NCBI studies show fitness gamification is more than just a passing fad, indicating a shift in how people approach fitness. That means there’s changing consumer expectations on the horizon! Because July 8 is National Video Game Day, we’ll be showing fitness professionals how to gamify your facility. Don’t compete with video games to get clients in the doors—capitalize on the popularity of gaming to boost your business. Here’s how to gamify your gym and stay ahead of the curve!

What Is Gamification?

Gamification means applying gaming structures to non-game situations. By introducing the element of “play,” it promotes user motivation, engagement, and loyalty. Essentially, turning an activity into a game makes it more fun! According to multiple studies, gamifying exercise improves motivation, making fitness programs more effective. In fact, a 2017 study by JAMA Internal Medicine journal revealed that fitness gamification promotes engagement and challenge, sustaining long-term motivation. Accordingly, personal trainers report that gamifying strategies create more consistent results.

Why Gamify Your Gym?

When compared to other technological applications in health and fitness, studies show gamification has innate advantages motivating behavioral change. Namely, games are fun! Gamified gyms stand out from the competition because of the added elements of entertainment and novelty. Additionally, it attracts a whole new customer demographic—gamers! Remember, the interactivity and community of gaming is what boosts member retention. As a result, you’ll activate another revenue stream, creating opportunities to monetize your space. Finally, gamification presents new ways to market group training, equipment rentals, and integrations with your existing gym equipment.

3 Ways to Gamify Your Gym or Fitness Center

Level Up Your Equipment

Gamification equipment expenses are an investment in your business. With that in mind, look for equipment with Bluetooth capability and integrations for smart phones and wearable fitness devices. Likewise, Virtual Reality (VR) equipment is a cutting-edge addition you can add to set yourself apart from the competition. Keep in mind, many of the gamified applications listed below include the required hardware with purchase of a service subscription.

Get the Apps

In our World Bicycle Day post, we covered gamified cycling programs (CycleOpsZwift, and Peloton) that are easy to integrate with existing equipment. Here are some more gamified fitness additions you can bring to your fitness center. After all, upgraded equipment and programs keep regulars motivated and get new members in the door!

  • Zombies, Run! A game that’s literally what the name suggests: you run away from zombies!

  • VirZOOM. An established name in VR fitness, VirZOOM integrates easily with stationary bikes. Requires a one-time hardware purchase and purchase of a membership to access VZfit programs.

  • Holodia’s Holofit™. Holodia VR offers a variety of multisport immersive cardio workouts and is compatible with most standard fitness equipment. Initial setup includes VR headset, compact PC, and accessories. Requires internet access and an electrical outlet.

  • Goji Play. This 2016 Red Dot Award Winner transforms ordinary cardio equipment into immersive game stations! Compatible with ellipticals, steppers, or stationary bikes. Sample games include DinoFense, Parkour Runner, GoWings Safari, PunchBeat, and Cardio Racers.

  • and Lumo Play. Developed with kids in mind, but ideal for all “kids at heart!” Lü and Lumo Play use giant wall projections, 3-D cameras, and light/audio systems to turn regular gym floors into an interactive, live-action game.

Gamify Your Classes and Workout Spaces

Make sure to include staff and trainers when you gamify the gym! Brainstorm how you’ll help members reframe perceptions about both fitness and gaming. For example, create classes that transform solitary, sedentary activities into live play. Have a space that doesn’t see much action? Consider re-purposing it into a dedicated “video fitness” area with gaming systems and workout games. Keep in mind that community, competition, and encouragement drive gamification’s success. So while it’s true that members could play fitness video games at home, don’t discount how motivating a gym setting (not to mention ample space) can be! Next, try posting suggested fitness apps near equipment where members might switch up their routine. For example, post suggested running games near treadmills, or cycling apps near the stationary bikes. From there, meet with staff to develop new classes around the gaming upgrades you’re adding into your gym.

Use Vagaro to Help Customers Find Your Gamified Gym

A gamified gym is a differentiated gym! With that in mind, when adding fitness gamifications and equipment, make sure to update your service menu so members know they’re available. Let members know you’ve upgraded by using Vagaro’s email marketing to send a message! Want to get gamers in the door for the first time? Try a Daily Deal! This builds awareness of your gym’s upgrades, gets new members in the door, and lets you monitor how your gamified fitness programs perform. Or, if you really want to make a splash, use Get Featured to land your gym on the front page of the Vagaro Marketplace. By transforming tedious activities into a game, you’ll convert new customers who need extra motivation!

Have you brought gamification into your gym? Tell us about it on social media! We’d love to hear how you’ve turned the fitness grind into a game, and how your members are engaging with a gamified fitness center!

Header Image: @criene via Twenty20

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