Technology is increasingly making the gym less necessary, while empowering consumers to work out on their terms and their schedule, wherever they choose. It’s a fitness trend I’m a big fan of.
I’ve written before here at Forbes about the paradigm shifts in home and travel workouts made possible by industry leader Peloton, first in indoor cycling, then treadmill workouts, boot camps, strength training, and most recently meditation and yoga. This gives users very high-quality, big city style studio classes at home, on the road, and in hotel gyms through a mix of hardware and the Peloton app, which lets subscribers enjoy classes on any kind of bike, treadmill or rubber mat. All of this is offered at a pittance of the price of studio fitness classes, and unlimited offerings can be enjoyed for the price of one or two classes monthly – with no wasted travel time or transportation costs. I’ve been using a Peloton bike at home for two years and cannot say enough good things about the hardware, platform, constant upgrades and value adds.
Peloton was such a workout revolution that it inspired other offerings such as Mirror and Obé, both of which similarly mix live and archived workout classes available on demand, with (Mirror) or without (Obé) any special hardware.
But the one workout monopoly gyms and fitness clubs have maintained, that all of these services lack, is true one-on-one personal training.
That’s where Livekick comes in.
The 2018 startup is poised to similarly transform the private fitness and yoga industries by offering a monthly subscription to real-time one-on-one personal training delivered by video on any capable device, including laptops, tablets, phones or smart TVs. Think of FaceTime or video Skype, and now imagine using that live video for personal training. The new technology and fitness platform allows Livekick members to get quality training and feedback from a certified personal trainer in half-hour sessions at any hour of the day or night, wherever the member is: at home, in a gym or hotel fitness center, even a hotel room or vacation villa. While Livekick launched with general personal training, last week they announced an expansion of offerings into yoga and other forms of more specialized fitness instruction.
According to the company, Livekick’s fitness professionals are screened and all have at least one top-level certification from an accredited organization in his or her field, such as the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), American Council on Exercise (ACE), and International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA). For yoga, each teacher is certified by Yoga Alliance, a nonprofit entity that keeps track of registered yoga teachers (RYT). To earn an RYT certificate, you have to study five areas: yoga techniques and postures (the practice); yoga philosophy, history and lifestyle; human anatomy, physiology and psychology; methods of teaching yoga; and practical teaching training (in front of a class). Once they are vetted, Livekick puts them through 4-12 weeks of its own training for teaching online, including half a dozen trial sessions training three internal Livekick employees.
The slate of trainers hail from four continents and many different countries, from South Africa to Germany to Saudi Arabia, among many others, but all trainers speak native level English. This vast geographic diversity means that a wide variety of training times are available, thanks to instructors in many different time zones.
All classes are 30-minutes and depending what kind of gear you have at your disposal (or no gear at all), workout options include bodyweight exercises (calisthenics), strength training (dumbbells, kettlebells, etc.), high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and functional mobility training. Your Livekick instructor or yoga teacher will even provide you with workout or flow plans for days you want to workout by yourself.
The model makes sense to me for many different reasons. As someone who travels a great deal, I know how even the best-intentioned fitness regimens tend to fall apart on the road. There is no easier way to keep up your training sessions than by virtually bring your trainer with you. I also work from home, which a lot more people do these days, and this kind of program alleviates wasted time commuting round trip to a workout facility, and makes it much easier for telecommuters to actually fit in that workout. Being able to do a half hour morning session before work with no time wasted going to and from the gym makes it much more likely you will actually do it. While I enjoy yoga classes, I know people who do not, simply because of the embarrassment/show off factor found at so many of them. That’s eliminated by the one on one private nature of these workouts. Similarly, any angst people have over “firing” or changing trainers at the club is eliminated in this model. If you don’t like a trainer, you never have to use them again.
Carrie Hojnicki, a consultant based in Boston, is a Livekick member and said, “My favorite way to work out has always been classes and I hate that I completely lose that option when I travel for work. Livekick has changed the way I can stay fit – I love how my trainer gives me direction and keeps me accountable. She checks in on the day of our session and asks if I’ll be in a hotel gym or in my apartment, and creates my workouts based on that. She even gives me homework workouts to do on my own.”
Hojnicki’s regular Livekick trainer is Jillian Sambrook, who adds, “My client travels weekly for work. Having the ability to train anytime and anywhere with Livekick has been a great fit for her. She is able to train one day from a hotel gym and another day from her home. After a long day on the road, she looks forward to our sessions. The variety in gym equipment that she may not have at home is a fun way to change things up, too. I was super impressed when she took her sessions even while on a personal vacation to Hawaii. That’s motivation.”
Rates start at $32 weekly for one session, while two higher membership tiers offer two or three workouts per week, discounting each half hour session to $28.50 and $26.66 respectively. That equals $53-$64 per hour, while according to Women’s Health, national health cub chains like Equinox and Crunch charge $100-$160, and high-end big city trainers can charge two or three times these gym rates. There are additional discounts through Livekick for Work, a corporate program with discounted rates for employees of participating companies as well as through employee discount/benefit portals like Espresa, Fond and YouDecide, used by a large number of companies.