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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!