Fitness and health have always been important markets but with increased interest in physical performance and new technologies, we are seeing big growth in these areas. This post will examine some of the different opportunities and technologies making an impact in this market. The global sports and fitness market is another market enjoying a lot of growth and a lot of buzz. There is an ever-growing interest in keeping fit and especially as our day-to-day activities are threatening to make us more sedentary and to suffer the health consequences that come from that lack of movement.
We are increasingly knowledgeable today regarding the use of training equipment and the ways to keep fit and as such, we are more likely to invest in newer and more unusual training equipment. Likewise, we are more likely to invest in gym memberships, to take up sports or to fund the fitness and sports industries in those other ways.
Investing in new technology and equipment is an important part of any health spa or gym’s business model. By investing in the latest technology, managers can help to attract new patrons and tempt them away from the gyms where they currently train.
The temptation then can be to invest in the most outlandish and ‘visibly interesting’ technology possible to attract new clients. However, much of this equipment will end up sitting in the corner collecting dust if it isn’t genuinely useful for clientele. Not only will this lose members in the long-term but it can also reduce the capacity of the gym, thereby reducing turnover and profit. With so many new devices being released all the time, it can be hard to know where to start.
An example of good technology for your health spa is anything that makes exercise more fun and more effective while at the same time feeling high-tech. A great piece of technology that some gyms use these days for instance is stationary bikes that have computer games that you can play on the screen providing a great way to pass the time.
Better yet though are those games that are affected by your pedaling which help to really immerse you in your training and add a whole new competitive element. These are perfect devices because they're great to show potential clients when they come to look around the space, but they also have a real and clear benefit that makes training more fun and actually more effective in some cases.
Cardiovascular machines in general can be made more effective with a wide range of different of technologies and additions. For instance, heart rate monitors in the handles can help runners not only to track their fitness and health but also use a range of training protocols such as HIIT, Zone Training and Metcon. Some users will want the option to synchronize an external heartrate monitor for this purpose and others will want to be able to save and view their statistics over time – so adding profiles is also a good investment.
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So that's the good technology to invest in, what are some examples of bad technology? Well one is the 'power plate' which is essentially a piece of equipment that vibrates while you stand/workout on it. The idea behind this is to force you to stabilize yourself with your supporting muscles thus helping you burn more energy and build more muscle when you workout.
The problem? There's absolutely no real evidence that this works – and a ton to suggest that it doesn't. When a manager invests in something like this it might show off the gym in a good light and look interesting, but it really won't do much to help the people training there – who would probably much rather you'd just bought another bench press. Good investments should focus on your current customers too to keep them happy and loyal.
Listening to clientele is particularly important. Ask what they would like to see and where the money should be spent. And likewise, listen to the market as a whole and the trends. Right now, there is a big push towards functional fitness and interval training. People are more interested in developing strength and stability rather than ‘mirror muscles’ and thus kettlebell workouts, Indian club training, TRX and other ‘functional’ options are in vogue. Follow this market and you will attract more people to your gyms and impress those members already there.
All the classic examples of fitness equipment are still popular among users. These include the likes of bench presses, dumbbells, barbells, ab rockers, pull up bars, perfect pushups, skipping ropes and more. Of course, fitness clothing is also a big market in its own right, particularly for runners who will spend a lot of money on the right running shoes, on breathable, waterproof fabrics and more. The health supplements market has a lot of overlap with the sports and fitness industries. We see a lot of money spent on protein shakes, on creatine on BCAAs and on a range of other supplements intended to not only improve health but also improve physical performance and output.
More new technology is also finding its way into the commercial market. This includes the likes of fitness trackers for instance which are designed to allow us to monitor vitals like our heartrate and activity levels. At the advanced ends, these can be used as running watches to record precise routes and measure cadence, speed and performance.
Of course, this is without even touching on the markets that relate to specific types of sports training and equipment for particular activities. Everything from baseball bats, to swimming pools, to punch bags and sports shoes all offer a lot of potential for growth and investment.