An Asian View – Digital PERSONALIZATION in the Fitness, Health and Wellness Industry

In this last article in our 3-part series, we will explore the innovation and digital transformations strategies that are leading to more 24/7 personalisation in the fitness, health and wellness industry in Asia. Covid-19 has given gyms, fitness studios and personal trainers increased access to peoples’ homes and broadened the number of places people work out. The next step for gyms will be integrate new wearable, technologies and platforms, many used by professional athletes, to provide a more personalised 24/7 “Inside Out and Outside In” level of service for their customers that will lead to more customer retention and personal training opportunities. We strongly believe these trends will continue and will have a long-term impact on the industry. Please read on to lean more and see examples of this transformation taking place in Asia.

1 WHAT’S HAPPENING?

As discussed in our previous articles, Covid-19 has accelerated the digital transformation of gyms and fitness centres to connect with a population that is now more technological and mobile savvy, eager to try new experiences, and more importantly, now used to working out at home during this disruptive time.

Due to Covid-19, gyms have entered into our homes through live streaming, the skyrocketing use of #fitness apps, and a surge in the use of wearables. Social distancing during the pandemic has also triggered increased levels of at distance engagement and personalization, particularly in the professional sports industry with signs of it also happening in the fitness, health and wellness industry. We strongly believe these trends will continue and will have a long-term impact on the industry.

With a greater focus on health, be it more sleep, improved diet, increased fitness activity and overall fitness monitoring, now more than ever, people are willing to invest to improve and maintain their health and in a more interconnected way. According to a recent #UBS Investor Watch Survey, 86% of APAC investors say that staying healthy is their top priority. Real opportunities will go to those that can pull all these elements together with a 24/7 approach to health both inside and outside fitness centres or as we call it “Inside Out + Outside In”.

“Inside Out + Outside In” already exists today but primarily in the world of professional and semi-professional sports. Professional athletes train their finely tuned bodies year round following very specific sleep, nutritional, psychological and exercise regimes. Professional sports teams and national sports organizations spend millions of dollars for personalized programs and 24/7 diagnostics that are tailored to each athlete’s body so that they reach and maintain levels of peak performance. The difference between these athletes and others working out at local gyms and fitness clubs is the time and level of investment into the encompassing diagnostics and care for their bodies. This systematic and analytical approach used to be very costly, however, recent developments have made these technologies increasingly affordable and readily available.. Thus, there is a massive opportunity for the bundling of these technologies by the fitness, health and wellness industry to bring these technologies and practices from professional athletes to elite amateaur athletes and ultimately to your average gym users who could greatly benefit from this advanced level of personalization. Equally the companies developing these new technologies and the fitness centres offering these solutions will greatly benefit from the expansion of their target markets and potential serviceCovid-19 has already challenged gyms and fitness providers to rethink their business models and consider digital transformation to retain customers and extend their reach. Many fitness providers took initial steps as we saw an explosion of content available on multiple platforms which in turn triggered the need to differentiate. Notably, however, many of the operators still are not looking holistically to leverage available technologies and take a 24/7 approach to their customers’ overall health and wellness inside and outside the gym. Gyms, having started their foray into digital transformation, could leverage these new technologies and include them in their overall innovation strategies and consider how these technologies could be integrated together. With the new connections between these technologies, a bundle could be offered to provide personalized fitness that encompasses physical, nutritional, mental, and medical solutions. What are some of these technologies and who will be the first movers to offer these combined and personalized offerings?

2 OUTSIDE IN INSIDE OUT – MAKING THINGS MORE PERSONAL 

To increase #personalization for gyms and #fitness practices a starting point is to identify the type of services, apps and platforms that make it easier to offer a more integrated, personalized and comprehensive approach to fitness, health and wellness. Here are some examples.

Kinduct is transforming the world of Sports and Human Performance by bringing a high-level of personalisation to championship winning teams like the Golden State Warriors and the New England Patriots. Kinduct founder, Travis McDonough, had the vision to build a platform that consolidates huge quantities of performance, fitness, wellness, sleep and other critical data to help athletes make more informed decisions based on timely and optimized analysis. The Kinduct platform is able to integrate data from over 60 wearable technologies and EMRs to provide insights and actionable data. The flexibility of this consolidated data platform has proven to be an asset for over 550 professional and elite sports teams, leagues, sports federations and #Olympic committees providing close monitoring of athlete management, athlete performance, injury prevention, rehabilitation, and overall monitoring so that coaches, teams, leagues and federations can closely montori the physical and mental demands on their athletes. They even work with #eSports by linking in-game stats with performance metrics and other data sets such as screen time, sleep quality, and caffeine consumption to maximize their performance.

Kinduct is currently working with gyms and fitness centres to provide the same level of customization and personalization as professional teams to increase performance with all types of athletes. With Covid-19 spreading gym participants are now using a wider variety of exercise programs from home and other socially distanced activities. Kinduct is able to provide a key 24/7 touchpoint that helps gyms retain customers by adding considerable value with its always-on data collection, data analysis and information presentation. The question is which gyms and fitness centres will be the first to adapt this innovative technology to provide “Outside In and Inside Out” services to its customers and provide another high value touchpoint to retain members and improve each members’ overall health and wellness.

Based in Hong Kong, The Health Exchange is a health consultancy firm that offers personalized #exercise, nutrition, and #wellness programs. Their tailored, holistic approach starts with a baseline health assessment including blood work, heart health and other detailed metrics that continue to be measured on a regular basis. They then create a personalized plan for people to actively manage their health and fitness on a daily basis through an evidenced-based prescription of #nutrition and exercise with an ‘Always on’ bespoke service. Clients receive considerable feedback that also includes monthly coaching sessions that includes blood assessments and other tracked metrics with detailed feedback. The level of #personalization for some includes contacting hotels frequently travelled to by their executives to help plan detailed menus to ensure clients follow their program. Imagine a service like this offered at your own health club.

The Oura Ring is one the fastest growing wearable products today in the form of a subtle non-invasive ring that monitors sleep patterns, key heart rate metrics, movement and body temperature. The data collected is presented on their app providing scores related to sleep, mental and physical readiness, and activity. Oura provides a daily report, and as it collects data, its algorithms learns your habits and provides constant feedback and a personalized set of baselines to help achieve your health and wellness goals. For example, it shows you the impact of late night meals or drinks on the quality of your sleep. As a sign of its innovative approach, The Oura Ring is currently being used by the NBA to monitor the health of its players and team personnel as the NBA restarts its season and is also developing algorithms to predict when wearers have a predisposition to get sick.

The Lunna is an innovative home fitness smart mirror that takes the rapidly growing smart mirror category to the next level. Everyone has been frustrated by the lack of variety of content and the lack of personalisation in the home based work out category. By being an open platform, The Lunna allows third-party apps, chosen from a vast variety of live classes, programs, apps and platforms from around the world.

What also sets The Lunna apart is its ability to use #AI and #algorithms to combine data from apps, wearables, connected devices and programs together to give you a current and daily snapshot of your overall fitness, health and wellness including that of your whole family. Imagine waking up and knowing the sleep and readiness scores of the whole family using data from their #wearables and being better able to recommend ways to manage their stress, nutrition and exercise needs for that day.

Lumen offers a connected portable handheld device that measures metabolism so that you can understand what your body uses for fuel: fat or carbs. The device connects to your smartphone and all you have to do is breathe into their attachable device. With the data received, Lumen provides personalized nutrition plans, recommendations and daily guidance for sleep, diet, exercise and more. Though the technology is new, the science is not, as it is something that has been used by professional athletes and in hospitals and clinics for several years. Like many of the technologies on this list, what has changed is the access to this technology for all of us.

Whoop’ founder and CEO #WIll Ahmed always believed that everyone has the inner potential to perform at their highest level. He believes that this potential can be harnessed by uncovering secrets your body is trying to tell you. The Whoop Band provides more in-depth health metrics such as heart rate variability (HRV), and it uses those metrics combined with your sleep patterns to give you recommendations on when to push yourself and when to take a rest. Optimizing performance is no longer a random sequence of events and decisions, but rather a systematic approach to understanding your body.

The ability to quickly adapt your training plan based on daily changes in your body and mental readiness allows you to reach your training goals safer and more effortlessly. Omegawave is a solution that uses sensors to collect data and precisely informs you how stressed your body is and provides data to inform whether you should be in rest or recovery mode or if you can train. It is a non-invasive technology that collects data from both your brain (Including brainwaves) and heart and only requires 4 minutes at assess your current mental and physical state, Professional and elite athletes have adopted this technology including the UFC Performance Institute, and now athletes of all levels can now have access using Omegawave.

3 WHAT’S NEXT?

Our view is that there are huge opportunities for innovative gyms and fitness operations – as well as corporates in Asia that take an “Inside Out and Outside In” approach to fitness, health and wellness. Asia is always leading with the development and adoption of new mobile technologies, new use cases, and often leapfrogs industries with new business models due to an openness to try new things and allow data to be integrated into people’s lives. McKinsey’s report “Could the next normal emerge from Asia?” points to Asia, and it’s companies’ resilience to crises, speed and appetite for change. With the region’s ability to respond, adapt and mobilize, and try new solutions, growth is expected from Asia with innovations and adoption of technologies that will lead the way from #Asia outwards. We have already seen the initial steps of the digital transformation in the fitness industry in Asia that transferred to other countries as each adapted to the challenges from the virus. We believe that this transformation will be part of the new normal, that even more transformation is on the way and that Asia will be where new businesses and business models emerge.

JB and I hope that you have enjoyed our three part series: An Asian View – Digital Transformation in the Fitness, Health and Wellness Industry. Please contact Jean-Baptiste Roy or Loron Orris if you are interested to learn more about innovation, growth and fundraising strategies for your fitness, health & wellness, and sports business in Asia.

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