GET HCM
magazine
Sign up for the FREE digital edition of HCM magazine and also get the HCM ezine and breaking news email alerts.
Not right now, thanksclose this window
Precor UK
Precor UK
Precor UK
Follow Health Club Management on Twitter Like Health Club Management on Facebook Join the discussion with Health Club Management on LinkedIn Follow Health Club Management on Instagram
UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Research: Live vs digital

Do people get fitter working out in the gym or at home? Researcher Bryce Hastings explains the evidence when it comes to how they measure up

Published in Health Club Management 2022 issue 6
The gym-based class was 13 per cent more enjoyable than the same class done at home / photo: LES MILLS
The gym-based class was 13 per cent more enjoyable than the same class done at home / photo: LES MILLS
People in a live group exercise class experience increased levels of exertion, enjoyment and satisfaction as a result of exercising in the presence of others

Having exploded in popularity during the pandemic, is it possible that on-demand workouts could render gyms redundant? Perhaps the answer can be found by examining what exactly we’re doing when we work out at home versus at the gym.

First of all, we don’t appear to be training as hard at home as we do in the gym.

Dr Jinger Gottschall and I conducted a pilot study comparing exertion and enjoyment levels between a live class in the gym and exactly the same workout followed digitally at home. The findings of our research were presented at the recent 2022 ACSM Annual Meeting and World Congresses in San Diego.

The study involved 54 regular Bodycombat participants from five different gyms across the US, who each wore a Bluetooth heart-rate chest transmitter to record their intensity levels. After each session, they completed a survey containing questions related to rate of perceived exertion, enjoyment, and satisfaction.

Despite doing exactly the same class, participants’ average heart rate was 14 per cent higher during the gym class when compared to the on-demand session. As well as motivating them to work harder, participants rated the gym-based workout as 13 per cent more enjoyable and 14 per cent more satisfying than the digital workout.

The power of groupness
We believe the greater levels of positive perceptions and intensity experienced in a gym-based class can be attributed to what we call ‘groupness’. This term was coined during previous research we conducted at Penn State University and the nearby Fitology club – which found that people in a live group exercise class experience increased levels of individual exertion, enjoyment, and satisfaction as a result of exercising in the presence of others, particularly when their movements are synchronised (www.hcmmag.com/Groupness).

When it comes to duration, it appears that most exercisers prefer shorter workouts when they’re at-home. Data from our Les Mills+ on-demand workout platform shows that around 70 per cent of at-home workouts are 45 minutes or less, with 50 per cent of attendees opting for workouts that are a maximum of 30 minutes.

Home workouts – the upside
There are, however, definite positives to working out at home. Despite the fact that digital home workouts are less intense and tend to be shorter in duration, study participants reported feeling less self-conscious and worried about their performance during the on-demand workout. This highlights its potential as a gateway into regular exercise for newcomers who may not yet feel confident enough to join a live gym class, or simply a way to top up live workouts.

Live classes in gyms remain the pinnacle experience, but the rise of digital fitness and flexible working reinforces the notion that hybrid fitness habits are becoming the norm. The Les Mills 2021 Global Fitness Report (www.HCMmag.com/LMGFR) found the majority of exercisers now favour a 60:40 split of gym to home workouts, so it will be interesting to see how fitness habits shift as the world learns to live with COVID.

The ultimate winners will be consumers, who now have more ways to work out and greater flexibility, making it easier to sustain their exercise habit. For clubs, the key challenge will be to leverage these digital tools to maintain member motivation and engagement in a way that complements the in-club experience.

Maximising this opportunity requires a reimagination of the member journey and how we measure engagement. Instead of simply tracking club attendances, we need to pan out and look holistically at all the touchpoints a member has with their facility – including home workouts via the club’s digital offering, and even use of the club app – to accurately assess member engagement and take actions to enhance this. Ultimately this combined approach can only help establish sustainable exercise habits, benefiting both those new to exercise and experienced users.

14 per cent more effort

Heart rates were 14 per cent higher during the gym-based class when compared to the same class done at home

13 per cent more enjoyment

The gym-based class was 13 per cent more enjoyable than the same class done at home

14 per cent more satisfaction

The gym-based class was 14 per cent more satisfying than the same class done at home

photo: LES MILLS

Bryce Hastings is head of research at Les Mills, while Dr Jinger Gottschall is an associate professor of kinesiology at Pennsylvania State University

Gym-based classes elicited more positive responses / Photo: LES MILLS
Gym-based classes elicited more positive responses / Photo: LES MILLS
The majority of exercisers preferred a 60:40 split of gym to home workouts / Photo: LES MILLS
The majority of exercisers preferred a 60:40 split of gym to home workouts / Photo: LES MILLS
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2022/576259_588022.jpg
Do people get fitter working out at home or in the gym and do they have a preference? Researcher Bryce Hastings reports on the latest research seeking to answer these questions
HCM magazine
Colin Milner, CEO of the International Council on Active Aging explains the latest research into opportunities in the active-ageing sector
HCM magazine
Are you on board with the metaverse or is it something to leave to the tech team? Kath Hudson investigates
HCM magazine
Fuel the debate about issues and opportunities across the industry. We’d love to hear from you – [email protected]
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
BXR is one of the most exciting brands in the fitness industry. Co-founder Alex Nicholl gives us a glimpse behind the scenes
HCM Magazine
Policy
Martyn Allison reviews a recent National Audit Office report into grassroots participation in physical activity in the UK
HCM Magazine
Insight
From VR to personalisation, here’s what we can expect to see in wellness in the coming months, says Lauren McAlister
HCM Magazine
Strength
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
HCM Magazine
Editor's letter
For years the sector has used participation numbers as a measure of success, but policymakers are now calling for a change to measuring outcomes, so value can be established
HCM Magazine
Policy
UK Active’s Alex Lucas explains the findings of a new report which shows how the fitness and leisure sector can help transform workforce activity levels in the new hybrid workplace
HCM Magazine
HCM People
Our partnership with Gymbox is a world first
HCM Magazine
Latest News
A new open water swimming venue will has been launched in the heart of Canary ...
Latest News
Peter Roberts, former CEO and founder of Pure Gym, has invested in Another Round, a ...
Latest News
Fitness markets around the globe are demonstrating "reassuring signs of recovery" following the pandemic disruptions ...
Latest News
Mark Sesnan, CEO of GLL, has pushed back on Tower Hamlet Council’s decision to take ...
Latest News
Ohm Fitness, a new franchised studio concept, has opened its first location in Scottsdale, Arizona. ...
Latest News
Easton Leisure Centre in the UK has announced a 100 per cent reduction in heating ...
Latest News
The Gym Group saw its membership grow by 10 per cent during the first six ...
Latest News
Mindbody has announced that Fritz Lanman will become the company’s new CEO from 3 September ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: EGYM: A digital ecosystem that works for everyone
EGYM has been pioneering the connected gym floor for more than a decade, partnering with operators and other third-party integrations, to create a free-flowing training environment that places the member at the very centre of the experience.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: EGYM announces integration with software provider Fisikal
EGYM has announced an integration with a leading UK-based software company Fisikal to enhance its capabilities to serve the needs of enterprise customers running multi-site operations.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: New £42m Moorways Sports Village to open on 21 May
Everyone Active will open Moorways Sports Village to the public on Saturday 21 May with a grand opening weekend – in time for the half term holidays.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Parkwood Leisure celebrates four award wins and named Outstanding Organisation of the Year at the 2022 ukactive Awards
It was a night to remember at the 2022 ukactive Awards for Parkwood Leisure, as the leisure facilities operator picked up four awards.
Video Gallery
Total Vibration Solutions / Floors 4 Gyms / TVS Sports Surfaces
Mindbody, Inc
Mindbody, Inc
Company profiles
Company profile: Rocca Creative Thinking Limited
Rocca. is a tech organisation specialising in sport and physical activity. It works with NGBs ...
Company profiles
Company profile: YOUR Personal Training
YOUR Personal Training is the UK’s largest and most successful PT Management company, offering a ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Featured press releases
Featured press releases: Parkwood Leisure enhances personalised member journey with boditrax
Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading leisure operators, has partnered with boditrax to launch its body composition analysis and activity tracking platform to a selection of its Leisure Centres.
Directory
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
On demand
Fitness On Demand: On demand
Fitness equipment
A Panatta Sport Srl: Fitness equipment
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Runcorn
Halton Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
12-13 Sep 2022
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs® Resort, Lake Buena Vista, United States
Diary dates
21-21 Sep 2022
Various, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Ibiza, Ibiza, Spain
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
17-18 Mar 2023
Tobacco Dock, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates

features

Research: Live vs digital

Do people get fitter working out in the gym or at home? Researcher Bryce Hastings explains the evidence when it comes to how they measure up

Published in Health Club Management 2022 issue 6
The gym-based class was 13 per cent more enjoyable than the same class done at home / photo: LES MILLS
The gym-based class was 13 per cent more enjoyable than the same class done at home / photo: LES MILLS
People in a live group exercise class experience increased levels of exertion, enjoyment and satisfaction as a result of exercising in the presence of others

Having exploded in popularity during the pandemic, is it possible that on-demand workouts could render gyms redundant? Perhaps the answer can be found by examining what exactly we’re doing when we work out at home versus at the gym.

First of all, we don’t appear to be training as hard at home as we do in the gym.

Dr Jinger Gottschall and I conducted a pilot study comparing exertion and enjoyment levels between a live class in the gym and exactly the same workout followed digitally at home. The findings of our research were presented at the recent 2022 ACSM Annual Meeting and World Congresses in San Diego.

The study involved 54 regular Bodycombat participants from five different gyms across the US, who each wore a Bluetooth heart-rate chest transmitter to record their intensity levels. After each session, they completed a survey containing questions related to rate of perceived exertion, enjoyment, and satisfaction.

Despite doing exactly the same class, participants’ average heart rate was 14 per cent higher during the gym class when compared to the on-demand session. As well as motivating them to work harder, participants rated the gym-based workout as 13 per cent more enjoyable and 14 per cent more satisfying than the digital workout.

The power of groupness
We believe the greater levels of positive perceptions and intensity experienced in a gym-based class can be attributed to what we call ‘groupness’. This term was coined during previous research we conducted at Penn State University and the nearby Fitology club – which found that people in a live group exercise class experience increased levels of individual exertion, enjoyment, and satisfaction as a result of exercising in the presence of others, particularly when their movements are synchronised (www.hcmmag.com/Groupness).

When it comes to duration, it appears that most exercisers prefer shorter workouts when they’re at-home. Data from our Les Mills+ on-demand workout platform shows that around 70 per cent of at-home workouts are 45 minutes or less, with 50 per cent of attendees opting for workouts that are a maximum of 30 minutes.

Home workouts – the upside
There are, however, definite positives to working out at home. Despite the fact that digital home workouts are less intense and tend to be shorter in duration, study participants reported feeling less self-conscious and worried about their performance during the on-demand workout. This highlights its potential as a gateway into regular exercise for newcomers who may not yet feel confident enough to join a live gym class, or simply a way to top up live workouts.

Live classes in gyms remain the pinnacle experience, but the rise of digital fitness and flexible working reinforces the notion that hybrid fitness habits are becoming the norm. The Les Mills 2021 Global Fitness Report (www.HCMmag.com/LMGFR) found the majority of exercisers now favour a 60:40 split of gym to home workouts, so it will be interesting to see how fitness habits shift as the world learns to live with COVID.

The ultimate winners will be consumers, who now have more ways to work out and greater flexibility, making it easier to sustain their exercise habit. For clubs, the key challenge will be to leverage these digital tools to maintain member motivation and engagement in a way that complements the in-club experience.

Maximising this opportunity requires a reimagination of the member journey and how we measure engagement. Instead of simply tracking club attendances, we need to pan out and look holistically at all the touchpoints a member has with their facility – including home workouts via the club’s digital offering, and even use of the club app – to accurately assess member engagement and take actions to enhance this. Ultimately this combined approach can only help establish sustainable exercise habits, benefiting both those new to exercise and experienced users.

14 per cent more effort

Heart rates were 14 per cent higher during the gym-based class when compared to the same class done at home

13 per cent more enjoyment

The gym-based class was 13 per cent more enjoyable than the same class done at home

14 per cent more satisfaction

The gym-based class was 14 per cent more satisfying than the same class done at home

photo: LES MILLS

Bryce Hastings is head of research at Les Mills, while Dr Jinger Gottschall is an associate professor of kinesiology at Pennsylvania State University

Gym-based classes elicited more positive responses / Photo: LES MILLS
Gym-based classes elicited more positive responses / Photo: LES MILLS
The majority of exercisers preferred a 60:40 split of gym to home workouts / Photo: LES MILLS
The majority of exercisers preferred a 60:40 split of gym to home workouts / Photo: LES MILLS
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2022/576259_588022.jpg
Do people get fitter working out at home or in the gym and do they have a preference? Researcher Bryce Hastings reports on the latest research seeking to answer these questions
Latest News
A new open water swimming venue will has been launched in the heart of Canary ...
Latest News
Peter Roberts, former CEO and founder of Pure Gym, has invested in Another Round, a ...
Latest News
Fitness markets around the globe are demonstrating "reassuring signs of recovery" following the pandemic disruptions ...
Latest News
Mark Sesnan, CEO of GLL, has pushed back on Tower Hamlet Council’s decision to take ...
Latest News
Ohm Fitness, a new franchised studio concept, has opened its first location in Scottsdale, Arizona. ...
Latest News
Easton Leisure Centre in the UK has announced a 100 per cent reduction in heating ...
Latest News
The Gym Group saw its membership grow by 10 per cent during the first six ...
Latest News
Mindbody has announced that Fritz Lanman will become the company’s new CEO from 3 September ...
Latest News
Parkour Generations has joined forces with Gymbox to bring parkour into the UK’s mainstream fitness ...
Latest News
Amazon has acquired primary healthcare organisation One Medical in a US$3.9bn deal that will see ...
Latest News
Nearly half (47 per cent) of men employed by fitness companies work in leadership roles ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: EGYM: A digital ecosystem that works for everyone
EGYM has been pioneering the connected gym floor for more than a decade, partnering with operators and other third-party integrations, to create a free-flowing training environment that places the member at the very centre of the experience.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: EGYM announces integration with software provider Fisikal
EGYM has announced an integration with a leading UK-based software company Fisikal to enhance its capabilities to serve the needs of enterprise customers running multi-site operations.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: New £42m Moorways Sports Village to open on 21 May
Everyone Active will open Moorways Sports Village to the public on Saturday 21 May with a grand opening weekend – in time for the half term holidays.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Parkwood Leisure celebrates four award wins and named Outstanding Organisation of the Year at the 2022 ukactive Awards
It was a night to remember at the 2022 ukactive Awards for Parkwood Leisure, as the leisure facilities operator picked up four awards.
Video Gallery
Total Vibration Solutions / Floors 4 Gyms / TVS Sports Surfaces
Mindbody, Inc
Mindbody, Inc
Company profiles
Company profile: Rocca Creative Thinking Limited
Rocca. is a tech organisation specialising in sport and physical activity. It works with NGBs ...
Company profiles
Company profile: YOUR Personal Training
YOUR Personal Training is the UK’s largest and most successful PT Management company, offering a ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Featured press releases
Featured press releases: Parkwood Leisure enhances personalised member journey with boditrax
Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading leisure operators, has partnered with boditrax to launch its body composition analysis and activity tracking platform to a selection of its Leisure Centres.
Directory
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
On demand
Fitness On Demand: On demand
Fitness equipment
A Panatta Sport Srl: Fitness equipment
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Runcorn
Halton Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
12-13 Sep 2022
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs® Resort, Lake Buena Vista, United States
Diary dates
21-21 Sep 2022
Various, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Ibiza, Ibiza, Spain
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
17-18 Mar 2023
Tobacco Dock, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
Search news, features & products:
Find a supplier:
Precor UK
Precor UK
Partner sites