After two years of on-again, off-again gym closures and a workout-from-home boom, we asked industry executives for their thoughts on the future of fitness.
In this Q&A, we spoke with Freeletics CEO Daniel Sobhani about product excellence, gamified workouts, and investing in sustainable health habits.
Digital/connected fitness is facing headwinds. How will the category evolve?
Daniel Sobhani: In general, fitness companies need to focus on differentiation and put a major effort into product excellence. By gaining and maintaining trust via organic customer reviews within different user groups, companies get seen and recognized.
At Freeletics, we’ve been able to reduce our CAC by making this requirement a center of excellence in our company.
Omnichannel or hybrid fitness is gaining traction. How does it play out?
DS: Hybrid or omnichannel fitness will play an important role for a part of the market and user group. Still, for a big part of exercisers, it will be like pre-pandemic.
The shifts in user behavior aren’t that substantial in the long term when it comes to market change.
From VR to web3, immersive exercise is trending. How will it impact fitness?
DS: Those are all very interesting trends that will be picked up, but we expect them to be very niche in the beginning.
Of all those technologies, I personally see the biggest potential in AR/VR fitness.
What trends will shape the future of fitness?
DS: A key trend will definitely be gamification.
This has the potential to transform traditional and common training methods—which are sometimes boring or repetitive and therefore discourage many users—into something much more enjoyable.
Following this line of thinking, in Europe, we’re launching our new product and brand Stædium. It’s a strength gaming experience with physical equipment like weights and motion-tracking equipment that has the potential to destroy the boring part of strength training.
Overall, as macrotrends go, we see an evolution toward eating and exercising with the goal of being sustainably strong and healthy versus the crash diets and the three-month beach body programs.
Wrapping up: Anything else we should keep in mind?
DS: Freeletics is looking at a strong performance in the existing business, as we were able to achieve mid-double-digit new customer revenue growth year over year. It’s fantastic and a great proof of our long-term success.
As mentioned above, we are working full speed on our new strength gaming product Stædium to create a whole different experience, brand, look, and feel — as well as unlocking an additional target group.
We are almost ready with our MLP launch, expected to hit the ground running September/October this year.