Four Web-Based Tools for Your Fitness Business

by Amanda Vogel, MA on Jan 23, 2015

Fitness Technology

Apps and websites can boost your bottom line while improving engagement with clients.

You can keep your fitness business afloat with low-tech basics—email, a clipboard, a pen—but in 2015, you probably don’t want to if you hope to grow and remain relevant in most corners of the fitness industry. Taking advantage of Web-based tools designed specifically for fitness professionals can help you stay ahead of the competition, save precious time and rev up revenue, all while helping your clients or members get more out of their health and fitness programs.

Here are four Web-based tools for making that happen:

GroupEx PRO

What it does. A Web-based app designed specifically for group fifitness managers, GroupEx PRO streamlines communication between group fitness managers and their instructors by organizing the critical areas that fitness managers address daily.

MAIN FEATURES AND BENEFITS

Real-time live schedule. GroupEx PRO manages your class schedule in real time so that changes to the schedule in your account are automatically updated onto your website, Facebook page app and/or iPhone app, providing the most accurate information for members and staff. Club members can filter classes based on category, location, class name, instructor and day.

Full-featured sub board. Full-featured sub board. Instructors can request class subs from a computer or mobile device with a notification that goes to the entire team. Once a sub has been approved, the class schedule is automatically updated to display which instructor is subbing the class. The system helps avoid mass emails, which can get confusing or be forgotten.

Reporting. This feature includes class attendance and cost-per-head analytics. Instructors enter their class numbers from a computer or mobile device, which eliminates paperwork for managers and does away with conspicuous attendance binders or boards that can lead to unnecessary competition among instructors. GroupEx PRO calculates class numbers to provide analytics on how much a given instructor or class is costing the club, for example. Managers can pull reports for a granular, objective analysis of a class, fitness instructor, day, location or format.

THE COMPANY’S PITCH

“Managers can save countless hours and stay on top of the necessary business of running a group exercise department, but they can do it in front of the desk rather than being stuck behind one,” says Sara Allen, GroupEx PRO’s director of operations. “Using GroupEx PRO, you can manage your department from anywhere with your computer or smartphone.”

More information is at www.Group ExPRO.com and www.Facebook.com/groupexpro; cost is based on user level, with packages starting at $50 per month.

amSTATZ

What it does. This cloud based service helps fitness professionals and fitness studios connect with clients to keep them more engaged in their programs. For example, you can send workouts to clients before and after a training session, track goals, generate referrals and accept payment. The service assists with the daily tasks of running a fitness business.

MAIN FEATURES AND BENEFITS

Fitness tools. amSTATZ helps fitness pros retain more clients by keeping them focused through assigned “homework.” You can link to exercise videos on YouTube, customize an exercise library (including preloaded exercises), set client goals, track progress and build workouts for clients, all within amSTATZ.

Paperless recordkeeping. PAR-Qs, client assessments and workout histories can be securely stored in the amSTATZ cloud and accessed from any hardware device.

Scheduling and payments. This feature helps to improve cash flow and fuel business growth. For instance, amSTATZ will display your classes, sessions and services to clients, who can then sign up on the spot. You can collect clients’ online payments when sessions are booked.

THE COMPANY’S PITCH

“Our fitness professionals and their clients love being able to stay connected with each other even if they have not worked out together in a few weeks,” says Michael Piermont, amSTATZ cofounder and CEO. Maintaining client-trainer connections can improve retention and results.

More information is at www .amstatz.com and www.Facebook.com/ amSTATZ; packages start at $29.99 per month for an individual trainer and $74.99 per month for a studio; the service is free for fitness professionals’ clients.

Evolution Nutrition®

What it does. Built for the health and fitness community—including personal trainers, health clubs, registered dietitians and nutritionists—Evolution Nutrition provides customizable meal plans and nutrition programming. Scope-of-practice limitations prevent most personal trainers from providing in-depth nutrition information or guidance to clients. With Evolution Nutrition, you can add dietitian-created nutrition management to your service offerings while remaining within your defined scope of practice.

MAIN FEATURES AND BENEFITS

Client success management. Users can enter, track and analyze data about clients, including weight, body mass index, body measurements, blood panels, postural pictures and food preferences. Evolution Nutrition uses the data to build fully customized resources for individual clients based on their unique goals, activities and habits.

Customized meal planning. Proprietary software allows fitness professionals to produce customized meal plans in just a few minutes. For example, you can use Evolution Nutrition’s automated nutrition-planning option to create a plan for any client in your account based on his or her needs. This product allows you to have control over the details of a client’s plan, or you can go for a fully automated option.

Nutrition database. Users gain access to a database of recipes and unique nutrition plans developed by a team of registered dietitians. These plans include vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, lactose-free, protein-focused and more. Resources also include shopping lists and a portion guide.

THE COMPANY’S PITCH

“Overwhelmingly, our clients tell us how much more engaged their customers are because they are now able to offer a truly comprehensive solution versus merely offering exercise instruction alone,” says Lawrence Romine, vice president of sales at Evolution Nutrition. “Simply put, [our users’] clients get the results they’re looking for, and [users] are growing their businesses doing it. Results = retention = referrals = revenue.”

More information is at www.Evol utionNutrition.com and www.Facebook .com/evolutionnutrition; individual monthly subscriptions start at $9 per month. Enterprise licensing is available to health clubs that want to offer nutritional programming to members via the clubs’ personal training staff.

MINDBODY®

What it does. MIND-BODY positions itself as the largest global provider of Web and mobile business management solutions for the wellness and beauty industries. Features of MINDBODY Web software include client management, scheduling, payroll, retail point-of-sale, analytics and marketing. The goal is to bring all aspects of a fitness business into one place, which can save time and boost revenue.

MAIN FEATURES AND BENEFITS

Online scheduling. Users can manage and track scheduling for all their clients and staff. Clients can book sessions/services and pay for those services at the time of scheduling. This software also provides functions for client management, making it possible to create client profiles, track histories and purchases, record preferences and goals, and more.

Marketing and analytics. The product provides marketing tools for spreading brand awareness, strengthening social media presence, aiding in client attraction and retention, and growing revenue. Examples include customized email marketing capabilities through Constant Contact and more than 40 automated email and SMS messages you can send to clients. MINDBODY also integrates with Facebook and other social media platforms. Analytics features include reports on generated sales, most popular classes and instructors, best class times and more.

Retail point-of-sale. Users can sell products, services, memberships and gift cards through the software; payments can be processed online or via a smart-phone anywhere at any time.

THE COMPANY’S PITCH

“Our clients appreciate the 24/7 unlimited customer support and ability to turn on and off features within the software,” says Stephanie Jennings, senior vice president of sales at MINDBODY. For example, if you don’t sell products or prefer not to take online bookings, you can switch off those capabilities.

More information is at www.mind-bodyonline.com and www.Facebook.com/mindbodyonline; pricing is based on the number of staff members at a business location and starts at $85 per month for one to five professionals.

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About the Author

Amanda Vogel, MA

Amanda Vogel, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Amanda Vogel, MA human kinetics, is the owner of ActiveVoice.ca, a writing, editing and consulting service for the fitness industry. She’s a Hootsuite-certified social media consultant for fitness brands and public figures and a Fitness Technology Spokesperson for IDEA. Specializing in group fitness, Amanda holds indoor cycling certifications from Schwinn and Keiser. In addition to blogging at FitnessTestDrive.com about fit tech, workout gear and exercise clothes, she writes for popular magazines, including IDEA Fitness Journal, ACE Certified, Best Health and Reader’s Digest. Find her on social: @amandavogel on Twitter and @amandavogelfitness on Instagram.