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Whenever I discuss or demonstrate what digital fitness is, I talk about it as two elements. The first is capability; this is the hardware, software and equipment that enable a company to provide its exercisers with a digital experience. The second part is leadership which is the strategy, procedures, processes, people and performance indicators that make digital experience work.

It’s important to view your digital experience in these two elements as they are the key to success. You can develop and purchase any amount of digital capability but without a solid leadership element in place, it simply will not work.

I spend numerous hours in numerous countries visiting numerous gyms and in almost all cases where a digital experience exists, it is under performing. In some cases, it’s down to the capability where the hardware or software just isn’t good enough or doesn’t align with the corporate goal, but more often it’s down to the leadership.

Let’s assume for one moment that you have a digital experience that is perfect for your business. Even with such a perfect fit, without the leadership in place it will most probably fail. In order to make any digital fitness experience work you need to ensure the entire team are able to create awareness of the solutions, engage the members to ensure they are maximising its usage and ensure there is constant communication with the members to create sustained use.

The leadership element needs to span across the entire business. For instance, if a mobile app is part of your digital experience your membership team should ensure it's part of the sales pitch.  When a member joins and fills out the paperwork, your team should be helping the new member download the app and log in. The induction should include how to use the app in its entirety so the member is comfortable engaging with the app and your team should be targeted to make it work.

Using metrics to track awareness, engagement and sustained use is critical to success. The membership team should be monitored for the number of downloads versus number of new joiners, the gym team should be monitored by the number of interactions with the app, how many programmes were created using the app, how many bookings were made, how many interactions were made across the app etc. It’s essential to monitor the metrics that are important to your business success and not just a number for numbers sake.

As our industry continues to evolve into a digital industry, it’s also important to ensure your teams don’t fear digital.  I have genuinely seen trainers, for instance, stating they aren’t going to promote the company app for fear of their role becoming obsolete.  Your teams need to understand that your digital experience is purely a compliment to your physical experience and an essential part of your future. Getting the teams out of the offices and into the business is essential; your members aren’t going to just use something and continue to use it. In the same way you would show a member how to use the TRX or the Olympic bar on the gym floor, we need to ensure we are engaged in the digital products too.

Having the capability is one thing but in my experience, it won’t work without the processes, procedure and performance indicators that raise awareness, maintain engagement and encourage the sustained use of your digital experience.  Without leadership, the capability is probably a waste of money.

digital technology
Digital success


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