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Fitness First ‘mobilises’ brand through new app to up use of real world gyms

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Fitness First, the global fitness club brand, has revealed in an exclusive interview with Internet Retailing that it has updated and ‘mobilised’ its brand through ‘CustomFit’, its fitness app, as wearables, mobile, health and commerce collide.

Fitness First and DMI developed a mobile strategy that lets users tap into workouts designed by Fitness First professionals, at home or in the gym, with or without machines – anytime, anywhere. The New Fitness Logic system delivers a tailored experience by learning user preferences to build personalised workouts and help create new lifelong fitness habits.

New features, developed by DMI, provide an in-app booking system for Fitness First group exercise classes and enable users to share their progress and personal best with other users and friends, via leader boards. The updated UI can track and analyse progress in real time to give users a snapshot of their fitness journey.

The move comes as the gym industry, like many other retailers, turns to mobile and wearables to connect the online and offline worlds to build loyalty and up usage.

Ed Hutt, CIO at Fitness First, said: “Studies show that we have specific psychological needs to increase our motivation when it comes to exercise, and we’ve designed the app’s new features to fulfil these. People value autonomy – having a choice in what they do and not feeling pressured; they need encouragement early on that they’re making progress, and are also motivated by feeling comfortable in their surroundings. With DMI, we’ve been able to deliver personalisation and choice, as well as reinforcing progress within the app, which users can access anywhere, anytime, as suits them.”

David Langridge, MD Connected Fitness Labs (DL), adds: “There is an expectation now from gym members that their gym experience is a connected one. That is, connecting the members activity outside of the gym and the activity they complete inside the gym. The key is to then connect this activity to the gym brand itself where members can consume content to aid support and inspiration from experts they trust – bridging the gap between the users digital and physical experience with the brand.”

Langridge continues: “This is why CustomFit is not just an app, it also has a staff portal to help develop positive interactions between members and personal trainers on the gym floor and complex CRM and analytics system behind it. In simple terms, a personal trainer can develop a workout programme with a member and through the staff portal, drop it into the members app. We can then track and analyse members progress and provide them with feedback via the CRM system.

“Increasing gym subscriptions was not the main reason we developed CustomFit, it is clear that potential new members are now being influenced to choose more connected gym brands over others who are not as it provides additional value.”


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