This NYC Startup Vies To Be Your New Personal Trainer



You are either overpaying for a personal trainer or you are not getting a truly personalized fitness experience. What you need is a cheap alternative that tracks your whole lifestyle to create your workout plan. The solution you need has arrived: fitbod; the personalized fitness app, tracks your muscle state, exercise history and fitness style to produce your perfect fitness schedule.

Ha Duong tells AlleyWatch how fitbod is great for gym rats and the casual exerciser alike.

Tell us about the product or service.

fitbod is a fitness training app that offers personalized workout routines based on muscle recovery state, exercise history, and fitness style. With fitbod, you can perform your most productive workout.

Proper exercise is a challenge for both casual exercisers and fitness enthusiasts alike, who must perform the mental gymnastics of blending workout history, thousands of exercises, and gym constraints into a concrete workout plan. fitbod removes this guesswork by offering bespoke training routines tailored to the individual exerciser.

Our mission is to make the building blocks of a healthier, active lifestyle accessible & enjoyable for everyone.

How is it different?

fitbod dynamically constructs exercise routines while other digital trainers rely on pre-defined workout plans. fitbod does this through a linear optimization algorithm that considers several fitness variables (muscle state, exercise history, fitness style and more) to find the optimal or “productive” composite of exercises.

The best current substitute for fitbod is to hire an expensive personal trainer. Next, people use static workout programs, which do not dynamically adjust as the exerciser progresses. Lastly, workout tracking is accomplished through physical notebooks or digital loggers, which do not offer future fitness guidance.

Team - Ha

Ha Duong

What market are you attacking and how big is it?

fitbod sits at the intersection of two growing industries: the $30 Billion consumer fitness market and the $10 Billion personal training industry. A recent Nielsen survey on global exercise trends suggest that Fitness is the world’s biggest “sport”, with half of all exercisers doing “gym-type” activities. Particularly, the mobile health and fitness market is growing fast with a market size of over $4 Billion at the moment and the potential to grow to over $26 Billion by 2017. In fact, the health and fitness mobile app usage is growing 87% faster than the overall app market.

What is the business model?

Our plan is to monetize through a subscription model that offers specialized exercise routines tailored to fitness styles (e.g., Olympic Weightlifting) or fitness goals (e.g., tone-up, slim-down, build endurance). There will be a standard version where people can use the basic functionality for general fitness purposes and a premium version for people with more specific fitness goals.

What inspired you to start this business?

Our Co-Founder Allen is a lifelong fitness enthusiast who built fitbod because no other product offered what he needed: to efficiently target the right muscles at the gym. fitbod is a product of three disparate experiences: a hacker background, a passion for strength training, and 7 years of engineering portfolio optimization algorithms on Wall Street. Allen left Wall Street to build fitbod.

Our other Co-Founder Jesse casually exercises in his spare time, though has historically been frustrated by the universe of possible exercises, nuances of proper technique, and inability of prior workouts to guide future fitness planning. fitbod delivers what Jesse needs to be more productive at the gym: tailored exercise suggestions that eliminate all the researching, planning, and tracking of working out.

We know casual exercisers and fitness enthusiasts need fitbod to work out smarter. We also know that a huge number of underactive people really need fitbod to live healthier, with nearly 80% of the US population failing to meet the Physical Activity Guidelines set by the CDC.

How are you managing building this startup while still in college?

Short answer: We sleep very little and don’t go out as often as our fellow students do. Our whole team is very efficient in working on fitbod by trying to incorporate the Lean Startup principles. We try to minimize waste and take enough time to make sure our prioritization is done right. We work closely together with our advisors who are fitness specialists as well as our users to get feedback and improve our product constantly. By focusing on user feedback and their anticipated needs we want to reach product-market fit without spending much time building features that no one actually wants.

What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?

Ideally, we will have gained an active and engaged user base of more than 10,000 users by then. Also, we will start testing our business model soon to see how much value people see in our product that they would pay for. We want to set up partnerships with natural partners like gym owners and fitness clubs that will bring additional value to both sides. And finally, we want to attract our first investors so we can boost our marketing budget and acquire more users.

If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why?

David Rose – CEO of Gust and Founder of New York Angels. There are few people that are as inspiring and successful as David. He is one of the opinion leaders in the New York Startup community and he has gained a lot of knowledge and experience in various fields. We believe having him not only as an investor but also as a mentor will add enormous value to fitbod. His network might be able to help us for our plan to set up partnerships with more established players in the tech and fitness industry. And finally, we love his book Angel Investing!

Why did you launch in New York?

New York has been growing as the startup center on the east coast in recent years. Through its deep connection with the universities (talent pools) as well as key industries New York is getting more and more attractive as a home for startups. We think of New York not only as a city for work but also as a great place to live in. And we see a lot of characteristics of our target group in the people of New York – people with a busy life but still interested in fitness and living a healthy lifestyle. New York gives us enough exposure to potential users, which is a driving force for building fitbod.

  1. What is your favorite fall activity in NYC?

Go running or cycling in the Central Park and enjoy being outside as long as the weather still permits it.

About the author: AlleyWatch

AlleyWatch is the destination for startup news; opinions and reviews; investment and product information; events reported, experienced, seen, heard and overheard here in New York. But it’s who we are that makes us different: we’re the writers and the entrepreneurs; the investors and the mentors; the lawyers and the marketers; the realtors and the recruiters – the people who work in the industry.

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