The Future of Fit

Technology trends transforming the fitness industry

In an era where technology permeates every aspect of our lives, the fitness industry is no exception. From wearable devices to artificial intelligence (AI), technological advancements are reshaping the way gyms and their members approach health, fitness, and wellness. In a study by researchers at Northwestern University, they found that technology is more motivating than conventional motivational techniques, enhancing health and helping people achieve their goals.

In this blog, we’re exploring key technology trends revolutionizing the fitness industry and how gyms, clubs, and studios can leverage these innovations to enhance their businesses.

Artificial Intelligence

It’s impossible to have a conversation about technology these days without AI playing a significant role. When it comes to AI and fitness, there are typically two different categories — human pose estimation and personalized training programming.

Movement tracking isn’t limited to just smart wearables anymore thanks to AI-based human pose estimation technology, which analyzes the position of a body through visual input. This technology can be used to enhance workouts by providing a real-time analysis of movements and suggestions on how to improve form.

Personalized training programming on the other hand uses AI-based machine learning to take user’s data and create personalized workout and health plans, whether creating a schedule of exercises, suggesting recovery periods, or tracking diet plans. This level of customization ensures users receive the most effective and efficient workouts tailored to their specific needs and fitness goals.

While AI personalization offers immense benefits, ethical considerations like potential bias in algorithms need to be considered. Companies using AI need to ensure transparency and fairness in their implementation.

Wearable Devices

Wearable devices have become ubiquitous in the fitness industry. The American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal has declared wearable technology as the No. 1 trend for the fitness industry in 2024 and has been a mainstay in the top three trends since 2016. These devices not only monitor basic metrics like steps taken and calories burned but also provide valuable insights into heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels, providing a holistic view to design targeted programs and boost member satisfaction.

Many fitness brands have integrated wearable devices into their programs and offerings for members, giving them a real-time, personalized snapshot of their workouts and the ability to track patterns and trends in their metrics over time. This kind of data is invaluable to members, enhancing their experience and fostering accountability and motivation.

As this new technology continues to evolve, battery life limitations and data privacy concerns are two areas to pay special attention to when considering incorporating wearable technology into your business.

Orangetheory Fitness embraced wearable fitness technology early on through their OTbeat Burn™ heart rate monitors

Data and Applications

When it comes to any aspect of fitness, there’s an app for that. Apps not only serve as an extension of in-person services for gyms, clubs, and studios, but they are also a vehicle for key data and metrics that can transform a typical gym session into a more effective and personalized experience. According to a 2023 survey by Morning Consult, 47% of people use fitness applications, and of those 47%, most said they use fitness apps every day.

Having a way to share real-time data with your members can be transformational for their gym experience, providing individualized coaching even in group settings where there may only be one instructor. Members today are looking for a data-driven approach to fitness that empowers them to take control over their own health and wellness.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality (VR) isn’t just a fun new technology for gamers; it’s transforming the fitness space as we know it — literally. Instead of doing the same workout in the same gym, VR and augmented reality (AR) can take a workout into the boxing ring, onto the beach, or even to outer space. It’s estimated that the virtual fitness market will reach $106.4 billion by 2030.

While VR puts you into a completely virtual space, AR uses a real-world setting and adds digital elements into it. Both of these technologies can enhance and improve the gym experience for members, whether motivating them with exciting experiences or providing a completely customizable workout catered to their goals and needs.

One downside of VR and AR technologies is that the cost can be too high for individuals to invest in on their own. This presents a great opportunity for gyms, clubs, and studios, though, to entice and engage members by providing this technology in a shared setting at a fraction of the cost.

Virtual Reality Workout

These technological developments and advancements will continue to redefine how we approach fitness and health. As we move into the future, it will be more important than ever for fitness brands and businesses to not only stay up to date with the latest equipment but to wholeheartedly embrace new technology in their gyms, clubs, and studios.

Integrating these new technologies into your business doesn’t have to be a drain on your finances, though. For 60 years, United Leasing & Finance has helped businesses of all sizes, including fitness franchises and independent gyms, stay ahead of technology trends without the financial strain of purchasing new equipment outright, giving your members a more effective and personalized experience that will keep them engaged and coming back for more.

About United Leasing & Finance

United Leasing & Finance is a customer-focused and growth-oriented leasing and finance company committed to providing custom financing solutions to businesses across the U.S. and Canada. For 60 years, United has partnered with clients to achieve mutual success from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies.