Fitness World, the largest chain of fitness clubs in Denmark, is in the process of launching a new indoor cycling concept at their 106 fitness centres. RIDE HIGH Magazine talks to Mie Sisse Konradsen, Group Fitness Manager at Fitness World, about their new concept.
To meet the members’ request for superior cycling experiences, Fitness World Denmark is in the process of implementing a new indoor cycling concept. Upgrading all indoor cycles to BODY BIKE SMART+ and implementing INTELLIGENT CYCLING and the use of BODY BIKE indoor cycling app, the indoor cycling experience at Fitness World is getting a long-awaited boost.
Indoor cycles and facilities are generally cost-intensive, and to run a healthy business high attendance and happy members are crucial. By engaging the users, boosting the overall cycling experience and allowing everyone to participate in the same cycling session regardless of their level, the new indoor cycles and digital solutions are expected to ensure high attendance and membership growth.
Even though we offer a wide range of team workouts, indoor cycling has always been very popular and one of our top priorities
”Fitness World is a full-service fitness centre with a wide range of workouts and classes to meet almost anybody’s fitness needs. How important is indoor cycling to your business?
Even though we offer a wide range of team workouts, indoor cycling has always been very popular and one of our top priorities. Even during periods with fluctuating attendance levels, indoor cycling has always ranked high. With the introduction of new indoor cycles and a new and updated indoor cycling concept, Fitness World is revitalising their indoor cycling classes and taking them into the future.
How did you choose your new indoor cycling concept?
Fitness World is a nationwide chain with 106 centers. Upgrading the indoor cycling equipment and facility at all centers is, of course, a resource-intensive task, and it is important that we make lasting and future-proof choices that meet our members’ needs and expectations.
In the decision-making process, we were fortunate to have a large member base that we could count on to test various concepts and equipment and to provide us with valuable feedback. In addition to the continuous feedback we get from our members and instructors, we also did a widescale market research in 2017 to identify our members’ wishes and needs.
After the first implementation of our new indoor cycling concept in September 2017, we have continuously evaluated and adjusted the concept. The ongoing adjustments have resulted in a significant upgrade of the overall cycling experience, created the perfect working conditions for our skilled instructors, and the ultimate foundation for professional and motivational indoor cycling workouts.
”What are the most significant improvements and changes?”
Previously, the BODY BIKE® SUPREME was our standard indoor cycle – and it worked very well for us. Fitness World, our instructors and members were all happy with this model for a long time. However, our members’ needs and expectations slowly changed and to keep their motivation high, maintain high attendance levels and attract new members we had to do something differently.
One of the things that has changed on the fitness scene today is that people want to track, measure and document their efforts. That was not an option with the SUPREME, but with our new BODY BIKE® SMART+, they can do just that. The bikes have built-in software that provides users with all the data required and is compatible with various devices and platforms.
To ensure consistent, high-quality workouts we have decided to implement INTELLIGENT CYCLING as our shared training platform. It is an online tool that allows our instructors to effectively design workouts within the predefined Fitness World bike classes, such as Bike Standard, Bike Edge and Bike Rush etc. INTELLIGENT CYCLING uses five colour zones that indicate the level of resistance. and allows the riders to follow the progress of the workout on screens in the studio.
The new BODY BIKE® SMART+ cycles work with the BODY BIKE indoor cycling app. The app allows the riders to connect their phone with the bike and receive performance data throughout their workout including watt. The BODY BIKE indoor cycling app uses the same colour zones as INTELLIGENT CYCLING and makes it easy for the riders to follow the workout. By entering personal FTP value, the colour zones will automatically adjust the level of resistance within the zones to match each individual rider. Meaning that riders on various levels can attend the same workout and still get a personalised cycling experience. After each workout, riders are able to save their performance data on their mobile phones and subsequently upload the data to STRAVA.
Last but not least, we have worked intensely with our instructors. Even though technology has made its entry into the cycling studios, the instructor still plays an important role, when it comes to ensuring high attendance and attracting members. We have tried out video classes without an instructor present several times, and it has not been a success. Our members want a motivational instructor to inspire them to do their utmost, and they often choose their favourite instructor rather than their favourite class.
People want to track, measure and document their efforts
How has the new cycling concept gone down with the instructors?
The new cycling concept is, of course, different from what the instructors have been used to so far, and their reactions have spanned everything from concern and frustration to joy and excitement. But regardless of the new setup and the new technology, our instructors are still the most important factor in the studio. They are the ones creating the positive vibes, the energy and the strong personal relations.
Consequently, training our instructors has been a top priority. We have made a huge effort to inform our instructors about – and train them in the use of – INTELLIGENT CYCLING, the BODY BIKE® SMART+ cycles, and the BODY BIKE indoor cycling app. We have continuously focused on the positive and the many new possibilities instead of on the limitations. If it is used correctly, we are convinced that the INTELLIGENT CYCLING platform will allow our instructors to focus on motivating our members instead of on communicating information about the workout program and content. Brian Overkær from INTELLIGENT CYCLING has been in charge of training the instructors, and after a test period, evaluations clearly show that our instructors and especially our members are very excited about the new concept and the many new possibilities.
”You point out that skilled instructors improve attendance and attract members. How do you find instructors with the right qualifications and personalities?
We make sure that our instructors have the right level of training and the right qualifications at our own training academy, Group Fitness Academy. It is an ongoing process, and we continuously invite our instructors to improve their skills and participate in workshops and further training. One of our key focus areas is developing social skills making sure that our instructors are able to deliver motivating and entertaining workouts.
Being a Fitness World indoor cycling instructor takes dedication and a strong personality
Being a Fitness World indoor cycling instructor takes dedication and a strong personality. It is important that you are outgoing, energetic, have strong social skills and are able to motivate others. You are not necessarily a Pro Tour rider with a body fat percentage below 10 climbing the Alpe d’Huez in less than 50 minutes. Our members form a representative cross section of the population and so do our instructors. Some of them have a background in the fitness industry, others do not. Regardless of their background, they all have to go through our internal Fitness World training programme including workshops and online training.
”How do you make sure that there is a class to meet every fitness need?”
It is our goal at Fitness World to meet the general public’s diverse needs for exercise and fitness. Indoor cycling has a very wide appeal, and we strive to put together a mix of classes that accommodate various needs. With the implementation of new technology our members are able to join any cycling class they prefer regardless of their fitness level. With the BODY BIKE® SMART+ cycles, INTELLIGENT CYCLING and the BODY BIKE indoor cycling app everybody can join the fun and participate at their own pace and level.
Do you continuously develop new classes?
Our members are happy with the cycling classes, we offer today, but we still want to come up with new and inspiring workouts to keep them motivated and coming back for more. One of the new things we have in the pipeline is boot camps that focus on developing the individual rider. Maybe the boot camps can combine some of our existing concepts as for example personal training and BIKE?
Furthermore, we are in the process of exploring how our many digital platforms might work together, and how we – together with BODY BIKE – can create even cooler digital cycling experiences.
”What is the future of indoor cycling at Fitness World?
We launched INTELLIGENT CYCLING and BODY BIKE® SMART+ cycles in eight of our fitness centres in September 2017. In the first year, attendance increased by 5% with an average of 11% more riders joining the classes. We continuously receive positive feedback from our members, and with intensive training our instructors have embraced the new solutions focusing on what they do best – training, guiding, entertaining, motivating and creating great energy.
Today, the new cycling concept has been introduced in 38 out of 106 centres and the rest will follow in 2019-2020.
Fitness World fact Box
- Toal of 171 Fitness World centers
- 106 Centers with indoor cycling facilities
- 4,660 indoor bikes
- 500,000 members
- 2,300 instructors