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PRODUCT FOCUS FITNESS


The fact that major brands such as Les Mills (above) and Zumba have entered the market suggests its on the brink of rapid growth


platforms as the videos allow people to learn the steps in preparation for a live class with an instructor. “Our decision to offer Basic Steps videos on virtual content platforms is consistent with our mission to make our instructors successful,” says Alberto Perlman, the founder and CEO of Zumba Fitness. Virtual class platforms can also be used


to enhance live classes. Virtual Active features videos of iconic trails, roads, cities and landscapes to help indoor exercise such as group cycling into an outdoor adventure. In addition, a virtual instructor could help support a live instructor struggling to focus on individuals in a large beginners group.


ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS A significant consideration – besides choos- ing a system that’s stable, well supported and easy to use – is content. People will want high quality classes, great instructors and vari- ety in level, duration and type of classes. For that very reason, Wexer is now working with 15 content providers including Gaiam, Less Mills, YogaFit and KettleWorx. Some would argue that, for health and


safety reasons, beginners should not do a class without a live instructor present. However, Fresh Fitness Denmark has offered


Operators can exceed customer expectations by adding hundreds of extra exercise classes every


week – all for the price of a treadmill. Not that it’s an either/or question, but it does put it into perspective


virtual classes for more than two years, without a single injury reported. It’s not uncommon for people to be left unsupervised in cardio areas or on strength machines in most fitness studios. So why shouldn’t that also be acceptable in a studio where, thanks to virtual classes, people are in fact also receiving guidance from top instructors? This calibre of trainer is another notable selling point: virtual classes give a large number of people access to world-class instruction and a huge variety of trainers.


FUTURE TRENDS Given their ability to generate value from dead space, virtual classes are likely to be picked up by more operators going forward. The fact that major brands such as Zumba and Les Mills have entered the virtual arena suggests that it’s on the brink of rapid growth. Phillip Mills, CEO of Les Mills International says: “Originally I was sceptical, but having trialled a virtual product at Les Mills I’m now a convert. Offering members the convenience of receiving a group exercise experience at


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any time of the day is compelling. It’s a mas- sive way to add value as facilities increasingly become 24/7 operations.” The virtual class system is a customer- focused offering that mirrors those in other industries – innovations such as Netflix, which allows customers to watch what they want, when they want to watch it, and which is challenging the traditional cable TV providers that force viewers to follow their programme schedules. Similarly, virtual classes allow members to do the classes they want, when they want to do them. Operators can therefore meet, and indeed even exceed, customer expectations by adding hundreds of extra exercise classes every week – all for the price of a couple of treadmills. Not that it’s an either/or question, but it does put it into perspective. l


Rasmus Ingerslev is the CEO of virtual exercise platform firm Wexer Virtual. Email: rasmus@wexervirtual.com Web: www.wexervirtual.com


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