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Three ways your gym can compete with the AI fitness movement

How do you compete with the rise in AI-powered fitness technology? We share our tips to attract and retain your gym members.

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With gyms opening and closing throughout 2020 and 2021, we’ve all been forced to become more imaginative with how we work out.

The U.S. has seen a 20% increase in the downloads of fitness-based mobile apps, as the artificial intelligence (AI) fitness movement continues to gain momentum.

However, even the most expensive fitness app can’t offer you two-way communication and group support in the way that in-person workout classes can. According to Strava, those who work out in groups tend to work out 10% longer than those working out alone.

So, how can you remind members of these benefits, making sure gym members return to your gym… and stay there?

What is AI-powered fitness?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a wide-ranging branch of computer science concerned with building smart machines capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence.

In the fitness world, this could mean anything from monitoring your activity and sending you appropriate notifications to using machine learning to adapt workouts based on your needs.

The range of AI-powered fitness technology means it’s available to anyone who has access to a smartphone and wants to stay fit.

AI and fitness: How is it changing the fitness world?

Working out at home is not a new concept, ask anyone who has put themselves through an 80s aerobic workout—headband and all.

Despite the questionable clothing, working out at home has always had a place in the fitness industry, and AI-powered fitness allows users to do this using more effective methods than ever before.

The pandemic shifted home workouts into a must-do for anyone wanting to stay fit, highlighting all the new AI-powered fitness technology on the market. AI-powered fitness has offered gym-goers an insight into life without gyms, and for many, there are huge benefits.

However, the downside is that while AI-powered fitness mimics human intelligence, it can’t replicate the connection found in a real gym with a real fitness coach and community.

After months of minimal contact with others, the support found in being part of a gym community offers members something even the most intelligent AI-powered technology can’t.

Increase attendance at your gym with SMS marketing

Most of us have been inundated with post-lockdown deals hitting our email inbox each day. The majority of the time we hit delete immediately, even if we did sign up to that yoga class once in 2017.

Instead of joining the thousands of email marketing campaigns, reach out via text. Not only will you automatically avoid the spam folder, but you can take advantage of the 98% open rate of text messages. Here’s how to take advantage of text marketing for gyms.

Use keywords to increase sign-ups

Make it as easy as possible to receive SMS messages from your gym by using a keyword. (A keyword is a word or phrase that customers can text in to get your messages.)

Keywords are one of the most effective ways to collect phone numbers so you can send prospective members updates, offers, and reminders and encourage current members to keep up their membership. Here’s an example of how it works..

Thank you for signing up to ST Gym updates! Get 15% off your next month with us by applying our promo code STNOW and following this link:

Send motivational messages to encourage attendance

We’ve all had days when we’ve struggled to motivate ourselves, even when we know it’s in our best interests to work out.

When using an AI fitness app, notifications are regularly used to send reminders to users to open the app. 

As a real gym run by real people, you can take it one step further and remind your gym members of your support through scheduled text messages. Create a schedule for texts to go out a couple of times a week and show your gym members that you care. 

Personalize the gym experience with two-way communication

Ideal for those looking to have their questions answered, or for personal training support, two-way messaging makes your gym a more personal experience than any app on the market. 

The community aspect of a gym is a huge pull factor that no AI fitness app can truly replicate.

Replying to texts is a great way to remind gym members of the humans behind their gym, and encourage them to have accountability for their attendance.

Gymtimidation’ is present in gyms across the US. Offering members the opportunity to have their questions answered via text will help to put their minds at ease before they even step foot in your gym.

Hi Jennifer, I just wanted to check in before your first PT session today. If you have any questions, please let me know. The ST Gym family can’t wait to welcome you later today!

Retain members by continuing with online classes

Gyms around the world had to shift their emphasis from in-person classes to online classes during the pandemic, and we recommend not giving this up.

There are many reasons that people will prefer to continue with online classes, and most of them will be outside of your control.

Instead of focusing your efforts on being completely in-person again, why not continue with a hybrid approach. You can host online classes a couple of days a week for those who prefer (or need) to stay at home. 

Local online gym classes not only offer the community aspect, but they also allow members the flexibility to progress to in-person classes when they’re ready. 

Encourage accountability with fitness challenges

Whether your members prefer online classes or offline classes, there’s nothing quite like a bit of healthy competition to get us into our workout gear.

Almost 50% of gym members cancel within their first six months, so retaining membership should be a priority.

Incentivize your gym members with win-a-prize competitions and challenges. From membership discounts to workout-wear vouchers, people not only love to win, but they also love to feel included in a group effort.

Send out an SMS to alert members of the challenge, set a date, and continue to motivate participants with reminders and updates.

Fitness AI will not be the end of gyms

We know that people love a workout buddy, but the challenge AI for fitness has presented to gyms and fitness centers around the world is undeniable.

The good news is that there is very little a fitness app can offer which most gyms can’t. From personalized support and training to online classes, the human element of gyms is hard to compete with.

Alice Dodd
Alice Dodd

Alice is a copywriter at SimpleTexting. When not teaching the world about the benefits of business texting, you can find her feeding family, friends and strangers with her latest baking experiment.

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