Fitness is driven by motivation. It’s a fitness facilities’ biggest challenge: how to capture the motivation to lose weight, work out, feel healthier, have fun, etc. in order to keep people coming through the doors (and coming back). The big advantage that fitness facilities have is the ability to showcase cool new equipment options or fitness trends that can be tested (and start to build a groundswell) in commercial fitness environments. Curiosity alone can drive participants into a fitness center that boasts a hot, trending new product. So, does it make sense to test out the theory, becoming an early-stage trend-setter by showcasing hot new products that are capturing public interest? In many cases, absolutely. If the investment is reasonable, the returns that trendy products can create (through community interest and participation) can last far after the trend fades (if it does).
Holograms are Here with the Mirror
The latest tool to potentially take personal fitness by storm is the Mirror. As an interactive fitness portal where fitness trainers take you through a variety of original on-demand and live classes, the Mirror joins invisible groups of exercisers together for an any-level workout. “With Mirror, these instructors suddenly appear on the surface of the screen, allowing you to mirror their movements through a variety of workouts at different levels. What’s more, you need only the space of a yoga mat and, unlike working out on an iPad, don’t have to squint to see your trainer.”
According to a first-hand account published in the LA Times, “Two days after my Mirror box arrived in late August, two men delivered, installed and plugged in my mirror in less than 15 minutes. I downloaded the Mirror iOS app on my iPhone (it will launch an Android version in November), paired the Mirror with my Wi-Fi and heart rate monitor, and filled out my profile, including past injuries” and apparently became a big fan of this trendy option.
“We’ve never seen a product quite like this,” said Kent Collins, regional sales manager for Advanced Exercise, a leading fitness design and equipment resource with over 30 years of fitness industry experience. “The user experience is highly personalized and fits well within fitness environments where activity levels and needs are diverse: hospitality, multi-family, active-aging…” The screen size is also a big plus, all puns intended. “It’s not just a virtual avatar of yourself that you see, you see both your own reflection and your holographic trainer at the same time. Fitness form and function together.”
For individual or family use at home, or for larger groups in fitness centers, the Mirror offers a sizeable interactive option that is different from anything else on the fitness scene today. The technology to stream the Mirror’s holograms is the same as streaming video to any other device, though it’s best to have a solid WiFi network so that buffering doesn’t interrupt any workouts. Additionally, Mirror is not an economy option at $1,499, but it costs less than the Peloton bike ($2,245) and far less than the Peloton treadmill ($4,295), which it has often been compared to. Monthly subscriptions for the Mirror are comparable to and competitive with other options.
Speaking of Peloton – new, interactive fitness equipment innovations are beginning to eclipse this million-user trend. Peloton’s streaming workouts on bikes and treadmills have been the quintessential trend example for the past two years, though the trend seems to be waning due to Peloton’s own growing pains.
Since selling its first bike in 2014, Peloton has “sold more than 400,000 bikes and lured 500,000 subscribers who not only pay around $2,000 for a bike or $3,995 for a treadmill but also pay $39 per month to stream the company’s classes.”
Once the newness of the Peloton model had worn off, the company began to try new things like commercial fitness expansion and even a digital media subscription that didn’t tie to Peloton equipment. Both of these forays seem to have fizzled.
In May, multi-family customers of Peloton were shocked to find that the company was abandoning its support of commercial accounts, specifically fitness centers in multi-family communities:
News of Peloton’s withdrawal from commercial environments was shocking to those who hadn’t heard the complaints about equipment not holding up to high-use environments. Multi-family fitness centers need not fear however, as there are plenty of competitors waiting to eclipse Peloton’s initial popularity in the commercial realm. Former Peloton-enthusiastic facilities are anxious to have fitness equipment brands that want to be involved in commercial environments – with both product and programming that could capitalize on Peloton’s initial trendy promises.
From Life Fitness’ ICG with MyRide to Expresso’s GO bikes (and their access to MOi Cycle Heart Rate Training), commercially durable equipment platforms are out-performing Peloton in fitness centers as the interactive bike training trend continues to evolve.
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Rowing is making a trendy comeback in many fitness communities, especially as technology and game-infused options are capturing the interest of fitness enthusiasts. Virtual environments are much easier to access than hauling a boat over to a river inlet, and innovators like the team at Aviron have packaged the critical rowing workouts and combined them with new, trending competitions that can be as addictive as the latest video game.
“With the new Aviron Tough Series rowers, you can row, Valkyrie-style, across the sky and over the top of castle turrets with Pegasus wings powering your progress, and you can watch it all on a 22” high definition touch screen as you get your daily workout in.”
Aviron’s ability to combine compelling interactivity with solidly performing commercial fitness equipment forms the foundation for this return-to-rowing trend, though the true fuel of the Aviron popularity is their virtual head-to-head “Pros vs. Joes” workout.
To truly test your fitness rowing finesse, you can row against St. Louis Cardinals’ Malik Collymore or 16-year-old AAA hockey phenom Luca Rea. You can try to level the playing field against pro alpine skiiers, mixed martial arts champions, pro football players, and Olympic snowboarders among others; or take your rowing skills to the pinnacle against other rowers like Brianne Bartolini, medalist at the NCAA rowing championships. For true enthusiasts, there’s nothing better than pitting your skills against top athletes. Even for novice participants though, the intrigue of testing a hockey player’s rowing prowess gets more people trying out the rower just for the fun seeing how they compare. Showcasing a trendy product is a proven hook to gain attention, and hopefully that attention is sustainable.
If you want to explore trending fitness products that you can add to your fitness space, the Advanced Exercise team can easily help. With strong expertise in designing and equipping fitness spaces working with any community needs, budget, and product mix expectations, Advanced Exercise consultants can help create an innovative, compelling and intriguing fitness environment that keeps people engaged and coming back for more.
About Advanced Exercise
Founded in 1986, Advanced Exercise is a leading fitness equipment and facility design resource, combining more than 30 years of design expertise with access to top fitness, wellness and recreation equipment brands to help clients create fitness experiences specific to the needs of their distinct communities. Advanced Exercise fitness consultants work with clients to maximize the use of available space in any facility, sourcing the best new or used equipment solutions for diverse ranges of fitness amenity end users. For more information on fitness equipment and facility design services, visit www.advancedexercise.com or call 800-520-1112 to connect with one of Advanced Exercise’s experts.