments and update your schedule. Fast handling with almost no effort!

 

Ready, Set, Go!

Are you interested in the new appointment schedule, and do you want to know how to get ready to use it? Well, you’re in the right place!

First, you will need to log in to your portal and go to the system settings. There you can activate the appointment schedule. Afterwards, you can find it in the sidebar. We don’t want to make it too hard for you!

You will need to do four small things to get started:

  • create activities
  • categorize your services if you have multiple
  • select staff (or yourself for that matter)
  • choose the kind of notifications you want to receive and send to your clients.

That’s all – now you can begin scheduling!

Start on the schedule overview, where you will see the booked and deleted events.
If you are ready to add your availability, go ahead and click on the manage resources tab. Here you can manage both you and your staff’s availability. Go get that haircut and block the time you need!

Do you want to book a client in by yourself? Awesome! Go to the “Book a client” tab, select the category, activity, and time. Then, all that is left is to confirm, and it’ll be in your schedule.

If you are in a studio or gym with multiple trainers, you can also manage privileges. A club manager, for example, can edit the system settings; a scheduling employee can change the staff’s availability and all the other employees can book clients in.

Working from a Smartphone?

Check this guide!

 

Less Administration, More Free Time

We want you to profit from our work, so let’s see what you win from this update.

  • Spend less time on administrative tasks and focus on what is more important – training your clients!
  • Get a better overview of your week with more time to plan.
  • Experience new updates, it’ll make your life easier!

Ultimately, in addition to these benefits, you will be able to de-stress and focus on what you love instead of all of that administration!

Do you want to get a grip on your time, manage your business better, and be more flexible? Then, get started with the appointment schedule today! Contact our support team to find out more about this feature.

Are you new to the Virtuagym software? Read about our solutions right here!

Check out our solutions!

More New Year’s Resolutioners Than Ever Are Using Fitness Apps This January

A study of 800 million activities predicts most New Year’s resolutions will be abandoned on January 19. How to create new habits that actually stick?

– INC.com

We’ve all been there; wanting to make massive health and fitness changes at the start of every new year, but failing miserably as the humdrum of life carries us back towards our hold habits. It’s not your fault, recent studies have shown that in 2019, over 800 million fitness app users stopped logging workouts around February.

The day on which most people stop logging? January 19. Strava aptly calls it ‘Quitter’s Day‘. If all of this is reading slightly depressing, fret not – we come bearing good news.

Fitness and nutrition apps are a great tool to help your client stay motivated and engaged. An app with gym workouts and apps that motivate you to work out is the best for fitness accountability. And this January, they will be unmissable in your offering.

Can Fitness Apps Motivate You to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions?

Times have changed – and sure, that seems like a big statement to say for the span of a year, but the pandemic really has shifted the paradigm.

People have gotten used to the idea of remote and online fitness coaching – and that means that there’s a readier-than-ever market for fitness apps to keep them accountable. For resolutionists, they’ll be more on board with the idea of digitizing their workouts and health through an app with gym workouts, as they have their work and social interactions.

At Virtuagym, we’ve realized this potential and created PRO+, which is a comprehensive hybrid membership solution for gyms and studios. The idea is that health clubs can cover all bases including, workout streaming, holistic health, remote personal training, outdoor fitness, and nutrition tracking from one easy-to-use app for fitness accountability.

For members who are about to fall off the wagon, this is the ideal way to keep them starry-eyes with a library full of fresh workout content, leaderboard, and challenges. This app with gym workouts has it all to keep clients motivated. Keep members on their toes and accountable – while helping them get back up on their feet amid the winter blues.

In Our Not-So Distant Past, Apps Were Already On the Rise

Being active and visiting the gym during wintertime is a hard sell, but the steady growth of fitness app usage during this time of the year was already going strong.

Last year, we drew data from more than 16 million of our users worldwide, and we noticed one phenomenal thing: one app, in particular, the Virtuagym Food app was showing huge growth.

The app showed an increase of 512% more users in January 2020 compared with January 2019, reflecting that more people than ever are using technology in order to meet their New Year’s health goals. In the time between December 2019 and January 2020, app usage increased a phenomenal 800% – now, that’s a lot of January health-kicks.

“We always see solid growth in active users in January, but this is explosive. The increase of more than 500% more food app usage compared to last January reflects a worldwide trend in the growth of wellness and proves how important technology is becoming as a tool for better nutritional health throughout Europe and North America.” 

– Virtuagym founder, Hugo Braam

We also noticed a 228% increase in the usage of the Virtuagym coaching app – which we have since revamped for remote, virtual coaching. This cutting-edge app is used by gyms and trainers to coach members amid the pandemic. Last year’s substantial increase is a result of more people visiting the gym or their trainer in January, to keep to their New Year’s resolutions. This year’s reason? Fitness apps are just a way of life.

Help Your Members Stay Motivated and Connected to Their Goals – and To You With Your Fitness App

Giving your members a custom fitness app with gym workouts goes beyond branding. It promotes a sense of belonging to a club while empowering members to take control of booking and scheduling a timeslot at your facility.

And if that’s not possible right now, there are always that 1,000 on-demand workout videos plus meditation and wellness content that can tap into in the app that motivate your clients and grows their sense of accountability.

On top of that, many studies into big tech companies such as Apple, Samsung, and Garmin shows that the market for fitness wearables are at an all-time high. In fact, it grew by 30% just last year. People are using technology to keep themselves on track, and future-savvy fitness businesses are meeting members in the middle with the right type of gym software.

As a fitness professional or entrepreneur, people may be looking to you to help them with their health goals with an app with gym workouts and holistic options. And with the myriad fitness software and apps that motivate you out there, there’s really no excuse to not bring your business into the future.

 

How to Deal With the January Madness in Your Fitness Studio in 2022

New Year celebrations have come to an end and like clockwork, the January fitness rush begins. Luckily for you and your studio, that means more leads, revenue, and potential for growth.

It also means a busier studio and a need to level up your organizational skills. After all, you don’t want to give the wrong first impression to your new members.

While the January spike in gym or fitness studio attendance is very much real, it doesn’t take long before the New Year’s resolutioners give up on their plans to get in shape. If you’re like most fitness studios getting ready for the influx of studio attendees, this means you probably need help with:

  • 1. How to Get Leads for Gym Memberships 
  • 2. Ways to Improve Customer Engagement
  • 3. The Importance of Member Retention

When the dust of optimism has settled, it’s important to ensure that your fitness studio has effectively held the interest of new prospective studio members AND not scared off or neglected your current loyal customers.

This article will address these main points so that you and your studio see exponential growth in 2020.

How to Get Leads for Gym Memberships

There are plenty of New Year’s fitness newbies out there in your local area. But how do you convince them to come to your studio, rather than the one five minutes down the road?

#1 Set Up a Referral Program

This is a great way to generate new leads for your fitness studio as it will see your current members doing most of the work for you. According to statistics, word of mouth is the main driving force between 20 – 50% of purchasing decisions.

Set up incentives for current members and for newbies – especially when they join in January.

Setting up a referral program is your cheapest marketing channel so be sure to utilize it.

#2 Upgrade Your Social Media Strategy Using Video

Ensuring that you have a strong and active social media presence over the winter period is a great way to attract new members that may have started researching potential studios online.

Good social media practice that you should already be following include:

  • Posting frequently
  • Engaging with others in your local area and your fitness niche
  • Creating minimum-effort, high-impact copy – this should be either funny, informational or emotive

If you have no time to produce your own content (it is January after all), simply resharing content posted by others is sufficient.

Fitness community for Facebook - Virtuagym

But you should remember when it comes to content, video is 50 times more likely to drive organic search results than plain text.

That means that using video to generate more leads will double your digital efforts.

This can be tricky to get right. To see a brand that is effectively doing this, check out gym chain Jetts. They upload videos taken within their fitness studio to Instagram, demonstrating exactly how to do an exercise and detailing the move in the caption too. This encourages followers to comment and ask questions. They position themselves as an authority in their niche and provide additional value to their members and prospective members.

#3 Make Sure Your Website and App are Running Smoothly

To make sure that your studio stands out, you should have a visible, easy-to-find branded website. A easily to navigate website with clear information will help you to get leads for gym memberships.

Your website should have:

  • Strong visuals of (or relating to) your studio
  • A branded domain
  • Great SEO making it easy for members to find

Ring hands typing laptop woman website phone marble case pencils

In addition to a website, you should also have a branded app to ensure that the onboarding process is as easy as possible.

An app like Virtuagym can be used to manage, coach and track your member’s activities.

Ways to Improve Customer Engagement

So you’ve bagged yourself a whole host of new members, now you just have to make sure they don’t give up too easily. So what are the best ways to improve customer engagement?

By creating a positive environment in your studio and fostering a sense of community amongst your members you can make sure that new members stick around.

#1 Develop a Community Spirit

There are a number of ways that you can develop the community of your fitness studio and ensure that it encourages members to stick around. But the most important is creating strong relationships between members and staff as well as amongst members.

Train staff to be inclusive and look out for newbies. Make sure that they feel encouraged and are not left behind.

Utilize activities such as a competition or training program that will bring members together and form friendships. Studio members that make friends with fellow members are much more likely to keep coming back – and in turn, keep buying into you and your business.

What can you do to make the customer engagement in your gym better?

You should also make sure that your members remain engaged when they leave the studio. An ideal way to do this is to develop an online community via social media or on an app. Doing this will encourage members to post fitness updates and developments and create a buzz and conversation around your studio.

Tip: City Fitness uses the Virtuagym Touch in their facilities to inspire, coach and engage their members. The Virtuagym Touch is a new software solution that allows operators to turn any screen into an in-gym service kiosk or digital training station.

#2 Host an Event in your Fitness Studio

Hold an event, encouraging all new members to come along – and old ones too. This is a great one of the great ways to improve customer engagement. It will create a more sociable atmosphere in your club and lead to more loyalty amongst members. You could host a day of free classes, drinks or invite guest speakers.

Think outside the box when it comes to creating an event that is unique to you and your studio.

One great example is the immersive events ran by the Ministry of Fitness. They pair up with coaches that are popular with the Instagram crowds and put on events alongside brand partners in the health and wellness industry. The events offer so much more than a simple workout. Participants can get hair braiding, goody bags and enjoy influencer talks and interactions.

ministry of fitness screenshot website

#3 Don’t Ghost your Members

Nobody likes being ghosted. Communicating with members isn’t only crucial while you are inside the studio itself, but also after members go home.

Communicating with them via an online app will make sure that they stay in touch with the studio and remain committed to their workout goals.

You can answer any of their questions and they can share progress and discover more about the community at your studio.

Use emails, phone calls as well as push notifications to contact your members. All of this can be done using a software management system. Set up email flows that get in touch with your members after a certain amount of missed sessions.

The Importance of Member Retention

Finally, you should ensure current members feel appreciated, despite the January influx. If you focus all your efforts on new members, your most loyal and high-value customers may end up feeling left behind.

That’s why we need to talk about the importance of member retention.

How important is member retention for your gym or fitness studio?

#1 Provide Additional Resources Off-site

January is a busy time for any fitness studio. This can be annoying for long-term fitness lovers that feel they are left competing for space in classes or a busy studio. To make sure that these members can still gain value from their membership with you, make sure that they have resources available to them when they are working out off-site too.

Develop home-workout plans, nutrition plans or use an app like Virtuagym to do it for you.

The more advantages your studio provides them with outside of their designated studio-time, the more likely they are to stay with you for the long-run.

#2 Consider Adding New Classes

New studio classes in the first month of the year are another effective way of keeping older members happy.

Talk to your members and find out exactly what they think would benefit them. Question them on their needs in your digital community space or approach members in the studio and find out first-hand.

yoga class woman working out fitness exercise

If you deliver the classes your members have been hoping for, this makes them feel heard and valued. Ultimately, this will result in them feeling part of the studio community and reluctant to move elsewhere for their fitness needs.

#3 Hold a Fitness Challenge

Every fitness fan loves a fitness-themed challenge. Make the most out of this and implement a winter training challenge in your studio.

Choose a time frame, such as ten to twelve weeks. Create a specific goal and develop a training and/or nutrition plan to set out for your members.

The challenge could be anything from learning to do the splits or losing weight, to gaining a set amount of muscle.

Three women doing yoga gymnastics

Track the results of this and encourage participants to share their progress in your digital community. You could also offer a prize incentive for the winner of the challenge – or gifts (such as a protein shaker or tote bag) for all of those that stayed on track throughout the full course of the challenge.

Follow the steps above and we are confident that you will get leads for gym memberships, engage members AND keep all of your current members happy. With these tips, 2020 could be a year of huge growth for your fitness studio.

 

Expand your Hybrid Business with the Virtuagym Video Workout Platform

In Virtuagym’s most recent global COVID-19 customer survey, two things really stood out. The first was that 45% of gyms, 32% of fitness studios, and 36% of personal trainers said they had used home workout content technology. The second was that 1 in 4 of our customers are using a combination of online and offline solutions to attract new clients.

What does this show us? That the modern-day fitness user is now looking for experiences that go beyond the four walls of their physical gym or studio. They have become accustomed to the freedom and speed of digital services, and want to be able to work on their health wherever and whenever it suits them.

We always want to listen to what our brilliant customers have to say – so with all this in mind we’re excited to bring to you our newest exciting product to help monetize your digital content and grow your reach – the Virtuagym Video Workout Platform!

A Core Part of your Hybrid Fitness Business

Not so long ago, the use of video workouts was minimal. Now, they are integral to a fitness businesses’ hybrid business model. You might have heard the phrase a lot recently – so what does it actually mean?

Due to the evolving demands of modern fitness consumers, more and more fitness businesses are looking to seamlessly combine both their digital and physical services. This has become an important way for fitness clubs, personal trainers, and fitness studios to provide more personalized and meaningful experiences to existing, and potential, clients.  Online video workouts, just like the Virtuagym Video Workout Platform,  are a fantastic way to expand a club’s offering beyond physical facilities and to also appeal to those seeking different ways to achieve their individual health and fitness goals.

The Virtuagym Video Workout Platform – What Does it Do?

Have you already been using our Video On Demand content? Well, the integrated Virtuagym Video Workout Platform will take your use of online workouts to the next level as part of an engaging hybrid offering that combines in-class experiences with online classes or content.

It allows you to create your own workout libraries in the Virtuagym portal and make them available for your clients in your own customizable club mobile app. And what’s more, you can provide a full screen experience by streaming them to TVs via Chromecast and Apple TV.

Is there more? Of course!

The feature fits seamlessly into Virtuagym’s suite of products, meaning you can assign videos directly to clients at specific times and at certain difficulty and intensity levels. Also, it allows your clients to track burnt calories, which are automatically taken into account for their nutrition plans. And the innovation keeps coming because soon users will have access to an integrated heart rate tracking option, allowing them and their trainers to get a better overall performance summary in a post-training detail screen.

Increase engagement with your clients through digital content

 

Get the Camera (and the Benefits) Rolling!

Having your own branded video library suits modern lifestyles because it gives clients the flexibility to tailor options for their personal needs, picking and choosing the videos most suitable for them, at the best time for them and at the best level for them. This can form part of a far more enhanced training schedule, whether performed individually at home or as part of a mix with sessions in the club. This is important as today fitness customers are increasingly looking for a gym or trainer who can adapt to their lifestyle.

What’s more, the Virtuagym Video Workout Platform enables you to produce a greater variety of different and accessible fitness content, not just in the form of  pre-recorded or livestreamed workout videos but also as a way to provide knowledge sessions, Q&As or just far more personalized business updates. And, you are providing this content to a much larger and more diverse pool of clients –catering for a bigger audience with different backgrounds, motivations and preferences.

 “This has become a core demand of modern fitness consumers, who are increasingly expecting quality experiences and services beyond just the four walls of their fitness facility.”

Hugo Braam, CEO and Co-Founder of Virtuagym. 

Furthermore, our video workout library quite simply provides an amazing way for customers to continue to engage with your fitness brand. This can actively help in building a community between clients and your business itself. With both digital and physical touchpoints, you can grow your brand loyalty and awareness and improve retention – as well as appeal to potential clients!

Finally, the feature’s ability to track and measure physical activity is invaluable in providing data insights from sessions to help inform more impactful, personalized and therefore effective health and wellness plans.

How to Monetize your Digital Content

Right – so you are providing quality and accessible branded videos as part of more personalized and flexible fitness programmes. The question is – how to monetize this digital content?

Through our integrated PRO Membership feature you can upsell the  Virtuagym Video Workout Platform to clients for a small monthly fee as part of your rich PRO Member digital client experience, delivering additional revenue opportunities.

And if you’re looking for more guidance on how to monetize digital content, you can use it within a variety of differently priced subscription packages combining online and offline that you can cross and upsell. This can be positioned in your communications to existing or potential clients as a cost-effective, as well as flexible, way for them to achieve their fitness goals.

Get Ahead of the Game Today

The use of online video workouts is here to stay. Get ahead of the competition today by investing in the integrated Virtuagym Video Workout platform, so it can become an integral part of your hybrid business – now and in the future.

Are you keen to find out more? Get in touch to request a free demo