Issue No. 137: How Top Health & Fitness Companies Hire

Courtney Powell

We often hear from top health and fitness companies searching for high-performers. Likewise, we routinely meet talented job seekers hoping to start or advance their careers in the industry.

On both sides of the table, the pain point is clear: Hiring and getting hired is hard!

Shining a spotlight on this problem, we discussed the hiring process with industry-leading companies, compiling their best advice for candidates hoping to stand out, level up, and land their dream job.

Who you’ll hear from: Barry’s, Tonal, Oura, Noom, Strava, Future, Silofit, Wellory, and Gainful.

Plus… We’re debuting an exciting new resource for jump-starting or accelerating your career in health and fitness.

On a Mission

Almost everyone we spoke with emphasized the mission-driven nature of their work.

Of the utmost importance, hiring managers look for candidates who both recognize and feel passionately about pursuing a shared goal.

As Noom VP of Talent Mark Horton put it, in addition to delivering quality work, “we also want to know candidates are inspired by our mission of helping people everywhere live healthier lives.”

Echoing this sentiment, Oura Head of People Leanne Loveday-Smith said, besides role-specific qualifications, she looks for individuals who are “aligned with our values and mission to improve the way we live our lives.”

A step further, Barry’s VP of People & Culture Evie Fernandez said: “A majority of our employees are consumers of our product and are proudly obsessed with our brand.”

The punchline: Beyond being capable and qualified, companies want employees who are truly bought in. Tempting as it may be to chalk this up to corporate speak, glossing over your passion could be a deal-breaker.

Getting Noticed

Along with passion, preparation, personalization, and precision form the Four Ps of getting noticed.

Preparation is a non-negotiable, allowing you to gain a deep understanding of the company and position. Don’t scan the website; take time to prepare. After extensive research, personalize your pitch, connecting your experiences with specific elements of the job and organization.

While most candidates stop there, the next step is critical: Be precise.

Along those lines, Gainful CEO Dean Kelly was explicit in suggesting that job seekers need a compelling why — “why do you want to work at the company, why this particular role, why now, why YOU?”

More specifically, pinpoint your unique qualifications for the role. Articulate how you’ll execute the core responsibilities. Then, explain how your contributions will drive the team and company forward.

Easier said than done, Tonal’s Manager of Talent Acquisition Steve Moser had stellar advice:

“Give stories, not ‘answers’… think more about moments and events you are proud of, or that you learned from, that you can use as examples rather than trying to memorize talking points from your resume.”

Tying it back to passion, to truly stand out, Oura’s Leanne Loveday-Smith encourages applicants to weave their personal values and enthusiasm into their resume and interviews.

All-in on Intangibles

Working at a high-growth company is an experience unto itself. As such, it can be difficult to express and screen for definitive characteristics that map to success.

In some ways, interviewers know the “it” factor when they see it — and their hiring process is engineered to suss it out.

  • Mark Horton of Noom relies on a rigorous evaluation process to identify applicants with a desire to learn quickly and continuously.
  • Leanne Loveday-Smith of Oura said collaboration is key, pointing to one of its core values: ubuntu, a South African word that means “not me, we.”
  • Future’s VP of Performance Josh Bonhotal is assessing self-awareness and whether or not someone has a growth mindset.

Another challenge, hiring managers have to convey the realities of startup life, like thriving amid uncertainty. Many of the leaders we spoke to stressed the importance of staying flexible and being willing to fail.

Down that path, Silofit’s People Operations and Culture Manager Maureen Black warns against getting “emotionally attached” to projects in startups, asking candidates to talk about how they reacted when an initiative was scrapped.

Likewise, Tonal’s Steve Moser said humility and the ability to navigate ambiguity are a must:

“You have to be able to make decisions on the fly, and at any level in a startup, you might be handling something that is a ‘first’ for the company.”

The Role of Credentials

When it comes to getting hired, everyone wants to know: Which credentials actually matter?

Do health and fitness companies require industry-specific experience? What about your alma mater or field of study?

Truth is, it depends. From what we heard, qualifications are often role-specific—some demand more education or hands-on experience than others. More telling, though, was the number of companies who over-index on intangible factors like—you guessed it—passion.

At an early-stage company like Wellory, CEO Emily Hochman cares more about work ethic and an all-in mentality than where you went to school.

Strava’s Chief People Officer Michele Bousquet explained that “credentials are only one piece of the puzzle,” stressing the importance of authenticity and understanding how an individual will strengthen Strava’s culture.

Straight to the point, Oura’s Leanne Loveday-Smith said: “Your accomplishments matter. Your passion matters. Where you went to school does not matter.

Land Your Dream Job

As we mentioned at the outset, in speaking with employers and job seekers, we’ve made introductions on both sides of the hiring equation.

And for weeks, on LinkedIn and in this email, we’ve showcased job openings. But those efforts aren’t nearly as scalable or accessible as they could be. So, we built something much more useful.

Introducing Fitt Jobs: a curated, industry-specific platform featuring job openings at leading health, wellness, and fitness companies.

Of note, this is not a pay-to-post jobs board. Custom built, it’s designed to surface opportunities that would be of interest to our community.

Keep in mind: While we’re beyond excited to share it with all of you, know that it’s a work in progress — we’re already heads down adding more companies and features!


🧠 Psychedelic Wellness

Slowly but surely, psychedelics are moving into the mainstream.

On the Fitt Insider podcast. MINDCURE CEO Kelsey Ramsden joined us to discuss the psychedelic revolution, including shifts in science and culture paving the way.

We cover: The challenges and opportunities facing entrepreneurs and investors as this sector takes shape. And Kelsey talks about MINDCURE’s efforts to build digital therapeutics that support psychedelic-assisted therapies.

Listen to today’s episode.

🎤 The Exertainment Wars

Pitbull is teaming up with Echelon. As an investor and collaborator, the Grammy-winning musician helps the connected fitness company compete in the exertainment wars.

Part of the deal, Mr. Worldwide will take an advisory role with the company. The partnership also includes:

  • Dedicated “Ride with Pitbull” channel on Echelon
  • Co-branded exercise bike and merchandise
  • The Echelon anthem, created by Pitbull and released on his new album

The brand will also be integrated into Pitbull’s upcoming concert tour, with the artist noting“We will create our own meta-verse in the fitness world.”

A familiar tune. Hitting two trends we’ve detailed: Music as a Moat and The Metaverse of Fitness, interactive artist partnerships are quickly becoming the status quo.

  • Peloton landed Beyoncé and hosts music battles/themed rides.
  • Jay-Z invested in equipment brands CLMBR and LIT Method.
  • Timbaland invested in Liteboxer’s recent $20M Series A.
  • Apple tapped musicians like Lady Gaga for Fitness+ playlists.

Big Money. Digital and at-home fitness companies are shelling out millions of dollars on licensing deals with major record labels. Soon, Universal Music Group expects the leading fitness platforms to be among its top revenue generators, alongside the likes of Spotify and Apple Music.

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🩳 The Rise of Technical Apparel

High-tech sportswear is going mainstream.

  • 9 in 10” Americans wear athletic apparel in contexts other than exercise.
  • The number of “moisture-wicking” athletic wear products grew 39% last year.
  • Globally, the activewear industry topped $353.5B in 2020, projected to add another $157.1B by 2024.

Apparel giants are taking notice, catering to an exploding base of practical, performance-minded consumers:

  • Nike’s Spring 2021 collection pairs traditional Italian craftsmanship with industry-leading sports science research.
  • lululemon’s Spring/Summer 2021 offerings blend fashion and tech, featuring Glyde fabric construction, thermoregulation spacer layers, and more.

Mind the details. Not to be confused with ”faux” athleisure that prioritizes fashion over function, technical sportswear can withstand formidable outdoor conditions while being sleek enough to show up at Paris fashion week.

Why now? The pandemic propelled consumer demand for versatile, high-performance clothing. With shutdowns lasting over a year, the population flocked outdoors, donning apparel that can transition seamlessly between strenuous hikes and urban leisure.

And as online fitness booms, brands are tapping into digital communities of hyper-engaged consumers keen to spend on functional gear.

Connecting with consumers online can be “really powerful,” says Strava Director of International Marketing Simon Klima. According to Klima, brands hosting Strava clubs or challenges have seen a “10x return on investment.”

But… not everyone can cash in. It’s tough to construct technical apparel that works and looks good, so plenty of brands are taking the partnership path:

Takeaway. Industry giants are getting in on technical sportswear, and not just co-opting the outdoor look — they’re crafting beautiful apparel that’s built to last. All the above signals a return to quality craftsmanship well-suited for the high-performance lifestyle.

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📰 News & Notes

💰 Money Moves

  • Gympass closed $220M in Series D funding, valuing the company at $2.2B.
    More from Fitt Insider: 
    Corporate Wellness in the WFH Era 
  • Fitness rewards platform Paceline raised $29.5M in Series A funding led by Acrew Capital.
  • Tripp, a VR platform for psychedelic meditation, landed $11M in funding led by Vine Ventures.
    More from Fitt Insider: Connected Mindfulness 
  • Cabana, a “mobile hotel” startup, raised $10M in Series A funding for its luxe camper vans. Craft Ventures and Goldcrest Capital led the round.
    More from Fitt Insider: 
    The Outdoor Economy 
  • Kindbody, a fertility and family-building company, closed a $62M Series C funding round.
    More from Fitt Insider: 
    Femtech 2.0
  • Amp Human, a human performance company, is merging with performance nutrition company Momentous. The companies will operate under the Momentous brand going forward.
    On the Pod: Amp Human CEO Jeff Byers
  • FIGUR8, creators of wearable musculoskeletal technology, secured $12M in Series A funding.
    More from Fitt Insider: 
    The Business of Movement Health  
  • OROS, a materials technology company and performance apparel brand, raised $14.5M in Series A funding led by Elizabeth Street Ventures and Enlightenment Capital.
  • Private equity firm WM Partners acquired Vega, a plant-based supplement company. Danone subsidiary WhiteWave Foods previously owned the company, buying it for $550M in 2015. Terms of the new deal were not disclosed.
    More from Fitt Insider: 
    In Supplements We Trust
  • Premium athletic wear company Reigning Champ was acquired for $63M by global design house Aritzia.
    More from Fitt Insider: All Things Activewear
  • Once Upon a Farm, a plant-based children’s nutrition company, acquired Raised Real, a baby food meal delivery company.
    More from Fitt Insider: What’s Next for Meal Kits
  • Wellthy, a digital care concierge, raised $35M in Series B funding.
  • maude, an intimacy and sexual wellness company, closed a $5.8M Series A.
    More from Fitt Insider: Erasing Stigmas
  • Plantiga, an AI-powered sensor insole and software platform, secured $1.2M in funding.

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