Insider No. 52: The Top Insights From Year One of Fitt Insider

One Year of Insights
Now that Issue No. 52 has hit your inbox, I’ve officially pressed send on a year’s worth of weekly newsletters.

What began as an infrequent email sent to a small group has evolved into something much more powerful. From the website and podcast to all the relationships and collaborations taking shape, the Fitt Insider community is strong and growing. And we’re just getting started.

Thank you all for being a part of it. I hope you continue to find value in what we’re putting together. Onward!

Turning our attention to this week’s email, we pored over a year’s worth of insights to identify the most impactful trends redefining fitness and wellness. Then, we compiled our findings to create a year-end review.

Next up: As we approach a new year, we’re already a few weeks into working on the 2020 Fitt Insider Outlook. Expect to see that delivered during the next few months. Though, if you missed last year’s edition, you can find it here.

😐 Dopamine Fasting

If the headlines are to be believed, we’re living in the age of burnout. Worse, we’re addicted to our smartphones, social media, and any dopamine-inducing distraction.

Commonly referred to as a pleasure chemical, dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain responsible for motivation and reward. Love scrolling through Instagram or binging Succession? That’s dopamine in action. Trouble is, too much dopamine desensitizes us — meaning we need more stimuli to elicit the same effects.

In a world of endless stimuli, dopamine fasting is all the rage. Dopamine fasting is really just another way of saying “stimulus control”. At its most extreme, the practice calls for the removal of all exogenous pleasure — be it technology, entertainment, and even pleasure eating. The simple version is essentially a technology detox.

Zooming out: We’re dying to disconnect. Dopamine fasting just happens to be Silicon Valley’s spin on unplugging. While techies have taken to dopamine fasting—adding it to a self-optimization protocol alongside intermittent fasting, meditation, and micro-dosing—the trend has broader implications.

Takeaway: Products and services centered on stimulus control and “disconnecting” will play a more prominent role in the wellness conversation, especially as it relates to mental health. As we unplug, the pendulum will swing from online engagement to offline, human interaction. Expect to see in-person fitness communities, wellness social clubs, and off-the-grid experiences thrive.

📆 Save The Date

Speaking of connecting offline, join us for the Fitness & Active Brands Summit, December 4–5 in Los Angeles.

What to expect: This two-day event offers panel discussions, private meetings, and keynote presentations from industry-leaders like Barry’s Bootcamp, ClassPass, Xponential Fitness, [solidcore], Gympass, North Castle Partners, L Catterton, and many others.

  • Download the agenda for all the details.
  • Planning to attend? Get 15% off with code FITT15
  • Want to connect at the event? Email me >>

🏈 A New Guru

Jack Dorsey’s fringey wellness habits have led to comparisons with Goop’s Gwyneth Paltrow. While it’s true that Twitter’s chief executive is a lifestyle guru in Silicon Valley, Tom Brady is emerging as a more mainstream Paltrow-like figure for guys.

Yes, that Tom Brady. The Super Bowl-winning quarterback of the New England Patriots is building a fitness and wellness empire that will likely eclipse Goop. It’s called TB12. And the brand promises to help you “Do what you love better and for longer” — just like Tom himself, who, at 42 years old, is in his 20th NFL season.

While Goop has grown into a $250M business on the back of Paltrow’s celebrity and a content-plus-commerce model, TB12 is building toward a much bigger future.

  • TB12 has 80 employees, including CEO John Burns, formerly of Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt and Spartan Race.
  • There’s the original TB12 Performance & Recovery Center in Foxboro, plus the 10,500-sq-ft facility in Boston, and locations planned for NYC, LA, and MIA.
  • The company also sells supplements, apparel, training equipment, and other consumer goods under the TB12 banner.

Flag on the play. While the expansion continues, there are some concerns. As Fortune points out, both Brady and his long-time guru and TB12 co-founder, Alex Guerrero, have been called out for promoting pseudoscience.

Looking ahead. A prime example of the Wellness Industrial Complex, Brady’s star power will transcend any concern about TB12’s products and protocols. As his time in the NFL winds down, watch for Brady to go full guru post retirement.

📰 News & Notes

  • Google made an offer to acquire Fitbit.
  • Nautilus launches a Peloton lookalike.
  • An interview with hims founder Andrew Dudum.
  • Just Inc’s $50-a-pop lab-grown “chicken” nuggets are almost ready.
  • Kelloggs settles a lawsuit alleging sugary cereal marketed as healthy.
  • Walgreens will offer Jenny Craig weight loss services at 100 locations.

🔦 Spotlight Q&A

This week’s spotlight features Rhone— a premium men’s activewear company engineered for an active lifestyle.

Ahead of his upcoming presentation at the Fitness & Active Brand Summit happening December 4–5 in Los Angeles, we caught up with co-founder and CEO Nate Ricketts to learn more about Rhone’s approach to brand loyalty and partnerships.

>> Read the full Q&A here.

💰 Money Moves

  • 1906, a Denver-based cannabis company, raised $18M in funding led by Navy Capital. More from Fitt Insider >> Weed is Wellness
  • Cannabis retail software startup Flowhub raised $23M in Series A funding led by Evolv Ventures, the venture arm of Kraft Heinz.
  • Athleisure brand Varley raised $5M in funding led by Lavendo Investments and Brightfolk AS.
  • Collagen sparkling tea brand SkinTē raised $3M in new funding.
  • ELSI Beauty, a sensitive skin beauty brand, raised $1M from Sekhmet VenturesFounders Future, and The Refiners.
  • Health Navigator, a digital health startup, was acquired by Amazon. Terms were not disclosed.
  • Softbank is reportedly in talks to back pharmaceutical delivery startup Alto Pharmacy, robotic burger maker Creator, and Memphis Meats — a lab-grown protein company.
  • Alternative milk maker Rebel Kitchen is merging with plant-based snack producer Nurture Brands.
  • Sparkling yerba mate maker CLEAN Cause raised $7M in Series A funding.
  • beam, a Boston-based provider of CBD products, raised $5M in seed funding led by Obvious Ventures.
  • Canadian kombucha maker Cove Kombucha raised $1.2M in seed funding led by Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management.
  • Alternative protein startup Shiru raised $3.5M in funding led by Lux Capital.
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