Smart technology is everywhere. We use smart devices every day to live smart, connected lives – smartphones, smart cars, even smart fridges.
From ordering a taxi to arranging food delivery, we’re comfortable with smart technology and digital experiences as part of our daily lives. In fact, we’ve come to expect them with almost every interaction… including the gym.
But what does a smart gym look like? It’s not just digital screens or automated equipment. You can’t just throw a load of technology into your gym and expect it to ‘turn smart’.
A truly smart gym has to deliver a great experience for your members. It should tick a number of boxes, including:
1. Streamlined, touchless entry
From the moment a member walks into your gym, use technology to make their lives easier. That means a smart, touchless entry system.
Connect your access gates with your gym management software, so members can simply scan an RFID membership card and enter. Using the same familiar technology as contactless card payments, it’s the smart way to streamline access.
Or if you have a membership app, connect your entry process via QR codes. Members simply scan the code, and entry is touchless.
The secret to a smart entry system is seamless, real time connectivity to your membership data, so there’s no delay in verifying details and no bottlenecks at the door.
2. Fitness tracking technology
As soon as your members begin to train, they’ll want to know they can track their workouts, monitor their stats and check on their progress.
In our recent research into member expectations and demands*, 59% of those surveyed believed gyms should offer ways to help people track their workout statistics.
To do that, members need access to fitness tracking technology, another key feature of smart gyms.
That means smart individual equipment and workout stations – like treadmills, cross-trainers and assisted weight machines – alongside a digital network that connects them all together.
Your members should be able to log into an app, a website or integrated software within your gym, so they can monitor their performance, set preferences and carry their settings and stats across multiple pieces of equipment – with each recording their workout.
Or you might want to explore ways to support and connect wearable technology in your gym. For example, MyZone devices could help track your members’ workouts every time they visit, and connect to a community leadership board to promote healthy competition and gym-wide achievements.
Whichever way you decide to support fitness tracking technology, you’ll also need to support your members too. They’ll need help understanding the importance of fitness data and identifying which metrics to focus on. And they’ll want to know how it impacts their training.
You and your team can add huge value by offering advice and guidance on how to use fitness tracking data more effectively.
3. Wearable tech integration
Alongside equipment that tracks your members’ training metrics, smart gyms will also support the technology that members bring themselves. Wearable technology.
From Apple Watches and Fitbits to tracking devices on phones, members expect to be able to use their technology every time they train in your gym. 45% of them, according to our survey, expect gyms to integrate with their smart fitness trackers.
That’s hardly surprising, given how much members will spend on them.
The key is automatic integration. It should be simple and seamless for members to use their own devices to monitor their training – whether they’re running on a treadmill or joining a dance class.
4. Personalised workout equipment
Every member has their own way of working out, their own routine – informed by their goals and their tracking data. Your smart gym should help your members train the way they want.
That means adding value with personal advice and guidance, but it should also extend to the actual equipment on your gym floor.
Your equipment should connect with members’ devices and allow them to stream their own content to the screen, as standard. But it should also connect to your members’ training goals, allowing them to personalise their workout programme as much as possible.
The best smart equipment recommends exercises and workouts on both strength and cardio machines, based on your member’s individual goals, to help them get the most from every session (and keep them coming back).
5. Digital and in-person hybrid options
Alongside a great smart equipment experience, the best smart gyms will also support members with digital workout options… without impacting the benefits of an in-person experience.
Ideally, your gym should deliver a hybrid fitness offer, combining the best of digital and in-person training. It should give members access to on-demand content alongside instructor-led classes.
You could stream live classes online, or give members access to on-demand sessions in your app. Or you could partner with external providers to expand your offer – and your value – by giving members access to digital training both inside and outside of your gym.
6. Self-service membership management
Finally, one of the key features of any smart technology is control. Giving users more control over their own experiences.
Your members want that control too. They want to be able to manage their own memberships, whenever they want.
With smart gym management software like Xplor Gym, you can give members the freedom and flexibility to do just that. Logging in online or via an app, they can update their details, management payment information, book classes and even upgrade or downgrade their membership plan.
It’s just one more piece of technology that helps members enjoy that smart gym experience.
A seamless experience online and offline
Ultimately, a smart gym is all about using technology effectively to deliver a seamless experience both on and offline.
From a hassle-free online joining process and self-service membership to tailored workouts and seamless device connections, the best smart gyms focus on supporting members and helping them get more from the gym.
They prioritise a personal membership experience, giving members the option to tailor their training, to get feedback, and to create their own ideal fitness journey. And it all starts with having the right gym management software in place.
*About the research – on behalf of Xplor, Untangld conducted an online survey of 1,065 respondents during December 2021. The sample for the study was nationally representative and defined as people who were members or regularly attended gyms, health clubs, studios, leisure centres or sports clubs pre-COVID.
Article by Xplor Gym
First published: 06 June 2022
Last updated: 31 October 2023