The driving force behind consumer interest in virtual fitness is no mystery. A quarter of all fitness facilities closed during the pandemic, driving consumers to virtual experience and apps to care for their wellbeing.
Although fitness facilities are easily accessible now, the interest in virtual fitness shows no signs of fading. In fact, the global virtual fitness market is projected to grow 27% by 2030 — making this a great time to get into virtual fitness.
Let's explore the value of incorporating virtual fitness into your fitness business, the current trends in virtual fitness workouts, and the top virtual fitness platforms that can inspire your business. Whether you are looking to expand your offerings or want to stay ahead of the curve, this is the guide for you. Let's dive in and discover the exciting world of virtual fitness!
What Is Virtual Fitness?
Virtual fitness is to exercise what teleconferencing is to office work. You can think of it as a Zoom call, but with a lot more sweat.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that every virtual workout is a two-way video chat. Virtual fitness training can take many different forms, and you can choose which setup is best for your business. There are several options you can consider.
Like the Buns of Steel workout tapes that were so popular back in the 90s, today’s pre-recorded workouts provide on-demand exercises guided by professional trainers. They are typically designed to demonstrate the correct form and cadence for specific exercises. These workout videos are an easy way to get started with virtual fitness since once you’ve recorded the video there is very little work needed to run the program.
Live Fitness Training
Live fitness training takes things further than just watching a video. This form of virtual fitness uses a live feed of the instructor via a streaming platform. Often, live fitness training involves large groups of participants each following a specific exercise format (such as Pilates), but one-on-one live training are also an option. Live fitness training is a great way to make your users feel connected to your brand.
Online Personal Fitness Training
Overlapping slightly with some of the more in-depth live training options, online personal fitness training is the remote equivalent of working directly with a dedicated personal trainer. The trainer provides a detailed workout program tailored to your unique goals and fitness level. Back-and-forth communication helps ensure that your users are performing the exercises correctly and that they have a direct source for answers and support. This kind of virtual fitness may also include personalized nutrition coaching and other services.
Naturally, individual fitness providers will offer different variations on these categories. What remains constant in virtual fitness is the idea of accessibility. No matter what may be preventing someone from going to the gym, virtual fitness options make it possible for them to achieve a satisfactory workout without having to leave their home.
The Advantages of Offering Virtual Fitness Options
If you own or operate a fitness organization, then each of the benefits mentioned above should have you thinking about one major benefit to your business: Expanding your customer base. Virtual fitness is opening up the fitness industry to clients who have traditionally been overlooked. Those with specific needs, preferences, and concerns regarding in-person fitness represent an untapped stream of revenue.
Just be aware that this revenue source is unlikely to remain untapped — the online and virtual fitness market is expected to reach $79 billion by 2026. In other words, what is currently a competitive differentiator may easily become a core service offering of successful fitness institutions in the next few years. Understanding how to maximize online engagement and improve virtual fitness brand awareness will play an important role in ensuring that your virtual fitness options are profitable.
Virtual Fitness Trends
Feeling great is always in style — but how people like to move changes over time. Tapping into fitness trends is a great way to help your business stay relevant to current and new customers alike. Some of the trends you can harness right now include:
Streaming services were among the most disruptive new technologies of the last decade, allowing viewers to enjoy content when and where they want it. Streaming can have a similar impact on exercise enthusiasts through pre-recorded training videos on demand. Many of these services are free of charge while others require a subscription.
There are few physical feats as monumental as scaling Mt. Everest. For those who want the bragging rights but aren’t interested in putting themselves in mortal danger, Everesting is a popular virtual alternative. Everesting is very simple — using a stationary bike or a treadmill, you attempt to climb the equivalent of the 8,848m elevation height of Mount Everest in a single session. Virtual fitness apps can help you chart and log your progress.
Exercising from home doesn’t mean you have to stay in your home. Get out and enjoy nature by relocating your workout regimen to the great outdoors. From walking and running, to climbing, to just about any other form of exercise you can think of, getting outside can provide a much-needed change of scenery along with wellness-boosting sunlight and fresh air. Mobile smart devices even allow you to remain connected to your virtual fitness solution when away from your home Wi-Fi.
Virtual fitness doesn’t have to be a solitary experience. Online fitness classes that cater to families are becoming increasingly popular as parents and children work together to improve their health.
Want to enjoy something that you might otherwise consider strenuous or dull? Trick your brain by turning it into a game. Virtual reality technology is “gamifying” fitness, giving players an enticing choice of virtual worlds and scenarios to choose from as they exercise their real-world bodies. There are many VR programs available that create a healthy workout when used, and thanks to the growing metaverse, VR users can even work out with others remotely using virtual avatars in fully 3D environments.
Top Virtual Fitness Platforms
Fitness providers looking to add virtual fitness experiences can learn a lot from the success of existing platforms. A few of the most popular services out there right now include:
- 305 Fitness At Home
- Active by POPSUGAR
- Be.come Project
- Crunch Live
- Obé Fitness
- Yoga Download
Gym owners looking to get into the virtual fitness space can take note of the features offered by established platforms. You can either choose to emulate these offerings, or use that information to decide how your offer will be distinct.
Expand The Reach of Your Business
Health and fitness have changed a lot in the past few years, but one thing that will never change is the need for accessibility. Virtual fitness solutions bring the advantages of in-person training, direction, motivation, and accountability home to those who aren’t able to safely or comfortably visit the gym. This is opening up new possibilities for fitness entrepreneurs.
Interested in bringing more customers to your gym? Gympass gives people access to all kinds of gyms, studios, and even wellness apps to round out their fitness experience. Learn more about the revenue streams Gympass can bring to your business.
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- Eatough, Erin. (September 7, 2021). Virtual workouts bring fitness wherever you are. BetterUp. Retrieved February 15, 2023 from https://www.betterup.com/blog/virtual-workout.
- Santora, Jacinda. (June 17, 2021). 10 Virtual Fitness Software, Tools, and Platforms to Explore Your Fitness Business. Influencer MarketingHub. Retrieved October 3, 2023 from https://influencermarketinghub.com/virtual-fitness-software-tools/.
- Smith, Sami. (January 28, 2022). How Many Health Clubs, Gyms, and Studios Closed in 2021. iHRSA. Retrieved October 3, 2023 from https://www.ihrsa.org/improve-your-club/industry-news/how-many-health-clubs-gyms-and-studios-closed-in-2021/.
- The Online/Virtual Fitness Market Is Expected To Reach $79 Billion By 2026 With The Rising Penetration Of Smart Devices As Per The Business Research Company's Online/Virtual Fitness Global Market Report 2022. (March 22, 2022). GlobeNewswire. Retrieved October 3, 2023 from https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2022/03/22/2407884/0/en/The-Online-Virtual-Fitness-Market-Is-Expected-To-Reach-79-Billion-By-2026-With-The-Rising-Penetration-Of-Smart-Devices-As-Per-The-Business-Research-Company-s-Online-Virtual-Fitness.html.
The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.