The at-home fitness experience is not necessarily a new idea. I remember the basement gym my parents piecemealed together while I was growing up, long before Peloton and Nike transported trainers, classes and equipment into our homes. A library of instructional videos – p90x workouts accompanied by their own nutrition plans, countless Jillian Michaels DVDs, and a Pilates tape set that came with its own resistance band – as well as an elliptical, treadmill, yoga ball, and a set of weights my dad had lugged around since high school, became our home gym.
Even though we’ve seen at-home fitness before, it feels like we’re witnessing a big moment for home health and exercise. What makes this different than the home gym of years past?
Instead of trying to recreate the traditional gym and trainer experience at home, the most exciting fitness brands of today are leveraging technology and research to make us feel like we can be athletic and elite at our own pace. Shifting their mindset from a “one plan fits all” mentality to focus on individuals, brands are designing a new fitness experience that’s both approachable and accessible.
Tech that gives you an edge
To kick off an ultra-personalized fitness journey, consumers need insight into their physical health. Weight does not cut it as the sole measurement of fitness. Companies like WHOOP and Humon designed technology to tap into metrics consumers might not have thought of before, such as muscle oxygen and strain.
And it’s not just about what’s happening during the workout. These companies track our bodies holistically – what are you doing during the other hours of the day that could be impacting the effectiveness of your workouts? Are you taking time to recover, getting enough sleep? As response to this data, systems like NormaTec weave professional-level recovery time into our routines.
Real-time, research-backed data opens us up to new avenues to fitness and tracks our progress along the way. With so much information circulating about “the next best workout,” keeping tabs on how your body is reacting instils greater trust that the hard-earned sweat is worth it.
Insight informed plans
Once consumers have all this data, what’s next? Brands and their offerings need to translate physical insights into an effective and trustworthy plan that adapts to the feed of information users gather about their health.
Consumers not only want recommendations based on their stats, they crave fitness plans that take their needs into consideration and somewhat align with their current routines. Unlike the one-track meal plans that accompanied fitness DVDs ten years ago, or stringent fad diets that still crop up today, the programs that will rise to the top are those with room for personalization. For example, weight loss platform LoseIt! accepts DNA analyses to provide a nutrigenomics report and syncs with fitness trackers. Users can customize their meals based on this data and their own preferences, ensuring the plan aligns with genes, exercise, and cravings. Constructing a holistic plan that leaves room for our wants and needs sets users up to stay on track and see real results.
Team sports get it done
Although research and personalization can formulate a proven plan, staying on the path within our isolated personal fitness bubbles is challenging. In that almost forgotten outside world, trainers, friends and classes keep us honest. They form relationships that make us want to show up and inspire us to keep going. They get us pumped!
Brands that recreate team-like fitness communities will hang onto users. A recent study reported that when exercising in a group, people were 21% more likely to bike or run farther and 10% more likely to work out longer. One company, HollarHype, built their entire platform around this, connecting teammates training for a cause to cheer for each other remotely.
If fitness brands create opportunities for users to virtually workout together or connect to share tips and encouragement, consumers are that much more likely to count on the brand to help reach their goals. This especially rings true for our new normal, where recreating something close to an in-person connection helps us transcend this virtual-only world.
Anyone can be elite
The most important thing brands can do to stand out in the fitness crowd: Make their technology accessible. Brands that innovate ways for everyday athletes to see themselves in the stories around their devices or platforms will entice a combination of fitness gurus looking for the latest edge, as well newbies looking for a launch board to their fitness journey.
Looking to finetune the story around your fitness tech? Get in touch with our consumer branding and communications team!