Raj is the CEO and Co-founder of Styku, a 3D body scanning and body shape analysis system for health, fitness, and wellness professionals. He is also a physicist, with a background in extra-solar planetary astronomy and once worked in the Human Space Flight Program at NASA.
For many gyms and fitness centers the hardest part of their business is getting customers in the door. According to International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), more than 12% of gym members join in January, compared to an average of 8.3% per month for the full year. Generally there is always a spike in new memberships right after the new year, however January isn’t the busiest month - it’s March right before the weather warms across the country. For the rest of the year, gym managers rely on a variety of promotions, reduced membership rates, and word of mouth to drive new foot traffic through their doors.
In fact, the rate of attrition is so high on new memberships, that NPR suggested that gyms are actually intentionally attracting people who are most likely to stop coming long before they cancel their memberships. “Low-priced gyms are the most extreme example of this. Planet Fitness, which charges between $10 and $20 per month, has, on average, 6,500 members per gym. Most of its gyms can hold around 300 people. Planet Fitness can do this because it knows that members won't show up.”
However, 3D body scanning can become another weapon in the gym manager’s arsenal. How? By revolutionizing the initial consultation and sign up phase for new members. Offering a free consultation, gyms now have the ability to do one of two things once a potential new member walks through their doors:
- Immediately build a rapport with them
- Establish a standard for benchmarking and results that speaks to the training staff’s ability to work with clients to deliver custom tailored workout routines that keep members coming back.
Establishing a standard for interaction
Prospective members are increasingly searching for unique experiences and interactions. Ultimately this is why they choose a particular gym, restaurant, or car dealer over the next. It’s about the human connection. By design, a 3D body scan forces both the potential new member, and the body analyst to get to know each other.
We sat down with Jennifer Hummel owner of Catalyst Fit in Richmond, Virginia and she explained to us in detail how Stkyu’s 3D body scanning technology has changed her first interaction with clients.
"Styku is definitely a conversation point, and I sometimes use a complimentary scan as a way to get people in the door. It’s also made us more confident in talking to people about their nutrition. As a rule of a thumb I never wanted my personal trainers to prescribe diets, because you can’t guesstimate the client’s calorie intake even if you use food journals. More importantly if you underestimate the calories the client won’t keep up with the diet, and they’ll stop coming in." Ms. Hummel says.
Moving beyond just weight
Typically any trainer or membership consultant at a gym will ask a new client or member what their goals are, and what they’re looking to accomplish. Often this is to lose weight, gain some muscle mass, or simply to get some additional physical activity. The conversation ends there for most gyms. However, with 3D body scanning, gym owners can transcend generic questions and dig into what’s really driving someone to join a gym. Time is now carved out to really dig into a prospective member's lifestyle, habits, and social life where you now have a better sense of what’s behind their nutrition and who they are as a person. From there 3D body scan and corresponding data measurements help add a level of validity to any initial suggestions.
Custom tailored fitness programs that drive retention
Every gym and trainer claims to offer custom tailored fitness programs, but do they really? How can they really dig into what drives results with a scale, a body fat caliper, and a food journal? They can’t and it’s often why many cancel their memberships after the initial surge in surge in attendance in the first quarter of the new year. Many members either report of feeling discouraged, tired, and dissatisfied with nothing more than generic guidance to help them if they’re lost.
However, a 3D body scan is the first step in creating a truly custom fitness program. By examining millions of data points, understanding body composition, and then allowing both the analyst and member to discuss the goals and track progress over time, is a major shift in how gyms typically interact with new members.
It also ensures that they will be able to continue their membership for longer periods because they’re not setting unreasonable, unattainable goals for themselves. This means increased retention for the gym, and countless happy members who will more than happily help spread the word to friends, family, and co-workers. It’s not a gimmick, it’s simply the missing link between what trainers and gyms hope to deliver to their clients and what members and clients hope to get out of joining a gym.