AI Knows Your Gym Members Better Than You Do

Discover how AI has an even greater understanding of your members than you do and how you can learn to leverage its advanced insights, predictive capabilities, and personalized experiences to transform your gym’s member engagement and retention.
Hilary McGuckin
Hilary McGuckin
June 12th, 2024
AI Knows Your Gym Members Better Than You Do

I don't think I'll get into any arguments when I say understanding your customers isn't just a nice-to-have, it's a must-have. Businesses of all shapes and sizes, in every sector the world over, spend millions trying to get this right. But what if I told you there's a tool that can do this better, faster, and more accurately than ever before...Would you believe me? Would you want to believe it? Or would you sigh heavily, and say 'here we go again'? Three great questions (I think) and hopefully by the end of this article you'll feel ready to answer them.

With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), gyms and fitness centers are sitting on a goldmine of potential. Just think about it – AI can give you unprecedented insights into your customers' behavior, preferences, and needs. It's like having a crystal ball that shows you exactly what your members want and how they like to work out. But here's the catch: this only works if you truly embrace the technology and take the time to understand what the data is telling you. Once you do, you can tailor your services to better meet your members' expectations, keeping them happy and loyal. It's all about turning those insights into action.

Actually that 'taking the time to understand it' is only half true. Yes you'll want and need to understand what it tells you. But time is less of factor when it's delivered in real time.

Ok, so we've covered AI extensively here at Keepme, explaining what it is and how it works...but the real question is, how exactly does AI understand your members better than you do? And more importantly, how can you get comfortable with that idea and use it to your advantage?

First off, AI analyzes member data at a scale and speed that's simply impossible for humans. It looks at patterns and trends in your members' activities, preferences, and feedback, giving you a detailed and accurate picture of what they really want. This means AI can spot subtle shifts in behavior that you might miss, helping you stay one step ahead.

Now, getting comfortable with this might feel a bit daunting at first. After all, trusting a machine to understand your customers better than you do can be a big leap. But think of AI as a powerful tool in your toolkit, or the best hire you ever made into the team - one that enhances your ability to connect with and serve your members better and faster. By embracing AI, you're not losing control; you're actually gaining a superpower.

Or at the very least, an incredibly gifted team member that doesn't take annual leave or sick days, is always helpful and enthused ... plus it keeps getting smarter and better at its job.

Ok ... But What is AI?

So, yes we have already covered it many times before but it warrants saying it again, but maybe slightly differently.

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think and learn like humans. These systems are capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as recognizing speech, making decisions, and understanding natural language.

Importantly it's not sentient in any way. It doesn't think for itself.

All it's really doing is processing from vast libraries of information we feed it, and applying that knowledge and pattern recognition to the data or prompt you give it. It is this and only this, that gives AI its ability to understand human behavior and go so far as to predict our near future actions. This capability is derived purely from statistical and computational methods rather than any genuine understanding or foresight.

In simple terms you might even think of it like a calculator. It's only calculating probable outcomes, very, very fast. Something that would take humans days or weeks, if not months of analysis to achieve. Something that would be guaranteed to make even the hardiest gym marketer mutter 'here we go again' under their breath.

AI's Capabilities in Understanding Human Behavior

Ok, so we're clear and everyone is on the same page. AI excels in analyzing vast amounts of data to identify patterns and predict future behaviors. That's the playing field. Fairly black and white.

It's this ability that makes it a particularly useful tool for understanding customer habits, preferences, and even predicting what they might want or do next. Through predictive modeling, AI can anticipate customer needs and provide personalized experiences when partnered with automation.

For example, in a gym setting, AI can analyze data from members' check-ins, workout routines, and class attendance. By recognizing patterns in this member data, AI can predict which classes are likely to be popular and suggest them to members based on their past preferences; or those that aren't popular or showing decline so the fitness team know to scrap that class and replace it with something fresh.

It might also identify members who haven't visited in a while, categorise or tag them and then send personalized reminders or offers to encourage them to return. Additionally, AI can tailor workout recommendations to individual members, helping them achieve their fitness goals more effectively by suggesting exercises that align with their progress and preferences...or even their body fat percentage, gender and any known health concerns.

If you tried to do that manually for each of your members, how long do you think it would take? How often could you repeat that process? Would you even want to repeat it? Cue the gym marketing team groaning again.

Real-World Examples of AI Understanding Humans Better Than We Do

One of the most notable examples of AI's prowess is Google's AI, AlphaGo, defeating the world champion in the complex board game Go. This achievement was not merely a fluke; the AI analyzed millions of potential moves and strategies to predict and counter the champion's tactics, demonstrating an unprecedented level of strategic understanding.

In another remarkable instance, AI is revolutionizing the entertainment industry. Netflix users raise your hands!

Netflix utilizes AI algorithms to recommend shows and movies you might enjoy based on your viewing history. By analyzing patterns in the content you watch, Netflix's AI can predict your preferences with remarkable accuracy, leading to a highly personalized user experience...and if you're honest with yourself it gets it right a lot of the time and you've subconsciously come to expect it. This is why your Netflix account might look completely different to a friend's or colleague's, despite having the exact same content available, and this predictive capability has significantly contributed to Netflix's success and your user satisfaction.

AI is also making waves in the healthcare sector. For example, IBM's Watson has been used to predict disease outbreaks and recommend personalized treatment plans. By analyzing vast amounts of medical data, Watson can identify patterns and correlations that human doctors might miss, leading to earlier diagnoses and more effective treatments. A study published in Nature Medicine highlighted how an AI system developed by Google Health could predict lung cancer more accurately than human radiologists, showcasing AI's potential to transform medical diagnostics.

In the retail industry, companies like Amazon employ AI to predict consumer behavior and optimize inventory management. By analyzing purchase histories and browsing patterns, AI can forecast which products will be in high demand, allowing Amazon to stock items more efficiently and reduce delivery times. This predictive power enhances customer satisfaction and streamlines operations.

Besides Amazon, other retailers like Walmart use it to predict consumer demand and manage inventory. AI systems analyze purchasing patterns, seasonal trends, and local events to forecast which products will be popular. This allows retailers to stock their shelves accordingly and reduce waste from overstocking or stockouts.

This one is contentious and I for one complain about it all the time...but it's only fair to bring it up...Platforms like Facebook and Twitter use AI to predict user engagement and personalize content. By analyzing users' interactions, likes, and shares, the AI determines which posts are likely to be of interest and display them more prominently in users' feeds. This predictive capability helps maintain user engagement and increases time spent on the platform.

AI in the Fitness Industry

The fitness industry is beginning to harness the power of AI, though it's still in the early stages. From personalized workout plans to virtual coaching, AI offers numerous benefits that can transform how fitness operators engage with their member. I won't bore you with a list of examples here instead I'll bookmark some additional reading for you:

How Superhuman Understanding of Your Members Can Enhance the Customer Experience

Imagine having a fitness plan tailored specifically to your body type, fitness level, and goals. That doesn't seem that big of a deal, right? I'm sure many of you have had a 'tailored' workout plan based on information you handed over, but that personal trainer (PT) likely only applied his or her experience, and possible nutrition or biomedical training to your case - BUT their view and internal catalogue is infinitely small in comparison to what an AI PT assistant could do for you.

Your very own AI PT can analyze your workout history, dietary habits, and even sleep patterns to create a personalized fitness plan. Moreover, AI can provide real-time feedback, adjusting your workout based on your performance and progress. Imagine the results your members would experience?!

Here's a few more examples to illustrate the transformative potential of AI in fitness by creating a more responsive and adaptive environment, ultimately leading to higher satisfaction and retention rates:

Example 1: AI-Driven Nutritional Guidance

Imagine an AI system that not only tracks your workout progress but also integrates with a nutrition app to monitor your dietary intake and blood sugar. Based on your fitness goals, such as muscle gain or weight loss, the AI could suggest meal plans and specific foods that complement your workout regime. It could even alert you to nutritional deficiencies or recommend supplements based on your dietary habits and fitness goals.

By analyzing your metabolic rate and how your body responds to different foods, the AI could provide insights far beyond the typical advice you might receive from a human nutritionist.

Example 2: AI-Powered Injury Prevention

Consider an AI that continuously monitors your form during exercises using wearable sensors or camera systems. It could identify patterns that indicate potential injury risks, such as improper lifting techniques or muscle imbalances. The AI could then provide real-time corrections and suggest specific exercises to strengthen weak areas and prevent injuries.

By analyzing data from thousands of users, the AI can offer highly accurate predictions and personalized recommendations, ensuring that your members stay healthy and avoid common injuries that could sideline their fitness progress.

Example 3: Virtual Reality Workouts with AI Integration

Imagine combining AI with virtual reality (VR) to create an immersive workout experience.

The AI could guide you through a virtual workout environment, providing real-time feedback on your form and technique. It could adjust the difficulty level based on your performance, ensuring that you are always challenged but not overwhelmed.

Additionally, the AI could analyze your gym member engagement and enjoyment levels, suggesting different VR workout scenarios that keep you motivated and excited about exercising. This personalized and interactive approach could significantly enhance the overall workout experience, making fitness fun and engaging for your members.

Example 4: Don't skip leg day

Or what about an AI that can predict what customers might need before they even know it themselves? For example, if a client consistently skips leg day, AI can recommend exercises to balance their routine. This proactive approach not only keeps gym members engaged but also helps in achieving better fitness outcomes.

Example 5: Reward and Challenge

Retaining customers is just as important as acquiring new ones. AI can help in creating personalized engagement strategies and loyalty programs that keep customers coming back. By understanding what motivates each client, AI can suggest rewards and challenges that resonate with them, thereby improving gym sales and fitness retention revenue.

Summing up...

AI is not just a buzzword; it's a powerful tool that can transform how fitness operators understand and engage with their customers. By leveraging AI, you can gain deeper insights, predict member needs, and create personalized experiences that keep clients coming back. So, don't be afraid of AI—embrace it and harness its potential to stay ahead of the competition.

Interested to learn more?

We love to talk AI in fitness, book a quick discovery call to see what it could do for you.