Fitness and Wellness Class: The Art of Professional Networking: Tips, Tales and Techniques

National Academy of Sports Medicine
National Academy of Sports Medicine
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Networking is not just about making connections. It is all about creating, building and establishing long-term, lasting relationships.
On this episode, host Fred Hoffman, MEd and gain valuable tips and resources to help you fine-tune your networking skills so you can broaden your reach in the health and fitness industry no matter where you are in your career.
Discover employment possibilities, where to find them, how to generate opportunities for career enhancement and growth, and which networking tools are essential for continued professional development.
Earn credits for listening to this podcast. Join NASM Connected and take the quiz for this session. It's that simple. Sign up today. https://nasm.co/36U8SjL

Welcome, everyone. I'm Fred Hoffman. And I'm pleased to have you in my session today at NASM optimum virtual conference. I'm speaking to you from Paris, France, where I live, I'm American, but I've been here for a long time. And I'm really happy that you joined my session today. And we've got a lot of stuff to talk about. It's a very pertinent topic, I believe, future of work in the fitness industry. And I have a lot of slides that obviously you will, if you'd like to take screen screenshots you can I recommend having pen and paper so you can take some notes as well. And we're going to get started because the hour is going to go by fast. So I just I will introduce myself very quickly. I am American, as I said, I've been living here 30 years, I went to school in Boston, I have a bachelor's degree in respiratory therapy and a master's in health education, and ended up going into the fitness industry and making a career out of it. And I own a consulting company here in Paris, but I work internationally consulted with health clubs and companies that have programs products, in fitness and health and wellness. I also do a lot of speaking at conferences, many are were actually International. So I did a lot of traveling, hopefully I'll get back to traveling as well. And I do writing I do a lot of different things. And I've been in the industry a long time. So I'm hoping to share some of my experiences with you today as well. And what I'm going through with this new situation that we're in a lot of us and and help some of you navigate through what the future of the industry looks like, as things go forward. So if you wanted to take a screenshot of this, you could I do recommend, and I know some of you are already doing this, but to use social media to your advantage, especially when you read conferences, I know that nasn would appreciate it as well, here are some of the places where you can contact me or engage with me and engage also during this conference. And what I always say to to participants as many times, you know, people like to know, especially your clients and your students, if you're teaching group exercise or small group training, that you're getting educated that you're attending conferences, so it's a great opportunity. So if you wanted to take a screenshot there, you could. So today's presentation, we're going to talk about what I call the elephant in the room. And I will talk about that in a minute. So I'm not going to tell you what that is the current state of the fitness industry, different demographics that we're going to be looking at both for your customers, clients and the workforce, technology and digital and artificial intelligence. And within those five topics, there's a lot of information just so that you know, I had already proposed this, this talk before COVID hit and the presentation I have now readapted to the COVID era era. But as I said in a previous presentation that I've done in previous presentations and recently, we're not going to be in COVID pandemic forever. We will be going back many of you maybe already have to in house, both for me for example for conferences, and also for work. And right now a lot of people have gone through a lot of changes myself included, as I mentioned, we in France were locked down for 55 days very, very strict lockdown and our gyms are open but I we went into lockdown on the 17th of March caught out on May 11. Our gyms in most of us have the country opened in early June in Paris. They opened June 15. And I will talk a little bit more about that in the presentation and the current state but I know everyone's a experiencing things at different times. So I am going to address again, the current situation, but also what things are going to look like, hopefully going forward. And one thing is that often people I get quoted a lot of times I get asked to be quoted in articles for the industry, etc. And people have asked me previously pre COVID.

So Fred, where do you see the fitness industry in 10 years? I always say, you know, I don't even know what it's gonna look like next year. And that is more true than ever. Now, I think, because things are so uncertain. And that doesn't necessarily mean it's negative, I don't want to paint a negative picture on this. I know it's been tough on a lot of people and continues to be, and then maybe for the near future, but it's also that the industry has changed so much, even pre COVID very rapidly. And the world has changed a lot. So I don't think we can predict that we have ideas, we're certain how things are going to be happening in the world. And that's even just talking about technology, artificial intelligence, etc. But we can only make some assumptions about how the fitness industry is going to move forward. But I hope that I can help you today give you some ideas of how to orient yourself and to feel good about the future and what it holds for you. So we're going to get started. So the elephant in the room? Yes, that is not my apartment. I know, it might look like it, but it's not. There's no elephant there. It is COVID. So what is the impact on the fitness industry, because that's everyone what is what everyone is talking about. So basically, it's affected everyone health clubs, fitness centers, PT classes, boot camp, I just didn't put them all here. But it's it, you know, recreation centers, university, clubs, gyms, anything that has any sports related, and besides everything else, besides restaurants and bars and all this. But in our industry, it's affected everything. And it's affected salaried staff, full time staff, and part time staff and independent contractors. 

And people who own their own businesses, huge chains of clubs are some state open, some didn't. Some people were laid off, some weren't their hours, were cut, etc. So it's affected everyone. And it's put everybody in a very strange place, because they're not sure what the future holds. The other thing that happened, as you know, is that everybody went online. And that was the first thing that I started happening. And I know that you did too many of you probably did. It was interesting, because everyone was asking me colleagues or friends, my friend, why aren't you doing something online. And I sat back and watched a little bit because I know that people had to, they have no money coming in. And they started throwing stuff up online. And unfortunately, in the beginning, and probably some of you saw this, or maybe were guilty of it didn't look professional, they weren't sure how to reach out to people. And sometimes I see people doing a live Facebook and enrolling two participants, for example. But we've learned from this, and that's what I my biggest takeaway is that we've learned from those experiences. And online obviously, had already been happening before COVID. Now, it happened in a big fast learning curve. And we're continuing to learn what works, what doesn't work, etc. Zoom, obviously learned as well, when people were getting hacked, when like, all of a sudden, they were doing a zoom fitness class and like a porno site would pop up on the screen. And those things happen, you know, so everybody's been learning, I actually took a free webinar about cybersecurity. And one thing that a lot of clubs and big companies, not just the fitness experience that people have a sudden were forced to go home right away, they didn't have a lot of preparation time. And they were using their own laptop, so they didn't have a secure connection anymore. So there was a lot of hacking, there were a lot of a lot of phishing going on, where people were a little bit more vulnerable, they didn't realize it. And with unsecure networks, just a lot of stuff went on. So it's been a big learning curve. And for clubs, one thing that I know for yourself, and not just clothes, but also any kind of business in the fitness industry, as the people are conducting a lot of their business online, but the ones that have been able to open again and that could be a gym, big health club chain, personal training studio, some of the boutique studios, cycling, martial arts, whatever it be, are now also proposing both a online and in person experience. And I do believe that that is what's going to happen. The other thing is a lot of people move to outdoor and that's great if you are in a climate where you can do that and continue to do that. I know that that's not the case in a lot of places and it might not be conducive. There also are laws that prohibit people from from conducting classes outside and public spaces etc. But this what I call the height hybrid model is what we've seen a lot of and I do believe that that is going to continue. There are people that, you know, still want to work out in the gym, there's people that are happy, not as well. So let's just talk about that for a second. One thing that we've seen in the industry, and these are statistics that have been done worldwide already on a small scale, and even from personal experiences that members and clients when we're talking about an in house experience would be a studio of big clubs, we've had about a third of the people let their membership run out, if it was time to renew, or they just said I don't care, I'm not going back, I'm scared. A third are waiting until it's safe, quote, unquote, to come back. And who knows when that could be for certain places. And the third came back as soon as it was possible. And I myself did that I was working out I was lucky in my where I live, there's an outdoor courtyard with a kind of a two level these kind of little garden areas that no one really uses. And there were enough stairs that I was doing my own hit training. And so I stayed in shape. And then I did some online stuff. Here I have a good friend who has a Pilates studio here in Paris and American another American in Paris Pilates prix de and she was inviting me to do some Pilates, which I never do. So I learned a new activity. And I'm sure people learn new stuff with you as well. And, but I miss doing my weight training, which I did, I had a lot of small equipment here. Being in the fitness industry at some of you as well, I'm sure you have a lot of equipment at home, that work to your advantage that might have also helped you when you were doing your presentations, to have stability, ball weights, body bars, steps, whatever be tr x. But I wanted to go back to the gym. And I did and I was worried. And when we first went back here in France, we did not have to wear a mask inside as a member, and I was uncomfortable was the first place I was going where I was the only place I stayed for any amount of time when I didn't have the mask on. Yet we had to wear masks going into stores and everywhere else here. And I'm telling you this just because of my personal experience, and I know some of you are maybe experiencing this or haven't yet, or your clients and your members are experienced these feelings. And then unfortunately, over the summer, our numbers have gone up a little bit, not much. But they've gone up and even in the last couple of weeks. So the city of Paris and other major cities in France have now imposed a mandate for masks indoors. Now, when you're working out or any sports related activities, this may be true where your businesses, you can take the mask off while you're actually doing the activity. But when you're walking around the club or moving machine machine, you need to have it on in my club, there are dividers between the cardio machines, so I don't wear the mask on that we don't have to. And but I'm when I'm working out I do because I'm in a small club, and I feel comfortable. So I'm saying this as well, because it's just these things that your clients and your your members, or new clients and new members who you're going to attract may be feeling and you yourself as well. And to know that so know as well. If you have reopened, that maybe you're not seeing people come back right away. That's kind of normal, what we're seeing worldwide, some people maybe never will, some people will want to continue their workouts at home that you've been providing. Or if you haven't been providing them, you're going to want to and we're going to talk about that as well. And some people again, as soon as you open up and come right back. So I took a little bit more time on this slide than I expected to. But I do think it's important because this is what's affecting us right now. And it's going to move us forward as we move through this pandemic and into the future as well. So another thing that happened, which was good is that there was a recognition of the importance of health and wellness for people because of Corbett, co morbidities. We were seeing that a lot of people, not everyone, this is not true, because I don't want to put any false information out there. But the people that were unhealthy, many of them just had a tougher time, with COVID more deaths, etc. Doesn't mean that healthy pet people can't get it and get sick. We're seeing that here in France as well. But we know that people would do better with pretty much any illness if they're in better shape. So that recognition is also been vital for us to be able to recruit new people, or to get people to continue to do the workouts. And so when you have these new offerings where you can actually do something online, virtually or take people outside people are much more open to doing that because they realize the importance of it. So people also have more access to exercise and a lot more options, a lot of free options. And I know that you're all struggling with that as well. I have colleagues who weren't charging but they were asking for donations. Some of you might be doing that. Some of you who are charging your regular fees but then you're in front of your clients or members saying oh so and so has given us for free over here or We just price. So there's a lot of stuff that's going on. And we're gonna have to learn how to live with that and navigate through it. Also, prices have come down, I have a friend here that gives classes and she's only charging, I think five euros, which is about seven or $8. A session, because she wants to have get as many people as she cannot for her to make money, but make it accessible for people. And she's even said, If you can't afford it, you don't have to pay. So we're looking at different business models. And you need to see how you can leverage that and also see what the industry is doing. And just like you would do when you're in a facility, you're going to have to market accordingly to show why people should pay for your, your activities for your services, etc. And why you're different than someone that's just throwing something up on YouTube. And they're giving a Pilates class in their dirty kitchen, or whatever it is with kids running around. And also people are discovering other activities. And some people, that's the reason that they're not coming back to the gym, because they now said oh, I can actually run outside I can bike I can, you know, roller skate, whatever it be. And they found other things. So we're confronted with that, but it's reality. And it might also give you other options, yourself different activities and services, to offer.

Virtual Training, as you know, has become huge, and it already existed. But because of COVID, and because of everyone going online, this is just become really big. And I'm sure some of you are already doing that. And that's going to continue. And it might be your only the only way that you're actually providing your classes. Or it could be again, that hybrid model. So you have to determine how much you want to be on site and how much you want to be online. And that and this is not a talk about marketing and communications. But just very briefly, you're going to need to make those decisions as a business, you're going to need to talk to your clients, they're going to need to talk to potential clients, see what people are looking for, and you're going to have to adapt accordingly. But I do believe that there has to be an online component, people are not just going to be coming back. On site, even I know some of those people say, Well, I have an aging population, it's not really on line everything. Well, a lot of people during this pandemic have learned, again, a very, you know, large learning curve, how to be able to communicate, because they've had to with their family, doctors, etc. So what's the future of work and fitness? What's next? Well, we're going to start with who is the future. So one thing that's already been happening, and this is going to pertain to both. If you're thinking in house or in facility, as well as online, you've got an aging population that still wants to stay active and stay healthy, the millennials and Gen Z or Zed as we say, here in Europe, and then the generation alpha, which is following them. People are looking for different things, if different finances, etc. And you're going to need to adapt to them accordingly. Medical referrals, we have a lot of people that are unhealthy. And as you know, especially in the United States, there's a it's not just the United States, it's rural, there's a growing obesity problem. So we're gonna have more connection with doctors and hospitals and medical referrals, and also attacking the obesity problem. Whoops, sorry, I like being a little too, I don't know, I guess it did. So just really quickly, we're going to look into some of the generations and talk about them right after. So it gives you an idea of the age, we're talking about the silent generation, you still have people again, age, you know, if you look at the bottom of that of that little chart there 74 to 91. And the aging population is one of the largest demographics right now. And the world is changing in such that people are working or living longer or working longer. And they have to look at what they need for housing, governments are changing their approach to all this. It's just the reality, what's happening worldwide. So in the fitness industry, also, we're seeing people who are coming to the gyms or wanting to stay healthy edit and an older age, and also in the workforce. And so that elder generation, you're still going to be seeing a lot of people there and you need to target to them. Baby Boomers, which is my age group, same thing and baby boomers have a lot of money. So they're going to continue to work out and want to work out Gen X, right under they're going to be part of the workforce. And you'll see that in another slide coming up what they like what they don't like, and millennials and Gen Z which I'll talk about in a minute as well. You need to know how to address this. And the reason I say this is I actually do a talk on managing multi generational staff and and the generations it's not just when they were born and the things they grew up with, but it's also what makes them tick. Sometimes the activities that a baby boomer would like or not are not attractive to someone who is a millennial, or Gen Z z. So you just need to know also what are your offerings, who is your target market, and adjust accordingly, because it might not be one size fits all.

So the silo generation baby boomers and Gen X, just like I said, they're going to continue to work out they have money. For example, here's some advertising from ICA. It's the International Council on active aging, some friends of mine, actually the oldest organization based in Canada, but it's, again, products and service specifically designed and marketed to them. And I like this because it's a stop calling me senior, if you want my business, I technically on paper, am a senior, I cannot relate to that. And I know I don't look like it. So maybe I do maybe today I do. But I don't, I don't want to be treated like someone who's frail, and can do a lot of things. And most see, a lot of seniors aren't, but that's that image that we have on senior citizen, the older the aging. So you need to really look at who you're targeting, you might target those more frail people. But then you need to be specific again to what you're offering them. But they're there and you're going to still do work with them. And Millennials are also a huge demographic. And they're also going to be a huge demographic for your workforce. And we're going to talk a little bit more about that. As you see from that photo, everything is online, everyone's connected. And the same with Gen Generation Z and alphas. From now on, it's pretty much just the connected population and generations a little different than the older. But most people who are Gen X, baby boomers and a lot of the silent generation are also connected, but not as much as I mean, a lot of them are, but I'd say here is when it's just basically native digital people, as you know, and Gen Z as well. So Gen Z is obviously as the years move on, they're getting older, they're coming into the workforce, etc. so quickly, I just want to touch on medical referrals. because more and more we're seeing that hospitals are opening up fitness centers, and they are or fitness centers are not a hospital based, are working directly with doctors, there's a lot of insurance based programs, etc. So there's a lot to look at as we go forward. And you need to tap into this because I believe, especially in the States, I mean, every country is very different. But even here in France, we have more of a socialized medicine, social socialism, socialized, we, but I like our our system here, it's very good. A lot of also starting to have some medical referral programs as well. So you want to look into that and see how it's going to work for your business as you move forward as well. Collaborating with doctors, again, great, because a lot of times, they might also have a team where they might have a dietician or nutritionist, physical therapist, etc, who you can work with. So this is going to be a big area that we're going to see as we move forward. The obesity problem, it's a modern problem, as we know, people are just getting fatter. And one of my pet peeves is that in the fitness industry, because I've been in the industry a long time, as I said, you go to conferences, and many times at a keynote to talk about the growing obesity problem, then you go to a conference five years later growing up, and I want to stand up and screaming say, Well, the problem is still there. And obviously we're not doing a good job. Not that I have all the answers. I don't. But I think as an industry, we need to make a change, because we're just seeing this happening. And it's not just one thing. It's not just exercise. It's not just nutrition. And you all know that, but the problem exists. So this is an area if you have interest in this, you might already be working with obese people, or obese prevention programs. But this is really an area that is going to continue, especially again, going back to the COVID situation where we see that people realize comorbidity You know, when they had different problems, and specially obese people were more likely to if they did get COVID to be sicker or possibly die, etc. I mentioned that I was a I have a bachelor's degree in respiratory therapy. And it was interesting cuz I don't practice that anymore. But with COVID respiratory therapists are very, you know, they're an integral part of the team. And I was thinking about it because I was seeing how some of the patients who were on respirators, I know what it's like when you have a team that needs to lift a patient, turn a patient, and as you saw, a lot of times they were turning people on their stomach so that they get their ones from you know, from gravity up. That was something that didn't exist when I was ready for therapy. There's three therapists, they never did that. But the reason I'm telling you this is that it makes it harder. For everyone, and also some of your health care workers are obese. So it's just something we need to tap into.

Okay, let me move forward. And I'll continue this conversation. So there are obesity prevention programs. And if there aren't some in your area, you could always create one or you could propose working with an obese population as well. And as you'll see, in the next couple of slides, also, we're looking at childhood obesity. So that's a huge problem. And I know these photos are probably the extreme, but it does exist. This is not a body shaming, it's the reality it's for this particular presentation. But it's just a reality. And we need to be aware of it. And this is happening worldwide. Again, it is not just a phenomenon that's happening in the States. So there are a lot of weight loss programs for childhood, childhood obesity. And it's just a couple screenshots of things that exist. But you could think about working with them if you're interested in working with kids, or working with families, where you are able to do maybe personal training or group training with family, and then have kids activities as well. So looking to some of the areas that are going to continue regardless if you're online or not. These are some of the areas and I just remembered I wanted to mention one thing, I noticed that when I was in lockdown, if you want to say we call it confinement here, and we couldn't go out more than one hour a day for physical activity. And I work from home, but because I usually do a lot of traveling for my consulting work, as well as my conferences, I found myself being so sedentary, sitting more than I ever do, and a lot of in front of the computer. And then of course, you know, watching Netflix or whatever. And it wasn't a problem for me to be home. Like I know a lot of people that was when they went from an office setting back to home because I work from home, but being home and not being able to go out to go to the gym, not being able to go out and see friends and have social, you know, things going on. And I realized I was so much more sedentary. So you're also seeing obese people in this pandemic being, you know, also more sedentary. So it's a market that you can tap into. And it's something to think about, since we're going online more and we're going to be online, that you may be able to get to a demographic that you weren't able to before, who didn't want to come into the gym, didn't feel comfortable, you know, walking in and and putting on gym clothes or whatever, but they feel comfortable in the safety of their own home. So I want to address also a changing workforce demographic. And that's why I put this up. So if you look up there, right under one workforce, just to let you know, also, adding in Gen Z here we can see what the age groups are. And the workforce going forward now for the next 30 years is going to be pretty much Gen X and then primarily millennials and Gen Z. So you all who are in those categories, then it could be any of them have to realize where you're going to fit in here. And the opportunities you have. The other thing is you're going to need to remember, okay, I'm a Gen Z, but I want to get to a management position, how am I going to Who am I going to work with to get to that place or the opposite, you might get hired as a millennial in a management position, but you're dealing with an older generation that's still in the workplace. So I bring this up just because who is in the workplace right now there's five distinct distinct generations, but it's going to change as we move forward. And they're influenced by different things. And it's something for you to be aware of, because when you're working in this environment, where you have different generations of people, one are turned on by different things, or they have their skills are different, especially with technology, you might be presented things differently, you can't make an assumption, doing something online or with an app or with an apple watch or whatever with someone who's older if they don't have those skills and technology, as digital natives do. So I just like to put that up for that reason. And the labor force, I just this is a quick screenshot, you'll see where it's 2030 that the majority again are going to be

millennials and and Gen and Gen Z. So baby boomers not gonna see as much as see the ending of the Gen X, but it's just going to change and there are a lot of opportunities for all of you who are in those younger categories as well. So what is the future? What really is the future? So I'm going to go through a whole bunch of different things just to give you some ideas. One is basically people are still looking at wellness. I put the screenshot up without I'm not going into a lot of detail and sometimes you'll see six dimensions of wellness and as you'll see seven solutions we'll see eight, but a lot of times people are now looking for Someone that can provide a lot of different things and not just the physical activity. So you might want to see one if you're capable of doing some of these other things, or get training in other areas, or develop a team or a network of people that can you can refer a client to say, Okay, I can do the physical part, I can do some of the nutritional part, but I've got a spiritual person, or I've got a financial, you know, person I can help you with, but people are looking for this more and more. And if they trust you, as a trainer, a lot of times they'll trust you also, to send them to other people for advice, or if you have a team. So wellness is a is a big area to think about, as opposed to just one, you know, physical activity or just personal training or just group exercise. In wellness, you're seeing more of health coaching, wellness or Lifestyle coaching, happening. And again, a lot of times you need to do a certification for that. Or you need to again, be in a team or or work or work in a referral system where you've got people that can do that. And I put wellness assessments just because what you're seeing sometimes, as opposed to just the physical assessment, trainers are giving a wellness assessment so that you can see the different areas of people's lives where they need, you know, where they're strong, where they're weak, where they might need help. Because the other thing that I always talk about as a personal trainer, is that a lot of times the approach people think is just from physical or even for that matter, nutritional. But there's a many times a psychological factor behind that why people do things they do, why they don't lose weight, why they eat at certain times, what activities they like they don't like, and I'm not a psychologist or psychiatrist, and I can only be so much of that with someone, but you need to also understand how to get people engaged. And these are things I'm sure a lot of, you know you experienced, but just again to think about why you might seek out a health coaching or wellness coaching, career or path.

So this is in French, and I'm just going to talk to you about this really quickly explain what it says. First of all, Shea c mon is a place here in Paris. And what it says in French here it says basically, we're a sports club, we're an organic restaurant, we're a place for co working, it's a place where you cast the code, it's like we're you know, you kind of let your hair down things are okay, where you can express yourself, you can exchange of ideas create, share, it's a global experience. So your move well, you eat well, and you live well. There's no two boos will answer all your questions, there's a choice of products and activities, and people listening to your ideas. And it says Welcome to the apartment where everything goes well. And I put this up because you know, son as the front chef, a bad rap and everything. So just drinking wine and smoking cigarettes, and that still exists. But um, they're doing a lot of cool things. And so this is what it looks like. It doesn't look like a typical gym, or health center or fitness center. But you can see like the TRS straps, you've got good food, you've got an area where for lay was like a women's networking group, you've got a an area for relaxation, and massage and etc. So you're seeing more and more of the things that I know in the States, it's happening in Europe, it's happening a lot. And not everybody is inclined to go to a health club or a fitness center. And so when you have these things to propose, then it makes it you know, how can I say you can get to a lot more people than you might have someone who's just looking for one thing, one activity at a fitness center. This was another one called slow. And it's just the same type thing, where they have a room that looks more like a gym, we can also do group classes, they have healthy eating, they have like a co working space, they sell products like soaps and, and spa things as well. And they have a little cooking area soon as they will cooking classes there. And then I thought, you know, this is another thing that we're seeing, and not just here in France, but this was actually in the states where you're seeing co working fitness spaces. So co working co ops are huge everywhere, the huge here in France, and I know in the states there as well. So it's a great idea where people can, you know, go to a co working space, and then also their gym is right there and they can work out so you're gonna see more and more of these. And so there are opportunities for you to think about these type of things. And maybe your business right now how you could now maybe if you have some space, make an area where someone could also if they wanted to come in and spend the morning there do some work or get out of their house, but there's still kind of at the gym or at the workout space. 

So home gyms are going to be bigger, as well. So this is something to think about, both from the standpoint of maybe getting your clients to have a home gym, partnering with people who companies that are selling home gym equipment. I do a little bit of consulting myself, right? I haven't in a while. But it starts as again, I'm saying it now to you as I'm, as I'm presenting this where I did consulting on how to set up a home gym. And because people don't necessarily want to go back to a facility, the people that might have the space might have the money. Or maybe you already had one, but they were weren't really using it that much, maybe now it's going to be more useful to them. So something to think about how you could work or maybe even you could go to their own gym if people were allowing people to go to their homes, etc. So it's going to be bigger, it's already existed, as you know, but I think it's going to be something we're going to see as we go forward. Low cost and affordable gyms, again, that's been from a changing economy, and it's going to continue, especially now since people don't have a lot of money, people lost their jobs. And it's a change of demographic as well. Younger people maybe don't have as much money aren't looking for the same type of workouts. On the left is keep cool is a chain of clubs here in France that I did some some consulting work with skin to tell you this really quickly. They did really well, because they didn't have group exercises. We know it in a big room with its small little cubicles that could fit like three or four people. And they had a kiosk where you could choose like a 30 minute ABS class or a 20 minute boxing workout or something like that. And you could just go in and choose your own video and work out there. And people say to me, yeah, but they're missing the whole group exercise thing that dynamic. And I said, Yeah, but these are people that never experienced that before. And they don't have an expectation of a high powered instructor that's really well known in the big group dynamics. So you need to think about also the people that maybe haven't been coming to gyms or fitness centers, or personal training studios or boutique clubs. That's what you want to target. And they may be driven more by low cost, reasonable costs work, most of them are set up. So there's no initiation fee, though, you know, it's easy to join within a budget that can come anytime any of them are open, 24 hours there for everybody, there's no expectations that it's only for people who are in shape. They're on demand classes, like I just explained to you they're available all day, a lot of them now are coming in, and you don't even have to actually speak with somebody at the front desk, it's all done with a magnetic card, even these clubs in Paris is keep cool, you actually open the club door, you know, on its own, there's no one there, it's certain hours to certain of the hours there are. But it's an interesting phenomenon. And I know that they've opened up in many different places in the world. I know they're in the States. But it's still I do believe going to continue. Also the aggregators like classpass. As you can see, I put this arrow just for a couple of brands. And this is a new screenshot because I have done presentations about them as well. They are changing what they're doing. But classpass in any of these aggregators, where you can have the opportunity to go to different clubs, or different facilities or different activities are going to continue. And they've had to change their mug, mug, sorry, their model. And they are also moving into virtual, for example gym pass the same thing stay active and well, wherever you are. So you see that this is a newer screenshot of their website. And their worldwide we have gym pass here. I know people from gym pass in France. And again, it's from wherever you are, so you could be home and be doing things. And here's an example where they're looking at wellness, like I'd said in an online class that your favorite instructors, gyms, etc. So they've had to change the model, they've done it quickly. And they're going to be here. And again, we're going to get out of this pandemics. So just know that eventually, things like this subscriptions and aggregators like classpass are going to be continuing. Again, this is the other screenshot, I want to show you again, their online fitness and wellness partners who they've teamed up with. And since everyone else is going online, then a lot of these relationships between these aggregators and the clubs and sports have had to continue and will continue as well.

Oh, electrostimulation, I just put this up because these I know have now just been okayed by the FDA in the States, but they're huge here in France, they're very small facilities, they have become very popular. And what people like is that sometimes they only have to do a 10 minute workout or a 20 minute workout, and always to go once a week or twice a week. So that's attractive to people who don't want to go into a big box gym and be around a lot of people etc. So it's another thing to look into. And it's been huge here. And I never thought it would work. But it definitely is. Here's another example this one in French and of course it says here coming, test it out free, and they're giving, you know, free sessions. And then the second arrow in the middle says the anti sports anti it's another word that's not a health club. It's something different. They want to propose a different thing. So it's making people think like oh, I don't really want to go in and help them But Oh, I'd go in here. And if you've been looking how they've designed it, it's very attractive. And then on the bottom, it's, again, a free trial. So people are giving us for free, they're getting people in. In store classes like Lulu lemon proposing things, this is another thing. So you need to team up with some of these stores, maybe for advertising, you can give a free class, not all the time, but to get some inroads, and they're your competition as well. Here's an example I put this in, in French. It's called the paws of wellness. And this was from Orange, who is my phone company and I got an email that then I clicked on it and they added the store that sells all of the electronic stuff for orange, if it be your cell phone, or your, you know, computers or the internet, anything that they have there. Now they're actually offering in store classes, and it was a marketing ploy. But they were free. So those four things you're seeing on the screen right here were just different dates. And you could choose whichever you want. And the other arrow going down was where it was really where it was located in Paris, not far from where I live, and there for free. And it's my it's my phone company, I mean has nothing to do with fitness. But then this is what people are doing. And it's a competition for you. But it's if you know it, then you should be able to work it to your advantage to and see maybe you could work with them. And if you know that a company like orange or Verizon or whoever is in the States, or other countries that don't want to just leave out the states offer your services. And maybe you could be one of those people given the classes and tap into a whole new network. And and population. These are some of you may have gone to these called daybreaker. This is an offer, you can see the fine print here. But this is something I discovered discovered here and it is international. But basically, I'm gonna put my glasses on because I can't read this. But I noticed that some people instead of hitting the gym, we hit the dance floor. And that's it. That's their slogan. And basically, it's people and they're not even fitness people. It's six o'clock in the morning, six to seven, they have a yoga class somewhere. And then from seven, nine, you just dance. And they hold them once a month in different cities all over the world. And it's a people from all over the place, even one of my friends to a couple, they bring their kid. And then they've taken one of them, the father left early and he took the kids to school. So it's a great way to meet people, it's a great wake up. It's not a gym, it's not meant to be a fitness thing. But I'm showing this because for example, the six to seven slot was a yoga person. So you are you also have these opportunities to team up with people like this, and network with them and also see some more opportunities. And these are things that people looking for. So when we think about what's working the future for fitness, some of this might be it, it's not going to be your traditional model. Here's just a couple more screenshots. Again, the arrows just pointing to the dance party, you can see it says play show if that means the pre warm up and the six to seven and it was always a yoga class. And then this one is recent. I took the screenshot just to show you because it says Saturday, some recent send off. This was one in the states and it was for this past week or it's coming weekend. So it was a you know they're happening and they're doing virtual events now. So you can see that one is an online event and all during the confinement lockdown here in France, we had online events for Daybreakers. They're really fun. So I'm going to talk right now the last 20 minutes. So know how we're doing for time we're doing? Yeah, we're doing pretty good for time. Oh, great. I thought it was good. talking fast. So now we're going to move into a different direction here talking about work for the future. We need to talk about technology and digital, because that is the future of everything. And actually, I'm looking at my time and it's shorter than I thought. 

Technology and digital has changed everything. And that's why when I told you earlier when someone said to me, what's the fitness industry going to be like in 10 years. And I said, I don't know how quickly to change the last couple of years. So we're going to focus on this. I'm going to go through this relatively quickly. But I know that you have time to go back and look at all this. And some of these are things that you already know about the rules have changed. This was net pulse. And what I like is that basically that arrow was pointing to what everyone says we're in a connected world. We want things simple, fast and accessible. 24 seven, anywhere, anytime, any device. And that's basically what we need to think about and that's the way it's going and that's not going to change. And here I just did a screenshot you can see the date on this is just from a couple days ago. It's a report I got your debt Europe active as an organization here in Europe. It's a member organization that came out with a report and the main thing as you can see was digital skills are crucial, and upskilling, the fitness workforce of the future. And it's that simple. So if you're not feeling comfortable in some areas, then you need to do it. I mean, even for me to set up today, to do this, talk with you, I had to set up, I'm in, you know, the luxury of my home in Paris, and I'm talking with the crew. And thank you guys again, in California. And this equipment was delivered from London two days ago. So it is all possible. And you're lucky, you're not seeing the front of my desk, because it's a real mess. But you need to learn this. And I learned a big learning curve today, just setting up some stuff on smart guy, you're all smart, you just need to learn to do some of it. But you cannot no longer say I don't really want to know how to use it, or some of these platforms, you need to learn how they work. All things mobile, again, things you go mobile, so any of your platforms or anything that you're using, needs to make, make sure if you're creating a website for creating an app, that they are going to be mobile friendly, and that everyone can use it properly. And again, you know, we're still in that place where if you're on an Android or on an apple, did all they're not always compatible. But that I think will I think this COVID thing is also going to help all that move forward as well and kind of make things a little bit more uniform. I put this screenshot in, because what I want to remind all of you is that you're not always talking when we're talking about mobile, the younger generation, we're not talking about just millennials and Gen Z. We're also talking about seniors, and the silent generation and baby boomers. So they're into it just as much as anyone else. So don't forget, you can target them on mobile as well. And they can accessible all kinds of podcasts and webinars. I don't know about you, but I've been taking so much free stuff. A lot of really good some things were really not great little waste of my time, but I've learned from them. And these are things that you can also propose and I know going forward, this is still going to continue education is going to continue a forever. And it's just the way that education is being diffused, is changing. And as you know, right now is a big push to get kids back in school, university students back in school, I like going to live events as well. But in the interim, you've got, you know, the possibility of doing it online, virtually. And also because of COVID. And how COVID is changing globally. And there's certain areas that they moved out and other people are now getting hard hit, we might have a second wave, you need to be able to juggle all this. And just know that webinars and podcasts and webcaster are the wave of the future. So keep that in mind as well. Online, and sorry, on demand and live streaming, those have already existed, they're getting bigger. Some of those a lot are standalone, or people are just going to do them they're not tied into a club. And then of course, you're going to have clubs that are doing their own live streaming on demand, they might be charging for it. Or they might be included in a membership. And that's something that you need to also decide as well. peloton was one of the big ones I just did a screenshot fitness at your fingertips. And companies like peloton are going to be continuing as you know. And I just this screenshot, I mean, I think you can see the date on this. But this was just from August, I saw this article about Apple, it's rumored that they're going to be launching a new fitness service. So you're going to be seeing more and more of these be on your Apple Watch. You're going to see other companies as well, I'm sure Google's going to be doing something. 

So you need to think about that one because they're your competition too, because maybe you can get involved with it. So it's moving that way. And it's also in terms of the competition, knowing how if someone say no, I can now get all my videos and everything here on my watch on my watch my Apple Watch. Why would I come back to your club? Why would I come back to your studio. So you're going to be confronted with that need to think about how you're going to market it and maybe be able to team up or offer two things, both the in house and be online as well. And beer I know you've heard of many of you, again, people are doing things in home, it's still expensive, tonal, as well. And if you're not familiar with these, check them out. But right now they're, you know, it's an expensive product, but people are just they need a mirror and then total has this extra piece of equipment you can take on they've got the programs, they've got a community, they've got the trainer encouraging them, and you're going to see more and more of this. So tie in with some of those companies or if your client has it, work with them, or maybe encourage them to to get one and you can still still be doing Personal Training, etc. Total actually teamed up with Four Seasons Hotel, and a lot of these companies are going to be doing that. So that's another thing to think about. Because if before you were saying Well listen, I can train you When you're on your vacation or when you're traveling for work, well, now some of these hotels, they've gotten smart, and they're putting this stuff in. So be aware of it. And think about that, as you move forward. All of these possibilities, those options, like I mentioned earlier about what your clients and potential clients have, how are you going to compete with that? How are you going to market what you're doing? And why do you stand out? And and why would people come to you, we'll continue with you as well. million smartphone apps, I'm not going to stay on that. Because you all know that a lot of them are free, some of them have a paid in option afterwards, tracking devices that are also tied into apps that are also tied into different workout programs, I hope some of you are using those you should that while you're all you also can connect with your your clients and be in touch with them remotely. smartwatches, just like I mentioned, that's going to be huge. Apple Watch is just moving at a rapid pace, not just only them virtual reality, and that's going to be a really big thing as well, it's already happening. I know here in France, they're using virtual reality as well, for physical therapy, I've seen the applications of it. And more and more people are using virtual reality. And during COVID, more and more people started doing that defining like the gaming aspect and the fun aspect of it. They want it to be, you know, have distractions, if you want someone like myself, probably not as much because I work from home. And I'm not stuck in an office all day and I can go out, but someone who went from being in an office eight hours a day, and then just go into the gym, and then all of a sudden now they're forced to come home and work out on their own. Or nap just gives a whole different dimension. And if you haven't tried virtual reality, not just for yourself, for for like entertainment, tried some of these fitness programs. And if you haven't tried it at all, try some of it even if it's just for entertainment, because it's pretty cool. And it is going to be part of future and it is going to be used a lot in rehab and physical therapy as well. So seeing all that. And continuing on that here was just an article on how to get in shape in using virtual reality.

And that's more more articles like that. And I saw these with COVID as well. For example. Well, this is one thing, this was an article I posted this Sorry, I included this topic, because what some of these studies were showing that people, even though they were getting a really good workout, it says without effort, but that doesn't mean that they weren't actually making an effort, it didn't feel it was it was feeling effortless. So that was the fun component of it. But they were still getting a really good workout. And that's something to think about as well. And it might be an option for some of your clients to do that. And we encourage them to do that once or twice a week for cardio, whatever. And then they meet up with you again, either virtually or in house. And this was just an article about COVID. It says if I weren't for if it weren't for virtual reality games, I wouldn't be getting exercise right now. And it was someone that decided to try out all these virtual reality games during COVID. got hooked on them, but was also getting workout. So it's just something to consider. And it's going to continue that way as well. And then we'll virtual reality gyms let us work out in the pandemic. And there's a lot of them that already exist here. And they're more mostly for gaming and entertainment. But there's gonna be more of those opening up. So think about it, learn about it, see me if you can team up with some of these. But this is going to continue and only going to continue to be enhanced. And this last part of the presentation on artificial intelligence ties into some of this because it's not exactly the same thing. But artificial intelligence, intelligence is being used in so many different ways. And you need to I my recommendation for the future of work in any area, but especially also in fitness is to see where it's going with artificial intelligence. And I'm going to make one blanket statement about this. Well, let me put up the definition first. So the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision making, translation between languages, it's all of these things right here. It's Uber, it's you know, everything on your phone, Siri, Alexa, photo recognition, digital payment, Snapchat, the filter, it's not just Snapchat and the animated filters, text into emojis, Google Maps, it's driverless cars, it's on and on and on and on and on. And this has already existed. So when I sometimes have to compensate How many of you are using artificial intelligence, people's hands don't go up. And I say, Well, how many of you are using, you know, Google Maps? Well, that's artificial intelligence. So the reason I'm saying is that one thing we're hearing is that robots are going to take over the world, and they're going to eliminate all these jobs and no one's going to have a job because everything's gonna be automated, etc. Well, that's actually false. We'll be some jobs eliminated. But there's going to be a lot of more jobs created. And we're going to learn how to live with automation, we're going to learn how to live with robots, we're going to learn how to live with artificial intelligence. And there's always going to be a human aspect of that. So keep that in mind. And just as I go through these next slides, you'll see some of the opportunities you might have with artificial intelligence. And here's again, what I just said, it's the human interaction with the robot, if you if you want, here was just something that I did a screenshot of to show you how artificial intelligence is helping to solve problems.
And how right now in 2020, and the screenshot might have even been from a year ago, or from an article a year ago, is it's been used for cybersecurity diseases, clean energy, finance, global education, health, well being, as you see there, climate change income inequality, inequality generated in so many different areas. And that's why if you're looking at like, well, how are they using artificial intelligence for income inequality, you need to start doing some research. This is something I recommend everyone. As a baby boomer, I'm really fascinated by this stuff. But it's also changing my outlook on how things are going to be moving forward, in my industry, and in the world as well. digital assistants are feeling the first wave of artificial intelligence adoption. And those are those little chat bots, those little helpers that you see on websites that everyone's using, and I recommend for those of you is I use an iPhone. If you're using an iPhone, not sorry, it's, it's on Facebook, excuse me, but I do use an iPhone. If you're on Facebook, some of you who are still on Facebook, there's a little icon at the bottom of the corner on your mobile phone. And if you click on that, it's like 1000s and 1000s of chatbots. Those virtual assistants, some people don't even know what they're like when they click on it, like oh, my God, what is this, you can do everything. You can order food, you can get educated, you can make plane reservations, hotel reservations, you can get a workout, etc, I'm going to show you that. Just a minute, just got a few more minutes. chatbots. Again, a computer program that simulates human conversation, in its natural format through voice or text using artificial intelligence, sometimes I'm chatting with it with a chatbot, I'm not sure if it's a real person or not. They've learned how to communicate. And so chatbot sometimes you think you're talking with someone, but it's actually not. And other times, you might be talking to someone, but then they also have a automated program, or vice versa, where you'll be automated, and then it's going to direct you to a real person. So that's the way things are going. And again, there's those little virtual assistants that are on all websites on on all apps right now. And they should be on your businesses as well. here's just an example. What if your personal trainer was a chatbot. And what I did is I did a quick search one day and this is from back, if you look at the top of the of each of the screens were 1719 1721. So that's in military time here in France, it was 519 in the evening, 521. So you see in real time, and I was just clicking. And this daily fitbug gives me a workout, and a daily workout and says it's a messenger chat bot that sends daily fitness workouts that don't require a gym. Each workout is optimized to be efficient, effective, it personalized if you see in the message that's on your right Hi, Fred, it already personalized it to me, which is what we want to do personalize things. I'm a daily fit bot blah, blah, blah. At the bottom, it says I can one I also work with some of the best brands, it said that it was specializing in hit training. And as I continue here, when it says I work with some of the best friends, then if I wanted to connect with them getting discounts said tap the button above. So the middle one where the arrow is, I did that. And then I had this menu of the main menu, the workout that more deals and I said, you know or cool bots and I opted for more cool bots. And it just went on and on. And so not only was it giving me my workout, but it was all it was doing it daily, it was giving me reminders and all that. But it gave me discounts and it gave me tips. And then of course, as I went on, it connected me with my social media, or with social media. So you know, I'm so happy you discovered me blah, blah, blah. So these are the things that you need to know exist one, they're your competition, and they're also how you could possibly
take advantage of them, as well.
And just start looking at chatbots look up fitness chat bots or fit bots. And there's all these for many different different parts of our profession. So our hour is up, which is unbelievable to me. And I know I gave you a lot of information, but you at least have access to this afterwards. The future is bright. That is what I want to end on. And this is what if the future is bright for the pandemic Gen generation. I didn't talk about the pandemic generation. But talking about generational issues. Probably people in the future will refer to this as the pet pet people that grew up or born and grew up in the pandemic. Next Generation, but the future is bright everyone, and you have a lot of opportunities as we move forward. So I know a lot of you're going through a tough time. And I want to again end on a positive note because I do think we're gonna go get through it. We're all gonna work together, it's changing the industry, but the industry is going to continue, it's just going to morph and it will anyway, even if COVID didn't happen it would. So again, the elephant in the room was everything we talked about with COVID current state of the fitness industry 1/3 1/3 1/3 aren't coming back, coming back when they feel safe or came back right away. Look at your different different demographics that exist. You need to get up to speed on all that as technology and digital, learn about it, artificial intelligence chatbots.

My last message with this. And as I leave you, you've got my contacts here again. I want to thank NSM again for inviting me to speak at this conference. Thank you for attending my session. I hope you have a fantastic time with the rest of your conference. And I hope to see you in person somewhere soon. And if I can be of any help, please contact me here. Take care.


The Author

National Academy of Sports Medicine

National Academy of Sports Medicine

Since 1987 the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) has been the global leader in delivering evidence-based certifications and advanced specializations to health and fitness professionals. Our products and services are scientifically and clinically proven. They are revered and utilized by leading brands and programs around the world and have launched thousands of successful careers.


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