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Embrace the art of listening in fitness

By: Ben Hackney-Williams

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We have so much talent in the fitness and wellbeing industry. So many people are on a learning journey and eager to share their findings for the benefit of the masses. Community thrives on genuine, passionate conversation, and below you’ll find some of the best.

For all the pre-emptive trend guessing and leadership subjects, often the simplest of ways to truly understand the state and mindset of your community is to just listen. That can be to staff, understanding what they’re hearing from customers and clients, or to the customers and clients themselves. This is how to build a socially connected community.

Myzone stand Elevate

Don’t underestimate the importance of keeping your ear to the ground and making notes as you go. Whether on stands, in seminar seating, or after hours…

Here are some of the top takeaways from Elevate this year.

 

Keep it simple and the benefits stack up

On a panel discussion entitled Technology: Supporting the physical activity workforce, Dave Wright, CEO Myzone Group, covered points of what benefits are at the heart of everything Myzone does.

The wellbeing space has been saturated with information that influences how we behave, even when it’s detrimental to our long-term goals. It’s all about how to keep people moving, whether that’s your own behaviour or the physical activity of your community.

“Heart rate variability and readiness to train... They’re real hot words in the training world right now,” explains Dave. “If you’ve run gyms, or if you have a family, you go ‘Right, now, the kids are off to bed, I’ve got a call a bit later and I’ve got 45 minutes to have a workout,’ but your device is telling you that you’re not ready to train. For crying out loud! Sometimes you just have to train when you can.

Dave Wright Elevate seminar“In regards to the technology, what we did with Myzone is we kept it as simple as possible. The hotter the colour, the harder you’re working out. A four-year-old can understand it, NFL players can understand it, people in wheelchairs can understand it – it doesn’t matter who you are.

“The simplicity of colours and MEPs is what we created. It’s about motivating people to be physically active. For trainers, it’s all about the ability to use that data to amplify the human element of delivering physical activity.”

 

Education needs to evolve the wellbeing space

Through a partnership with Myzone, the Future Fit Group is educating the industry from a grassroots level, sending informed and experienced personal training staff into markets where they can make a difference.

“It’s a really exciting time,” says Lily Thomas, marketing and communications manager for Future Fit Training. “The collaboration that we’re seeing in the industry and how we’re all driving movement forward is just brilliant.

Lily Thomas Future Fit“At Future Fit, we provide the best possible education in the fitness sector. For anyone looking to break into it or educate their staff, we’re the people to come to.

“Even in our workshops and when we’re training people, we use Myzone to help people understand their clients better. That means that as soon as they step foot into their new careers, they’re ready to go and they’re ready to work with leisure centres and gym operators much more effectively.

“It means they offer such a better service once they get there.”

 


Devil’s in the data

Members want more data than ever before, but instead of drowning in it, they want data that they can use. Similar to Dave’s comments above, the data you provide for engagement and relationship longevity needs to be simple to understand and useable.

The devil’s in the detail with many wearables simply because there’s too much data. Myzone heart rate monitors record a lot of different metrics, but it’s effort at the heart of everything. MEPs and the zones make exercising an endeavour that leads to anyone understanding how exertion affects their heart rate, recovery, mindset and more.

Alex UffindellGym members are rewarded because their effort is relative to them as individuals, and everyone is different at any given time.

“It’s always nice to see how much I’m pushing myself,” explains Alex Uffindell, a Myzone mover and PT at functional training gym, FitBox. “It’s also been really useful when I’ve known that I’m a little bit under the weather, you can see it in your heart rate.

“That means I can tailor my workouts and see that I’m still working really hard, or on other days when I’m feeling good I can push that little bit harder, go a bit heavier, or train for a little bit longer.

“I love using Myzone for myself but I also work in a gym. It’s been really great having members come up to me afterwards and we’ll compare our heart rates, our MEPs and our expenditure. It’s been a really good way of building community.”

 

The opportunities for growth are huge

In a seminar Exploring cross border opportunities in European health and fitness, chair David Stalker, CEO of Myzone EMEA, discussed the potential for growth across Europe. In particular, Marc Diaper, CEO of Gymbox had some insights to share with anyone thinking of expanding at this time of enormous opportunity.

“We’re currently on the journey for international growth, and the pandemic has changed quite a lot of things for many of us in the sector,” explains Marc. “We’ve grown slowly and organically; the pandemic has given me a kick to now grow quicker as a business. The plan was always international, but now it’s just been sped up.

Marc Diaper Elevate“You can go on gut feel, but with international plans I can’t afford to spend my investors’ money on things that aren’t backed by actual data. I’ve met with a few brands that have gone international and taken on board what steps they’ve taken, while also learning from the mistakes they’ve made along the way.

“I’m very big on statistics, so I met with a few agencies and pulled out database apart. We profiled our members, applied those insights across Europe, and the results came back with five key cities that they think Gymbox can go into. We then looked at things like average spend in the sector, how many gyms are there, members per capita, and collated that into a score from one to five.

“If you’re thinking of going international, get as much info from as many people that have done it as possible and get as much data from in and around those cities to give yourself the best chance of making it when you’re there.”

 

It’s time to pick your partners that make the difference

Embracing the months and years ahead is all about paying attention to what our communities need. That means ditching the ‘do it all in-house’ approach and leaning on valued partner relationships to build a product that’s more than the sum of its parts.

Smart Station

We’re passing the age of attention-grabbing and now the era of empathy, education and understanding is upon us. Health and wellbeing has never been more appreciated by the masses and, for commercial opportunities, conversation is king. Let’s work together and reward effort in every respect.

Sharing insights to create the best experience for members in and out of the four walls. With that mindset comes the biggest benefits for both bodies, brains and businesses as we lead – truly lead – into the future of physical activity and positive behaviour change.

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