From Jazzercise to the ThighMaster, hot new fads are a hallmark of the fitness industry. Some fall out of favor almost as quickly as they catch on. But others have that special something and make the jump from quirky trend to fitness staple. And, as it shapes up to become the next fitness unicorn, that’s the space occupied by Athlo.
What Is Athlo?
Athlo is a digital platform that leverages the sharing economy to help all industry stakeholders get more from their fitness investments. Gyms and boutique fitness spaces partner with Athlo, allowing current members to “sell” their unused days or classes to other platform users. For gyms, their Athlo partnership strengthens member retention efforts, gym members get to recoup some of their initial investment in fitness, and users get to access new facilities at preferential rates.
But aside from the clear financial upsides, the platform’s staying power comes from straddling the worlds of digital and brick-and-mortar fitness. Athlo founder Matthew Mansell says, “We believe as a business, that through our partnerships and working alongside our gym partners, we can act as an intermediary for digital clients, providing more users access to our gym partners.” And that ability to help digital fitness fans return to the gym will be what keeps the sharing economy app from falling out of favor in a post-pandemic world.
A Hybrid Model for a Hybrid World
Many pandemic-era fitness crazes have already started to fizzle as the world emerges from the cycle of variant-fueled lockdowns. Companies like Peloton and Mirror have quickly lost value, as their solely digital, in-home workouts failed to accommodate people’s desire to return to a physical fitness community.
Yet, while Athlo got its start during the pandemic, when many city workers spent several days a week working from home, the platform is built to stay relevant in the new normal. After all, it’s a digital platform increasing access to brick-and-mortar businesses.
As such, when Mansell looks to the future of fitness — and Athlo — he says, “My personal gut feeling is twofold here. One is, digital fitness is here to stay. The trends show that. At the same time, the data indicates people are returning to brick-and-mortar gyms, brick-and-mortar studios for the element of community and in-person training. You can’t replicate that. It’s irreplaceable. But I don’t think digital fitness is going to disappear, and I believe anyone who is totally dismissive of that is probably burying their heads in the sand somewhat.”
A New Way to Work Out on the Go
As Athlo looks to the future, its expansion plans reflect new ways to leverage digital fitness for a world of professionals who can work — and work out — from anywhere. Currently working with London-based fitness centers, Mansell says the platform’s next steps will focus on “key geographies and travel corridors that we believe suits our business and vice versa.” Why? “When traveling with work or for leisure,” he explains, “unless your gym membership provides you global access, the solution is a Google search and to us, that seems archaic.”
Instead, as Athlo moves forward, users could skip the search — or a sad, hotel-gym workout — and access an array of international fitness options simply by logging in to the app. And, with the seemingly endless growth opportunities that will come from this ability to seamlessly connect digital and traditional fitness solutions, Athlo is one fitness fad that’s here to stay.