Tonal Adds NYC Studio as Fitness Content Takes Center Stage


As the future of fitness unfolds, content, not hardware, is taking center stage.

The latest: Connected equipment maker Tonal is opening an NYC production studio, expanding beyond the West Coast. Plus, five new coaches are joining the ranks, adding new workout modalities to the mix.

Last year, the company debuted live classes, upgrading a library of pre-recorded videos. With the new NYC studio, Tonal will offer 32 live sessions each week.

For context: A leader in the smart strength category, the company has raised more than $450M, earning a $1.6B valuation. But, its high-tech machine alone isn’t enough to keep users coming back — and paying a $49/month subscription.

More content. According to a Les Mills survey, “rockstar instructors” are the number-one factor for consumers when choosing a class. But, bringing the studio experience into the home requires both world-class talent and state-of-the-art production.

  • Apple makes Fitness+ content in a 23K-sq-ft Santa Monica, CA studio.
  • Peloton put $50M into its 35K-sq-ft NYC studio; it also has a 20K-sq-ft London studio.
  • Xponential Fitness launched its tech-driven XSTUDIO production house to support its digital platform.

In flux. As the workout-from-home gold rush subsides, strategies are shifting. Downplaying exercise equipment, Peloton CEO Barry McCarthy said: “The magic doesn’t happen in the sheet metal… The magic happens on the screen.”

Punchline: Equipment aside, as obé co-founders/co-CEOs Ashley Mills and Mark Mullett recently told us, consumers now demand fitness on their own terms, with an uncompromising combination of “quality content, A+ talent, and variety of movement.”

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