How Will You Stay Fit?

The fitness industry has been preparing for its next newest consumer base: millennials. With so much information on the benefits of wellness and exercise, the industry is expanding in many ways. Fitness apps and in-home workouts are becoming more popular, and because of this trend, traditional gyms must adapt to incorporate technology and encourage people to leave the comfort of their homes. Meanwhile, fitness intermediaries, like ClassPass (which I presented on), make filtering and signing up for different fitness classes more accessible. I will explore how each part of fitness industry is adapting to consumer trends in this technology-driven society.


Traditional Gyms: OrangeTheory

Although many Americans prefer the convenience of in-home workouts, the US market for health clubs still remains strong. In fact, the health club industry revenue totaled $28 billion dollars in 2018.  

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Traditional health clubs must adapt to consumers’ desire of seamlessly integrated technology in their daily lives. OrangeTheory Fitness is a strong example of a traditional fitness studio incorporating technology to enhance the customer’s experience. OrangeTheory offers hour-long classes, consisting of thirty minutes of treadmill work and thirty minutes of floor work. An experienced and certified coach pushes the class of about twenty to thirty people through the workout. OrangeThreory gives all class participants an OTbeat heart rate monitor, which displays everyone’s heart rates on a large television screen on the wall. Clients also have the option to purchase a heart rate monitor from the OrangeTheory website.

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The coaches encourage participants to reach at least twelve minutes in the “Orange Zone,” which corresponds to around 84-91% of your heart rate maximum. Working your body to this level, kick starts your metabolism in order to recover oxygen lost in exercise and makes you burn calories for up to 48 hours after the workout is completed. The heart rate screen displays each person’s beats per minute and colors the box according to your personal zone.

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Not only do OrangeTheory coaches train you to specific heart rate zones in class, they also engage with participants after class, providing an email summary with calories burned, goals achieved and other metrics to track progress over time. For clients that return to the studio, they can download the OTbeat app, which includes all data from your heart rate monitor.

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Through OrangeTheory’s heart rate metrics, live class statistics and interactive app, they create an enjoyable experience for clients. In a world becoming more and more data driven, consumers become addicted to tracking performance, and OrangeTheory enables customers to continually measure progress.


Fitness Intermediaries: ClassPass

Fitness intermediaries link consumers to fitness studios and boutiques usually through an app. ClassPass is the premiere example of a fitness intermediary, supporting a network of 10,000 studios worldwide. ClassPass members buy credits to put towards classes, which include anything from boxing to yoga to running. ClassPass’ success derives from the variety it offers to its clients. The partnering health clubs discount their classes to ClassPass in exchange for providing the health club with increased usage.

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On the ClassPass app, users can explore a map of studios nearby and search by class time, number of credits, spots available, activity type, studio amenities and activity level. This app creates a customizable experience for its users, which many people are looking for in a company. The ClassPass membership is very flexible, as extra credits roll over month-to-month and users can take classes in any participating city.

Like OrangeTheory, the ClassPass app provides statistics on number of classes and favorite studios. A new feature available to users is the “Friends” tab. Members can coordinate classes, see each other’s schedules and discover new favorites when they connect with friends. ClassPass is seeking to create stronger communities within its user base for a more positive experience. Additionally, seeing the classes that a friend books, encourages users to maintain an active membership. Overall, exercise platforms help consumers to find the classes or studios they prefer at a low cost.
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Fitness Apps: Kayla Itsines’ Sweat App

Social media enables ordinary people to become major influencers. One such example is Kayla Itsines, founder of Sweat, which is based in Australia. Starting as a personal trainer, she wrote fitness guides for her clients. These guides consist of three twenty-eight minute workouts per week plus low intensity and high intensity workouts completed on your own. The guides, available on eBook, went viral, and recently Kayla has released an app to enhance user experience.

Many people are attracted to the program because of its flexibility and convenience. The workouts are available on your phone at any time of day and require minimal equipment. The app includes audio cues, warm-ups and extra challenges for users. Additionally, users can easily play their own music on Spotify or Apple Music through the app or choose one of the available playlists. Easy-to-use apps, like this one, entice many people to skip a gym memberships and buy a few weights for their home.

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Kayla also promotes the workout community on her Instagram account, which has over ten million followers. She regularly features progress photos from people using her guides and shares personal stories to relate to her audience. Additionally, she maintains a free blog on topics, like education, exercises, recipes and lifestyle. She is building a very strong brand through offering information on general health, not solely exercise fitness. Overall, Kayla Itsines has used social media to impact millions around the world and made in-home exercise accessible through her Sweat app.

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To summarize, the fitness industry is constantly changing to consumer trends, as health becomes more important in our culture. Traditional health clubs must provide a strong value proposition to people who choose the convenience of a fitness app. Fitness intermediaries offer these health clubs one tool to draw in more clients. Overall, I expect that the industry will continue to evolve, and I am looking forward to more optionality in the future!




4 thoughts on “How Will You Stay Fit?

  1. Great post, Kerri! I like how you contrasted amongst the 3 types of fitness options and the direction the industry seems to be heading towards. I definitely see a rise in a more health-conscious lifestyle (especially in BC, where people tend to work out a lot). I think that traditional gyms need to integrate themselves with intermediaries such as Classpass in order to survive in the fitness industry, because people tend to prefer having the option and freedom of trying new classes at new locations while meeting new people. Committing to gym memberships are expensive and lacks value if you don’t go as often. Convenience and price will play a large role in determining what type of fitness option will dominate the industry.


  2. I really enjoyed this post, Kerri. I think that the fitness industry will never go away and will continue to grow rapidly. The companies who are able to implement useful tech to enable people to have a better, more informed fitness experience will really be able to become a major player in the fitness tech market. One thing that I am looking forward to seeing is how more individual brands like Nike, Under Armor, and Adidas begin to implement more wearable tech in their products. I know Adidas tried to tap into this space several years ago, however, now that fitness tech has become more prevalent, I think the timing is right for these companies to try to implement tech into their products once again.


  3. Great post, Kerri! I totally agree with your thesis that the fitness industry is preparing for its new generation as well as adapting to the trend of a healthy lifestyle. I think that data and measuring devices are going to be playing an increasingly important role in the fitness industry. As Nick mentioned, it will be interesting to see if traditional fitness brands such as Nike and Adidas take over this market or if the tech giants such as Apple does.


  4. Great post Kerri. Having attended OrangeTheory classes, I really enjoyed the experience as the data allowed me to tap into my competitive instincts and really push myself in my workout. However, I never really realized that these data trends are so present in my daily life, specifically in regard to working out. It makes so much sense that users are encouraged by the metrics of their performance and therefore OrangeTheory has been super successful. Additionally, as a loyal follower of Kayla Itsines on Instagram, I always see her reposting photos and promoting her “Sweat” program, yet I have never purchased it myself. As a college student with access to a gym, I prefer to work out there, but I definitely see the pull for those who don’t want to splurge on a gym membership or maybe are not close in proximity to one. Overall, great insights into how the fitness industry is undergoing a digital transformation with the exploration of so many different training techniques and progress statistics readily available.

    Liked by 1 person

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