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For a couple of years now I have been pleading with operators to ensure their gym teams can create programmes using the mainstream wearable technologies and the popular consumer apps, however, I’ve never actually seen this.  I’ve yet to come across a gym where they say to members, “I see you’re wearing a FitBit so I’ll make sure your induction is with Leon; he is our specialist in creating programmes around the FitBit, and we can make sure you get the most out of the product you’ve chosen to use.”

I’ve also suggested that the facilities ensure they include messaging around wearables and apps in their marketing. FitBit has been the number one downloaded app for the past two years and again, I’ve never seen a marketing campaign. Sure, I’ve seen operators offering discounts on FitBit sales for instance but no real level of interaction with the product or the other apps and wearables.

Last Sunday, I turned on my TV and noticed in my Sky Guide an icon for ‘Fit in 15’. Intrigued, I looked to find a fantastic series where the presenters can ensure you are in a particular heart rate zone simply by asking you to check your FitBit heart rate.  I’m sure the hardcore trainers out there are going into a spin at this point about the accuracy of optical heart rate but that’s missing the point.

The evolution and explosion of wearable tech and health and fitness apps is, and continues to be, the best opportunity this industry has had to grow and, if we are being honest with ourselves, our growth over the last couple of decades has been nominal.  My point is that digital technology is changing the way people consume fitness.  Ask yourself if your members could achieve their target goals using an app, would they be a member of your gym?

Do you think you are doing enough to engage with the digital platforms and products?

Joe Wicks, The Body Coach, will get hundreds of thousands of people watching him do a 15 minute Facebook live stream at 6am.  What is your gym team doing at 6am and why couldn’t you use Facebook as a free channel to market to your local area? Everything that Joe has at his disposal is available to you at a nominal cost.

Amazon Alexa was one of the biggest selling products during last year’s Christmas period and Google has just released its competitor, Home.  I can ask my Alexa what today’s workout is and it will take me through a seven minute workout and help me get fit in my own home.  How is your business listing on Bing? It’s the search engine that we all forgot about, however, Bing is the search engine that powers Alexa.  If I ask my Alexa to tell me what gyms are near me, I don’t get valid results because we all forgot about Bing and businesses are not promoted here.

Some of the mainstream apps are even attacking us with ‘no gym, no problem’ and if you type this into YouTube you get 15.5 million results.

Take a moment to step back from your business and look from the outside in; we need to change as an industry and quite frankly we are pretty static.  If anything, we are pretty aggressive in our response to how these digital companies will be short lived and we will be the surviving heroes.  Remember, Blockbuster, Nokia and Blackberry? They didn’t think they needed to change either.

You no longer need to go to a shop to shop, you no longer need a music store to find music, you no longer need to go to the store to get a movie and you no longer go to the bank to do your banking.  You no longer need to go to the gym to workout.  What are you doing to engage with your members, prospect where they are and bring them back into your club for the five-star service?

digital technology
Fitness Technology
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