Last week, I had an opportunity to talk with 186 industry professionals at the 2022 Connected Health and Fitness Summit. They covered everything from AI-powered fitness to how gyms can improve member experience, and even new AI tech. There was one question that dominated it all:
What does fitness look like after a pandemic?
Although there were many ideas as to what the future of fitness looked like, there were some clear trends.
AI allows for personalization
The most popular topic was the focus of companies on providing more personal experiences using AI tech. Asensei is a company that created smart workout clothes tech that can access and analyze your movements to make improvements. This was one of the most impressive examples of this.
Steven Webster, Asensei’s CEO was on hand to talk about the soon-to be-released product.
Smart apparel partnership with Virus
I was able to see the potential for how this could be used (along with the company’s camera-analysis tech), which was very impressive.
A demo reel from Asensei older (what we actually saw was better).
Imagine clothing that can accurately learn the movements of an individual and give meaningful feedback in real time. AI from cameras helps coaches to better direct their attention and teach large groups online and in person. This upcoming technology has many possibilities.
Kemtai also showed its ‘Computer Vision AI tech, which allows you use your computer to access your movements and improve them. Although I’ve tried Kemtai before I was not familiar with its work with physical therapists. Its ‘Computer Vision’ AI tech allows you to access and improve your movement patterns at home.
Most of us don’t know if our physical therapy regimen is correct. We also lack the ability to see the progress of others and sometimes lose motivation to keep going.
Kemtai allows physical therapists to provide better guidance for their clients at home. It also provides accountability. If my physical therapist could see if I was following their instructions (and if I was not), I would be more inclined to follow them.
Although they were impressive, Asensi&Kemtai are just two of many possibilities for personalization via AI. Sweatworks and Muse shared their thoughts on how AI technology is improving our ability to approach fitness and health in order to improve people’s lives.
The future of the gym
Another topic of interest was the future of fitness and fitness studios after they were nearly all closed down during the pandemic. The main topic was ‘Omnichannel’, which is the name of the most popular fitness studios such as Barry’s Bootcamp and Club Pilates.
Being an Omnichannel fitness provider means being able offer members the freedom to design the experience they desire. This is similar in concept to the way many employees prefer a hybrid work schedule that includes both at-home and office days. Many people prefer a mixed approach to their fitness.
Many gyms and future studios are exploring ways to offer flexible programs that can be customized to your needs. A gym program could look something like this in the future:
- Register online to start the at-home welcome class. Your movement will be analyzed during the welcome program. You’ll receive a personalized program that can help you get started before you ever step foot into a class.
- The coach will be informed of any difficulties or limitations you have when you show up for a class. This will enable them to help you more effectively in a group class.
- Your class results will be analyzed and you have the option of taking more personal workouts at home.
Fitness in the metaverse
The future of fitness in metaverse was another topic that was frequently brought up. As headsets become more comfortable to wear than glasses, VR fitness will gain popularity. The potential experiences are more real and exciting.
My review of Les Mills BodyCombatVR
Although widespread adoption is still far off, it seems like everyone here doesn’t want to be behind once it happens. Les Mills and Liteboxer both recently released VR programs. I wouldn’t be surprised if others follow their lead in the coming years.
In many ways, the 2022 Connected Health and Fitness Summit provided a unique experience. This conference was not only the first to be held without a mask in many years but also it was in the middle of a major shift in the fitness industry and the conflict in Ukraine.
These founders and CEOs seem keen to understand what fitness looks like in a post-pandemic environment. Everyone seems to be confident that the future will offer more personalized omnichannel experiences and better AI tech as well as integration into Metaverse… but there’s still that feeling of uncertainty.
There is also an element of inspiration in this uneasiness. One silver lining to a pandemic is our increasing awareness of the importance of our health and fitness. While no one can predict the future of fitness, everyone seems determined. They want to reverse the trend of declining health and fitness in our countries. They want to create fitness experiences that matter.
To bring us together through connected fitness