How Mobile Apps Are Revolutionizing the Fitness Industry
Tammy Slaughter wrote this article
Fitness is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the IT-industry.
Health and fitness have always been popular among consumers, but apps and technology have really changed the name of the game for the fitness industry within the past ten years alone.
As people continue to spend more of their lives online, it only makes sense that fitness companies join them there.
In fact, revenue in the fitness industry is expected to exceed $15.7 billion by the end of 2019, according to Statista.
From wearable technology that tracks your vitals in real-time, to on-demand personal trainers and diet-tracking tools; these days, managing your health and fitness is as easy as downloading an app to your phone (presuming you actually use it, of course).
Keeping gym-goers accountable
Brick-and-mortar gyms and fitness studios have jumped on the bandwagon when it comes to mobile apps.
Using push notifications and the creation of an in-app experience, these companies are able to engage with their members like never before.
They’re offering class schedules, gym hours, mobile check-in, and even booking capabilities all via a convenient mobile app.
While most major fitness chains these days have their own app covering at least the basics, including Gold’s Gym, Crunch Fitness, Planet Fitness, and LA Fitness, we’ve highlighted three fitness studios taking the industry by storm with their cutting-edge apps and business model:
Users of the app, called ‘flywheelers,’ can follow each other’s progress in twitter-like fashion and see how they rank amongst all-time users and classmates alike. They can also book classes at any of Flywheel’s 42 locations, and enjoy an at-a-glance view of their performance data and workout stats. With a subscription, users can take advantage of an in-studio experience on-demand with the ability to stream classes to your iOS device or Apple TV. Available for iOS and Android.
Orangetheory is a boutique gym experience offering monitors to track heart rate for its customers. The OTbeat App works in conjunction with these monitors to allow users to earn ‘splat’ points anywhere, which is seriously cool. With the app available for iOS and Android and a thriving customer base, unfortunately user reviews are less-than-satisfactory for the tech behind the app (it has a 1.8 rating on the App Store). Which goes to show you, the app itself can make all the difference. We included this app here because it makes a great case study for those thinking about building an app in this space. Even if what you’re doing IRL is brilliant, the execution of the tech behind your app is what really matters to users.
All ten of Equinox’s locations are equipped with geo-location beacons that, in conjunction with the app, know what kind of gym-goer you are. With this data, the app will nudge you towards certain activities or classes. Using AI technology, the ‘digital coach’ chatbot embedded in the Equinox app also learns from and interacts with users both at home and while at the gym. Available for iOS and Android. It’s important to note that Equinox is not only investing heavily in the tech side of things, they’re also expanding their service offerings to create even more experiences for the customers, opening hotels and even booking luxury tours. Definitely someone to keep your eye on in the fitness industry even as they expand into others.
Incredible user interaction like this encourages higher attendance and customer loyalty, making it less likely for customers to jump ship for xyz gym down the street. In such a crowded space, that’s a really big deal for the companies utilizing this tech.
While it may sound counter-intuitive, these companies are using digital technology and in-app experiences to help build and sustain thriving communities at each of their physical locations.
Why mobile apps are great for gym and fitness studios
This isn’t just for major gym chains or expensive fitness studios to explore.
There are simply too many reasons why it makes sense to invest in a mobile app for a gym or fitness studio of any size.
Build Social Media Influence
A mobile app with the right APIs, including check-in to social media, and automatic photo sharing to social media profiles, can help boost a gym’s online visibility and overall social media presence. People have wised up, and no longer believe the results ‘as seen on TV’. They’ll be more encouraged to sign up for your facility if their peers are posting about it and sharing real results on social media. You can even establish an in-app community as well by allowing users to interact with one another in a self-contained environment within the app itself by integrating social elements during development.
An app will add value to a user’s membership by making it easy and convenient to see class schedules, upcoming events, and programs. If you can go one step further and also provide value-driven content via the app, such as workout videos, fitness inspiration and tips, all the better for you and your app’s users.
Drive Attendance and Sales
A mobile app can also send out reminders to go workout. One of the main reasons people quit gyms is because they get out of the habit of going. Habits are hard to make but difficult to break. An app can keep them in the habit by reminding and gently urging them to go. Push notifications can also be a great up-sell and marketing tool if you offer classes, events or merchandise you can promote to users via the app.
Personalized Gym and User Experience
There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to an individual’s fitness needs and desired experience. But one thing users and gym-goers are after is a personalized experience. Building an customized app can allow you to do just that. You can even develop your app to tie into wearable tech like the Fitbit to track vitals and workout stats for a heightened overall experience.
Standing out among the crowd of fitness apps
There are also many amazing apps in the fitness industry that aren’t connected to a physical gym or committed membership-base.
For these apps, it is even more crucial to offer a superior user experience and amazing, unique functionalities to keep users committed to using the app.
There’s a certain beauty to the flexibility of using a mobile app for on-demand workouts, as it allows would-be gym goers to instead work out from the comfort of their phone. There’s also an entire ecosystem of apps revolving around offering workouts, some promising noticeable results in as little as seven minutes a day.
Some apps offering workouts and fitness inspiration on-demand:
Other fitness apps out there function to provide a clear track record for users, tracking vitals, stats, workout history and more. This can also offer better accountability.
Some apps offering vitals and fitness tracking:
Still other fitness apps serve as on-demand, on-the-go personal trainers, including workouts, motivation, goal tracking and nutritional guidance.
Some personal training apps:
The sky is almost the limit when it comes to fitness mobile apps out there today for users to take advantage of.
But this is definitely a good thing, because fitness and overall health are both really important to living well. In the age of digital technology, it only makes sense to use said technology to encourage people to get up and get moving.
Wearables are the future of tech in the fitness industry
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention wearable technology in this post, as it truly is where fitness industry tech is all headed.
Right now, about 12% of people own a smartwatch or fitness band. But it is estimated that there will be 560 million units of wearable devices by 2021.
When it comes to wearable technology today, however, we’ve only just scratched the surface.
This technology works so well when it comes to the fitness industry because it creates a seamless experience for the user, tracking movement and stats while resting and working out. This leads to better awareness and accountability to encourage wearers to lead more active lifestyles overall.
Here’s a look at some of the major players in the fitness wearables space right now:
Top of the game, this wearable device is waterproof and features the very best in vitals tracking. In fact, this particular beauty won Fitness Tracker of the Year at the 2018 Wearable Tech Awards.
This third-generation wearable takes the cake as far as value goes at under $70 retail. Includes heart-rate monitoring, activity tracking and smartphone notification support.
The best tracker for runners, the Vivosport is unique with its built-in GPS feature, allowing runners and bikers to go sans-phone and still keep track of their progress.
With a pulse oxygen sensor, this wearable device also features an innovative Body Battery feature, measuring your energy reserves based on several metrics.
There’s many more smartwatches, fitness bands and wearable devices out there which track a myriad of vitals, and not just when it comes to fitness. In many ways, wearable technology is still in its infancy.
But its safe to say with this type of wearable technology and mobile apps, taking charge and accountability over one’s fitness has never been more directly in our hands (literally).