Technology trends have changed exponentially over the last year and a half. What should you be paying attention to as the industry moves forward?
First off, virtual programming remains front and center in terms of 2021 technology trends. Eric Vahey, the connected solutions specialist at Matrix Fitness, noted three areas in which he thinks virtual offerings will grow:
- Online Training. “I think we are going to see this slowly continue to burn. College rec centers are filled with people who have grown up with the internet and have had cellphones since they were in grade school. Meeting these students where they are at, and using technology to do so, makes a lot of sense” said Vahey. “Some of the programming the center is doing could integrate more of these tools. Integrate with what they have rather than reinventing the wheel.”
- Non-Facility Based Training. “I think you will see some people who rather than skipping a workout all together because they can’t or don’t want to go to the fitness center, will do some other type of workout just to get it done,” said Vahey. “I think these people will use a variety of outdoor, body weight, virtual, etc. workouts. They will lean on what they did during the pandemic even after it’s over.”
- Body Weight Training. “More people did this during the pandemic,” said Vahey. “I can see classes and using it in personal training. It’s a great way to teach fitness and bridge moving to things outside the four walls.”
Other 2021 Technology Trends
At the same time virtual programming is taking off, the fitness industry doesn’t see it as the end all be all. Kyle Anderson, the assistant director of fitness at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, pointed out how the commercial fitness industry is taking a hybrid approach.
“From studios to big-box gyms, they are offering virtual programming in addition to traditional operations. O2 Fitness, a chain of fitness centers in North Carolina and South Carolina, launched a grassroots virtual streaming service,” said Anderson. “Commercially, it is becoming a more attractive member acquisition tool than touchscreen treadmills streaming Netflix.”
And equipment manufacturers are playing a role in technology trends as well. For example, Anderson noted Peloton acquired Precor in April 2021. “I speculate we will see an integration of Peloton programming integrated with Precor equipment to provide both an in-club and out-of-club experience,” he said.
How to Stay Current on Tech Trends
As such, it’s crucial to keep your finger on the pulse of the 2021 technology trends. Kristi Levanduski, the manager of education at InnoSoft Fusion, specifically noted you need to stay current with the technology platforms students use most.
“If you’re promoting all of your events via Facebook and your students aren’t using it — hint: they’re probably not — your messaging clearly won’t land,” said Levanduski. “Experiment with new options and leverage your most valuable asset — your student staff — to stay current.”
Ultimately, as technology continues to evolve, Levanduski said there is one thing to do: “Embrace it,” she said. “Think outside the box on new ways you can implement these technology trends that create an enjoyable and safe experience for both your members and your staff.”