Fitness
Competitive edge

Could adding a touch of rivalry help spas to engage more customers in fitness and push them to get better results? Niamh Madigan looks at how operators can tap into that competitive streak

By Niamh Madigan | Published in Spa Business 2016 issue 1

Technology is having a massive impact on the way people exercise: from wearable devices and motivational apps to interactive training and virtual classes – the range of choice to suit all levels of fitness is huge. In hand with this, technology allows people to gamify their workouts to track and help improve their own performance or to compare their efforts with others. You only have to look at TV programmes such as The Biggest Loser, where obese couples race towards a target weight, to see how competition motivates the unlikeliest people to exercise.

It’s no secret that spas struggle to get customers – whether a member or one-off guest – to make full use of their fitness facilities and classes. So could competition or gaming be the key to boosting their engagement? We take a look at what operators can do to motivate people to exercise.

Getting interactive

Multisensory Fitness Inc

Sensory motor activity reaction training (SMARTfit™) programmes by Multisensory Fitness Inc combine cognitive and physical game-based workouts. Its interactive Trainer wall, the SMARTfit Multi Station Trainer, uses alphanumeric multicoloured targets, a scoreboard and a timer to encourage competing team play.

It's designed to stimulate the body and brain so the user gets an intensive full-body workout. This is something that appealed to Fairmont Singapore which installed the SMARTfit in its new cutting-edge fitness centre. “By using the concept of games and competition, guests get a quick cardio workout,” says Thea Huang, director of spa and wellness. “There are between 70-100 programmes which include different forms of physical activity, such as running, cross-training or circuit training. You can achieve a very intense cardio workout after only 10 minutes.”

She says the SMARTfit programmes are ideal for group workouts, a fun activity for corporate groups and have been a hit when it comes to personal training. They also act as a differentiator in the marketplace. Huang adds: “We want our guests to remember that we have this offering which they cannot get anywhere else at the moment.”

Pavigym
In Dubai, Fairmont has also installed Pavigym’s 3.0 interactive floor and wall panels in its health club. Integrating LED lights controlled by touch screen software, the surfaces enable trainers to design and track workout sessions.

The average cost for a SMARTfit Trainer is US$20,000 (€18,780, £13,280). Pavigym says prices vary greatly according to facility size and mix of products.

Rugged Interactive
Similarly, CardioWall by Rugged Interactive has several light push points that illuminate in different sequences for various games. People can use their hands to set off the lights or incorporate accessories such as weighted balls, boxing gloves or balance boards into the mix.

CardioWall uses engaging vocal commands, colours and sounds to interact with and motivate the user. As an added incentive, scores are displayed on both an built-in screen and via a website to push users to beat their own total or those of rivals – anywhere in the world – to get a CardioWall ranking.

Simon Heap, who’s the founder of Rugged Interactive, says: “We’ve found results to be really effective especially when competition is encouraged. Our research has shown equivalent exertion with other gym equipment, but with a much higher user satisfaction rating.”

With worldwide distribution, CardioWall costs £6,000 (US$9,050, €8,530) to install.

 



Fairmont Singapore uses SMARTfit to motivate guests
 


Dubai Fairmont uses Pavigym flooring
 
 


Rugged Interactive supplies a range of products to stimulate the body and mind
 
On the leaderboard

CrossFit

CrossFit’s high-intensity cardio and strengthening workouts have become an explosive fitness phenomenon – there are now over 11,000 affiliated gyms globally – fuelled in part by the annual CrossFit Games for the “The Fittest on Earth”. To qualify for the games, people submit workout scores on an internet leaderboard: a tactic that attracted nearly 140,000 contestants in 2013 according to Forbes magazine.

Myzone
Other companies such as Myzone® are using rating and points systems to engage spa fitness customers.

The Myzone chest strap tracks heart rate, calories burnt and time spent exercising and is used to calculate Myzone Effort Points (MEPs) which are awarded for every minute spent active. The more intense the workout, the more points earned. This information is displayed on a monitor or streamed to an app in real time.

Using the MEPs system, challenges can be set to keep users engaged and on track to achieve goals. With built-in leaderboards, status rankings and social integration, it’s easy to monitor progress and earn points, turning fitness into a game with an option to compete against others.

The Spa Naturel Fitness Club at Mercure’s Southgate Hotel, UK installed Myzone® a year ago. Gym manager Steve Forbes says: “Usage went up, people want to come to the gym to get their MEPs so they can appear on the leaderboard.”

Myzone is available globally and costs £295 (US$445, €420). Operators pay a monthly licence fee of £99 (US$149, €141).

 



Users work harder to earn more points with the Myzone rating system
Gaming & immersion

Les Mills International

Mixing indoor fitness with virtual reality is a popular way to motivate people to exercise. Leading the charge in this arena is group exercise specialist Les Mills. In mid 2014, it launched the Immersive Fitness™ experience that projects cinema-quality video content onto a screen, while instructors cue exercise moves to synchronise with music and graphics. Les Mills says an immersive environment brings a heightened sense of anticipation and reward. By suspending belief, people stop thinking about the duration of the workout and push themselves further.

Webracing
Webracing is also combining gaming, virtual reality and competition.

Webracing™ gives spa fitness goers on machines such as bikes, rowers and cross trainers a chance to compete against individuals or groups, while watching themselves in a virtual world. A small device fitted to the equipment connects everyone online for an on-screen race. With voice over internet protocol, users can talk to competitors or training partners, turning static exercise into an engaging event.

“If exercisers are mentally engaged, they’re likely to put in 10-15 per cent more effort and anecdotal evidence shows that people are much more likely to complete a course or session,” says Webracing founder Duncan Lawson.

He says the Webracing Peloton programme for multiple bike racing would be a good fit for spas with studio space. It requires an average of five static bikes and a projector or LED screen with costs starting at £5,000 (US$7,540, €7,110).

Embedded Fitness
Embedded Fitness blends physical fitness with entertainment, new media, technology and gaming. Using interactive devices, users can play games while they exercise. Activities include ice-skating, rowing, dancing, trampolining and even basketball. With some devices the user can set a high score and use it to compete against others.

CEO Carla Scholten says: “Embedded Fitness is fun, but also therapeutic. For spas we prefer to make specially designed and personalised interactive rooms.”

The Dutch-based company already has an installation in Qatar and is looking to continue its global expansion in 2016.

 



Les Mills’ Immersive Fitness launched in 2014 and is available globally


Niamh Madigan is a multimedia journalist and fitness enthusiast

Email: niamhmadigan@leisuremedia.com
Twitter: @NiamhMMadigan

 


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SELECTED ISSUE
Spa Business
2016 issue 1

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Spa Business - Competitive edge

Fitness

Competitive edge


Could adding a touch of rivalry help spas to engage more customers in fitness and push them to get better results? Niamh Madigan looks at how operators can tap into that competitive streak

Niamh Madigan
The Pavigym 3.0 Interactive Floor enables trainers to design and track workouts

Technology is having a massive impact on the way people exercise: from wearable devices and motivational apps to interactive training and virtual classes – the range of choice to suit all levels of fitness is huge. In hand with this, technology allows people to gamify their workouts to track and help improve their own performance or to compare their efforts with others. You only have to look at TV programmes such as The Biggest Loser, where obese couples race towards a target weight, to see how competition motivates the unlikeliest people to exercise.

It’s no secret that spas struggle to get customers – whether a member or one-off guest – to make full use of their fitness facilities and classes. So could competition or gaming be the key to boosting their engagement? We take a look at what operators can do to motivate people to exercise.

Getting interactive

Multisensory Fitness Inc

Sensory motor activity reaction training (SMARTfit™) programmes by Multisensory Fitness Inc combine cognitive and physical game-based workouts. Its interactive Trainer wall, the SMARTfit Multi Station Trainer, uses alphanumeric multicoloured targets, a scoreboard and a timer to encourage competing team play.

It's designed to stimulate the body and brain so the user gets an intensive full-body workout. This is something that appealed to Fairmont Singapore which installed the SMARTfit in its new cutting-edge fitness centre. “By using the concept of games and competition, guests get a quick cardio workout,” says Thea Huang, director of spa and wellness. “There are between 70-100 programmes which include different forms of physical activity, such as running, cross-training or circuit training. You can achieve a very intense cardio workout after only 10 minutes.”

She says the SMARTfit programmes are ideal for group workouts, a fun activity for corporate groups and have been a hit when it comes to personal training. They also act as a differentiator in the marketplace. Huang adds: “We want our guests to remember that we have this offering which they cannot get anywhere else at the moment.”

Pavigym
In Dubai, Fairmont has also installed Pavigym’s 3.0 interactive floor and wall panels in its health club. Integrating LED lights controlled by touch screen software, the surfaces enable trainers to design and track workout sessions.

The average cost for a SMARTfit Trainer is US$20,000 (€18,780, £13,280). Pavigym says prices vary greatly according to facility size and mix of products.

Rugged Interactive
Similarly, CardioWall by Rugged Interactive has several light push points that illuminate in different sequences for various games. People can use their hands to set off the lights or incorporate accessories such as weighted balls, boxing gloves or balance boards into the mix.

CardioWall uses engaging vocal commands, colours and sounds to interact with and motivate the user. As an added incentive, scores are displayed on both an built-in screen and via a website to push users to beat their own total or those of rivals – anywhere in the world – to get a CardioWall ranking.

Simon Heap, who’s the founder of Rugged Interactive, says: “We’ve found results to be really effective especially when competition is encouraged. Our research has shown equivalent exertion with other gym equipment, but with a much higher user satisfaction rating.”

With worldwide distribution, CardioWall costs £6,000 (US$9,050, €8,530) to install.

 



Fairmont Singapore uses SMARTfit to motivate guests
 


Dubai Fairmont uses Pavigym flooring
 
 


Rugged Interactive supplies a range of products to stimulate the body and mind
 
On the leaderboard

CrossFit

CrossFit’s high-intensity cardio and strengthening workouts have become an explosive fitness phenomenon – there are now over 11,000 affiliated gyms globally – fuelled in part by the annual CrossFit Games for the “The Fittest on Earth”. To qualify for the games, people submit workout scores on an internet leaderboard: a tactic that attracted nearly 140,000 contestants in 2013 according to Forbes magazine.

Myzone
Other companies such as Myzone® are using rating and points systems to engage spa fitness customers.

The Myzone chest strap tracks heart rate, calories burnt and time spent exercising and is used to calculate Myzone Effort Points (MEPs) which are awarded for every minute spent active. The more intense the workout, the more points earned. This information is displayed on a monitor or streamed to an app in real time.

Using the MEPs system, challenges can be set to keep users engaged and on track to achieve goals. With built-in leaderboards, status rankings and social integration, it’s easy to monitor progress and earn points, turning fitness into a game with an option to compete against others.

The Spa Naturel Fitness Club at Mercure’s Southgate Hotel, UK installed Myzone® a year ago. Gym manager Steve Forbes says: “Usage went up, people want to come to the gym to get their MEPs so they can appear on the leaderboard.”

Myzone is available globally and costs £295 (US$445, €420). Operators pay a monthly licence fee of £99 (US$149, €141).

 



Users work harder to earn more points with the Myzone rating system
Gaming & immersion

Les Mills International

Mixing indoor fitness with virtual reality is a popular way to motivate people to exercise. Leading the charge in this arena is group exercise specialist Les Mills. In mid 2014, it launched the Immersive Fitness™ experience that projects cinema-quality video content onto a screen, while instructors cue exercise moves to synchronise with music and graphics. Les Mills says an immersive environment brings a heightened sense of anticipation and reward. By suspending belief, people stop thinking about the duration of the workout and push themselves further.

Webracing
Webracing is also combining gaming, virtual reality and competition.

Webracing™ gives spa fitness goers on machines such as bikes, rowers and cross trainers a chance to compete against individuals or groups, while watching themselves in a virtual world. A small device fitted to the equipment connects everyone online for an on-screen race. With voice over internet protocol, users can talk to competitors or training partners, turning static exercise into an engaging event.

“If exercisers are mentally engaged, they’re likely to put in 10-15 per cent more effort and anecdotal evidence shows that people are much more likely to complete a course or session,” says Webracing founder Duncan Lawson.

He says the Webracing Peloton programme for multiple bike racing would be a good fit for spas with studio space. It requires an average of five static bikes and a projector or LED screen with costs starting at £5,000 (US$7,540, €7,110).

Embedded Fitness
Embedded Fitness blends physical fitness with entertainment, new media, technology and gaming. Using interactive devices, users can play games while they exercise. Activities include ice-skating, rowing, dancing, trampolining and even basketball. With some devices the user can set a high score and use it to compete against others.

CEO Carla Scholten says: “Embedded Fitness is fun, but also therapeutic. For spas we prefer to make specially designed and personalised interactive rooms.”

The Dutch-based company already has an installation in Qatar and is looking to continue its global expansion in 2016.

 



Les Mills’ Immersive Fitness launched in 2014 and is available globally


Niamh Madigan is a multimedia journalist and fitness enthusiast

Email: niamhmadigan@leisuremedia.com
Twitter: @NiamhMMadigan


Originally published in Spa Business 2016 issue 1

Published by The Leisure Media Company Ltd Portmill House, Portmill Lane, Hitchin, Herts SG5 1DJ. Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385 | Contact us | About us | © Cybertrek Ltd