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Entries in wearables (7)


This Week in the Fitness Industry: Health Club Industry Exceeds 66M Consumers, an All-Time High 

Health Club Industry Exceeds 66 Million Consumers, an All-Time High 
More than 66 million Americans used a health club in 2016, a record-high since IHRSA began tracking health club consumer statistics in 1987. The number of individual members totaled 57.3 million, up 3.6% from 55.3 million in 2015. Members frequented their health club an average of 106 visits in 2016, also an all-time high. Of the 296.6 million Americans age 6 and older, 19.3% were health club members in 2016. "Consumers continue to rely on health clubs as the primary outlet for physical activity and health goals,” said Joe Moore, IHRSA’s president and CEO. “Increased participation in fitness activities helped fuel growth in memberships and utilization as total club visits surpassed 5 billion for the fifth consecutive year.” Based on a study conducted by IHRSA as part of the Physical Activity Council (PAC), results show that nearly one out of five Americans belonged to at least one of the 36,540 health clubs nationwide. Since 2009, membership has grown by 26.3%, while the total number of club-goers has increased by 26.5%. 

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Wearable Integration 101: Challenges and Opportunities for Health Clubs

The following is an excerpt from “Wearable Integration 101: How to Boost Health Club Member Engagement and Your Bottom Line,” available for free on the IHRSA Exclusive Member Content App.

Thanks to the technology revolution, mobile devices known as “wearables” are able to measure a wide array of biological details, while providing a tally of our daily activities. While heart-rate monitors and pedometers have been on the market for years, these new fitness trackers and wearables (known as Wearables 2.0) measure personal health markers with technology that was once available only to high-end laboratories and hospitals.

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5 Ways Wearable Devices Can Turn Your PT Staff into Supertrainers 

This is an IHRSA featured post, brought to you by EXOS.

Knowing your heart rate is so 2010. Today’s wearable fitness technology delivers data points that far exceed anything that’s ever before been made available outside of medical clinics. But what good is all that information if it’s not used to improve health outcomes and fitness levels?

When personal trainers and performance coaches are trained in analyzing data from wearable devices, they can provide tremendous benefits to novice and serious clients in reaching their goals. And that means happier members and improved retention.

Here are five ways wearables can take fitness training to the next level.

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How Fitness Technology Enhances Health Club Member Engagement

For decades, using "fitness technology" meant little more than stepping on a scale. Now an array of wearable devices and digital applications offers detailed workout feedback in real time. 

According to Bryan O'Rourke, president of the Fitness Industry Technology Council (FIT-C), that presents health club owners with both a challenge and an opportunity. 

"The clubs that are going to be the most successful are the ones that integrate thoughtful digital strategies with the brick and mortar," O'Rourke said

Getting with the Digital Program 

A digital health club strategy can cover a lot of ground—everything from providing free apps to transferring your entire digital infrastructure to the cloud. As a club owner, only you can say what makes sense for you. 

Here are some options to consider: 

Wearables: As the name suggests, these are small fitness trackers that the customer wears, usually either as a clip-on or with a wristband. (They're sometimes called smartwatches.)

Digital trackers are light years beyond old-fashioned pedometers. Yes, they can count steps taken and calories burned. But they can also monitor heart rate and sleep patterns; some even have a GPS to help bikers and joggers map their routes. 

But the basic idea behind all trackers is simple: Trackers provide more data. More data leads to greater engagement. And engaged customers are happier customers. 

Apps: If you're not ready to make the leap to wearables—or you're worried that your customers will balk at the cost—fitness apps could a good alternative, says Michael Rucker, vice president of technology for Active Wellness

Basically, these apps tap into a smartphone's built-in tracking sensors and repurpose that data for fitness monitoring. And some of them are free. 

"If you're a high-volume/low-price club, your members are likely to be cost-conscious," Rucker said. "They're going to appreciate it if you offer them a free mobile app that does 80% of what a [wearable] does." 

And you'll appreciate the guests who renew their memberships because you made it easy for them to store workout data from both their home and your club on their phones. 

Mobile: Mobile devices and the health and fitness industry go hand in hand. The word "mobile" even suggests an active lifestyle. Health club owners can fully engage their busy, active guests by allowing them to use their mobile devices for all aspects of the health club experience—not just tracking, integrating, and customizing workout data, but also renewing memberships, checking club schedules, reserving equipment, etc. 

As O'Rourke noted, "It's irrefutable that a 'mobile-first' strategy is emerging, which means that you may need to rethink some aspects of your business model." 

A Revolution in Real Time 

You don't have to commit to a particular digital strategy today. You do, however, have to commit to having a digital strategy. Because fitness club guests everywhere are demanding a higher level of engagement that only modern technology can provide. 


How Health Clubs Are Meeting the Demand for Performance Training

In 2000, when Greg Glassman introduced the now-famous CrossFit concept—an efficient, high-intensity workout based on nine basic functional movements that required no traditional equipment—it seemed a promising niche offering.

... albeit a decidedly different kind of one.

Describing the regimen’s raison d’être, Glassman said, “CrossFit isn’t a specialized fitness program, but a deliberate attempt to optimize physical competence in each of 10 recognized fitness domains—cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy.”

Today, Glassman’s fitness formula drives what has become a global powerhouse, with more than 13,000 “boxes,” as its facilities are referred to, affectionately, by their members, with an estimated market value, according to Forbes magazine, of $4 billion.

As in many other areas of society, including our own industry, millennials have provided much of the impetus. In fact, the introduction of CrossFit coincided neatly with the coming-of-age of this cohort. Born between 1981 and the early 2000s—the first generation to mature during the new millennium— this group now numbers 69.2 million in the U.S.

They’re also known as Echo Boomers, Generation We, Generation Next, the Net Generation, and the Global Generation.

Glassman, it seems, had clearly come up with the perfect, high-intensity program for people who were looking for a new type of workout—one with particularly strong appeal for millennials. Approximately 40% of CrossFitters are between the ages of 24 and 34—a millennial sweet spot—according to a recent study from Rally Fitness, an Ontario, CA-based manufacturer of exercise equipment.

CrossFit, though, has always thought out of the “box,” and, as a result, become something of a cultural phenomenon. In 2007, the CrossFit Games debuted. The competition now attracts some 200,000 participants each year, confers a $2-million prize, and is televised by the Disney Channel. The event also seems to have inspired—or coincided with the emergence of—other fitness reality shows, such as NBC’s STRONG, the Esquire Network’s American Ninja Warrior, and its upcoming Team Ninja Warrior spin-off.

What’s the bottom-line message for IHRSA member clubs?

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This Week in the Fitness Industry: Peleton CEO Stresses Importance of Group Exercise Environment

Peleton CEO Stresses Importance of Group Exercise Environment
Boutique studios continue to grow in popularity among consumers, and some savvy health clubs are offering boutique-style classes to remain competitive. But boutique fitness has its limitations, such as location, price, and availability. In a recent interview in The New York Times, Peleton Co-founder and Chief Executive John Foley talks about how he hopes to solve those problems by providing users with a boutique experience in their own homes. “What the consumer wants, what is making people addicted to these classes, whether it’s yoga or boot camp or spin or high-intensity interval training or whatever, it’s the group environment,” he said. “It’s the other people. It’s the instructor. It’s the music. It’s the motivation.” 

Meet the IHRSA 2017 Keynote Speakers

A talent management guru, an internationally acclaimed branding expert, and an entrepreneur with an unlikely success story will keynote IHRSA 2017. This March, the IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show returns to Los Angeles, CA, and will feature more than 100 education sessions taught by some of the most successful individuals in the health club industry. Here’s a preview of three dynamic keynote speakers who will set the tone. 

Fitness Trackers Might Be Detrimental to Weight Loss Efforts
Some people buy fitness trackers with the goal of losing weight—but perhaps they shouldn’t. A new study found that wearing a fitness tracker may undermine weight loss efforts. For the study, 470 people were put on a low-calorie diet and asked to exercise more. Soon, all started losing weight. After six months half the group began self-reporting their diet and exercise, while the other half were given fitness trackers to monitor their activity. After two years, both groups were equally active—but those with the fitness trackers lost less weight. "These technologies are focused on physical activity, like taking steps and getting your heart rate up," John Jakicic, a researcher of health and physical activity at the University of Pittsburgh and the lead author on the study, told NPR. "People would say, 'Oh, I exercised a lot today, now I can eat more.' And they might eat more than they otherwise would have."

IHRSA Generates Support for PHIT on Capitol Hill
(Click to enlarge)Several IHRSA members and staff, along with members of the PHIT Coalition, conducted a lobby day on Capitol Hill today to generate additional support for the PHIT Act. Members of the PHIT Coalition, co-chaired by IHRSA and the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), met with members of the House and the Senate, asking them to co-sponsor the PHIT Act. Currently, PHIT has 101 bipartisan sponsors, with 88 from the House and 13 from the Senate. PHIT, the Personal Health Investment Today Act, would allow Americans to use flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) to pay for health club memberships, fitness equipment, exercise videos and youth sports league fees. If passed, it would allow individuals to tap their pre-tax account up to $1,000 per year to cover these expenses—families would be granted up to $2,000. Read our full coverage of the PHIT Act lobby day.


What Can Wearables Do for Your Health Club Members?

You may think you are familiar with wearables, those tracking devices that nearly everyone and their mother-in-law seem to be sporting on their wrists these days.

But do you really understand what they—and the mobile fitness apps that work with them—can do for you, your members, and your club?

Rythm's Dreem

You’re probably aware that smartwatches, such as Fitbit, Garmin, Jawbone, and the Apple Watvh, can count a user’s stops and track the distance they travel. Some can monitor a person’s heart rate, and, using global positioning system (GPS) technology, can map walks, runs, and other activities, generating a wealth of data about their fitness level—or lack thereof.

But if that is all you know, then you may be missing out.

Depending on a wearable/app package to do little more than amass data is a thing of the past. Using them to effect lifestyle change—now that’s the wave of the future.

Think of it as “Wearables 2.0”.

“In the past, wearables have been primarily focused on tracking. The thought was that providing data and making people aware of it was going to prompt behavior change,” says Michael Rucker, the vice president of technology for Active Wellness, based in Sausalito, CA. “Now we know that we need to present data in a more meaningful way.”

In his capacity with Active Wellness, Rucker oversees the digital strategies for the company’s 10 Active Sports Clubs, as well as its corporate wellness partners.

You may be thinking, “Wearables 2.0? I haven’t yet begun to think about Wearables 1.0.”

If so, you’re not alone.

That’s such a common predicament that, recently, IHRSA devoted an entire Webinar to the topic. The title: “Wearables 2.0: Leveraging the Evolution of Digital Health Technology for Fun and Profit.”

The presentation, led by Rucker, was designed to help club operators maximize the potential of these devices, and the need for it quickly became apparent. When polled, 63% of the participants said they were exploring the use of wearables; 20% indicated that they were using wearables via a club-based program; and 10% said they were collecting data from them.

In case you missed this informative and illuminating event, CBI spoke with Rucker to find out more about how your club can use these devices to effect real behavior change, and, in the process, have a positive impact on virtually every aspect of your business.

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