Issue No. 285: Long Game

👋 Hey, gang!

Quick announcement: We just launched the all-new Fitt.

More than a newsletter, we deliver specialized services across media, recruiting, consulting, and investing — tailored to health and wellness operators.

Combining insights, expertise, and access, we’re building the definitive platform for industry leaders.

Check it out → here. And reply to this email if I can help with anything.

Now, let’s get into today’s report.

Gyms need to redefine growth.


Brick-and-mortar fitness has been rebuilt.

  • In the US, Q1 gym check-ins increased 60% YoY.
  • European membership was up 7.5% YoY and revenues 14%.
  • The global gym/studio market is set to reach $170B by 2030.

But, despite seasonal jumps, gains are flattening, forcing frontrunners to think beyond collecting dues.

Roll Call

Setting the pace, publicly traded fitness groups are focused on top-line growth.

In Q1, Life Time, Planet Fitness, and XPOF all reported increased sales and membership YoY. But, sustaining this trajectory won’t be easy, especially as competitors give chase.

Double down. Charging a premium, Life Time raised revenue outlook, citing strong retention and in-club sales – 30% of members visit 8x/month, and 43% spend 90+ min/session.

Unphased by multiple price hikes, some clubs are now waitlisted, which CEO Bahram Akradi attributes to pickleball, small group training, and other value-add amenities.

Regroup. A red flag, Xponential Fitness reaffirmed hypergrowth—with 3K open studios and 6K sold—but ousted CEO Anthony Geisler amid fraud allegations. Confronting its own controversy, Planet Fitness lowered expected earnings and raised membership prices.

Revamp. With demand and balance sheets stabilizing after years of uncertainty, HVLP chains are getting back in shape.

Enhancing existing clubs while opening new ones, Crunch, EōS, Blink Fitness, and Gold’s Gym are investing in strength upgrades, recovery services, and private training spaces.

Refocus. Following a connected fitness detour and relatively few club openings, Equinox secured $1.8B in funding to launch 25 new locations.

Elevating its services, the chain added robotic massage, longevity programs, and 5K trainers. Paying dividends, revenue grew 27% in 2023, and April was its second highest in history.

Sell out. Capitalizing on gains, investors are preparing to cash out as operators scale up.

Pushing global expansion, PE-backed boutiques Barry’s and Solidcore floated potential sales worth $750M+. Leaning into spas and padel, UK health club David Lloyd could fetch £2B.

Following the merger between Orangetheory Fitness and Self Esteem Brands, Snap Fitness owner Lift Brands is also being shopped.

Real Gains 

Strong as ever, IRL fitness is attracting members and investors.

But, if operators over-index on franchises sold, unused memberships, or higher fees, the industry risks shortchanging gym-goers to appease Wall Street. Worse, if hypergrowth goes wrong, franchisees and members suffer.

On the bright side, brands that put engagement and impact above all else—by prioritizing effective programming, professional services, and premium amenities—will create evangelists, continuing to thrive no matter how budget-conscious the clientele.

Takeaway: Bulking up and cashing in, brick-and-mortar fitness is back. Making new growth count, operators must keep members active and deliver meaningful health outcomes if they want the good times to last.

🎙 On the Podcast

Rebecca Egger, Co-Founder & CEO of Little Otter

Little Otter co-founder & CEO Rebecca Egger discusses pediatric mental healthcare.

Filling a care gap, Little Otter caters to the needs of young children. Co-founded by Rebecca and her mother, a child psychiatrist, the platform takes a whole-family approach to kids’ therapy.

We also cover: headwinds in digital health, destigmatizing therapy, and scaling DTC + B2B.

Listen to today’s episode here.

📈 Longevity clinics land funding, plot expansion

Health optimization hubs are headed to a city near you.

Ageless. Catering to consumers who want to look and feel younger, longevity clinics combine lab tests, body scans, hormone therapy, and GLP-1s under one roof.

  • Humanaut Health just landed $8.7M ahead of opening its Austin, TX clinic.
  • Next Health and Relive are expanding health lab-meets-medspa franchises.
  • Serotonin Centers has 100 clinics open or in development after raising $6.5M.

Another approach, Life Time is co-locating MIORA clinics within its gyms.

Repacked recovery. With 225+ locations, Restore Hyper Wellness offers protocols like NAD+ drips and cryotherapy, while Pause pairs peptide and contrast therapies.

Proactive. Companies like Forward, Prenuvo, Ezra, and Q Bio see preventative full-body scans as the key to lasting well-being.

But… Longevity services won’t replace healthcare, and paying out-of-pocket can be pricey, as evidenced by Modern Age’s downfall. Meanwhile, hack culture deprioritizes natural boosters like exercise, sleep, and healthy eating.

Looking ahead: Longevity clinics are scaling faster than the science behind them. But, with healthy years waning for most of the population, they don’t have time to wait.

Presented by Fitt

🚀 Fitt is growing

We’re bullish on the future of health, wellness, and fitness.

It’s why we started Fitt Insider and haven’t stopped building since.

Beyond the weekly newsletter, we invest in, consult, promote, and recruit for companies that share our mission to improve health outcomes for all.

Whether you have a press release to share, job to fill, or need personalized strategic support — we’re here to serve.

More than news and analysis, Fitt is building the definitive platform for industry leaders to learn, connect, and build.

To work with us 1:1, get started here.

💸 Kabata adds fresh funding

The AI-powered dumbbell maker closed a $5M seed round ahead of shipping its first units this fall.

All-in-one. The high-tech weights use sensors to quantify reps, time under tension, power, and calories. Then, Kabata’s software tailors training plans based on performance, automatically adjusting resistance.

Muscle in. Smart strength remains a work in progress, but the space hasn’t slowed.

  • This month, Hydrow acquired connected strength platform Speede.
  • Tonal extended its B2B business, inking a hybrid facility partnership with LOVB.
  • Life Fitness and PLAE partnered with velocity-based training platform Perch to create smart racks for weight rooms.

But… other innovations like JAXJOX’s connected weights and Peloton’s Guide haven’t caught on.

Takeaway: Capitalizing on strength training’s rise, brands turning data into instruction, results, and safety measures have a future. For Kabata, that means proving AI can outlift analog every time.

📰 News & Notes

  • Xponential Fitness offloads Row House.
  • Snap Fitness parent Lift Brands prepares sale.
  • Peloton takes on $1B loan amid ongoing restructuring.
  • Terra simplifies AI-powered health agents for developers.
  • BenchApp integrates movr’s personalized MSK health API.
  • MYndspan opens first direct-to-consumer brain scan clinic.
  • Hims adds compounded GLP-1 injections, undercuts Ozempic.
  • Equinox adds Grown Alchemist to locker rooms, replacing Kiehl’s.
  • Seed Health unveils synbiotic for vaginal microbiome optimization.
  • SH1FT, 24 Hour Fitness launch new healthspan-focused programming.
  • Strava taps AI to weed out cheaters, enables safety features for women.
  • NestlÊ debuts GLP-1 companion food line Vital Pursuit. [Re-read: Ripple Effects]

💰 Money Moves

  • Insurance-friendly nutrition therapy platform Fay emerged from stealth with $25M from Forerunner Ventures, General Catalyst, and others.
  • Smart dumbbell maker Kabata secured $5M in a seed round led by Menlo Ventures.
  • Michelle Obama’s kids nutrition company PLEZi added an undisclosed investment from actress Kristen Bell.
  • International boutique fitness operator 1Rebel secured an undisclosed investment from leisure and hospitality investor Imbiba.
  • London-born personal training gym Ultimate Performance landed an undisclosed investment from PE firm Inflexion.
  • lululemon acquired the operations and 15 retail locations of regional franchisee lululemon Mexico.
  • Plant-based burger brand Actual Veggies added undisclosed funding, with plans to scale retail.
  • Sustainable food company Above Food acquired better-for-you wheat products brand GoodWheat from Arcadia Biosciences.
  • Organic kids’ snack brand Sunnie raised $1M in a seed round.
  • Ready-to-eat meal maker Proper Good secured $12M in a new funding round co-led by YETI Capital and The Artisan Group.
  • Healthy toddler snack brand FoodNerd raised $2.9M in a new funding round.
  • Performance beverage brand Nirvana Water Sciences secured an undisclosed investment from NBA’er Stephen Curry.

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

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