Issue No. 279: Lighten Up

This issue is presented by

Strength workouts for community-minded gymgoers.

Optimization isn’t for everyone.

Pendulum Swing

Overwhelmed on all fronts, more Americans are rethinking well-being.

  • 68% of 13–39-year-olds feel wellness culture overly values perfection.
  • 89% believe the current definition of wellness needs to change.
  • 76% say anything that makes you feel good can be wellness.

Emphasizing pleasure over performance, a new wellness sect is emerging.

Healthy Hedonism

The antithesis of obsession, healthy hedonists live low-stakes and guilt-free.

While quantified-selfers measure to manage, healthy hedonists say what matters most—presence and joy—can’t be measured.

A growing psychographic, this faction hikes with friends instead of chasing PRs, cooks without counting macros, and chooses small habits over biohacks.

More Rick Rubin than Joe Rogan, intuition drives choices, and outcomes aren’t the focus.

High-Pleasure Lifestyle

Arguing wellness is easier when it’s enjoyable, healthy hedonists keep a looser grip.

No rules. 73% see meals as a time for social bonding, which restrictive diets make difficult. HH says aside from artificial ingredients, anything goes.

Extending menus beyond green juice, cultural eats from Siete Foods, Omsom, and Ghetto Gastro blend heritage, health, and togetherness. Channeling nostalgia, Goodles cleaned up mac and cheese, while OffLimits revamped sugary cereal.

Nailing overlapping needs, Athletic Brewing became a $500M NA brand for indulgers and optimizers alike.

Get real. Valuing honesty over image, 73% of consumers prefer authentic brands.

Dropping facades, next-gen personal care companies like Topicals and Billie highlight rather than hide imperfections, while We’re Not Really Strangers turns vulnerability into a party game.

Encouraging men to open up, EVRYMAN and Junto’s IRL events train emotional intelligence.

Playful vibes. Recognizing joy as a top purchasing driver, companies are adapting their tone.

Calling itself “a playground of well-being,” Civana Resort pairs meditation classes with poolside cocktails. Bringing wellness down to earth, Don’t Panic Retreat ditches “woo-woo-y appropriation” to make anxiety management fun.

Removing stress from movement, KINRGY offers free-spirited dance fitness, Bala brightens up workouts, and Nike teamed with rapper Megan Thee Stallion to reframe wellness as “whatever you want it to be.”

Fair warning. A caveat to pursuing pleasure, not everything that feels good is objectively healthy. Co-opting the concept for profit, brands could position almost anything as “self-care” — putting the onus on individuals to define balance.

Choose Your Adventure

Striving and stressing in other areas of life, some people want wellness without the pressure.

But, most brands are still competing for hard-charging consumers, leaving a large pool of potential buyers untapped.

As wellness moves away from a singular definition, embracing diverse approaches will elevate the industry’s impact and upside.

Looking ahead: Widening wellness’s scope, healthy hedonists are calling for self-trust over structure. A counterpart to the high-performance lifestyle, both camps will continue feeding industry growth.

🎙 On the Podcast

Krystal Zell, CEO of Tonal

Tonal CEO Krystal Zell discusses the company’s next chapter.

After raising $130M last year, Tonal is recalibrating. All-in on at-home fitness, it’s leveraging AI for more personalized workouts and pushing toward profitability.

We also cover: strength training’s rise, the company’s data moat, and building a sustainable business.

Listen to today’s episode here.

🌍 The WELL plots European expansion

The NYC-born, health-focused membership club will land in Switzerland before targeting London and other European markets.

Coming soon. Slated to open in 2026, its 20K-square-foot Lake Geneva development will offer services from fitness classes to cold plunges to Eastern therapies, per Bloomberg.

Diversifying. More than a club, The WELL has tapped real estate and hospitality to grow.

The company will debut wellness condos in Miami next year, followed by additional South Florida locations. It’s also partnering with Auberge Resorts, adding wellness spaces to properties in Costa Rica, Mexico, and Connecticut.

Join the club. More than a gym or spa, social wellness clubs have caught on.

Stateside, concepts like Remedy Place, Othership, Sauna House, and HEIMAT blend well-being and belonging.

Globally, brands like LanserhofSurrenneSaint HavenTotalFusionSIRO, and Six Senses Place infuse fitness, hospitality, and concierge medicine to stand out.

Punchline: With health-seekers craving IRL experiences, membership clubs are scaling to meet demand — pitching health, activity, and connection as the ultimate flex.

Presented by Les Mills

😎 Keeping Group Fitness Fresh

Refresh your club’s class schedule with Les Mills.

Tapping social fitness x strength training trends, Les Mills’ Limited Edition group workouts give members variety, community, and results.

Round out BODYPUMP with Pilates-inspired sculpt classes and functional strength programs for a completely in-house boutique fitness experience.

A recipe for growth and retention, limited-time group challenges will get members talking, connecting, and coming back for more.

Ready for group fitness gains? Get started now!

📈 Glucose-tracking tech gets an upgrade

Biolinq raised $58M for its minimally invasive glucose monitor.

In-check. Swapping a needle for microsensors, the company’s CGM patch measures blood sugar levels from just beneath the skin’s surface.

Spiking. With glucose poised to become the next big wellness metric, upstarts are racing hardware makers Dexcom and Abbott to develop noninvasive sensors.

  • Aiming for a 2025 launch, Spiden recently added $15M for its wrist wearable.
  • Last year, HAGAR closed a $5M Series C for its radio frequency technology.
  • Also leveraging RF, Know Labs is preparing to launch its needleless system.

Conducting large-scale studies, medtech startups are seeking FDA approval, while tech giants continue investing in their own glucose-tracking tech.

Looking ahead: Pending a tech breakthrough, blood sugar could become a focal point for everyone — not just diabetics. Mainstreaming prevention, next-gen CGMs could play a key role in reversing the metabolic health crisis.

📰 News & Notes

  • Gympass rebrands to Wellhub.
  • Volt Athletics buys ZAMA Health.
  • WHOOP expands wearable-integrated apparel collection.
  • Life Time opens first dedicated pickleball club in Minnesota.
  • Nonalcoholic brand Boisson files for bankruptcy, closes stores.
  • Uber Eats adds The Vitamin Shoppe as first supplements partner.
  • REI taps Trex for eco-friendly adventure camp in Bryce Canyon NP.
  • Jack Taylor to host immersive wellness showcase in NYC this May.
  • Sesame, Costco extend partnership for discounted weight loss medication.
  • 80K+ compete in inaugural Zwift Games, breaking esports participation records.
  • 3DLOOK launches FitXpress, an AI-powered body scanning platform for health brands.
  • Athlete-focused neurotech co Alphabeats hires former Spotify execs, readies US launch.
  • Start your career search at Fitt Jobs. // Hiring? Enlist Fitt Talent Partners to fill an open role.

💰 Money Moves

  • Biolinq, maker of a needleless glucose monitor, raised $58M in a funding round led by Alpha Wave Ventures.
    More from Fitt Insider: CGMs Go Mainstream
  • Allergen-free cookie company Partake Foods added $20.7M from undisclosed investors.
  • Wonderbelly, maker of better-ingredient antacids, secured $12M in a Series A round.
  • NFL helmet maker Riddell acquired product design firm Simbex and secured $400M from BC Partners.
  • Movano, maker of a women-focused smart ring, closed a $24M private placement.
  • Youth baseball scouting and events platform Perfect Game landed undisclosed investment from a group featuring 21 current and former MLB players.
  • Beauty brand incubator Slate Brands acquired men’s acne care line FRONTMAN, which will merge with men’s skincare brand Insanely Clean.
  • E-commerce platform OpenStore acquired sustainable vegan supplement brand Future Kind.
  • Provider-centric mental healthcare platform Grow Therapy raised $88M in a Series C round led by Sequoia Capital.

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

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