Ben Steadman has over 25 years of experience working in the fitness industry, driving innovation, directing brand strategy and driving sales. In 2020 Ben joined forces with colleague Phill Griffin to establish Inspace Fitness, a leading fitness equipment and service provider for the industry.
Inspace partner with some of the best brands in the sector to support operators with market leading equipment. This year, it added German-based, smart equipment manufacturer, Milon to its portfolio, solidifying itself as Milon’s exclusive UK distributor. As part of this new deal, Inspace will also take on the relationship with operators who have existing Milon equipment to reinvigorate the brand for members following Milon’s decade long hiatus from the UK market.
To find out more about what this means for the industry, we spoke with Inspace Managing Director, Ben Steadman about:
- The benefits of smart equipment
- How smart equipment can help operators improve their offering to members
- What we can expect to see more of on the gym floor in 2023
We’ve all heard of ‘Smart equipment’ but what does this term actually mean?
Smart equipment is actually a really simple concept. The term describes modern, easy to use, safe and effective equipment that simplifies training for everyone, no matter their ability.
How does smart equipment support the gym floor team in a way that standardised gym equipment cannot?
The current economic climate is presenting operators with multiple challenges, from rising energy costs to reduced member retention. This has had a knock-on effect on the number of PTs gyms are able to hire – meaning less support available to members on the gym floor.
This is where smart equipment steps in. The presence of smart fitness equipment means members can train both independently and confidently without the continuous assistance of a fitness professional.
The eco-system that surrounds the Milon equipment is a good example of this in play.
On a member’s initial introduction to the Milon intelligent equipment, the onboarding technology measures their body dimensions, detects customer’s specific problems, and accurately analyses the current condition of the person training. The combination of this data means the equipment can be automatically adjusted to the individual requirements of each user. Throughout their training, users also benefit from real-time feedback on the display screen that intuitively guides them as they move, providing a more effective workout.
Another way smart equipment can support gym floor staff is through the cloud-connected software, included with most smart equipment. This enables the on-the-floor team to monitor user’s performance, track machine usage and log progression– providing touch points to create greater rapport and connection with members, all while providing a more personalised service with less team members.
And what about for operators?
The presence of smart equipment within a fitness facility, provides operators with a straightforward way to retain current members while also creating avenues to attract and engage with new members.
For existing members, engaging with intelligent equipment means they are sure to be training correctly. Simply put, those that are training correctly are more likely to see results and members that are seeing results are likely to remain engaged and loyal to their fitness facility.
Likewise, the accessible, easy to use nature of smart equipment attracts a diverse array of potential new members into the gym, from the beginner to the experienced.
In both these ways, smart equipment can easily contribute to better member retention.
Working with Milon, we have seen first-hand the impact equipment of this kind can have on member engagement.
The River Bourne Club, Chertsey, which currently has the most up to date Milon Q Circuit installed, is the only gym in the area to offer smart equipment. This has acted as a great tool for attracting new customers who are fascinated by the technology and how it can benefit their health and fitness journey. Likewise, the community-based aspect of the Milon circuit has led multiple members to make friends with fellow gym goers on the kit, even teaming up to attended gym classes together as a result, staying engaged with their gym – it’s been a real success story!
This all sounds great, but it is a fact that smart equipment is expensive and at a time when operators are tightening their budgets how can they justify the cost of this equipment?
Smart equipment is a fantastic investment for any gym or fitness space, one that will quickly show a return.
From offering a competitive edge over other operators to providing members with a system that provides effective and efficient workouts, installing smart fitness equipment will only allow operators to enhance their offering.
Breaking the cost of the machines down against increased monthly memberships from new members, will highlight an increase in profit to operators and the investment will repay itself repeatedly.
Finally, what are your predictions for the gym floor in 2023?
My prediction is that intelligent equipment and connected fitness will become a more recognised form of training and we will see many more smart training technologies on the gym floor.
In turn, this will attract a more diverse members onto the gym floor who recognise that smart equipment can support them as they take the first steps of their fitness journey.