Issue No. 258: Next in Line

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Bring a community-centric, modern bathhouse to your city.

Upstart activewear brands are coming for the crown.

All the Way Up

Scaling up, athletic apparel is reaching new heights.

  • The global activewear market is projected to reach $772B by 2032.
  • 43% of consumers say over half their wardrobe is athleisure.
  • From 2019–2022, 200+ new brands entered the space, per research firm Circana.

But, a few stand above the rest.

lululemon. Initially focused on female boutique fitness fans, lulu kicked off the athleisure craze and rode growth in guys to a $50B valuation — charting the course for lifestyle brands to follow.

Alo. Fresh off a $1B sales year, the studio-to-streetwear brand’s parent company is seeking an investment at a $10B valuation. Tapping Hollywood and high fashion, it has put an aspirational spin on everything from skincare to supplements — building an empire to rival lulu.

Vuori. Since a 2021 investment valued it at $4B, the seven-year-old company has grown its female fanbase and retail outposts — aiming for 100 more openings in the next three years. Riding its California-cool feel to consistent 250% YoY growth, Vuori is eyeing a 2024 IPO.

With 55% of consumers repurposing athleisure as everyday wear, fitness brands are following them into new arenas, tailoring collections to hybrid workers, the outdoorsy, and even travelers.

And, while none are near Nike’s $200B throne, many are winning fans as they give chase.

The Playbook

Standing out in the crowded market isn’t easy.

So, cult-favorites combine clothing with a clear ethos, community, and omnichannel experiences. Foundation set, they spin off ancillary products and experiential stores to support the lifestyle they’ve designed.

Following the playbook, sport-specific brands have been able to evolve, secure a larger slice of the activewear pie, and touch all areas of consumers’ lives.

  • Starting with tennis, On will shift from specialty running to sport-agnostic fitness brand.
  • Valued at $500M, NOBULL is stretching beyond CrossFit with an NFL partnership.
  • No-frills men’s brand Ten Thousand and Australia’s LSKD, derived from dirt bike culture, both signed on to outfit Life Time trainers.

Catching up, Rhone is shedding its men’s-only reputation, launching women’s wear and reorienting around holistic high-performance.


With a nimble edge and nothing to lose, small labels are testing activewear’s limits. And, doubling down on community, fashion, and flair — they’re shaping the category’s future.

Community-led. Up 280% from 2019–2022, Tracksmith is favored by amateur runners for its no-pros aura and social stores. Bandit, a company born in NYC’s running scene, grew through word of mouth, a branded run club, and regular race pop-ups.

Fashionable. Catering to wellness-minded urbanites, District Vision designs sleek gear with a spiritual twist. Barely a year old, Pruzan is making waves with its polished capsule wardrobe for city runners. And, tomboy-chic Adanola’s “everyday uniforms” skillfully meld sport and streetwear.

Disruptive. Challenging traditional athlete ideals, Satisfy evokes punk-rock energy. Elsewhere, Plein Sport appeals to opulence with its futuristic vision of sportswear.

Sustainable. While sustainability has become table stakes, brands like hylo, TALA, and Girlfriend Collective invite people in through environmentalism.

Punchline: From simple sweat-wicking to transitional athleisure to stylized sets, all of activewear’s iterations stem from a desire for comfortable clothes that communicate a lifestyle. And, finding vibe-market fit, young brands aren’t just stealing market share — they’re revealing activewear’s virtually endless potential for reinvention.

🎙 On the Podcast

Sweetgreen co-founder and CEO Jonathan Neman talks reinventing fast food.

Founded in 2007 with the goal of making healthy eating cool, Sweetgreen has been scaling fresh meals with local ingredients, touting 220 locations and a recently expanded menu of protein-rich plates.

We also cover: differentiating as a healthy chain, Sweetgreen’s approach to automation and technology, and institutional obstacles to health.

Listen to today’s episode here.

⌚️ Apple targets healthcare with new Watch features

Adding to an expanding list, the tech giant’s smartwatch is expected to gain new wellness-tracking sensors next year.

  • Blood pressure. Without providing exact measurements, the device will alert users of elevated blood pressure and add a journal for tracking potential triggers.
  • Sleep apnea. Monitoring breathing, the watch will predict risk of sleep apnea and suggest following up with a doctor.

Of note, neither sensor is designed to diagnose or treat disease but rather encourage preventative action.

Still to come… Apple’s roadmap is also rumored to include AirPods that double as hearing aids, an AI health coach, and a noninvasive glucose monitoring system that could predict prediabetes.

The company is also advancing an API for managing Parkinson’s, exploring FDA approval for its blood oxygen tracker, and hopes to add fever detection to its thermometer, which is currently used for fertility tracking.

Looking ahead: The Vision Pro headset could be the company’s next health device. Working on AR/VR mindfulness, meditation, and fitness content, it’s aiming to outshine Meta.

Punchline: Despite its blood pressure feature arriving late, Apple’s one step closer to its idealized healthcare future, where prescription wearables reign.

Presented by Sauna House

🔥 Ancient rituals for the modern world

Bathhouses are the new social clubs.

Reviving ancient rituals, Sauna House’s phone-free sanctuaries offer sauna, cold plunge, chill vibes, and community under one roof.

Scaling up. This science-backed concept is expanding across the country — and the team is looking for values-aligned entrepreneurs to join the movement.

It’s a unique opportunity to forge the future of communal bathing and enhance social wellness.

Want to open a Sauna House in your city? Learn more about franchising today.

💉 Social media drives uptick in teen steroid use

Often illegal yet glorified online, companies pushing unprescribed steroids and peptides are targeting teens on platforms like TikTok.

  • Since 2020, steroid-promoting videos have attracted 420M views from US young adults.
  • 3.3% of school-age boys and 2.4% of girls have taken OTC steroids at least once.
  • Drug sellers reach ~540x more followers through TikTok influencer deals.

The trend, fueled by toxic fitfluencer culture, coincides with the rise of “bigorexia”—a form of muscle dysmorphia—among adolescent males.

And, it’s compounded by the rise of obesity and testosterone therapies, which normalize direct-to-consumer injections.

Skin deep. As the line between wellness and beauty blurs, the impact isn’t limited to women. The demographic for medical aesthetics is skewing younger and male, with men’s interest in anti-aging procedures projected to double over the next five years.

But, confusing aesthetics for functional health comes with risks. For teens, steroids increase the likelihood of developing hypertension, heart attacks, fertility problems, and more.

Plus, the more people that opt for aesthetic-enhancing injectables without medical need, the more warped body image expectations will become — harming self-esteem and mental health.

Punchline: As steroid-like substance abuse becomes normalized on social media, a crucial message is missing — that looking and feeling good aren’t the same thing.

📰 News & Notes

  • CU Denver, Outside collab on gear-testing lab.
  • Escape Fitness, Hyperice debut recovery pods.
  • Fitt Jobs: Gymshark, Maven, Solidcore, and more are hiring!
  • Peloton narrows losses, sheds users in ​​Q1’FY24 earnings report.
  • Outdoor gear brand Yeti creates “Street View” for hiking trail discovery.
  • Hims & Hers launches AI-powered service for personalized treatments.
  • Startup Q&A: Lumin Fitness’ Brandon Bean on gamified fitness studios.
  • Headspace, Cotopaxi partner on outdoor apparel, mindfulness content.
  • Anytime Fitness adds Apple Fitness+ subscriptions to new memberships.
  • Beyond Meat lowers revenue forecast, lays off staff. [Re-read: Fake Meat Falters]
  • Nike, Dove promote body confidence in girls through sports. [Re-read: Game Changers]
  • See why WHOOP, Athletic Greens, and Lifeforce trust Jack Taylor for PR, storytelling, brand building, and more.*

💰 Money Moves

  • Microbiome test-kit maker Viome acquired digital health company Naring Health and its subsidiaries, health monitoring solution DiscernDX and personalized nutrition startup Foodome.
  • Longevity company Mimio Health raised $1.75M in a seed round for its fasting-mimicking supplements.
  • Nutrition for longevity firm L-Nutra closed $47M in a Series D round led by Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel.
  • Orthotics company Good Feet Holdings acquired assisted stretching chain Stretch*d.
    More from Fitt Insider: Stretching as a Service
  • Needed, a perinatal nutrition company, secured $14M in a funding round led by The Craftory.
  • Personalized health startup Jona launched its at-home microbiome test kit with $5M from Breyer Capital and Meridian Street Capital.
    More from Fitt Insider: Gut Health Startups
  • Weight management platform Calibrate added $29M in funding amid its restructure under private equity firm Madryn Asset Management.
    More from Fitt Insider: Re-Calibrating
  • Evermind, a nootropics beverage brand, launched after raising $1.3M in a funding round.
  • Flynn Group, a restaurant franchise operator behind Applebee’s and Taco Bell restaurants, acquired 37 Planet Fitness gyms from Alder Partners.
  • Ready-to-blend smoothie company Blender Bites acquired sports supplement brand Advanced Sports Nutrition Inc., with plans to enter the sports drink market.

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

*Sponsored content

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