Exercise Professionals - EXOS founder Mark Verstegen: 'gym operators need to realise the landscape is changing'...
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21 Sep 2018

EXOS founder Mark Verstegen: 'gym operators need to realise the landscape is changing'
BY Tom Walker

Verstegen said that a lot of gym models are still based on

Verstegen said that a lot of gym models are still based on

Mark Verstegen, founder and CEO of human performance specialist EXOS, has said that health clubs and gyms need to become better at delivering results, if they are to attract modern consumers.

In an interview with Health Club Management Verstegen said health clubs could play a major role in "fixing" healthcare, but only if they adapt to the changing market.

“Gym operators need to realise the landscape is changing and be open and growth-minded," Verstegen said.

"For too long the industry has been fixed, as though everyone is going to keep coming.

"A lot of the models are still based on maximising membership and then hoping they don’t show up, because if they did, they couldn’t service them. That’s already a broken model.

“Operators also need to reposition how they’re viewed and focus on delivering health pro-actively through enhanced performance, by engaging members and getting outcomes for them. Not just selling memberships and managing the churn.

Verstegen added that by adjusting their service levels and personalising their offer, health club operators could ensure their relevance amidst changing consumer behaviour.

“I think consumers really could be satisfied with what’s existing today if we took a different approach when it comes to prioritising the consumer and delivering for them,” he said.

“We need to create intelligent fitness centres – what we call performance centres – to create structured offerings across the areas of mindset, nutrition, movement and recovery.

“If we don’t eat well, or hydrate well or sleep well, then the overall benefits are reduced. It has to be a very balanced approach. That’s why some gyms and health clubs have to get more than 70 per cent new members every year.

“Think about the people who don’t stay members, for whatever reason. You’ve lost trust and every time you lose trust, it’s like a small scar. You scar people enough times and they’re not coming back. That’s the discouraging part – how we, as a global industry – haven’t fulfilled our promise but instead have fulfilled fads."

Verstegen also said that consumers are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about fitness and wellness – and that this could benefit the fitness industry.

“Some consumers are getting really educated, about their health but they still need expert interventions,” he added.

“When you look at the connected devices, from watches to patches, people know their metrics, they know their resting heart rate, their exercise output."

From its inception in 1999 as Athletes’ Performance, EXOS has grown steadily and its services now include corporate wellness, sports team training and one-to-one consultations in areas such as nutrition, performance testing and physical therapy.

The company currently operates 400 facilities in 30 countries, reaching 1.2 million consumers each year.

To read the full interview with Verstegen, in which he also reveals the company's future plans for the UK market, click here for the September 2018 Health Club Management



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