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Entries in Wexer Virtual (13)


This Week in the Fitness Industry: Big Data Suggests Running is Socially Contagious

Big Data Suggests Running is Socially Contagious
Running may be contagious, according to a study published in Nature Communications, The New York Times reports. The study is one of the first of its kind to use big data from a global social network. Researchers gathered five years worth of data from about 1.1 million runners worldwide, as well as five years’ worth of data from global weather station, which they cross-correlated with information about runners’ daily workouts. Ultimately, they found that runners do influence one another. “Over all, if one person ran for about 10 minutes more than usual on any given day, that runner’s friends would lengthen their workout by approximately three minutes, even if the weather was discouraging,” The Times states. “Similarly, if a friend ran faster than usual, his or her friends would tend to pick up their pace in their runs that same day.”

Continue reading "This Week in the Fitness Industry: Big Data Suggests Running is Socially Contagious."

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3 Tangible Ways Cloud Computing Can Benefit Your Health Club

You don't need to be an aerospace engineer to appreciate air travel—and you don't need to be an IT expert to grasp the possibilities of the cloud at your health club. Here are three examples of how cloud technology can boost your bottom line.

1. It makes basic functions like renewals, class signups, and member purchases more efficient and cost-effective.

Continue reading "3 Tangible Ways Cloud Computing Can Benefit Your Health Club."

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This Week in the Fitness Industry: Gym Memberships Improve Exercise Habits, Heart Health

Gym Memberships Improve Exercise Habits, Heart Health
The results of a new study won’t come as a shock to anyone in the health club industry. People who belong to a health club not only exercised more—they also had better cardiovascular health outcomes, according to a study from a team of Iowa State University researchers. Those health benefits were even greater for those who had a gym membership for more than one year, said Duck-chul (DC) Lee, an assistant professor of kinesiology and corresponding author of the paper. "It's not surprising that people with a gym membership work out more, but the difference in our results is pretty dramatic," Lee said. "Gym members were 14 times more aerobically active than non-members and 10 times more likely to meet muscle-strengthening guidelines, regardless of their age and weight."

Wexer Launches New Virtual Training Concepts
Fit-tech company Wexer announced Thursday a suite of brand new virtual classes, which aim to meet the growing demands of today’s consumer. Since Wexer believes 2017 will be the year when people become truly aware of meditation and mindful exercise, they created a channel for club operators to deliver mediation to their members worldwide. The new content aims to promote mental and physical calm as well as deeper breathing to calm the nervous system. Wexer also met the demand for more virtual boxing earlier this year when it launched Boxx Method on all virtual players. Read the full press release about Wexer’s virtual training concepts. 

Download the Shiny, New IHRSA 2017 App!

With IHRSA 2017 rapidly approaching, we've launched a new mobile app to greatly enhance the experience for attendees in Los Angeles. Among the many functions available, the app features:  

  • A live activity feed so users can follow all the goings on at the Convention and Trade Show;
  • A leaderboard, which awards points to attendees for posting photos, updates, and taking surveys and polls and displays a top 20 list for all to see;
  • A map of the IHRSA Trade Show floor;
  • The latest updates to schedules, sessions, locations, and much more!   

Download the IHRSA 2017 app.

Motionsoft Digital Bootcamp Aims to Forward Fitness Industry Innovation
Motionsoft announced the launch of its yearly online digital education series, the Technology Summit Digital Bootcamp. The firm, which provides software, payment processing, and back office support services for the fitness, health, and wellness markets, said the bootcamp is designed to help health and fitness club professionals to capitalize on technology innovations and learn best practices from subject matter experts. The theme for the 2017 Digital Bootcamp education series, now in it’s third year, is "Cross-Industry Learning and Innovation: Technology Insights and Best Practices Fitness Firms Can Gain from the Hospitality and Retail Industries." Read the full press release about Motionsoft’s Digital Bootcamp.

IHRSA Foundation Set to Launch ACCESS Health Initiative Programs
The IHRSA Foundation announced that 2017 will see the launch of five ACCESS Health pilot programs in IHRSA clubs, from California to New York. The ACCESS Health Initiative is the IHRSA Foundation’s five-year strategic effort to remove barriers to physical activity for people with chronic conditions through participant-focused, multi-dimensional wellness programs. One such program, funded by the IHRSA Foundation and the American Council on Exercise (ACE), is a pilot to serve cancer patients in San Diego area health clubs. In addition, the IHRSA Foundation is also addressing the needs of people with disabilities. Learn more about the IHRSA Foundation’s latest initiatives.


Founder of Fresh Fitness and Fitness DK Launches New Innovative Chain of Clubs

REPEAT is Denmark’s newest fitness concept. The first two sites will open in Odense, the country’s third-largest city) and Copenhagen come September. 

The name “REPEAT” is a play-on-words—REPEAT is the third health club chain to be established by entrepreneur Rasmus Ingerslev. However, REPEAT, or rather repetition, is what it takes to be successful with your exercise and, according to the fitness entrepreneur Ingerslev, REPEAT will be both innovative and different from what you would normally expect of a health club. 

The team behind REPEAT from left to right: Peter Rehhoff (Portfolio Director), Rasmus Ingerslev (Chairman), Peter Modin (Business Development Director) and Hans-Henrik Sørensen (CEO).

“I have trained in various clubs for the past 28 years and worked in the health club industry for the past 18 years nationally as well as internationally,” Ingerslev said. “REPEAT will offer the best of all the experience I have gained on that journey. REPEAT will quite simply be super cool. Think of a trendy café with a raw design, industrial elements and loud music, a bit Soho-ish, rather than a traditional health club. All the specifications, including interior design and equipment, have been carefully thought through to ensure the smoothest end-user experience. It will be an environment where the young millennials and those young-at-heart will feel at home and want to train.” 

Even though both equipment and design have been carefully selected, REPEAT will in no way be an elite gym for competitive athletes. They are most welcome, but the ambition is first and foremost to create a surrounding that will engage the target group and allow them to carry out, or find their passion for exercise. 

Continue reading about REPEAT, Denmark's newest fitness concept.

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A New Partnership Between Fitness First’s Connected Fitness Labs and Wexer Virtual 

Connected Fitness Labs, a stand-alone subsidiary of Fitness First, and Wexer Virtual announced their new partnership today. The two companies have combined Connected Fitness Labs’ intelligent health and fitness app and Wexer Virtual’s platform and exercise content from top brands. 

“We work with the majority of the biggest club groups worldwide and they are more or less all looking to expand their digital ecosystems to meet an increased consumer demand for mobility, flexibility. and support. It was clear to me, when I understood how strong Connected Fitness Labs’ app is, that we, by combining our technologies, can meet that need in our industry,” says CEO of Wexer Virtual, Paul Bowman, about how and why this partnership has come about. 

The unique new solution, that will be available with clubs’ own brands, will develop personalized workouts, set goals, and provide access to a library of hundreds of exercises, video demonstrations, and group exercise classes. It will track members’ progress and provide feedback on their fitness. 

From an operator’s perspective, the app will provide data on member behavior to help clubs improve the overall gym experience and drive retention. Additionally, the solution has an online booking system and allows clubs to create in-club challenges and engaging digital leader boards. 

Looking one layer deeper, the Wexer Virtual/Connected Fitness Labs solution applies the principles of behavioral psychology to deliver a truly engaging fitness experience, fusing technology, fitness expertise, and motivational science to gain and retain members for longer while providing the gym chains tools to increase secondary revenue through digital services and in-app purchases. 

 “Technology is shaping the future of most industries and we are really looking forward to bringing this next-generation digital tool to the fitness industry—and equally excited to be partnering with Wexer Virtual, who are already a well-known and successful brand,” says David Langridge, MD, of Connected Fitness Labs. “We believe our skill sets of digital science and fitness industry expertise combine to offer something that is very unique and very valuable to both members and operators 24/7/365”.  

Bowman and Langridge expect to launch the first club group on the new solution in the third quarter of 2016. 


Cats, Beer, and Salt: 3 Unique Yoga Offerings

The number of Americans practicing yoga increased by more than 50% between 2012 and 2016, climbing from 20.4 million to 36 million, according to the 2016 Yoga in America Study.

The mind-body genre as a whole—including yoga, Pilates, barre workouts, meditation, and scores of other options, such as Qigong and tai chi—seems to be experiencing a moment in the sun. The reasons for this are many: The unique benefits of holistic exercise modalities; growing awareness and appreciation of them; and, among the most compelling factors, the fresh new versions that are constantly appearing.

Here are three unique variations of yoga that have recently come to our attention.

1. Yoga with Cats

One spot where yoga mats are now being rolled out is the Meow Parlour, a “cat café” in New York City.

Here, classes are conducted in the company of the resident felines, all of whom are available for adoption. Each 45-minute class, which costs $20, is preceded by 30 minutes of playtime with the animals. It’s the ideal way, some argue, for cat lovers to practice downward dog.

2. Yoga with Beer

Another unlikely, but intriguing new venue for yoga classes are breweries. Beth Cosi, a yoga instructor, is the founder of Bendy Brewski, a firm that offers classes—and beer—at breweries in Charleston, SC, and Memphis, TN.

It’s a trend with its own Instagram hashtag, #beeryoga, and has been embraced so enthusiastically that Lululemon, the huge, Vancouver, British Columbia-based manufacturer of yoga clothing, has ventured into brewing: It’s introduced Curiosity Lager, a limited- edition beer flavored with lemon drop and Chinook hops.

The unique setting, Cosi said, is casual, laid-back, and hardly exotic or esoteric, and, therefore, more appealing to individuals who otherwise might be dismissive of the Eastern regimen. “I get a lot of men, and you don’t see a lot of men in yoga studios,” she told ABC News. “Sometimes I have more men than women.”

The classes are priced from $15 to $20, and, for safety reasons, the beer always comes after the yoga.

3. Yoga with Salt

Okay, now for the salt: Dry salt therapy, believed to reduce stress, relieve respiratory problems, and improve skin conditions, has been a popular spa treatment for years. Now instructors are teaching yoga in salt chambers to help their clients heal. Salt-themed classes are available in locations such as the Los Angeles Athletic Club, the Canyon Ranch in Las Vegas, and the Breathe Easy spa, in New York City.

At Breathe Easy, pharmaceutical-grade salt is circulated in the air via fans placed inside a room constructed of Himalayan salt. Students place their mats atop a floor of soft salt and, for $25 per class, participate in a yoga session.

Making yoga more interesting and accessible is the goal of Hotpod Yoga, which was developed in the U.K. by yoga instructor Nick Higgins and strategy consultant Max Henderson, and is now being offered worldwide. The founders developed a fully portable, inflatable yoga studio—the pod—which, warmed to 98.6 degrees, can comfortably accommodate up to 20 people for an hour-long hot yoga class. The unique venue is described as providing an “amazing, tranquil environment,” and can be conveniently inflated in less than 15 minutes. That means that yoga classes can literally pop up anywhere, anytime.

The brand is expanding rapidly, and classes are now available in locations near and far—London; Lisbon, Portugal; Bucharest, Romania; and South Africa.

The “pop-up” concept is also being explored by the providers of other mind-body practices, such as Pilates and barre.

Read the full "The Beauty of Mind-body" article in the May issue of CBI.


IHRSA 2016 Session Spotlight: Building a Multi-Million Dollar Fitness Business

Building a multi-million dollar fitness business may seem like a pipe dream, but attending IHRSA 2016’s Wednesday, March 23 panel, “Building a Multi-Million Dollar Fitness Business,” is the first step to turn the dream into a reality. 

“Anyone with the ambition to be successful in creating a business of their own and/or grow their business to a multi-million dollar business should attend this session,” says Rasmus Ingerslev, panel moderator and founder and executive vice chairman of Wexer Virtual in Denmark. “We have strong and international entrepreneurs on the panel who will share their inspirational pathways to success including how and why they believe they have succeeded when 90% of startups fail.” 

During the hour-long panel, Ingerslev and others will help attendees: 

  • Learn how to build a strong brand and business in the fitness industry
  • Discuss the difference between managing and leading
  • Explore what to expect when chasing your dream
  • Discover the biggest surprises entrepreneurs face
  • Obtain the most important lessons learned and best pieces of advice given 

Ingerslev himself is no stranger to entrepreneurship and building multi-million dollar fitness brands; the IHRSA board member is a fitness entrepreneur with an international footprint who has developed multiple successful start-ups and exits. He built and ran two of Denmark’s largest health club groups from start-up to exit, and served as founder and CEO of Wexer Virtual until May 2015, when he transitioned to the position of executive vice chairman. 

“I am sure the attendees will be inspired and motivated by hearing first hand how the panelists have managed to create and grow their successful businesses,” he says. “From a practical perspective, the session should provide a good understanding of what it takes to be successful and what life as an entrepreneur growing a business looks like. Finally, the session will include a Q&A session allowing attendees the opportunity to have their questions to the panelist answered. If you were not a passionate entrepreneur walking into the session. you may very well be walking out.” 

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Fitness Brands Leverage Technology to Create Multimedia Experiences 

Technology has infiltrated consumers’ every day lives, and their workout experiences are no exception. Some innovative companies are leveraging cutting-edge technology to create multimedia, sensory experience for members.

The January issue of Club Business International reported on how several fitness brands are using LED technology, video projection,  and program prerecording to revolutionize the health club experience.  

Les Mills Immersive Fitness Adopts LED Technology

An instructive and exciting example of what the future holds for many clubs is a David Lloyd Leisure (DLL) facility in the Raynes Park section of London, the first permanent site of one of the Les Mills Immersive Fitness (LMIF) installations.

LMIF cycling classes are held in a purpose-built studio that features large, side-by-side screens that stretch upwards of 80 feet, and utilize the latest projection and LED technology.

Michelle Dand, DLL’s group health and fitness manager, was looking for “something new, refreshing, and enticing, something with an appealing wow element” to add to the club’s program lineup.

“We launched LMIF cycling at Raynes Park, and we’ve had a great response,” she said. “We had an extra 250 members sign up for group cycling when we first put it on the schedule. We found we were able to recruit people into the studio who’d never tried cycling classes before—they were intrigued and eager to try it.”

Wexer Virtual and Fitness on Demand Capitalize on Projection, Prerecording

Another approach to combining engagement, entertainment, and exercise in one compelling and competitive package is offered by companies such as Wexer Virtual and Fitness on Demand (FOD). Both make use of sophisticated audio and projection systems, and prerecorded programming featuring world-class instructors, to provide users with a virtually unlimited choice of fitness experiences.

Wexer supplies video-based cycling and group exercise programs produced by its partners, including Les Mills and Zumba, to clubs and studios in more than 30 countries on five continents. FOD currently offers over 1,200 titles from more than 40 providers, which are utilized by approximately two million end-users at some 1,500 locations.

“We’re working with technology that gives clubs the option of streaming their group classes to their membership base,” said Paul Bowman, CEO of Wexer. “Maybe a class is fully booked, or maybe a member has a work conflict and simply can’t make it to the club on time. We want to give clubs the ability to share their live content with their clients outside those four walls.”

Read the full “Sensory, Multimedia, Success” article in the January issue of CBI


CBI: 5 Predictions About the Health Club of 2025

While 2005 may not have been that long ago, the health club industry has gone through a vast amount of changes and innovations over the past ten years. What could be in store for health clubs in another decade?

In the December issue of Club Business International, Rasmus Ingerslev, the founder of Wexer Virtual, tackles that question as he looks forward to assess the dangers and the opportunities of the health club of 2025.

Here are five predictions about what may lay in store ten years down the road.

1. Robots might personalize each member's workout. “In the future, as I enter my club, I’m greeted by a robot,” Ingerslev says. “‘Welcome, Rasmus—good to see you again! Your program for the day has already been transferred to the equipment you chose I’ve added 5% to all of the leg exercises, since you did so well last time. Your friend, Dave, came in five minutes ago, and he’s also doing cardio today. Enjoy your workout!’”

2. Services will become even more flexible. They will no longer be dependent on the four walls of the facility. In 2025, services will be even more customized and the training will become more social.

3. Wearable integration will be commonplace. “All of these changes are going to be technology-driven,” Ingerslev says. “My club will understand me better thanks to extensive data-mining. Having tracked my past performance and physical activities both inside and, via wearables, outside of the club, it will know my interests and goals. That detailed knowledge will form the basis of its interactions with me.”

4. Clubs will tailor workouts based on members’ medical history. “The club of the future will also know something about my DNA,” he says. “As a result, it will be able to provide advice on how to work out to achieve the best results, and how to minimize the risk of developing life-threatening diseases. I’ll receive personally tailored suggestions about what I should do, when I should do it, and, conceivably, even with whom—personal trainers, my friends, other members with similar goals, or a virtual trainer via my mobile device.”

5. Physical location won’t matter as much. “I’ll be able to do the classes I want, whenever I want, with the best instructors in the world,” Ingerslev says. “It might be a class taught by a live instructor in the club; one streamed over the Internet, with a thousand participants, taught by a celebrity trainer; or one that’s been prerecorded.” 

Read "The Health Club of 2025" in full in the December CBI.


Paul Bowman Named New CEO at Wexer Virtual 

Rasmus Ingerslev, l., and Paul BowmanWexer Virtual announces that Paul Bowman has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer in succession of Rasmus Ingerslev, who will continue on the board as Executive Vice Chairman. Frank Napolitano remains Chairman of the company.

With 300% growth over the past year and installations with the majority of the top 25 club groups globally, Wexer Virtual has come a long way since it was founded in 2008.

“The past seven years has been quite an adventure and I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished as a team. The hard work continues but the ship is now steady and has a new captain. Paul is one of the most talented leaders I have worked with and I am very sure he will take the company, along with clients and partners, to the next level” says the founder and former CEO Rasmus Ingerslev.

Paul Bowman, a New Zealand native, has held senior management roles within various club groups in the UK and internationally. His latest role was Global Sales and Marketing Director at Wexer Virtual and he will continue to be based in the European office whilst still managing the US and Asia/Pacific offices.

With Bowman at the helm, Wexer will continue to focus on helping clubs maximize the value of their group exercise studios. “Technology is changing our industry and club owners recognize that today’s consumers want flexibility. If you, as part of this equation, want to offer group exercise classes at all times during opening hours, virtual classes is the only thing that makes sense.” says the new CEO. He does however emphasize, that Wexer is not merely selling a product but rather providing a tool and taking responsibility for making sure their partners understand what it requires to make successful use of it. 

Wexer has become a truly global company with clients in more than 30 countries across 5 continents and 9 different nationalities on their team. Additionally, they work with the strongest brands in the World within group exercise programming. “We have created a strong platform for further growth - and I am a strong believer that virtual will be a ‘must-have’ for clubs within a short time frame. It simply does not make sense do leave studios empty at any time of the day when the alternative is so compelling from both a member and an operator perspective“, Rasmus Ingerslev finishes.