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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

News

Technology is turning the fitness tide, says Rasmus Ingerslev

Health clubs must embrace and optimise the technology which is transforming the marketplace or they will inevitably become obsolete, said fitness entrepreneur Rasmus Ingerslev.

Ingerslev – who has an enviable fitness pedigree as the founder of Fresh Fitness and Wexer, as well as being an IHRSA board member – said change is progressing at a faster rate than ever before, in an educational session on ‘Future proofing your club’ at IHRSA 2016 in Orlando yesterday (21 March).

In terms of technological advancement, he said the next 20 years will yield more progress than has been seen in the past 100 years and examples of this change are all around us. He cited the success of companies such as Uber, Airbnb and ClassPass – who have joined the ranks of the biggest players in their respective markets without owning or operating a single outlet – as evidence of the shift from a physical to a digital world.

Technology, said Ingerslev, is transforming the member journey and the first place that potential members will come into contact with a health club is online – so the quality of an operator’s digital presence is key.

“It’s not a question of if, but when will these changes become significant to your business and how will it happen,” he added.

Speaking from a personal perspective, he said technology had helped to take a lot of time and cost out of his former health club business’s sale process, while RFID-chip technology enabled him to increase secondary spend on vending machines and gain huge amounts of consumer data, as well as streamlining access control and freeing up staff members for other tasks. These developments, he added, enabled Fresh Fitness to operate cashless-clubs – making the sites less vulnerable to theft and unencumbered by banking processes.

Despite these benefits, the four-walls of the gym are under attack, he noted, from areas such as wearables, tracking, streaming from home and online exercise programmes supplanting in-house PTs. He said this all ties into the trend of 'quantified self', whereby consumers are eager to measure and analyse every aspect of their lives.

One of the biggest benefits of technology for fitness is that it will ‘eliminate the guesswork’ when it comes to setting goals and workout plans to suit this 'quantified self'. He highlighted how some operators are already offering members DNA tests to ensure that customised programmes are perfectly in sync with their genetic make-up.

With a wink perhaps to his own company Wexer, Ingerslev highlighted how virtual training can help operators to limit staff costs, provide a broader offering to members for cheaper and longer, as well as creating additional opportunities to sell in-club advertising.

He also praised advances in virtual reality in bringing fitness classes to life and said group exercise providers such as Zumba and Les Mills are leading the way with new concepts.

“Virtual reality is fascinating and its only your own imagination which limits how this technology can be used in the fitness industry,” added Ingerslev.

Concluding the session, Ingerslev said operators must decide ‘How big, or how many pieces of the technology puzzle they want to be,’ and consider whether they want to offer an exclusive development to a limited audience, or make technology more accessible and widely available to a larger market.

He also noted that there is “so much technology out there already” that operators should assess the marketplace for potential off-the-shelf solutions to their needs, rather than investing large amounts of time and capital in developing their own product from scratch.

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Health clubs must embrace and optimise the technology which is transforming the marketplace or they will inevitably become obsolete, said fitness entrepreneur Rasmus Ingerslev.
HAF,FIT,IND,PHR,TEC
THUMB9292_431903.jpg
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Technology is turning the fitness tide, says Rasmus Ingerslev

Health clubs must embrace and optimise the technology which is transforming the marketplace or they will inevitably become obsolete, said fitness entrepreneur Rasmus Ingerslev.

Ingerslev – who has an enviable fitness pedigree as the founder of Fresh Fitness and Wexer, as well as being an IHRSA board member – said change is progressing at a faster rate than ever before, in an educational session on ‘Future proofing your club’ at IHRSA 2016 in Orlando yesterday (21 March).

In terms of technological advancement, he said the next 20 years will yield more progress than has been seen in the past 100 years and examples of this change are all around us. He cited the success of companies such as Uber, Airbnb and ClassPass – who have joined the ranks of the biggest players in their respective markets without owning or operating a single outlet – as evidence of the shift from a physical to a digital world.

Technology, said Ingerslev, is transforming the member journey and the first place that potential members will come into contact with a health club is online – so the quality of an operator’s digital presence is key.

“It’s not a question of if, but when will these changes become significant to your business and how will it happen,” he added.

Speaking from a personal perspective, he said technology had helped to take a lot of time and cost out of his former health club business’s sale process, while RFID-chip technology enabled him to increase secondary spend on vending machines and gain huge amounts of consumer data, as well as streamlining access control and freeing up staff members for other tasks. These developments, he added, enabled Fresh Fitness to operate cashless-clubs – making the sites less vulnerable to theft and unencumbered by banking processes.

Despite these benefits, the four-walls of the gym are under attack, he noted, from areas such as wearables, tracking, streaming from home and online exercise programmes supplanting in-house PTs. He said this all ties into the trend of 'quantified self', whereby consumers are eager to measure and analyse every aspect of their lives.

One of the biggest benefits of technology for fitness is that it will ‘eliminate the guesswork’ when it comes to setting goals and workout plans to suit this 'quantified self'. He highlighted how some operators are already offering members DNA tests to ensure that customised programmes are perfectly in sync with their genetic make-up.

With a wink perhaps to his own company Wexer, Ingerslev highlighted how virtual training can help operators to limit staff costs, provide a broader offering to members for cheaper and longer, as well as creating additional opportunities to sell in-club advertising.

He also praised advances in virtual reality in bringing fitness classes to life and said group exercise providers such as Zumba and Les Mills are leading the way with new concepts.

“Virtual reality is fascinating and its only your own imagination which limits how this technology can be used in the fitness industry,” added Ingerslev.

Concluding the session, Ingerslev said operators must decide ‘How big, or how many pieces of the technology puzzle they want to be,’ and consider whether they want to offer an exclusive development to a limited audience, or make technology more accessible and widely available to a larger market.

He also noted that there is “so much technology out there already” that operators should assess the marketplace for potential off-the-shelf solutions to their needs, rather than investing large amounts of time and capital in developing their own product from scratch.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Health clubs must embrace and optimise the technology which is transforming the marketplace or they will inevitably become obsolete, said fitness entrepreneur Rasmus Ingerslev.
HAF,FIT,IND,PHR,TEC
THUMB9292_431903.jpg

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