The 22 SERIES leverages Freemotion’s equipment expertise with iFIT’s vast content library, creating a user experience that’s more engaging than traditional cardio machines
As the fitness industry settles into its new normal post-pandemic, a couple of things have become clear: digital content is here to stay and people are working out in more places than just the gym.
For gyms and studios looking to compete in the digital era, delivering an omnichannel fitness experience is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity.
Peggy Vo, Director of Global Marketing for Freemotion, has noticed that over the past year, fitness operators have started to fully embrace the idea that they need to provide their members with access to content inside and outside the four walls of the facility.
“The conversation has shifted from, ‘I need to replace my treadmills’ to ‘I need a digital solution,’” Vo says of the recent discussions she and the Freemotion team have had with operators.
Freemotion, the commercial equipment branch of iFIT, is helping gyms, studios and other fitness facilities deliver an omnichannel solution with its 22 SERIES. The 22 SERIES features six connected cardio machines – an incline trainer, REFLEX treadmill, elliptical and three bikes including the popular CoachBike – all of which come equipped with HD touchscreen displays and access to iFIT workout content.
The idea behind the 22 SERIES is to leverage Freemotion’s equipment expertise with iFIT’s vast content library, creating a user experience that’s more engaging than traditional cardio machines.
Members working out on 22 SERIES machines can choose from iFIT’s entire library of thousands of coach-led workouts, including content from Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps and ultrarunner Tommy Rivers Puzey. iFIT films its own fitness and wellness content, sending its trainers to countries on all seven continents, including some exotic and exciting locales. Popular content includes “Everest: A Trek to Base Camp,” an 18-part incline treadmill series where iFIT guides lead participants up Mount Everest, and the “Carolina Blue Ridge Adventure Series,” a 12-workout series that takes stationary bike riders through the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Freemotion designed the 22 SERIES to pair specifically with iFIT content; machines feature auto-adjusting technology so things like speed and incline automatically change depending on what’s happening on-screen.
“We like to call it ‘auto-magic,’” Vo says. “If you’re doing a climbing workout the incline is automatically going to climb as the terrain is climbing. As an exerciser, you don’t have to think about anything.”
Users can manually adjust machine settings themselves if things become too hard or too easy, but Vo says iFIT workouts are created not just to be fun, but to help users achieve certain fitness goals with the help of expert trainers.
“If you follow the program it’s going to get you to a certain level,’’ Vo says. “Every program has been carefully designed by our trainers to achieve a certain goal.”
For example, Vo learned to run with proper form and technique by following an iFIT workout series.
“I did a series for a whole month on how to really hit the ground and then push off,” she recalls. “I also went to Egypt and learned all about the pyramids. It was amazing. If you have places on your bucket list, you can start ticking them off with iFIT.”
For fitness facilities, there are tangible benefits to stocking the cardio room with equipment that keeps members engaged and wanting to come back for more.
Vo compares the highly engaged member working out on Freemotion equipment to what she calls the “quick-start” member, or someone who goes to the gym, hops on a piece of cardio equipment and always does the same basic 30-minute run on the treadmill or ride on the stationary bike and calls it a day.
“Not only is that boring, but it doesn’t get you anywhere, because you’re not changing your level of fitness,” Vo says. “Freemotion and iFIT are so engaging because it’s changing all the time, and you just feel so satisfied at the end of it because the trainer was highly educational and gave you a lot of great tips.”
It’s no secret that higher levels of member engagement lead to better retention numbers for gyms.
“I’ve been in this industry for 20 years, and our biggest challenge has always been retention,” Vo notes. “If you can get the engagement, you can get the retention.”
Importantly, members working out on Freemotion equipment in-facility can take the experience home with them using the iFIT app and pick up right where they left off with their workouts. Freemotion even offers gyms the option of purchasing equipment along with membership-wide access to an iFIT subscription, giving members access to content whether they’re in the facility, at home or wherever else they may be working out.
“This is a perfect solution to keep up with your members who want to work out outside of the gym,” Vo says of the Freemotion-iFIT combo. “Members can do a workout series on Freemotion equipment (in-facility), but if they can’t come in next week for whatever reason, say they’re traveling, they can go to any hotel gym and run the iFIT program on another treadmill.”
Gyms and studios shouldn’t be concerned that their members are working out at home or in other places, Vo says. Hybrid fitness is an inevitability in the post-pandemic world, so operators should get ahead of the trend by making sure they’re the ones providing their members with access to fitness content.
“We tell our customers, ‘You need to have a digital solution because you’re going to lose your members if not,’” Vo notes. “You want them to use your digital solution and not someone else’s.”
To learn more about how you can offer your community a true omni-channel experience to enhance their lifestyle and differentiate your business, check out the 22 SERIES Cardio Line today.