Fitt Insider Debrief: iFIT Presses Pause, CrossFit Enters Healthcare, Les Mills Goes Omnichannel

Image: CrossFit

Welcome to the Fitt Insider Weekly Debrief. Every weekend, we compile the top stories impacting the business of fitness and wellness from the past week.

Here’s what you need to know…

  • iFIT Health & Fitness delayed its IPO
  • CrossFit unveiled a new primary care service
  • Les Mills announced an omnichannel platform

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Pressing Pause

iFIT Health & Fitness postponed its public offering, citing unfavorable market conditions.

Formerly known as ICON, iFIT is the parent company of NordicTrack, ProForm, Freemotion, and SWEAT, among other fitness brands.

Bolstered by the pandemic, the equipment maker saw fiscal 2021 revenue reach $1.7B, up from $851.7M in 2020 and $700M in 2019. Membership also grew to 6.1M users, including 1.5M fitness subscribers who pay to access content.

Last year, iFIT was valued at $7B in a $200M funding round led by L Catterton. Eyeing the public market, the company planned to raise upwards of $600M in its listing.

Full steam ahead: Of note, last week, health club operator Life Time went ahead with its public offering. The company raised $702M in a downsized IPO, pricing shares well below the $970M target.

Fitness x Healthcare

CrossFit pushed into the healthcare arena, unveiling CrossFit Precision Care.

A video announcement described the initiative as primary care for CrossFitters, by CrossFitters. According to CrossFit’s owner and CEO Eric Roza, it’s “fitness meeting healthcare for the first time.”

Offering individualized care and health optimization, the service includes:

  • Genomic testing
  • Blood testing
  • Longevity analysis
  • Lifestyle review

Additionally, members are paired with a CrossFitting doctor and support coach for remote/ongoing access. The service launched as an invite-only beta test in eight US states preceding a planned national rollout.

Why it’s interesting: A bold move, building a healthcare-focused ecosystem would be a fundamental shift among gym operators and fitness brands. Across the industry, fitness is defined by aesthetics, membership rates, and celebrity instructors.

Punchline: Linking exercise and lifestyle modifications to healthcare could be groundbreaking. Whether or not CrossFit is successful in doing so, time will tell.

Omnichannel Exercise

Bridging the gap between digital and in-person workouts, Les Mills introduced a “global omnichannel fitness offering.”

The digital service, called LES MILLS+, features 1K+ workouts from the company’s lineup of fitness programming, including BODYPUMP, BODYCOMBAT, and BODYBALANCE. Further, the app also connects users to live Les Mills classes in their area.

In 2020, the company’s previous on-demand platform saw a 900% increase in downloads, prompting the introduction/upgrade of LES MILLS+. With a global network of 21,000 gym partners and 140,000 certified instructors across 110 countries, exercisers will have plenty of options for at-home or in-person workouts.

Zooming out: As we detailed in Issue No. 150, The Connected Fitness Update, at-home exercise boomed last year, but consumers want optionality:

  • A Mindbody survey found that 65% of exercisers intended to complete both in-person and at-home workouts in a post-COVID world.
  • Les Mills data shows that 84% of gym members also work out at home, with the majority of exercisers preferring a 60:40 split between gym and home workouts.

Looking ahead: As the gym is unbundled, exercisers will become the center of the fitness universe, and brands will have to meet them wherever and however they prefer to work out.

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