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Fitness + Technology

Welcome to the Fitness + Technology Podcast for club owners, operators, and fitness professionals! This show is your #1 trusted resource for the accelerating world of fitness technology. We regularly bring you an expert interview with a global influencer at the crossroads of fitness and technology. You’ll get the insights, tools, and inspiration you need to stay connected to the pulse of what matters most for your fitness business in the age of exponential technologies. This podcast is brought to you by the Fitness Industry Technology Council, who is mobilizing resources to drive the fitness industry forward, and representing leading companies and organizations to success through collaboration. This show is supported by Bryan O'Rourke and his family of companies including Vedere Ventures, a boutique investment and advisory firm helping early mature and late stage enterprises, moon mission media a digital marketing firm dedicated to the fitness space, and Integerus Advisors. To learn more visit bryankorourke.com
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Now displaying: September, 2017
Sep 26, 2017

With the recent update for Apple's iOS 11, today on the podcast we're learning about what this means to the fitness industry from the Chief Information Officer & Vice President of Good Life Fitness, Steve Groves. If you're like most of us in the fitness space, you've been hearing rumors for months about how Apple has been gearing up to change the landscape of how we do business, take payments, collect activity data and engage our members using GymKit and opening up the bidirectional NFC reading capabilities, along with so much more.

On episode 047, we're exploring this pivotal subject in depth to uncover the real truth behind how club staff, front desk, trainers, and everyone that compliments a member's journey will now shortly be able to serve at a higher level, and save the member valuable time by using this bidirectional NFC for the creation of a truly "seamless experience" that so many in our industry have been asking for.  

This iOS update points the needle of progress in the right direction and opens up a future where using the iPhone to gain access to a club and all of its amenities with a simple fingerprint touch through the mobile device, is a reality.

Apple's NFC functions coming to the Apple Watch with watchOS 4, and iOS 11 might also be handling much more than just Apple Pay transactions and Passbook check-ins.

With over 2700 fitness technology companies listed on Angel List, and with the pivotal new updates for iOS 11, how do we get closer to clarity in a fast-expanding space? 

The answer to that question and much more takeaways for club owners, operators, and fitness pros in this episode with Steve Groves.

About Steve Groves

Steve Groves is the CIO & VP at Goodlife Fitness with over 20 years of success in bridging the logistical and communication gaps between business leaders and their technical teams in order to achieve results. Steve is a industry pro who specializes in collaborating with senior management and company boards to drive the strategic use of technology, both to support employees and to delight customers. Steve is an expert in uncovering "the art of the possible" in terms of using digital technology to personalize the customer experience. He is a creative thinker with an eye towards the technology trends on the horizon and has extensive experience in ICT service management, Internet strategy, digital media strategy, mobile application design, productivity consulting and management of high performance teams.

Listen To Episode 047 As Steve Uncovers

  • How to bridge the logistical and communication gaps between business leaders and their technical teams
  • How we can drive the strategic use of tech to support employees and delight customers
  • Ways digital technology is helping us personalize the customer experience
  • How apple and IOS 11 are affecting the fitness industry
  • Steve’s journey of rising to CIO of Good Life Fitness
  • The beginning stages of the World Wide Web
  • Enhancements in communication between workout equipment and the Apple Health Application
  • How AI is impacting the fitness space
  • Smart Activity Coaching with the Apple Watch
  • What we can learn from adjacent industries such as hospitality and retail
  • How tracking may revolutionize personal training
  • How Bi-directional NFC will create a more seamless user experience
  • How Apple and Samsung are mimicking the capabilities of RFID chips within their phones
  • Why a large portion of club operators are slow to adopt new technologies
  • The need to fail fast and quickly abort projects that aren’t working

Top 3 Takeaways From The Show

  • Club owners and operators are at the beginning of an exponential increase in data communication with cardio equipment, the Apple Watch, and Apple’s Health App as the connectivity of wearables and other fitness and wellness technology open up new API's and data silos beyond the 4 walls of the club. 
  • When it comes to game-changing advancements in the fitness technology space, it's important to keep a close watch on what Apple is up to in the next 6 months. The new iOS 11 updates are driving more precision accuracy standards to be established for wearables including heart rate information, treadmill speeds, and other activity data sets that will be fed into Apple's HealthKit and used by tech-savvy fitness organizations. 
  • It’s important for all of us in the industry to remain curious regarding the future of technology so we can make the appropriate decisions from a budgeting and directional standpoint. However, Steve reminds us that trying to look too far out over the horizon is irrelevant, as the advancements in AI, robotics, and image technologies make it virtually impossible to predict how tech will transform the world in 10+ years. One thing is for sure, if there is change happening at the intersection of fitness and technology, by listening to this show you'll be connected to the pulse of what matters most for your fitness business.

Power Quotes From Steve

"I think for many of us, the holy grail of monitoring our health will be automatic tracking of what we ingest." - Steve Groves on the Fitness + Technology Podcast

"If I could take everything that I’ve learned over the past 5 years and apply it to one roll in our company, it would be personal training.Steve Groves on the Fitness + Technology Podcast

What many of us in the technology space are trying to do is eliminate friction from various transactions that happen within our clubs." Steve Groves on the Fitness + Technology Podcast

Experimentation comes with failure.  For whatever reason, I don’t think the culture of our industry is able to tolerate that very well.  I’m hoping we start to see more companies that are willing to experiment with different technologies.  Even when they fully know certain tech won’t work properly or be adopted by their members." Steve Groves on the Fitness + Technology Podcast

"We have to recognize when something isn’t working, and be willing to kill a failed project within 30-60 days at the most." Steve Groves on the Fitness + Technology Podcast

Members look to us as fitness and wellness experts. We can’t only focus on the 2-3 hours a week they are using the facility. Organizations need to to think about the time their members spend outside of the gym." - Steve Groves on the Fitness + Technology Podcast

Resources Mentioned From Steve

Thanks To Our Outstanding Sponsors

  • Bryan O’Rourke and his family of companies including Vedere VenturesIntegerus Advisors, and many more. If you are looking for unmatched guidance, capital, insights or a great speaker or facilitator, Bryan and his partners are the go to resource for your organization. To learn more visit bryankorourke.com
  • The Fitness Industry Technology Council, your non-profit resource for reliable technology information supported by forward looking brands who are seeking to drive increased technology adoption in the fitness industry. Make a difference and join FIT-C at fittechcouncil.org today
  • Check out Bryan and his partner Robert Dyer's recent book "9 Partnership Principles: A Story of Life Lessons" which is available now on Amazon.com

Become A FIT-C Podcast Sponsor

Sep 19, 2017

Today we're learning from Leon Rudge, the Director of Digital Experience at Life Fitness on the 10 steps to implementing a digital fitness strategy. We've had double digits of expert guests provide so much value over the past 40+ shows in this category of digital strategy and tools, but on today's show we're going laser and concise to extract the 10 powerful steps that club owners, operators, and trainers can build from the ground up when they look at the actual technologies in our space that will support growing both the bottom line and the customer journey and experience for members.

Be sure to explore all the different resources and white paper links from Leon in the podcast today and if you've been enjoying the series, leave us a five star review for the podcast; it helps the show reach more intelligent and proactive fitness leaders like you. You can also ask myself, Bryan O'Rourke, Leon, or any of the previous guests who've been on the show a question by simply typing in your question in the review box.

In an industry that seems to be fairly static, and at times even paralyzed by the over information about fitness technology, what are the practical and on-the-ground steps that fitness leadership can take to successfully implement a digital fitness strategy?

The answer to that question and much more takeaways for club owners, operators, and fitness pros in this episode with Leon Rudge.

About Leon Rudge

Leon Rudge is the Director of Digital Experience at Life Fitness. He is part of a global team of digital technology experts who work hard every day to understand how they can bring more clarity, insight and experience to the fitness industry, their customers and their exercisers. Leon Brings over seven years of deep experience in the fitness industry.

Listen To Episode 046 As Leon Uncovers

  • Why leon believes there is so much confusion about digital technology from vendors and operators
  • The 10 Steps To Implementing A Digital Fitness Strategy
    • 1. Raise Awareness
    • 2. Create Your Digital Team
    • 3. Asset Discovery
    • 4. Member Centricity
    • 5. Destroy Your Own Business
    • 6. Create Your Vision
    • 7. Create Your Strategy
    • 8. Create Your Digital Core
    • 9. Communicate the Vision
    • 10. Do It Again
  • How Leon grew his skills in digital marketing and what that gave him to now serve the fitness industry 
  • Why Leon believes the fitness industry has become "too static"
  • Why Leon sees it's most important in the age of technology to fail fast, learn fast and fix fast as you move forward
  • The value of autonomy and giving yoursefl the permission to fail when it comes to driving tech solutions 
  • How to identify the "quick wins early" in in asset dicovery 
  • Why the new entrants listen firstand build second 
  • Why the fitness indsurty has been slow to the omnichannel aspect for retargeting ads across social and Google  
  • Understadbning Leon's term "Thinking Like An Exerciser" 
  • Deliniating the custmer journey vs. the customer experience 
  • The paradigm of owning vs. sharing the value in digital fitness  

Top 3 Takeaways From The Show

  • Leon shares that digital is a massive revenue generating category but it's important not to get too hung up on this fact in the early months of your journey. You’ll need to learn before you can earn. If you put earning first, you will blind yourself to the fact that you're actually just trying to understand how to fundamentally change the way you interact with your members, and they interact with your business. You’ll figure the revenue models out soon enough after you've done the deeper work and the ten steps towards implementing a digital fitness strategy.
  • In terms of digital health and fitness, Leon sees a confused industry but even worse, he sees a number of companies capitalizing on the confusion. This compounded confusion he sees slowing the adoption of digital tech our space and leaving us vulnerable to disruptive new market entrants. What we must do as an industry is seek clarity about what technologies will serve why we do and how we want to do it. Getting clear on the customer journey and experience before ever selecting a piece of technology will help operators and owners transcend this confusion.
  • When it comes to creating a successful and sustainable digital fitness strategy in the club, knowing more about your digital self than you ever have before is an important context. Operators and trainers must to create a culture of being able to fail fast, learn fast, and fix fast to innovate and thrive in the digital world. It's important to remember that it's okay to fail in the digital world, but  you've just got to fail quickly. I always encourage operators owners and trainers to start small, then test, measure, and learn to iterate fast.

Power Quotes From Leon

"We've got some great minds in this business, dedicated people that have worked in the industry for decades, but the members are changing, societies changing, everything's changing and some of the things that we put in place aren't necessarily always going to be right."   - Leon Rudge on the Fitness + Technology Podcast

"In terms of digital health and fitness, I see a confused industry but even worse, I see a number of companies capitalizing on the confusion. The compounded confusion is slowing the adoption of digital tech our space and leaving us vulnerable to disruptive new market entrants."  - Leon Rudge on the Fitness + Technology Podcast

Resources Mentioned From Leon

Thanks To Our Outstanding Sponsors

  • Bryan O’Rourke and his family of companies including Vedere VenturesIntegerus Advisors, and many more. If you are looking for unmatched guidance, capital, insights or a great speaker or facilitator, Bryan and his partners are the go to resource for your organization. To learn more visit bryankorourke.com
  • The Fitness Industry Technology Council, your non-profit resource for reliable technology information supported by forward looking brands who are seeking to drive increased technology adoption in the fitness industry. Make a difference and join FIT-C at fittechcouncil.org today
  • Check out Bryan and his partner Robert Dyer's recent book "9 Partnership Principles: A Story of Life Lessons" which is available now on Amazon.com

Become A FIT-C Podcast Sponsor

Sep 12, 2017

With the fitness industry poised to further expand its impact and transformation within the wellness industry space, we're growing smarter today from one of the world's most influential minds in the active healthy lifestyle sector, Lee Embley, to discuss the best-of-the-best takeaways from his 40+ years around technology innovation and digital trends.

With his impressive body of work, he is now leading a mission to connect the role of fitness to an even larger ecosystem of wellness, driven by artificial intelligence and big data sets through his up and coming platform Optimal AI Coach.

We know now more than ever that fitness has been and will always be a powerful and integral piece in what is at the core of all club member's goals, which is to be healthy and well in their body, mind, and spirit, so on this podcast we're excited to unpack the nuances of what Lee believes is the "biggest miss" right now in the fitness industry, how human longevity plugs into our standard fitness models, why the ultimate value proposition for wearable technology is wellness and not just fitness, and how Lee's own health journey has inspired him to radically shift his focus in the coming years.

With fitness industry experiencing the most radical transformation in decades, what are the most powerfully distilled concepts that club owners, operators, and fitness professionals must understand when it comes to fitness and wellness technology? 

The answer to that question and much more takeaways for club owners, operators, and fitness pros in this episode with Lee Embley.

About Lee Embley 

Over the past three decades Lee Embley has been innovating and influencing the bleeding edge in the Active Healthy Lifestyle Sector, building brands in retail, connected-tech, digital-media, and financial-services, including the following:

ProWoman Sports USA first all women sporting goods retail brand, merchandising functional design, fashion and leisure wear, early footwear product development with ProWoman Strider the first women lasted track and field running shoe, equipment to the fit-active female market. PWS became the first national sales organization to secure a exclusive distribution with hundreds of colleges and universities with female specific sports programs. Acquired, Tennis Lady Group UK. 

Lee also developed the First e-Commerce business model "Network Credit Service,"providing credit reports to small business via, major information hubs i.e. CompuServ, Dow Jones Newsnet. NCS provided 500,000 businesses via trade associations and national franchises system achieving a $53MM in second year revenue. (Acquired by TRW New Credit Service)

Mr. Embley founded the NCSB, the first sports, performance, data and evaluation platform. An athletic scouting and evaluation system to enable high school athletes who are not recruited a system to evaluate their athletic skills by professional scouts. Acquired, Pro-Serve, as well as "Radiance Rewards," the first AHL credit cards for health fitness conscious women.

His work continued with Leap4Life the first "Wearable Marketplace" designed for the health and fitness consumers to fully experience the motivation of active lifestyle. L4L hacked and mitigated the sustained engagement factor with a unique combination of attributes. The methodology and technology applied data science and social to achieve success.

His latest body of work is the "Optimal AI Coach: O.AI.C" an application to enhance fitness and performance through deep learning and integration of lifestyle data via technology. All the data collections are in place, wearable, mobile, retail to create the next generation highly personalized coaching system.

Listen To Episode 045 As Lee Uncovers

  • Why Lee's "S.T.E.E.P. model" is still viable today as the pressures on the human condition are quite profound
  • How Lee constructed his business strategies based on this analytical model he adopted while at McKinsey
  • How understanding the S.T.E.E.P. analysis will define a way to determine shifts triggered by seminal events in Social, Technological, Economic, Ecological, and Political segments. 
  • How these five pillars are cornerstones of every civilization and how technology can support
  • Unpacking what Lee sees as the "Fatal Flaw" in fitness: A lack of sustained engagement for clubs 
  • The impact of wearables vs. the impact of active healthy lifestyle data: what happens with the new era of AI and how it will change operators everyday tasks
  • Exploring pattern recognition via wearables
  • Microdata vs. Macrodata: Understanding the data sets of the human ecosystem 
  • Exploring the trends in women's fitness "from beauty to strength" transition 
  • The "Big Miss" and why using relevant data sets in fitness is ripe for disruption
  • Challenging the paradigm of seeing technology as a threat to the 4 walls to monetizing member's outside of them 
  • Plugging in human longevity to the standard fitness model through intrinsic motivation 
  • The Optimal AI Coach: Lee's bleeding edge technology platform that will use accelerated data sets to help shift fitness into wellness
  • Understanding "Game Theory" models when contrasted with Self Determination Theory 
  • Why the ultimate value proposition for wearables will be wellness from the data not just fitness 
  • How Lee's battle with Stage 4 Cancer has inspired the emotional, physoical, 

Top 3 Takeaways From The Show

  • Lee reminds us that the need for speed creates new value. “Things” only have value when they are put in motion. Anything standing still is valueless, be it money, inventory, information, an empty hotel room, data, machinery, technology, people.
  • Early warning systems are designed to foretell of impending disaster. Those in any industry who ignore the warnings will eventually fail, as seen with the assault on the retail sector which is not a surprise. Lee’s strategy is to identify weakness or obsolesce within a sector under siege and define alternative strategies. Always focused on the evolution of the consumer of the product or service enables Lee or any savvy professional to spot an early trend before it grows into a recognizable market.
  • With a large focus on collecting data, Lee believes that it's the use of pattern recognition via artificial intelligence that will truly guide the transformation in our fitness industry to serve an even larger ecosystem of wellness. When we look at the wearable tech component, this is the area that is most ripe for disruption. Lee believes that the active lifestyle persona must be taken into consideration including their body, mind, and spiritual capacities in order for technology to serve their deepest needs. With the exponential growth in wearable technology's ability to support these three capacities the future of fitness and wellness technology is both inspiring and promising.

Power Quotes From Lee

"When it comes to connecting the dots of success for technology, it's distilled down to one term and that is relevance. If there's not relevance, then at the end of the day then there's no sustainability. The real issue is properly determining where each generational segment is focused on the spectrum of the active healthy lifestyle" - Lee Embley on the Fitness + Technology Podcast

"Anything standing still is valueless. It doesn't matter whether it's people standing still, money standing still, information standing still. The only way it gets value is when you put it in motion. The reason there are thousands of brands in the graveyard is because they could not accept the fact that the change was upon them."  - Lee Embley on the Fitness + Technology Podcast

"You have to start with the question 'where am I and my capital at risk?' and then get into some significant valuation. Forecasting the economy does not necessarily mean that your segment of the economy is going to be disrupted."  - Lee Embley on the Fitness + Technology Podcast

Resources Mentioned From Lee

Thanks To Our Outstanding Sponsors

  • Bryan O’Rourke and his family of companies including Vedere VenturesIntegerus Advisors, and many more. If you are looking for unmatched guidance, capital, insights or a great speaker or facilitator, Bryan and his partners are the go to resource for your organization. To learn more visit bryankorourke.com
  • The Fitness Industry Technology Council, your non-profit resource for reliable technology information supported by forward looking brands who are seeking to drive increased technology adoption in the fitness industry. Make a difference and join FIT-C at fittechcouncil.org today
  • Check out Bryan and his partner Robert Dyer's recent book "9 Partnership Principles: A Story of Life Lessons" which is available now on Amazon.com

Become A FIT-C Podcast Sponsor

Sep 5, 2017

For episode 044 we're excited to bring you one of the most sought after leaders in our space for an important discussion around data collection accuracy and its relationship to the growing demand for AI and machine learning in the fitness industry.

We're talking with our returning guest, Dave Wright, the CEO of MYZONE for his second appearance on the show to explore the impact of collecting fitness data for practical use, the difference between incidental versus concerted activity when we look at fitness consumer activity,  where the gaps are in adoption and how our industry can rise to the demand for true omnipresence.

We're also uncovering how MYZONE is proactively educating fitness professionals and leaders on how to take in the right data set, understand it, and use technology to support executing a sustainable health and fitness experience for the new era of our consumers.

With more data sets being delivered than ever before, what are the most important ones and what do fitness leaders, trainers, and operators really get to pay attention to not only for ROI, but to deliver an enhanced customer experience?

The answer to that question and many more takeaways for club operators, owners, and fitness professionals in this episode with Dave Wright.

About Dave Wright 

Dave Wright is the CEO & owner of Creative Fitness Marketing, a global company with offices in the UK, Australia and North America that has served the international fitness community since 1990, specifically helping people be more and stay more physically active. 

He is also the CEO and creator of MYZONE® - a cloud based and wearable technology "Physical Activity Heart Rate Monitor & Fitness Tracker," used to monitor and increase exercise adherence.  As a health club operator with 10 health clubs, and a board director of the UK’s Fitness Industry Association, an international presenter, Dave is featured regularly in international trade magazines.

Listen To Episode 044 As Dave Uncovers

  • Why Dave believes that the wearable accuracy still has room to improve in order to achieve comprehensive functionality through "trustable" accuracy
  • Incidental vs. concerted activity: Exploring the different segments of fitness consumer's movement activity 
  • Understanding the 8 aspects of MYZONE's success for club owners and operators: 
    • Products
    • User communication
    • Group display
    • Intuitive reporting
    • Effort points (MEPs) 
    • Operator resources
    • Best practices
    • User interface
  • Why time sedentary vs. active is one of the top three activity metrics any club owner or operator should be tracking
  • The true standards of what really measures physical activity via World Health Organization
  • Why Dave believes that the future of fitness technology will align with health insurance industry 
  • Exercise adherence: what tech-based programs will deliver in 2018  
  • Artificial Intelligence + Machine Learning: how MYZONE is taking a deeper look into utilizing these technologies to serve the fitness industry
  • New developments around wearable tech in our industry
  • Education for fitness professionals: MYZONE's educational curriculum in fitness and technology
  • Virtual coaching & biometrics remotely monitored by a coaches: how dave sees biometric data being used specifically around coaching 
  • How MYZONE has integrated Facebook to the customer journey
  • Identifying the gaps for improvement and opportunity in regards to fitness data collection
  • What data collection methods will be of most service to both the end-user and the coach or fitness professional
  • Commonality of technology requests in regards to functionality they are looking for
  • What is the deeper technology functionality that will benefit club owners and fitness pros in 2018

Top 3 Takeaways From The Show

  • As operators and owners begin to use wearables and data sets more and more via incidental and concerted activity from their fitness consumers, Dave believes the most important thing is attaining trustable data. Your database in order for artificial intelligence or machine learning to be leveraged powerfully must be cleaned and trustable. Once these data sets are verified as being "clean" then you can start plugging in long-term behavior change strategies for the customer's journey.
  • For savvy club owners and operators, as well as tech-minded fitness professionals, gathering all the right information about fitness and technology can be challenging at times. In addition to the Fitness + Technology Podcast, Dave suggests partitioning time for dedicated research around fitness tech trends by simply going to the Kickstarter website where you will see the intentions and possibilities around fitness tech in our space. Now is the time to set aside calendar blocks for this research, as staying on top of tech trends will help drive fitness facility and career success as AI and machine learning useage exponentially grow.
  • With the rise of demand from all customer segments who want that seamless omnipresence from clubs both at home and inside the 4 walls, Dave sees that we are extremely behind the curve as an industry. He spoke to us about the "frictionless experience," otherwise known as the use of automatic triggers combined with machine learning and AI technology that will deliver seamless interactions required between the customer's exercise, activity, and lifestyle data sets that will change the way we do fitness, forever. 

Power Quotes From Dave

"Meeting the customer where they are is the most important thing in the age of technology. As an industry, currently one defendable position we have is not our bricks and mortar, it's our knowledge and our motivational skills including the ability for the trainer to spot, help, and support their customers personally."  - Dave Wright on the Fitness + Technology Podcast

"If the data is not accurate then it's very hard to apply any form of machine learning. As operators and owners you might have various records on your database, but if that database is not cleaned and checked to make sure you can run credible data off the backend (with the same applying for any data from biometrics) then you can't yet start looking at behavior trends. Yet, that's the most exciting part of it, where we can start to spark really powerful change with the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning." - Dave Wright on the Fitness + Technology Podcast

"What are the limitations and why is it, as an industry, that for the best part of 50 years that 50% of all the people that join clubs now in January actually leave by November, or even stop exercising for April and May? It fascinates me as a business that it costs seven times more money to get a new member to your club then to keep an existing one, yet so much of the membership campaigns in health clubs around the world are just focused on filling the top end of the bucket, rather than asking how can we stop the flow of members out the back door." - Dave Wright on the Fitness + Technology Podcast #015

Resources Mentioned From Dave

Thanks To Our Outstanding Sponsors

  • Bryan O’Rourke and his family of companies including Vedere VenturesIntegerus Advisors, and many more. If you are looking for unmatched guidance, capital, insights or a great speaker or facilitator, Bryan and his partners are the go to resource for your organization. To learn more visit bryankorourke.com
  • The Fitness Industry Technology Council, your non-profit resource for reliable technology information supported by forward looking brands who are seeking to drive increased technology adoption in the fitness industry. Make a difference and join FIT-C at fittechcouncil.org today
  • Check out Bryan and his partner Robert Dyer's recent book "9 Partnership Principles: A Story of Life Lessons" which is available now on Amazon.com

Become A FIT-C Podcast Sponsor

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