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Feb 4

Mindbody jumps on virtual fitness boom with new subscription service – Business Insider

Fitness technology platform Mindbody, best known for helping boutique studios fill in-person and virtual classes online,is looking to capitalize on the digital fitness boom by launching a subscription program of its own.

Titled "Mindbody Flex," the new membership program launched on January 21 gives users access to steaming fitness classes from more than 450 participating studios for a flat monthly fee ranging from $39 to $99, based on number of classes.

According to Mindbody CEO Josh McCarter, Flex was inspired by overwhelming demand for digital fitness during the pandemic. Since March, he said Mindbody saw a 400% increase in virtual bookings across its own partnering brands alone, which include Studio Barre, Class UFC Gym, and Wundabar Pilates, among others.

Though Mindbody also features bookings for in-person classes and wellness services, McCarter said the subscription model will be focused exclusively on digital programming, which he believes will continue to hold value long after the pandemic ends.

"People are going to be craving that in-person community again, but they're also realizing there's a benefit to having this virtual component," McCarter told Insider.

Read more:ClassPass CEO Fritz Lanman reveals how a company built around indoor group fitness classes is surviving the pandemic by betting big on virtual classes

Mindbody was further encouraged by a series of self-conducted studies analyzing consumer fitness habits during the pandemic. According to one recent company survey, 93% of respondents said they plan to return to pre-pandemic workout routines once vaccinated, with another 75% intending to continue using virtual fitness programs in tandem with brick-and-mortar gyms and exercise studios.

"What we're seeing very consistently in our research is that virtual fitness is absolutely here to stay," he said. "It's not a fad that's going to go away when we have more vaccines and get to whatever our new normal is." A man does push-ups in his living room. Mindbody

Mindbody Flex's structure mirrors that of Moxie's "Patreon of fitness" model and the ClassPass membership program, in that members are allocated a certain number of monthly fitness classes. However, unlike ClassPass, McCarter said that Flex features classes from a variety of companies that aren't available via competitors, citing brands like Exhale, The Dailey Method, and Barre3, specifically.

"What we focused on with Flex was a really different product compared to say a Peloton or a Mirror," he said. "What we're trying to do is bring the local and authentic wellness experiences to customers who are accessing the Mindbody app."

According to McCarter, Flex largely caters to users who are looking for a comprehensive full-body workout from home but may not have any equipment beyond a mat. As a result, yoga has been "far and away" the top category on Flex, he said. The platform also features everything from barre to high-intensity interval training.

Though Mindbody Flex's overall appeal to the exercising masses remains a mystery, Flex has seen early success in what it calls "snackable workouts," shorter segments in the 30-45 minute range that allow for more flexibility on a tight schedule.

Ultimately, McCarter said he anticipates seeing continued high demand for virtual fitness and health programs that will prompt "tailwinds in the wellness category," particularly as Americans see the impact of possibly contracting COVID-19 while having pre-existing conditions like obesity and hypertension.

"[Americans] want to make sure that if they get COVID, they're in a healthy position after seeing the folks that are the most impacted, whether from hospitalization or death, tend to have issues that could be prevented by having a better wellness routine," he said.

Read the original here:
Mindbody jumps on virtual fitness boom with new subscription service - Business Insider

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