The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly forced gymgoers worldwide to not only reimagine how they work out, it’s also forced many to reinvest long-term in their fitness lifestyle.
One upstart fitness app—Flexit—hopes to take fitness enthusiasts’ investment in their health by helping people train at home safely and consistently. How? By bringing as close to a real-time personal training atmosphere into your living room without actually having someone in your living room.
“If I had to really encapsulate Flexit with one sentence, I’d say that what we’re going after is virtual personal training with live two-way communication,” says Flexit CEO and Founder Austin Cohen. “No one else has really focused on that personalized two-way communication.”
As did health addicts worldwide, Flexit had to adapt to the changes the fitness industry was forced to undertake during the COVID crisis, starting with changing its focus to at-home workouts while gyms were forced to close. From Peloton bikes to Pilates reformers, home fitness equipment sales exploded in 2020, generating close to $2.5 billion from March to October. At the same time, nearly 2.5 billion fitness and wellness apps were downloaded worldwide in 2020, nearly a 50% jump from the year before.
With no real end in sight as to when normalcy return, experts see home and virtual workouts as a trend that’s here to stay. Cohen agrees.
“From the trainer’s side, I think everyone knows now that virtual is going to play a part of their lives in the future,” Cohen says. “We’ve created a really cool process where the trainers wear their branded gear and most of them actually deliver the sessions from the gym. So if I’m working out with one of our trainers, I’m still kind of getting that in gym experience to the extent possible.”
Like other gym subscription apps, Flexit offers access to fitness centers nationwide (it charges by the minute for gym access), which is often enticing to not only the curious athlete who pops in and out of boutique studios, but also a godsend for travelers in need of a gym for a workouts.
For those opting to work out at home, you can book training sessions with a variety of trainers from participating gyms from any number of disciplines (boxing by day, yoga at night, followed by a kettlebell workout the next morning), who are equipped at catering your workouts to the types of equipment you may have at home. No equipment? Trainers can put you through heart-pumping body-weight workouts as well.
While live-streaming group workouts have become the norm, where Flexit veers from its competitors is with its development of an advanced one-on-one trainer-client interaction feature. Can’t seem to master a kettlebell swing? Flexit allows trainers the ability to help correct each client’s form with a diagram tool in which any type of adjustments can be drawn up, with the client viewing each tweak on his device.
“A lot of tech was not optimized for a live at-home personal training experience,” Cohen says. “And it’s really about developing a social relationship with the right personal trainer.
So far, among the more than 100,000 downloads, Flexit’s clientele is mostly split between the fitness newbie ready for a lifestyle change goal-oriented athlete in need of an extra push.
“We can cater to people who have no equipment or people who have everything,” Cohen says. “If you just have some stuff—a yoga mat or dumbbells, that can really do the trick.”