This past month we pulled together a panel of experts for Club Industry’s Future of Fitness virtual roundtable to discuss what we’re calling the new principles of the Virtually Anywhere Fitness model. Insider tips from content producers, club operators and health and wellness leaders. If you missed the live stream, here are some insights and a chance to watch:
Link to video: https://youtu.be/uYHCFSOP7-I
Q: Content production has exploded with all kinds of micro producers, but how should a new producer get into the business? What should they think about?
A: Getting started is more important than getting it right as is learning as you go,. A lot of new producers over-invest in expensive fitness equipment which is a bad idea as you’ll learn more about specific needs as your production and your audience grows. Really an iPhone, some good lighting and a blue tooth microphone is all that’s needed on day one. Know your audience: who are they, what are they watching, what do you need to do more? Don’t pay for expensive hosting platforms either. Start a private Instagram group, stream on Facebook and go where your audience is first.
Q: How do operators get their content balance right for members?
A: It’s a balance. Producing your own content with your club’s instructors is costly, time consuming and intensive. You’ll never do it as well, as cheaply or as consistently as brands like Apple or Peloton. If you’re a boutique studio with a specific offering, personalized content is very important. But for other operators a blend of content from your own instructors and then third-party content from all kinds of producers and brands curated and made easily available on a platform like FitnessOnDemand gives you the best of both worlds.
Heidi Nyquist, Franchise Owner, SNAP Fitness
Q: How did you adjust your club operations during the last, difficult, year? How are you operating now?
A: SNAP Corporate very quickly launched an amazing app to deliver on-demand content and we reached out personally to members through email to make them constantly aware of available content and new classes. By September when clubs opened again, we moved into streaming live sessions from the club and offered virtual coaching. We’re letting members show us what they want now for a best of both worlds approach, but we are also offering virtual only memberships which has huge potential for the future and we’ve done one-on-one personalized coaching too for members.
April Fisk, CEO, RockBox Fitness
Q: RockBox is a boutique fitness experience. How is your business developing in the virtual space? How is the boutique market developing in general?
A: Everyone thinks you need bag to box, but a lot of what we offer, especially through RockBox Remote, is shadow boxing workouts and both kickboxing and functional boxing technique. Most of our members do want a bag to hit and studio sessions are never going away but the growth in, especially, mobile use is helping new members try kickboxing and boxing on their own terms and then get involved in a live bag class. Everything we do is based around specific member goals and what they want to accomplish so we are very focused on personalized engagement in the club and across social channels. From a programming point of view, we make sure our live and our virtual classes are slightly different so members can get more out of everything.
Jerome Bonhomme, CTO, American Specialty Health
Q: ASH works with a large number of club operators – what kinds of trends are you seeing from your perspective.
A: The last year was a scramble but everyone is figuring it out and there’s great opportunity for virtual fitness offerings. Right now the focus has been on engagement of current members but attracting new members and growing your business using virtual offerings is really a blank space with a lot of potential. There’s also a real opportunity for companies to incorporate health plans and fitness programs to help with preventative care and healthy maintenance for employees and members.
Note: actual panel responses have been summarized