Is Your Exercise Equipment Like a Smartphone or a Flip Phone?

Today’s health club member wants machines that do it all. Here’s how to give it to them.

As we know, in just a few years smartphones changed the world. Smartphones have become such an important tool for work and play that living without one seems out of the question.

Research data puts it in starker terms. Almost a quarter of consumers surveyed (23%) say they would be more willing to live without one of their five senses before permanently throwing away their phone. The same report found that 1 in 10 Millennials would rather lose a finger than give up their smartphone.

While we like to complain about smartphones as a constant distraction, we view these devices as liberators not oppressors. According to Pew, 70% percent of Americans associate their smartphones with the word “freedom” more than “leash.”

These stats, along with our own experiences, tell us a lot about human nature and consumer behavior. In plain language, there’s no going back. Once consumers become accustomed to using top high-tech gadgets, they won’t settle for anything less. After you’ve used a smartphone, you’re never going back to a flip phone.

“Almost a quarter of consumers surveyed (23%) say they would be more willing to live without one of their five senses before permanently throwing away their phone.”

Now look at your cardio equipment. Look at their design and functionality. Are you giving your members a smartphone experience or a flip phone experience? Because even if you can’t tell the difference, they can.

A Fusion of Design, Function, & Versatility

Here’s what smartphone-style equipment should offer.

Wide choice of fitness programing: People need equipment that delivers workouts from a broad spectrum of programming possibilities. That means machines that can provide HIIT sessions, heart-rate training, cross training, and other popular fitness styles. And it has to be deliverable from an intuitive interface.

Customization: Consumers also want to be able to customize their workouts with their own personal profile that stores their information and helps them maintain their progress. It makes them feel that the machine is “theirs,” ready to track their progress and take them closer to their goals.

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Entertainment choices: Your members also want to be plugged in when they work out. Not only do they expect to access entertainment options that they enjoy at home, they want to be able to sample instructional videos on a high-quality screen.

Smartphone mirroring: Today’s consumer wants their personal communication devices to be able to “talk” to their exercise equipment. Again, this is especially important for Millennials and Generation Z, who never want to be far from their social media accounts.

Contemporary design standards: Design may not seem important at first, but businesses that pay attention to aesthetics prosper. According to research by Adobe, companies with an emphasis on high design standards outperformed businesses with weak design by 219% on the S&P Index over a span of 10 years. Design is especially important for younger demographics. A study commissioned by Kelton Research found that Millennials will choose a well-designed product over another one of equal value based purely on aesthetics.

“Do it all” machines are more common these days, but throwing in all the bells and whistles are just decoration if it all doesn’t come together in a seamless package. The coding and engineering that works these machines may be complex, but the user interface needs to be simple and intuitive. If people can’t operate it easily, then the equipment is going to sit on your floor like an expensive showpiece, ignored and unused.

While these features satisfy consumers, exercise machines need to satisfy the needs of club owners as well. As a club operator, you want a machine that tracks usage, is durable, and comes from a reputable company with a solid service record.

That’s a lot to ask of one machine, but if tech companies can do it with personal communication devices, today’s equipment companies should be able to deliver the smartphone version of workout machines. And at least one company does.

A Stairclimber That Combines It All

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Award-winning global equipment supplier Intenza Fitness has created a line of cardio units that checks all the boxes above. Front and center is the Escalate Stairclimber 550 series. The Escalate has revolutionized the stairclimber category using the principles of today’s highest levels of function and design. Its ability to deliver remarkably effective workouts with state-of-the-art technology makes it the ideal stairclimber for today’s health club member.

The Escalate is truly able to accommodate all demographics. It features Intenza’s patented Smart Step-Height technology, which allows for 20 different step heights, making this machine accessible for every level of fitness ability. Those looking for an intense HIIT experience or those who need a low-impact rehabilitative session can utilize the Escalate for an effective, high-quality workout.

The Escalate also comes with stepping sensors at the base of the machine, which provides an extra level of safety that helps eliminate accidents and makes the equipment ideal for beginners and special needs populations.

But those looking for an intense HIIT-style workout won’t be disappointed. Using the specially designed Intenza Weight Vest, exercisers can scale their workouts to whatever level of intensity they need to achieve the ultimate results in strength, endurance, and weight loss. This is great for those members seeking short but powerful workouts in as a little as 15 minutes.

Intenza delivers advanced technology in both editions of the Escalate: The Entertainment Series and Interactive Series. This includes smartphone mirroring and other options unique to each edition. And club owners will love Intenza’s self-diagnostic technology InCare, a built-in reporting system that delivers reports and alerts when routine maintenance or repairs are required.

Then there’s the design elements of Intenza’s cardio line, well-represented in the Escalate. Its smooth lines, contoured handrails, and eye-catching base structure will give any cardio floor a contemporary aesthetic.

According to the 2018 IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report, the use of stairclimbing machines has grown by 27% in recent years. No club is complete without a stairclimber that’s engineered for today’s consumer. And once a member uses the smartphone of stairclimbers, they won’t settle for anything less.

For more information on the Escalate or any other of Intenza’s products, visit their website today.

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Jim Schmaltz

Jim Schmaltz is a contributor to IHRSA.org