22 Sep 2023 World leisure: news, training & property
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Health Club Management
2022 issue 7

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Leisure Management - Growing stronger


Growing stronger

Creators of strength-training kit have their finger on the pulse when it comes to delivering on consumer engagement. Frances Marcellin asks them to highlight emerging trends

a lot of young adults (Gen Z) are in far better shape than previous generations photo: shutterstock/oneinchpunch

People want an experience and community connection
Sohail Rashid, Brawn Power
photo: Brawn Power

There’s a growing demand for experiences and over the last few years we’ve seen the gamification of many forms of cardio training – think Zwift, Myzone and Strava.

People don’t want to just be a number, they want it to be personalised and meaningful – in fact, they’re demanding it and are prepared to pay for it.

Everyone’s fitness journey is personal, but outside of personal training, there’s very little currently in the gym that’s member-specific.

That’s why we’re going to see more personalisation in all areas of the gym, as well as an accelerated period of digital transformation focused on making the gym a richer experience, translating into a deeper and stronger connection between the gym and its members.

Connection is also of growing importance. Younger gym members frequently train together in small groups and the support they give each other – and improved awareness of what makes for a healthy lifestyle – means that a lot of young adults (Gen Z) are in far better shape than previous generations.

Operators can help members build these connections with each other, regardless of their age or background. Gym floor challenges and community events give members a shared focus. Put the work into building your gym’s community and the results will speak for themselves.

Everyone’s fitness journey is personal, but outside of PT, there’s very little currently in the gym that’s member-specific
Today’s younger gym members are a fitter generation / photo: Brawn Power
Balance is key – strength training is being combined with other disciplines
Juan Pedro Alonso, Nexa Smarttone
photo: nexa smarttone

Strength training placed fourth in ACSM’s 2022 ranking of fitness trends (www.fittechglobal.com/ACSM22) behind wearables and home-training and outdoor exercise.

In terms of trends, the focus on hypertrophy is giving way to a more balanced training mix of strength, flexibility and agility and we’ve developed a variety of strength equipment, delivering resistance by motor and digital control, to create sophisticated training systems.

Our equipment offers control of the eccentric phase of any exercise, delivering different weight loads between concentric and eccentric phases of movements. All include a smart force system that enables us to accurately read the level of force required and automatically adapt it to achieve maximum muscle performance. Our range of 11 machines enable operators to extend the membership lifetime of customers, thanks to a physical evaluation, in-house PT and a targeted CRM.

The focus on hypertrophy is giving way to a balanced training mix of strength, flexibility and agility
Equipment offers control of the eccentric phase / photo: nexa smarttone
There’s demand for dedicated areas and outdoor spaces
Dale Beech, Eleiko
photo: ELEIKO

We’re seeing a clear uptake in two main areas – an increase in the size of strength training areas and also the addition of outdoor spaces. Growing interest in strength training is being driven by several factors, including the airtime it gets on social media and new science-backed research into the benefits. We see this as positive for new clubs and a challenge for established operators.

For new clubs, the cost is significantly less per square metre than if the space is used for cardio equipment. For established clubs, it means a reconfiguration of floorplans and there can be challenges accommodating more strength equipment.

For this reason we’ve developed a strength station which is designed to integrate cables, squat areas and storage into a very small footprint. The outdoor movement began during lockdown and there are plenty of surveys to suggest people enjoy training outdoors when they can.

Growing interest is being driven by the airtime strength training gets on social media and in new research
Strength stations with small footprints can be retrofitted / photo: ELEIKO
Gamification will attract new users to strength training
Paul Dudley, Keiser UK
photo: KEISER

Fitness technology continues to dominate as the fastest growing industry trend, and we believe there will be an ever-increasing demand for connected and enjoyable strength training experiences as we go into 2023.

There will always be a place for barbells and dumbbells, but we expect advances in technology to open strength training up to a wider population of people who have traditionally shied away from weight training.

Connected strength experiences provide opportunities for operators to improve customer engagement and retention rates, and by offering a simple way to track progress, gyms will be able to deliver tangible results for members using reliable data for performance tracking and increasing motivation.

Gyms are already starting to incorporate this tech into their strength training offering in several ways – gamifying the experience with colours, bars and visuals, working towards a collective ‘total weight lifted’ in a session combined and rewarding members for personal bests.

To support our operator partners in exploiting this trend, we’ve created a strength circuit that utilises third party applications to connect customer sessions, which creates an enjoyable strength circuit session, complete with metrics and in-built progression.

Connected strength experiences provide opportunities for operators to improve customer engagement
Connected experiences and gamification are attracting new audiences to strength training / photo: KEISER
The growth of ‘fitness for function’ and fit tech are transforming the gym floor
Jon Thiel, Core Health & Fitness
photo: Core Health & Fitness

We’re seeing the emergence of two trends: technology in fitness and fitness for function.

Tech has transformed the flow of the gym, driving a more diverse population into free weight areas for a greater proportion of their workout. In response, operators are opening up their floor plans and allowing for turf, rigs, racks and platforms, accompanied by accessories such as ropes, suspension, weights, plates, kettlebells and balls.

Many operators are also learning that this type of movement requires two additional actions – the introduction of more noise abatement and changes to programming.

We’re offering solutions to address all these issues via everything from the Nautilus SVA platform to Throwdown rigs, as well as technology to bring it all together to deliver a positive experience for customers.

Whether your facility is engaging with members through their own app, or utilising the many tools available today, such as Wexer, for content delivery, or Sony Advagym, for holistic communication throughout the club, it’s clear that technology is here to stay.

Tech is driving a more diverse population into free weight areas
Integrating tech helps members stay engaged / photo: Core Health & Fitness
New products add interest to strength workouts / photo: Core Health & Fitness

Originally published in Health Club Management 2022 issue 7

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