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
Les Mills International
Les Mills International
Les Mills International
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

New opening: Smart club: B-fit

Armah Sports has revealed the first B_fit health club – a smart club concept that’s gearing up for the Metaverse with AI, VR, Amazon Alexa and the Internet of Things, as Tom Walker reports

Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 10
The club is close to achieving its LEED sustainability accreditation / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The club is close to achieving its LEED sustainability accreditation / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
B_fit is the first health club in the world to utilise Amazon Alexa technology in its operations

Saudi-based Armah Sports has launched B_fit, the first of its three new health club concepts for the Middle East market, which will be rolled out across the region and beyond. The other brands – high-end offering Optimo and budget brand Lift will follow on in 2022.

The first B_fit club is in Jeddah and will operate as a full-service ‘smart club’, featuring a wide range of innovative tech solutions which integrate with a high-end gym offering.

CEO, Fahad Alhagbani tells HCM the company has placed tech at the heart of the B–fit model, saying: “Today we’re half tech company and half fitness company, with the Metaverse on the horizon, there are no limits to the experiences we will be able to create for our members.

“We built the best technology infrastructure before we started opening our new clubs,” he says. “Our main focus has been selecting the best solutions in each area – such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and CRM software, access control, mobile apps, voice communication and so on, and then integrating them together.”

Facilities
Workout facilities at the 3,750sq m B_fit club include a large gym floor with kit by Technogym and Life Fitness, cardio zone, performance cardio zone, personal training hubs, athlete factory area, six exercise studios catering for functional training, spinning, yoga, pilates, HIIT, and boxing.

There’s also a 25m pool, an indoor running track, a large co-working space, innovation lab, smoothy bar and retail area.

The interior design and lighting have been recognised by the lighting industry for excellence and Alhagbani says the fit-out represents the “evolution of fitness in the industry in the region” and something that has been achieved by “working with some of the best interior designers and lighting consultants in the world.”

When it comes to tech, B_fit offers members an array of solutions, starting with access to the club, which is implemented through touchless facial recognition.

B_fit is also the first health club in the world to utilise Amazon Alexa technology in its operations, with members being able to book classes and check trainers’ bios and schedules by talking to Alexa.

Other smart tech solutions include the use of VR and AR which – according Alhagbani – creates “an integrated and seamless digital member experience.

“Virtual reality experiences are there for members and visitors to try in our Innovation Lab, where we demonstrate the future trends to educate our young Saudi generation about the future and gamification,” he told HCM. “We’re adopting VR, AR and the Internet of Things as we grow,” he says.

Members’ wristbands are designed to be a lifestyle accessory and enable them to access the club, buy a smoothie or an item from the shop, control their locker, enquire about their locker number – if forgotten – through a locker control panel and get access to classes through check-in portals which are located next to studio doors.

“We’ve created a smart building which runs under the control of a Building Management System through a smart tablet controlled by our club manager,” says Alhagbani, “this controls the lighting, the aircon and many other elements with just one touch.

“We’re in the final stages of having our LEED Certificate issued to confirm our green building rating and we’re running a paperless and single-use plastic-free environment, with all internal communications happening digitally and being connected through the smart platform.

“When we launched Armah Sports Company in 2019 we saw the rapid growth of technology in our lives and embraced it as an essential element of our business model,” says Alhagbani, “we noticed a dramatic shift in the industry as a result of the pandemic, but we didn’t change our strategy, because our concept was already tech- and digitally-enabled and resilient to change.”

Positive feedback
“We’re proud to present our B_fit model as a smart club to the world, a place that represents our knowledge, creativity, passion, dreams, research, ambition and teamwork,” says Alhagbani. “Our mission is to make Saudi a hub for innovation in the region for the fitness industry – we believe the days of the traditional fitness club are gone, it’s time for the new generation of fitness clubs – the clubs of the future.”

Alhagbani said the company plans to open 11 B_fit smart clubs and three Optimo clubs in the next 18 months, with the first Optimo opening early in 2022.

Optimino will have a hotel vibe, sharing much of the same tech infrastructure as B_FIT, but with interior, facilities and equipment “at another level”.

Armah Sports has also signed a deal to roll out 1Rebel clubs in the Middle East.

• To read HCM’s exclusive interview with Fahad Alhagbani on Armah Sports’ plans, go to: HCMmag.com/alhagbani

"Our mission is to make Saudi a hub for innovation in the fitness industry" – Fahad Alhagbani, CEO, Armah Sports

VR, AR and gamification will play a key role in the new facility / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
VR, AR and gamification will play a key role in the new facility / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
Club access is via touchless facial recognition / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
Club access is via touchless facial recognition / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The club offers an indoor running track and six exercise studios / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The club offers an indoor running track and six exercise studios / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The club will run a single-use plastic-free environment / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The club will run a single-use plastic-free environment / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
B_fit has studios for functional, cycle, yoga, pilates, HIIT and boxing / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
B_fit has studios for functional, cycle, yoga, pilates, HIIT and boxing / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
Equipment supplies to B_fit include Technogym / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
Equipment supplies to B_fit include Technogym / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The brand partnered with leading interior designers for the fit-out / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The brand partnered with leading interior designers for the fit-out / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/333527_706373.jpg
Armah Sports has opened the first of the B_fit chain of health clubs. Utilising AI, VR and the Internet of Things, it’s the first club in the world to be Amazon Alexa-enabled
HCM magazine
The pandemic brought about our sector’s biggest ever collaboration on COVID safety data. Lizzie Broughton tells the story
HCM magazine
Social media influencers cause harm by raising unrealistic expectations of physical perfection, as Andrea Dearden explains
HCM magazine
Each health club has its own unique challenges, but the right tech solution can make all the difference. In the first of a two-part series, specialists share how they’ve solved specific issues
HCM Magazine
Everyone's talking about
In the wake of the pandemic, is the time ripe to change the language around the role of exercise professionals, and gain greater trust from the healthcare sector?
HCM Magazine
Editor's letter
Having a portfolio of more than 1,000 health club locations is the aim of ambitious operators, with this elite category growing fast, creating new dynamics in the market
HCM Magazine
Research
Being physically active can heal damage caused by diabetes, enabling the activation of a natural system that grows new blood vessels, according to research in the US
HCM Magazine
Postbag
As HCM passed its 300th edition milestone, readers shared their thoughts and feelings on HCM’s contribution to the industry in a very special postbag
HCM Magazine
HCM People
We want Grndhouse to be everywhere: in gyms, hotels, on holidays, at home – it’s boutique fitness in your hand
HCM Magazine
Supplier showcase
Pulse Fitness and Bolsover District Council have been collaborating for many years to deliver dedicated community activity spaces
HCM Magazine
Interview
The fitness sector has an unprecedented opportunity to become a credible partner in ensuring the health and wellbeing of the nation, says Mosaic Group MD and new chair of the UK Active Membership Council. He talks to Kate Cracknell
HCM Magazine
Latest News
New fitness franchise, Circuit Society, has signed its first London location in Bayswater. The 3,000sq ...
Latest News
Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council, has released a children’s book called Can We ...
Latest News
The new £42m Moorways Sports Village will open its doors to the public on Saturday ...
Latest News
Fitness industry veteran Harm Tegelaars has returned to the fitness industry by joining the board ...
Latest News
Planet Fitness saw its Q1 2022 revenue increase by 66.9 per cent (to US$186.7m) on ...
Latest News
Sport England and UK Active have signed a five-year partnership agreement which will see the ...
Latest News
Planet Fitness is offering high-school students free access to any of its 2,200 locations in ...
Latest News
How can organisations, including health club and leisure businesses, decarbonise, generate clean energy and harness ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Thousands flock to register for Elevate 2022 in London this summer
The health and fitness industry is eagerly awaiting the return of Elevate, which will take place on 15-16 June 2022 at ExCeL London.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: ACTIV partners with Fisikal to deliver custom branded member experience
ACTIV, a gym chain in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which operates separate gyms for men and women, has partnered with digital management solution expert Fisikal to create a custom branded experience for its members.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Serco Leisure wins 10-year Mansfield contract
Following a competitive tendering process, Serco Leisure and its partner More Leisure Community Trust Limited (MLCT) have been awarded a 10-year contract by Mansfield District Council to operate three centres in the town, starting 1 May 2022.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: New partnership delivers swimming support to children with disabilities
A new partnership has been launched to provide inclusive swimming for children with mobility, visual and hearing disabilities.
Video Gallery
Mindbody, Inc
Total Vibration Solutions / Floors 4 Gyms / TVS Sports Surfaces
Mindbody, Inc
Company profiles
Company profile: Hussle
Hussle exists for two reasons: To increase opportunities for people to engage in physical activity ...
Company profiles
Company profile: TVS Group
TVS Group includes TVS Sports Surfaces, TVS Gym Flooring, TVS Play Surfaces and TVS Acoustics. ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: trade associations
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Fitness equipment
A Panatta Sport Srl: Fitness equipment
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
On demand
Fitness On Demand: On demand
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Runcorn
Halton Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
30-30 Jun 2022
The ICC, Birmingham, Birmingham , 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

New opening: Smart club: B-fit

Armah Sports has revealed the first B_fit health club – a smart club concept that’s gearing up for the Metaverse with AI, VR, Amazon Alexa and the Internet of Things, as Tom Walker reports

Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 10
The club is close to achieving its LEED sustainability accreditation / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The club is close to achieving its LEED sustainability accreditation / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
B_fit is the first health club in the world to utilise Amazon Alexa technology in its operations

Saudi-based Armah Sports has launched B_fit, the first of its three new health club concepts for the Middle East market, which will be rolled out across the region and beyond. The other brands – high-end offering Optimo and budget brand Lift will follow on in 2022.

The first B_fit club is in Jeddah and will operate as a full-service ‘smart club’, featuring a wide range of innovative tech solutions which integrate with a high-end gym offering.

CEO, Fahad Alhagbani tells HCM the company has placed tech at the heart of the B–fit model, saying: “Today we’re half tech company and half fitness company, with the Metaverse on the horizon, there are no limits to the experiences we will be able to create for our members.

“We built the best technology infrastructure before we started opening our new clubs,” he says. “Our main focus has been selecting the best solutions in each area – such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and CRM software, access control, mobile apps, voice communication and so on, and then integrating them together.”

Facilities
Workout facilities at the 3,750sq m B_fit club include a large gym floor with kit by Technogym and Life Fitness, cardio zone, performance cardio zone, personal training hubs, athlete factory area, six exercise studios catering for functional training, spinning, yoga, pilates, HIIT, and boxing.

There’s also a 25m pool, an indoor running track, a large co-working space, innovation lab, smoothy bar and retail area.

The interior design and lighting have been recognised by the lighting industry for excellence and Alhagbani says the fit-out represents the “evolution of fitness in the industry in the region” and something that has been achieved by “working with some of the best interior designers and lighting consultants in the world.”

When it comes to tech, B_fit offers members an array of solutions, starting with access to the club, which is implemented through touchless facial recognition.

B_fit is also the first health club in the world to utilise Amazon Alexa technology in its operations, with members being able to book classes and check trainers’ bios and schedules by talking to Alexa.

Other smart tech solutions include the use of VR and AR which – according Alhagbani – creates “an integrated and seamless digital member experience.

“Virtual reality experiences are there for members and visitors to try in our Innovation Lab, where we demonstrate the future trends to educate our young Saudi generation about the future and gamification,” he told HCM. “We’re adopting VR, AR and the Internet of Things as we grow,” he says.

Members’ wristbands are designed to be a lifestyle accessory and enable them to access the club, buy a smoothie or an item from the shop, control their locker, enquire about their locker number – if forgotten – through a locker control panel and get access to classes through check-in portals which are located next to studio doors.

“We’ve created a smart building which runs under the control of a Building Management System through a smart tablet controlled by our club manager,” says Alhagbani, “this controls the lighting, the aircon and many other elements with just one touch.

“We’re in the final stages of having our LEED Certificate issued to confirm our green building rating and we’re running a paperless and single-use plastic-free environment, with all internal communications happening digitally and being connected through the smart platform.

“When we launched Armah Sports Company in 2019 we saw the rapid growth of technology in our lives and embraced it as an essential element of our business model,” says Alhagbani, “we noticed a dramatic shift in the industry as a result of the pandemic, but we didn’t change our strategy, because our concept was already tech- and digitally-enabled and resilient to change.”

Positive feedback
“We’re proud to present our B_fit model as a smart club to the world, a place that represents our knowledge, creativity, passion, dreams, research, ambition and teamwork,” says Alhagbani. “Our mission is to make Saudi a hub for innovation in the region for the fitness industry – we believe the days of the traditional fitness club are gone, it’s time for the new generation of fitness clubs – the clubs of the future.”

Alhagbani said the company plans to open 11 B_fit smart clubs and three Optimo clubs in the next 18 months, with the first Optimo opening early in 2022.

Optimino will have a hotel vibe, sharing much of the same tech infrastructure as B_FIT, but with interior, facilities and equipment “at another level”.

Armah Sports has also signed a deal to roll out 1Rebel clubs in the Middle East.

• To read HCM’s exclusive interview with Fahad Alhagbani on Armah Sports’ plans, go to: HCMmag.com/alhagbani

"Our mission is to make Saudi a hub for innovation in the fitness industry" – Fahad Alhagbani, CEO, Armah Sports

VR, AR and gamification will play a key role in the new facility / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
VR, AR and gamification will play a key role in the new facility / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
Club access is via touchless facial recognition / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
Club access is via touchless facial recognition / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The club offers an indoor running track and six exercise studios / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The club offers an indoor running track and six exercise studios / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The club will run a single-use plastic-free environment / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The club will run a single-use plastic-free environment / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
B_fit has studios for functional, cycle, yoga, pilates, HIIT and boxing / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
B_fit has studios for functional, cycle, yoga, pilates, HIIT and boxing / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
Equipment supplies to B_fit include Technogym / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
Equipment supplies to B_fit include Technogym / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The brand partnered with leading interior designers for the fit-out / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The brand partnered with leading interior designers for the fit-out / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/333527_706373.jpg
Armah Sports has opened the first of the B_fit chain of health clubs. Utilising AI, VR and the Internet of Things, it’s the first club in the world to be Amazon Alexa-enabled
Latest News
New fitness franchise, Circuit Society, has signed its first London location in Bayswater. The 3,000sq ...
Latest News
Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council, has released a children’s book called Can We ...
Latest News
The new £42m Moorways Sports Village will open its doors to the public on Saturday ...
Latest News
Fitness industry veteran Harm Tegelaars has returned to the fitness industry by joining the board ...
Latest News
Planet Fitness saw its Q1 2022 revenue increase by 66.9 per cent (to US$186.7m) on ...
Latest News
Sport England and UK Active have signed a five-year partnership agreement which will see the ...
Latest News
Planet Fitness is offering high-school students free access to any of its 2,200 locations in ...
Latest News
How can organisations, including health club and leisure businesses, decarbonise, generate clean energy and harness ...
Latest News
Being physically active can counter the damage of diabetes by enabling the activation of a ...
Latest News
Altis, an artificial intelligence-based personal trainer solution, has secured more than US$3m worth of financing, ...
Latest News
Members of the United States Congress and Washington DC staff are competing against each other ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Thousands flock to register for Elevate 2022 in London this summer
The health and fitness industry is eagerly awaiting the return of Elevate, which will take place on 15-16 June 2022 at ExCeL London.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: ACTIV partners with Fisikal to deliver custom branded member experience
ACTIV, a gym chain in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which operates separate gyms for men and women, has partnered with digital management solution expert Fisikal to create a custom branded experience for its members.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Serco Leisure wins 10-year Mansfield contract
Following a competitive tendering process, Serco Leisure and its partner More Leisure Community Trust Limited (MLCT) have been awarded a 10-year contract by Mansfield District Council to operate three centres in the town, starting 1 May 2022.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: New partnership delivers swimming support to children with disabilities
A new partnership has been launched to provide inclusive swimming for children with mobility, visual and hearing disabilities.
Video Gallery
Mindbody, Inc
Total Vibration Solutions / Floors 4 Gyms / TVS Sports Surfaces
Mindbody, Inc
Company profiles
Company profile: Hussle
Hussle exists for two reasons: To increase opportunities for people to engage in physical activity ...
Company profiles
Company profile: TVS Group
TVS Group includes TVS Sports Surfaces, TVS Gym Flooring, TVS Play Surfaces and TVS Acoustics. ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: trade associations
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Fitness equipment
A Panatta Sport Srl: Fitness equipment
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
On demand
Fitness On Demand: On demand
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Runcorn
Halton Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
30-30 Jun 2022
The ICC, Birmingham, Birmingham , 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:
Les Mills International
Les Mills International
Partner sites