The Rise of Digital {Part 2} – Excelsior

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Where digital exists in the fitness industry and how to harness it’s power

In our previous article, we explored what digital is and how it has affected a variety of industries. Here, we’ll examine where digital is already having an influence on the health and fitness sector…

It’s likely you know the app and website MyFitnessPal, launched in 2005. It has at least 150 million users globally, while Apple has sold circa 50 million watches with Fitbit (now owned by Google), selling about the same number of their trackers.

Then just like finding the song that you want on Apple Music, you can access on-line support by a coach or an app (such as Nike+Training Club, or P90X) or a personalised 40-day nutritional programme (such as My Diet Meal Plan, Prep Perfect or Weight Watchers) at the click of a button.

Examples of effective uses of technology and digital include the Orange Theory system, where you are connected to your fitness data through a heart rate strap and you target your workout in the ‘orange’ zone to maximise your exercise benefits. Digital is embedded in the Orange Theory story and they use the data to improve both long-term fitness and immediate exerciser experience.

Another example is the Zwift platform where your exercise is digitised via a screen. You then get to workout with others on a variety of different routes. Zwift, like Orange Theory also create communities and encouragement with others.

These concepts demonstrate how personalising the exerciser experience through the use of digital can both additionally support the customer while adding value.

Three ways that digital influences our lives:

  • engagement
  • value
  • experience

When it comes to engagement, digital allows for constant and instant feedback. This can be automated or personal from someone specifically. For instance, it has never been quicker or easier to video a client and show them how they are performing. Together, you can determine how they can best improve their quality of movement, making them feel like you are there to truly help and like they are progressing, both in terms of their competence and confidence.

In terms of value, a great deal extra can be provided to an exerciser if they track their eating, drinking and activity habits and this doesn’t just have to stop at data collection. For instance, Strava has a reputation for being a supportive community. If trainers and instructors who use the app themselves connect with members, they can offer support and feedback.

This also allows for conversations in the gym, as now the exerciser can be spoken to about something specific and personal to them, instead of simply being asked how they are.

Finally, in terms of experience, if you know what your members are doing and where they are doing it outside of your facility, you can better market to them. You can also personalise communications. Remember that members will likely be socialising or training with non-members and therefore, by encouraging the non-members into the facility you increase your chances of selling more memberships or training sessions.

The digital world offers some great opportunities, in terms of improving customer engagements, adding value and enhancing the experience, we just need to harness it in the right way!


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