• Digital fitness offerings must consider the space their members engage with them in

Putting yourself on the other side of the screen is an important part of enhancing the member experience.

In the garage? In the living room? Next to the bed? In the park?
On their tablet? On their TV? On their phone?
Motivated during the day, or the evening? Mindful classes and experiences twice a week, or once a month?
It may not make much difference to you, but your member's health spaces are vital to them.‍ This applies to the physical space they utilise and the mental space they adopt. And this goes much deeper than even the most comprehensive of user datasets.

Everyone's home is different — from the size and shape to the people (or lack of) inside. These all play significant factors on the way we manage our health. Get to know your member's health spaces because you can play an important role in optimisation to help them make the most out of your services.

In your physical space, you control the environment. The music, the lights — the atmosphere is controlled by you. But over the past year we’ve seen the weird and wonderful pop up on Zoom, (and who knows what we’ve missed while they’re completing workouts and content on-demand) which often fatally distracts from committing to the session.

We need to get a better idea of how our members perceive their health spaces when connecting to your services online.

Perceived Health Spaces

Put yourself in the shoes of your members. The first thing you have to consider is the trigger that is going to create the action, be that opening your app or loading up your page. Just like the trigger to go to the gym, they have to have the desire to go to their health space. Their motivation to get to your top coaches class at 6pm may be there, but being met with a disorganised or uninspiring space wipes the motivation clean and the session is missed. By understanding the mental spaces your members adopt when using your online services you are able to mitigate problems.

A great example of this is a group fitness studio found out that most of their members were doing the online classes outside. During a week of below freezing weather class numbers dropped. It simply took a video from one of the coaches going out for their walk at 6am to talk about accepting the weather is cold, giving advice on how to get warm quickly and tapping into the purpose of why they were working out in the first place to motivate members back to class despite the cold. They showed that the physical and mental personal health spaces could be controlled and barriers overcome.

Personally, I’ve tried training in a number of different locations. My kitchen (most space), living room (big tv to stream from), garden (makeshift equipment), the park (distraction-free + space). The point is they all had something wrong about them that harmed my session or put me off going into it. This will be the same for your members. Every physical space has it’s limitations because it is ultimately designed for something else. This is why the health space has to be created in the mindset of the member.

The Sanctity Of The Health Space

Having a designated health space is an important component to keeping consistency in training. You know you are going to that space so you are mentally prepared to engage in the workout or experience.

Once you’re in the health space rules are set so that your actions are optimised to benefit your health distraction-free. No phones, no kids, a set playlist — these self-imposed, or guided, rules are set to ensure the space stays a health space and not an alternative workspace, relaxation space, playroom or other non-health focused space. The rules ensure that you follow through with your session to the best of your ability.

As soon we start to blend our spaces and break down the borders of the health space it becomes easier to bend and break the rules set to ensure we keep consistent in our health journey, ultimately leading to a failure of the sanctity of the space.

Understandably, not everyone is blessed with a garage or multiple rooms to allocate spaces to use. This idea can be simplified down to making just an exercise/yoga mat the health space. Once it is unrolled then the space exists and the rules apply. As long as you can control the environment around you enough to ensure the rules effectively.

What Can You Do?

Be open to the potential of the space. Challenge, discomfort, growth, development — these are promises you can fulfil by delivering your experiences making the space desirable.

Be alert to problems. If a member says they are struggling to do sessions because they have kids to look after, can’t do specific moves with limited space, can’t have music on or any reason related to being active at home then talk to them about optimising their health space and making the changes they need to remain consistent.

Make spaces part of the experience. Our homes are a reflection of us and our family. An idea for a community challenge is to share their different health spaces to celebrate the weird and wonderful, celebrating the uniqueness. This will inspire members to change adapt their health space based on other ideas.

Actively host talks and other experiences that help members shape their health spaces and get in the right mindset to workout while at home or away from the gym.

As the world of at-home health & fitness has become a reality for almost everyone over the past year we’ve seen the challenges of committing to our health change. The excuses of a class being full, gym being too busy, forgetting our workout gear have all but disappeared, but that doesn’t mean new problems aren’t influencing the decision of your members to be commit to their health journey. One common excuse that is emerging is centred around the space designated for conducting the session. It can seem small in some sense, but each person has their own perspective of their private spaces and the better you understand how their perception and how to influence it the more control you will retain in their consistency and development.