The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly forced gym-goers around the world not only to reinvent the way they train, but it has also forced many to reinvest in their fitness lifestyle for the long term.
An upstart fitness app—flexible— hopes to capitalize on fitness enthusiasts’ investment in their health by helping people train at home safely and consistently. How? Bringing a real-time personal training atmosphere to your living room as close as possible without having someone in your living room.
“If I really had to sum up Flexit in one sentence, I’d say what we’re looking for is virtual personal training with live two-way communication,” says Austin Cohen, CEO and Founder of Flexit. “Nobody else really focused on this personalized two-way communication.”
As addicts around the world have done, Flexit has had to adapt to the changes the fitness industry has been forced to undertake during the COVID crisis, starting with a focus on home workouts while gyms were forced to close. From Peloton bikes to Pilates reformers, sales of home fitness equipment skyrocketed in 2020, generating nearly $2.5 billion from March to October. Meanwhile, nearly 2.5 billion fitness and wellness apps were downloaded globally in 2020, an increase of nearly 50% from the previous year.
With no real end in sight to a return to normality, experts see home and virtual workouts as a trend that is here to stay. Cohen agrees.
“On the trainer side, I think everyone now knows that virtual will play a role in their lives going forward,” Cohen says. “We’ve created a really cool process where the trainers wear their branded gear and most of them run the sessions from the gym. So if I train with one of our trainers, I always get that gym experience whenever possible.
Like other gym membership apps, Flexit offers access to fitness centers nationwide (it charges by the minute for gym access), which is often attractive not only for the curious athlete moving in and out of boutique studios, but also a boon for travelers in need of a gym to train in.
For those who choose to train at home, you can book workouts with a variety of trainers at participating gyms from any number of disciplines (boxing by day, yoga by night, followed by a morning kettlebell workout), who are equipped to adapt your workouts to the types of equipment you may have at home. No equipment? Trainers can also have you do heart-pounding bodyweight workouts.
As live group workouts have become the norm, Flexit steps away from its competition with the development of advanced one-on-one trainer-client interaction functionality. Can’t master a kettlebell swing? Flexit allows trainers to help correct each client’s form with a diagram tool where any type of adjustments can be drawn, with the client viewing each adjustment on their device.
“A lot of technology wasn’t optimized for a live personal training experience at home,” says Cohen. “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 customer base is mostly split between the fitness newbie ready to a lifestyle-changing focused athlete who needs an extra boost.
“We can accommodate people who don’t have equipment or people who have everything,” Cohen says. “If you just have a few things – a yoga mat or some dumbbells – that can really do the trick.”