Wearable technology and mobile health apps are all changing how people handle fitness. As the technology improves and personal gym trainers get integrated into our daily lives, it might be reasonable to ask what kind of future brick and mortar physical gyms have. Gym chain Equinox launched a new version of its mobile app last week that seems tailored to answering that question, arguing that it will be anything but irrelevant to future fitness.
“The digital revolution we have going on in fitness is part of a larger, macro-trend,” said Matt Burton, director of digital strategy at Equinox. “The new app and website are part of that digital experience.”
Digital health via wearable technology and advanced data analysis is still pretty new, but Equinox wants to make integrate exercise in the gym with what goes on outside of it. That means personalizing suggestions for gym classes, providing tips for diet and other wellness aspects and even integrating data from other fitness apps like MyFitnessPal and MapMyFitness to keep track of your calorie burning.
“We see it as an additive thing,” Burton said. “We’re looking at it holistically with the Equinox experience.”
As wearable technology like FitBit and smartwatches from Google and Apple start to appear full of ways to track your health, the kind of complete “fitness wheel” offered by Equinox will be more appealing to people, Burton said. It’s still early days though, and the app still has some kinks to work out judging from comments on the Apple app store, but the tech and the overall experience are only going to get better, Burton said.
“It’s our first foray,” Burton said. “Technology is an enabler to drive and improve member experience. We’ll be pushing the envelope based on other technology that presents itself.”
How much people will be willing to pay to belong to a physical gym if they think they can get all their fitness needs digitally is hard to say. It may be that the classes and other offerings will matter more than just the space and equipment to work out. Making the gym just a part of the overall fitness lifestyle that the digital technology offers sounds like the smart way to go, especially for a high-end chain like Equinox. Integrating physical gyms with their digital counterparts may very well be how we all stay fit in years to come, with wearable tech to mark our fitness at all times.
“We want to make the digital experience on par with the physical experience,” Burton said. “It should be seamless.”
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