What will be YOUR role in the fitness future

These days, it seems everyone’s talking technology, digital fitness, at-home workouts, hybrid models, ecosystems. Things are changing fast, not only in terms of what’s possible but in terms of consumer expectations too.

If all of this leaves you feeling excited at what’s to come, but at the same time concerned about what it might mean for you and/or your business, make sure you block out some time for the canfitpro Global Conference & Tradeshow, because we have a keynote you won’t want to miss.

Speaking at 10.45am–12.15pm EST on Friday 13 August is Keepme founder Ian Mullane, a world-renowned AI expert with an ability to simultaneously inspire with an exhilarating vision of the future; fill you with an appetite to dive, right now, into the opportunities; and provide a reality check of what all this means in practical terms.

This is the first time Ian has spoken at a Canadian event, and we’re excited to reveal that his keynote will address the topic of his hugely successful white paper – The Fitness Future: Rules of Engagement.

Shining a light on his six rules for success in the new digital reality, Ian will pose a set of questions that all fitness providers must ask themselves, starting with the big one: If gyms are no longer the sole guardians of consumer wellness, what role will you play?

Where do you fit in the overall wellness ecosystem – that growing network of apps, trackers, online content, physical gyms, outdoor fitness and so on, in which consumers control their own wellness journeys, picking and choosing the elements they want to use?

The future is ecosystems

The first thing to recognize is that, for all the talk of hybrid models – whereby gyms provide members with on-demand digital services to complement the in-club experience – this is in fact a simplification of what’s needed.

The future is actually ecosystems, as Ian explains: “Customers now have a more holistic view of what defines wellness, picking and choosing their products and services accordingly. In doing so, they build their own ecosystem, of which their gym is but one part.

“Consider, for example, how much more useful an app such as Strava is when integrated with Apple Health or Google Fit, with all your personal metrics updated automatically. Value will only be unlocked for the consumer when all content, all experiences, indeed the entirety of a club’s offering are part of their personal wellness ecosystem.”

Where do you fit in the wellness ecosystem?

The question for fitness providers, then, is this: how much of your customers’ wellness ecosystems can you really control? How much should you even try to control?

Stress, hydration, nutrition, activity levels, mental health… It’s tempting for gyms to try and deliver everything. For personal trainers to try and position themselves as the go-to for all things wellbeing.

“But in doing so, they’re fighting a losing battle, not to mention undermining their credibility,” says Ian, “because there are already myriad digital solutions that do it better, delivering against the broader wellness agenda in a specific, measurable, personalized way.

“Meanwhile, it’s actually OK that you don’t control the entire wellness experience. It doesn’t mean you can’t play a part in the overall ecosystem.”

He continues: “Your challenge is firstly to determine which part(s) you can and should control, then make that crystal clear to consumers. What are the specific needs, perhaps not yet explored, that you are in fact better qualified than anyone else to meet?

“Once you’ve identified this, work out how to own this – the elements of the journey you do or could have control over – to the best of your ability.”

The next step is to look beyond your product to outcomes, determining where you can add value to the rest of the ecosystem – and with it, your customers’ outcomes – without having to control or deliver all of it.

Add value to the ecosystem

And the way to do this – the way to step beyond your traditional role and add value to the whole ecosystem, the whole journey – is by leveraging your understanding of the bigger picture. By joining the dots on behalf of the consumer.

Ian elaborates: “Anyone with a smartphone has the capability to record and analyze an ever-increasing amount of physiological and environmental data points that affect wellness. Add a wearable and the combination provides a veritable laboratory of the human condition.

“However, many people are completely unaware of the treasure trove of health metrics they carry around with them in Apple Health and Google Fit. Even if they did know it was there, they would have no idea how to use that data, translating it into actions to lead them towards their desired outcomes.

“Because it takes expertise to make these all-important connections between datasets – connections that, in turn, amplify the value of each metric and deliver comprehensive insight at a personalized level. And this is where gyms – and the teams who work in them, from personal trainers to instructors, physiotherapists to nutritionists – have an opportunity to step in and join the dots.

“Without delivering everything yourself, there’s an opportunity to step in and become the ‘hub’. If you’re able to educate on all spokes of the ecosystem and help people draw them – and the data from them – together into a prescribed, personalized action plan, all of a sudden you’re influencing (ecosystem-wide) outcomes.

“All of a sudden, your relationship with your customers is transformed. You become an integral part of their every day, able to command a higher price point, with higher loyalty and higher lifetime value.”

He concludes: “While all this talk of knowing your place in the ecosystem, knowing what you represent to people and not striving to do more might seem counterintuitive, it is in fact the basis of loyal, profitable customer relationships.”

Don’t miss out on this fascinating keynote. Register for our Global Conference & Tradeshow now!


When it comes to technology and its increasingly pivotal role in the fitness sector, there are few speakers more thought-provoking than AI expert and self-professed geek Ian Mullane.

As the founder and CEO of AI-powered sales and retention platform Keepme, Ian has brought together the diverse expertise of his career to date – including 12 years as an operator – in a ground-breaking business that boosts revenues for gym operators across the globe, harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to drive optimization and transform the way they interact with customers and prospects.

Diving into a little more detail, having spent 15 years working on fintech solutions for some of the world’s largest hedge funds and investment managers, in 2007 Ian founded Vanda.fit – Singapore’s first boutique boxing club – and alongside this, in 2008, the social media analytics platform Locowise.

It was at Vanda.fit that he identified the need for a system that would optimize the performance of his club; his expertise in tech and AI led him to develop Keepme, which since 2020 has become his full-time focus (some might say mission!)

A respected thought leader, white paper author, regular industry event speaker and member of the ukactive Digital Futures Council, Ian has a singular ability to first understand the challenges faced by our sector, then demystify the ways in which technology can help neutralize them. His keynote is one you won’t want to miss.