Issue No. 244: Nike’s Next Move

Today, we’ve got a little scoop for you: Nike is making its foray into group fitness.

Introducing Nike Studios

The apparel giant is set to unveil Nike Studios, a network of boutique fitness studios opening later this year.

What we know so far:

  • The first Nike Studios locations are set for West Hollywood and Newport Beach,  California.
  • There are two studio concepts, Nike Training Studios (NTS) and Nike Running Studios (NRS).
  • In-person workouts will be supported by a digital app for at-home workouts and social fitness events designed to build community.

Nike tapped FitLab, an integrated operating company of performance lifestyle brands, to bring this project to fruition.

Raising $15M last year to scale its hybrid vision, the company teased plans for “connected fitness studios” paired with digital products and mass participation events. Flashing forward, Nike Studios seems to fit the bill.

Also of note, FitLab co-founder Brian Kirkbride previously worked at Nike, having overseen the Nike+ Lab and the company’s accelerator program, so the link-up may have been a long time coming.

The Workouts

Referring to its studios as the “next generation of group fitness,” Nike is delivering functional training and running-focused workouts.

NTS. Combining interval and strength training, Nike Training Studio classes utilize weights, kettlebells, sleds, sandbags, and other functional equipment. The programming is broken into periodized training blocks that rotate through three workout types, with the opportunity to assess progress after each period.

NRS. Split between treadmill and floor work, Nike Running Studio classes go beyond cardio to target strength, balance, mobility, and more as part of Sprint, Capacity, and Endurance workouts. The most unique feature is the NRS Pace Screen, displaying solo and group challenges for an immersive experience.

For both classes, Nike is building a roster of NTS and NRS trainers who will specialize in delivering the brand’s curriculum and inspiring studio-goers.

Beyond Sports

Evolving from sportswear and elite athletes to an emphasis on “body, mind, and life,” Nike Studios is the latest in a series of fitness- and wellness-related developments.

No surprise, running is central to Nike’s ethos. This fact led them to pursue a number of experiments, including the Nike+iPod Sport Kit, Nike+ SportWatch GPS, and the FuelBand.

Pivoting away from hardware, the company doubled down on digital content with its Nike Run Club and Nike Training Club apps.

Pushing further into fitness, Nike debuted CrossFit-specific shoes in 2015 followed by yoga apparel in 2019 and indoor cycling shoes in 2020. However, its most recent (and most significant) developments have transcended apparel entirely.

  • Last December, the company announced a partnership with Netflix, bringing Nike Training Club workouts to the streamer’s library.
  • In May, Nike teamed up with Strava, integrating with the workout tracking app and hosting a Nike-branded club on the platform.
  • In June, the apparel maker announced Nike Well Collective, marking its commitment to holistic wellness through new products, services, and experiences.

Bringing it all together, group fitness studios are a manifestation of the brand’s belief that everyone is an athlete.

Looking ahead: As Nike looks to expand its ~$170B empire, wellness is fertile ground for growth. Already associated with high performance, the Swoosh’s commitment to building its tribe around health could make it an immediate contender among gym-goers.

🎙 On the Podcast

Terra co-founder and CEO Kyriakos Eleftheriou on health data interoperability.

We also cover: hyper-personalization for apps, wearables, and more.

Listen to today’s episode here.

🦷 Viome launches at-home oral microbiome test

The diagnostics and longevity company introduced an RNA-based Oral Health Intelligence Test that analyzes saliva samples to generate personalized dental disease prevention plans.

How it works: Enabled by AI, users receive 16 oral health scores and tailored food recommendations to improve gum health, restore pH, and reduce inflammation — as well as custom-formulated lozenge supplements that provide pre, pro, and postbiotics to rebalance the mouth’s microbiome.

Already scaling its suite of tests for gut microbiome and cellular function, Viome has raised ~$170M to date — and its intention is to move deeper into DTC diagnostics, personalization, and longevity.

Say aah. Like advances in gut care and the gut-brain axis, the oral microbiome is trending.

Science has linked the balance of the 700+ species of bacteria in our mouths to broader health concerns like cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, stroke, diabetes, mental illness, and even athletic performance — suggesting better oral health could have a huge socioeconomic impact.

  • Dental care costs the US ~$124B, results in 34M missed school hours, and forfeits $45B in productivity each year.
  • Per the CDC, 47.2% of adults over 30 and 70% of adults over 65 suffer from some form of gum disease, with most chronic cases considered to be preventable.
  • People with diabetes are also 2–3x more likely to have periodontal disease, pointing to nutrition as a viable intervention.

In response, more oral health startups like preventative oral diagnostic startup Bristle and at-home oral care company Proclaim are teaching consumers about the microbiome in your mouth, connecting the dots between dental care and systemic health with personalized products.

Punchline: Science says rebalancing the mouth’s bacteria requires more than brushing — so startups are zooming in on the role of lifestyle factors and dietary habits in dental care. Riding the microbiome wave, forward-looking companies are pushing a new category of preventative solutions that expands far beyond the dentist’s chair.

❤️ Hims gets into Heart Care

The digital health and wellness company announced Heart Health by Hims, a program coupling erectile dysfunction treatment and cardiovascular preventative care.

Two for one. After screening users, Hims can prescribe a single pill containing ED and statin medications — effectively improving sexual health and lowering cholesterol at the same time.

Patients will also have ongoing access to resources and education from the American College of Cardiology (ACC), with the purpose of thinking proactively about major cardiac events like heart attack and stroke.

Heart to heart. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the US is a major problem.

  • ~48% of the population has some form of CVD.
  • CVDs cause one in four premature deaths among American men.
  • Those with CVD and associated problems live ~10–16 years less than their healthy counterparts.

But, while it’s the leading killer for both men and women, its symptoms present differently across gender. And that gives Hims an in — it determined ~30% of its customers are at risk.

ED can be an independent risk factor for CVD, with some research purporting ED symptoms are an early indicator (roughly two or three years preceding) of cardiovascular disease.

Seeing the opportunity for early, preventative screenings, the company believes the platform can insert itself into a system that spends $320B annually on CVD treatment.

TBD. There has been greater attention to heart health from apps and wearables, but monitoring and treatment are two different games. And while many digital health companies flock to GLP-1 weight loss prescriptions, Hims CEO Andrew Dudum has distanced the company (at least for now), perhaps to be a first-mover on CVD-related statin therapy, despite its purported side effects.

Takeaway: Even when advised by a doctor, Americans have a horrible track record of taking and adhering to statin therapy. But, packaged as a single pill for holistic enhancement could be an unexpected savior for thousands who don’t know they’re even at risk of CVD.

📰 News & Notes

  • Sweetgreen records first profitable quarter.
  • Strava adds features for PRs, mobile mapping.
  • Y7 Studio secures expansion funding as yoga rebounds.
  • Fitt Jobs: Hundreds of careers across the health & fitness industry.
  • SEB’s Anytime Fitness, Basecamp hit all-time highs in revenue, growth.
  • Samsung brings sleep and fitness coaching, nutrition insights to Watch6.
  • Apollo Health, Nutrition for Longevity debut brain health optimizing meal service.
  • Amazon takes Clinic nationwide, adds AI transcription for MDs. [Re-read: Amazon Care]
  • We offer sponsorship opportunities for select partners interested in reaching business leaders across health and fitness. See if your brand is a fit.

💰 Money Moves

  • Mental health platform Headspace secured a $105M senior debt facility to expand its enterprise well-being division.
  • Canyon Ranch, operator of wellness resorts, spas, and retreats, raised $150M in growth funding from VICI Properties.
  • Women’s health clinic HerMD added $18M Series A extension funding to support physical expansion.
    More from Fitt Insider: The Gender Care Gap
  • Salon and spa booking platform GlossGenius secured $28M in a Series C round led by L Catterton.
    More from Fitt Insider: Glow Up
  • Canadian financial services provider Sun Life acquired Canadian integrated health platform Dialogue.
  • Octave Bioscience, a precision care platform for neurodegenerative diseases like MS, closed a $30M Series B extension.
  • Helpful, a family caregiver platform, raised $7.5M in a seed round.
  • Emagine Technology Solutions, a remote patient monitoring platform focused on maternal health, landed a $1M research grant from the US National Science Foundation.
  • Fieldhouse, an athletic longevity platform, secured undisclosed pre-seed funding from Fulcrum Venture Accelerator.
  • Wisdom Ventures, a fund aiming to promote mindfulness, compassion, and well-being, raised $10M to support tech that facilitates human connection.
  • French multinational pharma company Sanofi acquired US-based supplements maker Qunol.
  • Nirvana Water Sciences, a functional beverage maker, added $2.6M in new funding.
  • Plant-based food company LIVEKINDLY Collective acquired Alpha Foods, maker of plant-based burritos and breakfasts.

Today’s newsletter was brought to you by Anthony Vennare, Joe Vennare, Ryan Deer, and Jasmina Breen.

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