In many ways, this question is multi-faceted. The future of virtual fitness has a lot of implications for not just personal trainers, but also, for the fitness industry as a whole. Recently, we have seen personal trainers, gyms, dieticians, and professionals alike use agile digital solutions to adapt to disruption in society.
In fact, if you trace fitness communities through history you find we respond quite well to change. Whether it’s a crisis, just changing times, or general dissatisfaction with what’s already out there. Sometimes our response yields innovation in physical products we use, how we train, and how we think about delivering our services to clients as professionals.
Today, however, I will analyze how disruption to fitness communities all over the world forced new change on us. And how it’s changing the way we think about delivering our services as health and fitness professionals.
Virtual Fitness Delivery Models, Disruption, and what it means going forward.
Humans are innovative and adapt well to stress. Human ingenuity has gotten us pretty far when in difficult and changing times. One community that is particularly resilient to change (in a good way) is the fitness community.
All over the world, people build wild contraptions to workout. Whether they are squatting with concrete buckets as weight or doing lunges with a log on their back, we will find a way.
Typically, people finding weird and unique ways to get in a workout is in response to some form of adversity. Some people may be in parts of the world where modern fitness equipment isn’t readily available.
Other examples are, society is facing a crisis *cough* COVID *cough* or some sort of rapid technological disruption is occurring.
Either way, people often respond to change in the fitness community, crisis or not, with innovative and creative solutions.
So what? We are creative? What about it?
Related content: COVID-19 is accelerating the rise of the digital economy.
The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Fitness Communities Reaction.
In many ways, the hybrid virtual fitness revolution has already dawned on us due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But, let’s touch on that later. Many fitness businesses closed their physical stores and for many, that was permanent.
However, some gyms and personal trainers were able to adapt and move their business to almost entirely online. This in many ways was rather disruptive to the millions of fitness enthusiasts who enjoy going to the gym and supporting the gym they go to.
What’s interesting is, some of the gyms that were able to supplement lost income through using digital solutions during the thick of the COVID pandemic are likely to come out of the pandemic better off than before.
And here’s why.
After the first shutdown, some fitness and health professionals decided to go entirely online as going months without income would prove to be dire.
But what did gyms do that was so important? They began the process of digitizing their services. In essence, fitness businesses were forced to shift from physically delivering their services in-person to doing it over the internet.
Why is this important? Because through being forced to go this route, they were able to speed right over a major bump in the road for technological progress which is behavioral change.
How Disruption and Subsequent Innovation are Battles fought in Changing Behavior.
Behavioral change should be a topic pretty much all health and fitness professionals are familiar with. Changing lifestyle behavior is oftentimes one of the major battles many people fight in leading out healthier lifestyles then they were living. If there is one thing that becomes clear in being a health and fitness coach, it’s that people are habitual in nature. We find a way of doing something and we stick to it.
But behavioral change isn’t just applicable to changing lifestyle as it pertains to health. It is also a very relevant topic in the technology industry. Technology nowadays serves as a tool to humans. It is because of this that we become used to the tools that we are given and develop habits around them.
As technology advancements happen, oftentimes, they don’t just hit the market right away. It takes time for people to catch up to technology because it is disruptive even though it benefits us in many ways.
Gyms having to go online through means of necessity forced gyms to get used to delivering their services virtually. What it also did was forced their members and would-be members to get used to receiving virtual fitness services. Everyone had to get used to it.
So why is this important going forward? And how is it a good thing for those that did adopt technology as a solution to a major issue?
Enter the hybrid virtual fitness model and what it means to fitness and health professionals.
When the world fully opens up and the Coronavirus pandemic is in the rearview mirror, many people will fall into a spectrum of two groups.
One group will go right back into the physical gym because that is what they love. For some people, it’s the atmosphere of a physical gym that plays a major role in what excites them about fitness.
However, some people will stick to the whole virtual fitness thing. They will join fitness classes virtually and do workouts assigned to them virtually. In fact, some people may even prefer this over alternatives.
However, one thing that won’t go away is technology’s presence in everyday fitness. Even while people are going to go to gyms in-person and attend in-person fitness classes, there will still be the use of apps for personal trainers and other technologies like wearable fitness trackers that stick around. Yes, they were around before, but they become even more important as it became imperative to lean on tech during shutdowns.
This is largely because once people realize the value of the technology, they aren’t just going to ditch it. The behavioral change mountain has been climbed and is over with (for now).
How Fitness Businesses that Adapted will Benefit Post-Pandemic. And How Fitness Businesses Can Capitalize on Technological Adoption.
There are many reasons why fitness businesses that used technology as a solution will thrive.
They have conquered behavioral change already and their members and community have adapted as well. This is important because a large part of behavioral change in technology is what the community is doing.
If a community is doing this “new thing” that is different, then “new-comers” will follow as they join the community. This is in the essence of being a part of a community.
The next thing is, the technology that has been adopted is powerful and will help fitness businesses better serve a more diverse community with different interests.
Remember the two different groups of people we have discussed that will emerge post-pandemic? You have one group of people that will more than likely go back to doing things as they were pre-pandemic. On the other hand, you have another group of people that will continue to use technology as their go to for their fitness and health plans.
Gyms that have adopted technology solutions will be able to better serve both crowds. They can resume pre-pandemic operations as normal AND open up new revenue streams through an online side of their business.
One might say “Yeah but only if they have the time..”. While that is true, this is also the problem that technology strives to solve and does in many many ways.
Hybrid Virtual Business Models
Since a lot of gyms have already adopted virtual fitness delivery models, this means that they can resume as normal when the world opens back up but they can also continue providing virtual fitness services to those that prefer it.
For example, in some states that have opened back up again, we have seen some gyms use FitSW to fill live fitness class spots for in-person classes, virtually. They simply live stream their fitness classes and sell virtual access to the class. People can make one time purchases to access one or many classes. When it’s class time, they role out their yoga mat, crack open the laptop or use their phone, login, and get started with their class.
Another example is, some personal trainers prefer to train their clients in-person. However, they were forced to go online during the pandemic. Since they have already gone through the process of building out and using a virtual business model, this opens up the opportunity for them to get back into doing what they love as an in-person personal trainer while growing their income with a digital side of their business.
Besides that, trainers can use the technology they use for the online side of their business for their in-person business as well. This part is underrated.
For example, through client profiles in FitSW you can build workouts and track client progress data on the fly while training them, document your thoughts on improvements you want to make to their training, and gain insights on how committed your clients are to the programs you assign. Forget about stacks of paper, excel sheets, and stuff that gives you headaches. Keep it all centralized in one place.
You can also create client accounts, assign workouts, meal plans, and multi-day programs that clients can login and see. With demo videos and areas where you can provide notes on assignments, training digitally is a breeze, in-person, online, or both.
FitSW Enables New Hybrid Virtual Fitness Business Models
No matter what your specifications are for the health and fitness services you provide, you can make FitSW fit your needs. Instead of using the traditional methods for building exercises which are not easily replicable for later use or tweaks, you can build and save workouts, programs, and nutrition plans for later use.
Not only has this changed the way health and fitness businesses conduct business, but it has also changed the way we perceive the availability of health and fitness services. Imagine being able to manage your fitness from a laptop at home while the kids are down for a nap? Or on the go while you’re travelling?
These same benefits extend to your clients too. They can go on vacation and still get their workout from their favorite trainer or dietician on the go, keep track of their progress as normal, and enjoy some of their favorite workouts.
This is exactly what modern technology can enable us to do as new-era fitness and health professionals.
Get started modernizing your fitness business today with a 30 day free trial for any premium FitSW plan.