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At-home training has become a significant trend in the last few weeks and will grow as the coronavirus continues. Training sessions have shifted to virtual mode.
Although remote training has been practiced for years at a professional level, it is something new for enthusiasts. To start with an exercise routine, watching a youtube video or a live Instagram class is not enough. Customers usually need evaluation, advice, guidance, and motivation to keep engaged.
A personal trainer’s job requires a high level of personalization. For managing a group of customers, the coach needs to optimize the workflow and manage time-consuming activities such as customer profiles, workout plans, app related health data from wearables, emails, chats, spreadsheets, youtube videos, etc.
Although personalization is the best choice, it might be expensive and not easy to implement on a large scale without the proper technology. An automated solution with personalized options that can turn on features according to progress is an excellent way for large fitness centers looking to benefit from the sudden shifts in consumer demands.
Fitness centers that provide smart mobile solutions for coaches and customers can grow their business significantly by providing a connected and interactive solution with the following capabilities:
- Live or on-demand coaching sessions.Tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have become extremely popular. But how to tie together the experience as a cohesive solution is more challenging.
- Tailored workout plans. Fit assessment test for an accurate understanding of user fitness levels and provide customized workouts.
- Live board to interact with other users. Streaming group fitness classes in several categories (cycling, running, boot camp, outdoor, strength, HIIT, mobility). Connect with friends and compare results.
- Sensor motion capture system. Analyze the body during the workout and provides feedback.
- Ai-Powered / Machine Learning Technology. A.I. powered coaching to enhance the user experience. For example, a progress tracking algorithm with real-time feedback, such as alerts to correct posture.
- Data analytics. Performance metrics, weekly snapshots peak performances, workout comparisons, etc.
- Connect and sync with devices and platforms. Obtain data and performance metrics, from fitness apps and activity trackers.
- Integration with Fitness communities.Build a presence in other platforms, Networks of athletes, clubs, Strava, Facebook, etc.
- AR/VR. Immersive environments for indoor rowers, elliptical, and bikes. Provide entertainment, competition, and motivation to users’ cardio fitness.
- Connect to your T.V.
- Cross-Platform: iOS, Android, and desktop version.
- G.P.S. powered: Tracking outdoor workouts.
The market is changing, and we are moving our lives online faster than ever. Fitness Centers are reacting to this trend by upgrading their current solutions into more sophisticated training apps and maintain customer loyalty. Also, entrants with new business models are developing personal trainer apps, branded fitness apps, workout apps, and wellness apps that grab market share from established fitness centers.
At-home training is a strong category as shown by segmentation variables, and should be considered by brick and mortar’s marketing plans. Consumer habits are changing, and a portion of customers will not go back to physical facilities. Fitness Centers with large customer bases have a head start advantage to develop advanced applications that cater to this segment.
Consumers complain about having to use too many apps for keeping track of various activities, and the fitness center app should synchronize with marketplace apps and provide analytics to keep all information in one place.
By integrating with other apps and freely exchanging information, the new app can focus on its core activities, manage data from multiple sources, and push their brand.
The ecosystem technologies, companies systems and API’s should be evaluated when planning to build a mobile app. Google Fit and Apple Health platforms have high customer adoption rates and the capability to link with electronic health records (EHR) and other platforms.
Google Fit is an open platform and app that works with Android, iOS, and Wear OS for managing user’s fitness tracking activities from different devices and apps that connect through sensor, recording, history, sessions, goals, and Bluetooth low energy API’s. Fitness Apps can store data from wearables or sensors and access data created by other apps. Third-party apps can use google fit platform without installing the Google Fit App.
Apple Health App It’s an app that gathers and combines information from iPhone, apple watch, compatible devices and apps. Healthkit is a developer framework and API’s used for integrating third-party apps. It’s a central data repository for apps to access and share data maintaining user’s privacy and control.
Fitness Apps Market
There is an excellent opportunity for developing advanced fitness apps. For illustration purposes, consider that the U.S. Market of health and fitness clubs had revenues of $30 billion in 2017 and 55 million members. The Fitness market is transforming, and proof of this was the acquisition of Fitbit by Google for $2.1 billion with 28 million active users.
Fitness Equipment manufacturers that sell innovative solutions are thriving with explosive sales growth to consumer segments. Equipment manufacturers are also innovating in software development with highly interactive and customizable machines that connect with third-party apps, sensors, blue tooth, NFC, Internet Protocol television (IPTV), and VR capabilities. According to Allied Market Research, the fitness equipment market value was $11.5 billion in 2019.
Some examples of companies experiencing high demand for equipment are Peloton Interactive, Inc. Life Fitness, Tonal Systems, ICON Health & Fitness. True Fitness Technology, Inc, and others.
Although the current pandemic crisis has led to the closure of physical facilities and layoffs of trainers, the demand for their services has surged. Services have shifted to virtual mode, and trainers are reinventing themselves. Some Fitness Centers are laggards, but coaches and trainers must continue to evolve and market their services directly to consumers.
Coaches and trainers are a vital aspect of digital fitness. The market for their services is currently rearranging. Coaches can shift to personal trainer apps or affiliate to fitness centers that are developing personalized solutions.
Fitness Apps Marketplace
Fitness apps success depends on innovative functionalities and integration capabilities with other apps and partnerships. Application segments are health monitoring and activity tracking and monitoring. For illustration purposes, we are describing some of the most popular apps.
TrainingPeaks App. It’s a Fitness tracking app that plan, register, and evaluate progress and trends based on performance. It is considered the best app by professional athletes and coaches. One of its main features is the charts dashboard to monitor and analyze performance. It provides various levels of certifications and coach matching services.
Strava App. It’s a mobile app mostly for runners and cyclists that tracks and analyzes activities. It’s compatible with the most popular devices.
It is an innovative fitness social network that motivates and inspires using heatmaps with routes, virtual segments created by users, location sharing (beacons), photo sharing, comments, kudos/ thumbs up to friends workouts.
Garmin Connect App. It’s a powerful and reliable tool for tracking, analyzing, and sharing activities data performance. Connect with friends, create challenges, and earn badges for accomplishments. The app connects with Garmin devices via Bluetooth and synchronizes with other apps such as TrainingPeaks, Endomondo, MyFitnessPal, etc. It’s used at a professional level for triathlon, marathon running, and open water swimmers.
Fitbit App. This app was originally for beginners, becoming very popular and has advanced significantly in recent years. Relevant features are 24 hrs sleep tracking, several exercise modes, paces, distances, Spotify ready, and integrates with hundreds of apps and partners.
MyFitnessPal App. It’s a top-rated application for tracking food and exercise, with gamification that motivates users. It provides a database of foods and connects with over 50 apps.
RunSocial App. It’s an application that simulates marathon running on your treadmill. It connects with leading brands of equipment and uses technologies that enable video, 3D environments, and live interactions.
Zwift App. It’s an app for running or riding a bike with other players in the community through immersive worlds. It links the treadmill or bicycle turbo trainer to a computer or device for a virtual ride. Riders can compete live against other connected players and simulating routes in a very intense competitive social scenario. The application runs iOS, Android, PC or MAC.
Motivation and attitude are vital aspects of exercise programs, but remote training lacks peer group motivation. Just having on-demand workouts or Instagram Live Videos is not enough to maintain usage frequency.
Fitness apps can create long term lifestyle changes. But should attempt to provide high user engagement, coaching advice, user intention, socializing elements, live sessions, crafted routines, feedback recommendations, performance reviews, data analysis, apps connectivity, and other personalized features.
Mobile applications that manage to analyze data and provide results have lower attrition rates and increased effectiveness. Apps must create awareness on users about the usefulness and perception of its functionalities that are necessary to reach the individual’s goals.
Successful fitness centers are developing apps capable of onboarding accredited coaches to work as ambassadors of their brands and keep up with programs that maintain a high level of motivation and caring for their customers obtaining an exceptional user experience.
The transformation of health through technology is advancing fast, and players that end up creating the best customer experiences and solutions will become the winners.
At-home training is here to stay, and apps that cater to this segment should be highly interactive, seamlessly connected with the ecosystem, and provide social elements to inspire intent and maintain motivation.