My Fitness Journey and Why You Must Adapt Fitness Technology

This started as an email to a colleague then I decided that my story may provide motivation for facility owners, operators and fitness professionals to start exploring the benefits of fitness technology.

I grew up in a very healthy family. Spent +20 years as an entrepreneur and +6 years as an investor / financial advisor. The latter was a bad experience (more so the advisory than the investing) — I gained ~70 lbs in less than a year, I was miserable and taking it out on everyone around me. I hate to think where this path in life would have lead me.

THAT’S ME ABOUT TWO YEARS AGO.

I woke up about two years ago and decided I needed to change — I closed the advisory business, put investing on hold and focused on getting healthy again.

I lost 50 lbs in less than four months and the remaining 20 lbs in about three.
The timing was fortuitous. A technologist and gadget freak at heart, fitness technology was beginning to become popular — I used MyFitnessPal, Fitbit, Fitocracy, Fitstar, Xbox Fitness and a few other FitTech tools to return to health and surrounded myself with healthy, positive people — the best thing that has ever happened to me.

ME AND MY SEVEN-YEAR-OLD SON, JACK, AFTER A YOGA SESSION WITH TARA STILES ‘The World’s Coolest Yoga Instructor’ on Fitstar.

I decided to focus my professional, personal and family (I am married with four kids) on health, wellness and fitness. Miller Gold (www.miller-gold.com) now focuses 100% on fitness technology, I started iFitClub (www.ifitclub.co) as a vehicle to address the growing youth obesity crisis and I set out to build a better fitness app, which has now become Ambient Fytns Technology (www.ambientfytnstech.com) which develops advanced algorithms for fitness app, device and equipment companies.

ALONG THIS JOURNEY I HAVE LEARNED THAT THE FITNESS INDUSTRY AND FITNESS PROFESSIONALS ARE SLOW TO ADOPT TECHNOLOGY.

The majority position in the fitness industry ranges from fear of the unknown to a conviction that technology will replace fitness professionals (an opinion that I do not share).

Recently a studio owner was told by a visiting member that she would not join his club because she liked the technology she was using, rather than listen to the customer the gym owner decided to demonize fitness technology in a major fitness publication.

I think this is reflective of much of the professional fitness community.

What perplexes me is that the fitness industry is one of the worst performing (50% customer attrition, 3–5% profitability and a Net Promoter score ranking the industry near cable companies) and, with 1/3 of the world’s population overweight and predictions that 1/2 will be obese by the end of the decade..it is obvious that the fitness industry is failing its customers.

Yet, we keep patting each other on the back — the recent IHRSA global report proclaimed that revenues of fitness facilities increased year-on-year, but failed to address any of the aforementioned key business metrics.

Most facilities / professionals are focused on member acquisition / retention using archaic methods. The prevalent conversations about technology in the fitness industry revolve around Facebook and Instagram.

THE ADVANCEMENT OF TECHNOLOGY IN THE FITNESS INDUSTRY IS A FOREGONE CONCLUSION.

70% of exercisers use a smartphone while exercising

50% of exercisers use an app

5% of the population owns an activity tracker, 10% of those use it daily

200% yoy (‘14–15) increase in fitness wearables

114M fitness devices will be sold by 2017

33% of members said that they would switch facilities for better technology!!!

… I don’t think they mean a club with a better Facebook page ;-)

I am convinced that socialization and gamification of fitness via technology are the keys to effecting the behavior change that leads to lasting fitness results. Fitness technology can be used as tools to assess members / clients current health, set goals, track progress and reward achievement — it is a way to create community, stay in touch and provide services to exercisers when they are not able to visit the facility.

By using technology to help members / clients to achieve their goals they will remain a customer (read: drastically increasing retention) and they will recommend your facility to friends (saving costs to acquire new members / clients).

…probably no harm in keeping the Facebook page.

I do NOT believe that fitness technology can replace the education, experience and intuition of fitness professionals.

I stand by my conviction that the use of fitness technology by facility owners, operators and fitness professionals increases acquisition / retention of members & clients, enables us to deliver better results to our customers which leads to earning more money.

FITNESS FACILITIES AND PROFESSIONALS MUST ADAPT FITNESS TECHNOLOGY TO REMAIN RELEVANT

I created Fitness Insider as platform to inform facility owners, operators and fitness professionals about the benefits of fitness technology.

The mission of Fitness Insider is my passion and Fitness Insider has become a labor of love.

Today, Fitness Insider includes the only social network dedicated to the success of fitness professionals who’s members are the most active and influential in the fitness industry

Fitness Insider members learn first about the latest fitness technology and how it benefits their business.

They discuss the benefits of fitness technology and share how they use fitness technology to improve the performance of their business.

Share workout videos and motivational music.

Cross-post to Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.

Connect with 100+ fitness devices & apps allowing them to experience the benefit of fitness technology first-hand.

Participate in fitness challenges and compare achievements on the leader boards.

I encourage facility owners, operators and fitness professionals to JOIN The Fitness Insider Social Network today to learn how fitness technology can be used to improve the performance of your fitness business.

… and to like our Facebook page ;-)