Fitness Gamification: How Tech Can Grow Your Business
By Charlotte Newton
‘Gamifying’ your workout (aka incorporating technology into fitness activity to resemble a game) may be the perfect way gym and studio owners can grow their businesses through increasing client retention and member engagement. Working with industry professionals and partnered studios, we are able to reveal why employing certain technology can help gym and studio owners take their businesses further in 2019.
Using technology to motivate customers.
Our research revealed 15% of people use technology to motivate them and keep their fitness goals on track*. Wearing a fitness tracker allows members to track their exercise progress, helping to instill a sense of competition to improve and better their fitness activity each time they work out.
For gym and studio owners, introducing technology that allows users to link their fitness trackers to a shared screen in an exercise class can increase customer motivation. Seeing their own, and others’, fitness activity encourages a competitive environment and pushes them to work harder, thus increasing the speed of results.
In fact, Orangetheory Fitness has been pioneering this technology at their studios and provide their customers with heart rate monitors before class, which display live readings and activity onto a screen during their workout. This allows participants to easily track their effort in the session and learn from the information that is collected, adding further value to their in-studio experience.
Monica Dioda, CEO of fitness technology provider FitMetrix, adds, “When real data is applied to a workout, it becomes significantly more impactful to better understand the benefits. This can be accomplished by wearing a heart rate monitor during any time of physical activity and pushing yourself into the correct heart rate zones, as well as understanding the calories burned.”
Using technology to encourage client retention.
Investing in virtual reality is a great example of introducing technology to motivate members and increase customer loyalty. VR exercise classes have grown in popularity, with fitness giant Les Mills leading the way in offering dedicated VR classes to their members.
A recent study into the benefits of VR for brain training discovered that those who were shown a VR video and asked to take a memory test on it, as opposed to a 2D basic video, remembered over twice as much. As more people were focused on the VR video, this can suggest that participants in a VR exercise class would also feel more motivated and engaged than in a regular class, helping them to really enjoy their workout and get more from it.
Keith White, of nutritional supplement company Higher Nature explains, “VR can help a gym user becomes more emotionally attached to their workout, and begin to enjoy, rather than dread their workout. Using VR, or even more simple screen gamification on static bikes and rowers, really brings out the competitive nature in a grueling session. This is a great addition to an otherwise particularly monotonous exercise.”
Leaderboards create healthy competition.
Creating and maintaining an electronic leaderboard is another great way of using technology to encourage competition and repeat customers. Keeping track of which member has performed the best at a particular exercise can help motivate them to keep going to the gym and beat their own score or get competitive and beat someone else’s.
Monica Dioda adds: “When working out in a class environment, when it is gamified, people are going to have a natural tendency to compete with others or themselves to push harder. This can be done with heart rate zones, but also in a cycling classes with leaderboards based on the power output of the bikes themselves. Without this kind of data, people really do not have a way to know how hard they are pushing. Over time, this will cause them to get stronger and more cardiovascularly healthy, which leaves them wanting to come back for more.”
Monica continues: “The Visual Workout Builder in FitMetrix is an amazing tool to put exercises from the day's workout on TVs in front of the participants. This will help to reduce trepidation for new participants taking group classes. Additionally, for all of members of the classes, having the exercises on display, helps them know what to be doing at any given time.
“This accomplishes the ability to give people virtual content to workout on their own, or more importantly if the class is instructor led, it frees up the instructor to focus on the member's doing the exercises correctly and motivate them to push through as opposed to spending all of their time correcting folks who are not remembering what to be doing, which improves the overall experience for everyone participating in the session.”
The future of fitness gamification.
We’re seeing many examples of technology, including gamification, being incorporated into our fitness habit in recent years to ultimately keep us motivated and engaged. Take Peloton as an example; they use technology to bring group exercise into people’s homes, streaming a whole cycling workout alongside a social platform to keep users engaged. The fact that they have they recently announced the release of a Peloton treadmill at the CES convention, shows us you can expect to see more of this type of tech in the future.
Gamifying a workout can really help members get the most out of their routine, and technology helps to make this happen. Technology allows people to track their performance and see how, or if, they’re improving week on week, and this can really motivate people to improve. VR classes are more exciting for consumers and investing in this technology can really help increase bookings and maintain custom. Its important businesses understand and utilize technology in the future to keep up with competitors and consumer demand.
*Survey of 2,000 UK adults conducted by OnePoll in February 2018.