Issue No. 282: Gym-as-Clinic

This issue is presented by

New Flex

Hard Sell

Movement is Medicine

Exercising Compliance

🎙 On the Podcast

Rebecca Parekh, Co-Founder & CEO of The WELL

The WELL co-founder and CEO Rebecca Parekh discusses healthy third spaces.

Burned out by a career on Wall Street, Rebecca had a personal wellness epiphany. Now, she’s helping others relieve stress at The WELL, a health-focused members club and lifestyle brand.

We also cover: wellness real estate, demand for preventative wellness, and unmet consumer needs across the industry.

Listen to today’s episode here.

🔮 Barry’s weighs its future

The HIIT studio brand is working with advisors to explore strategic options, including a possible sale.

Pumped up. Known for cardio + strength interval workouts, the Red Room operator is seeing green; a Barry’s spokesperson told Bloomberg it’s seeking a valuation north of $700M.

Growth mode. After tabling expansion plans during the pandemic—conducting layoffs and adding funding to weather closures—Barry’s is making up for lost time.

  • It plans to open three studios in the LA area through H1’24.
  • The company opened its second RIDE x LIFT cycling studio in February.
  • Internationally, it entered Spain and Israel, with Bahrain and Egypt in development.

Counting 84 studios in 14 countries, the company plans to double locations in five years.

Cashing in. Brick-and-mortar fitness is bulking up. Last month, Equinox added $1.8B in financing to open 25 new clubs, and Orangetheory Fitness merged with Self Esteem Brands.

TBD: While Barry’s expects to command a premium for its high-end operation, the pool of potential buyers is limited, and the market will dictate its upside.

Presented by Lifeforce

💪 The Future of Proactive Care

It’s no secret: sick care is failing us.

But you don’t have to settle for average; Lifeforce offers an upgrade.

A first-of-its-kind proactive performance plan, Lifeforce combines at-home diagnostics, clinical-grade nutraceuticals, hormone therapy, and functional medical support in one convenient membership.

The goal? Optimize the aging process — improving energy levels, body composition, and overall health for a long, fulfilling life.

Level up: Measure your baseline to get started.

💸 Brands bank on women’s sports

Riding record viewership, women’s pro leagues will generate >$1B in 2024.

Big deal. Looking to capitalize, Nike signed WNBA rookie Caitlin Clark, and 83% of brands are upping investments this year.

Doubling down, Reddit co-founder and Angel City FC co-owner Alexis Ohanian is launching the 776 Invitational, an experiential women’s track event — and his 776 Foundation will fund expansion of women’s sports bar The Sports Bra.

By the numbers. Despite lagging TV coverage, female athletes boast 2x the engagement of male counterparts on social media, driving huge sponsor returns.

  • adidas, PUMA, Nike, and Vuori’s women’s campaigns were up to 69% more effective than their average broadcast ads.
  • In 2023, OOFOS’ campaign with women’s sports marketing company HypeHer generated a 191% sales increase YoY.

Girl up. Beyond business outcomes, promoting women’s sports can get more girls playing, reducing their risk of depression and anxiety by 1.5–2.5x.

Looking ahead: Drawing eyes and dollars, women’s sports represent a largely untapped opportunity for profit and public health impact — a no-brainer for values-driven brands.

📰 News & Notes

  • F45’s Pilates concept goes global.
  • InsideTracker, FITNESS SF bundle in-gym health diagnostics.
  • Supplement retailer GNC debuts in-store GLP-1 support section.
  • Walmart closes all in-store clinics, ends virtual healthcare efforts.
  • Specialty grocery chain Foxtrot permanently shutters all locations.
  • National Cycling League “NCL” suspends season amid restructuring.
  • Simply Good Foods buys plant-based protein drink OWYN for $280M.
  • Chris Hemsworth’s Centr launches holistic strength training program.
  • Smart hardware maker Stages Cycling sued by Giant, ceases operations.
  • Blink Fitness reinvests in top-performing clubs, launches trainer academy.
  • On collabs with inclusive nonprofit WalkGood, performing artist FKA twigs.
  • Sports nutrition site marks 25 years with community challenge.
  • Changing careers? Land your dream health and fitness job or join our free talent network.

💰 Money Moves

  • Ketone energy drink brand KEY raised $4M in an oversubscribed seed round led by AgFunder.
  • Virtual menopause clinic Midi Health added $60M in a Series B round led by Emerson Collective.
  • Friendly’s restaurant owner BRIX Holdings acquired organic cafe chain Clean Juice.
  • Tech-enabled soccer training center TOCA Football received an undisclosed investment from World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen.
  • Youth sports umbrella company Unrivaled Sports acquired Under Armour-sponsored flag football league Under the Lights.
  • Amae Health, operator of patient-centered clinics for severe mental illness, raised $15M in an oversubscribed Series A round.
  • Keep Company, an employee wellness program for working parents, raised $1.4M in a funding round.
  • Marina Orthopedic & Spine Institute, an LA-based center for minimally invasive spine and joint surgeries, secured $9.75M from MSK care provider Commons Clinic.

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

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