2020 changed our lives abruptly; the start of a COVID-19 global pandemic affected every aspect of the way that we live. People were forced to abandon their workplace and start to work remotely. Instead of going to the grocery store, people started buying groceries online more often to avoid going outside. Students left their campus to come home and children had to adapt to studying from their houses. Another aspect of our lives that changed was virtual wellness.
Gyms had to close and people started working out from home. Trainers and companies saw this as a great opportunity to expand onto screens. The idea was to help people stay in shape even if people were not yet equipped nor have they tried such modalities previously. Fitness apps started to gain traction; YouTube fitness personalities blew up,and new at home gym equipment were introduced to people.
Companies and people needed to adapt to the new normal, and product builders found that this was the perfect time to release their programs and products, taking advantage of the pandemic to show people how virtual wellness is still possible at home.
Fitness & Wellness On Social Media
Exercise is a great way not only to stay in shape but also to boost your energy and mental health. Making it no surprise that people decided to work out during the pandemic, when uncertainty was the everyday norm. YouTube fitness videos have always been well received, they are completely free to watch and typically easy to follow; they focus on training often without the use of equipment and promise incredible results. During the pandemic, the views of fitness videos increased significantly and people started to participate in fitness challenges and posted their experiences online. An app used by trainers to post workouts and for users to post their before and after result, is Tik Tok. Tik Tok became the most popular it has ever been during the pandemic and arguably, was the app of the year with over 689 million users. Virtual wellness routines and exercise repeatedly went viral with this app.
One personality that became extremely popular this year is the YouTube star and personal trainer Chloe Ting. This Australian YouTube built her YouTube channel with easy to follow but effective workouts. What made her the most popular is that Chloe took the pandemic as an opportunity to expand her brand, designing monthly challenges to workout different areas of the body. She also came up with merchandise, creating bestseller resistance bands. Chloe Ting managed to go from 220.000 subscribers to over 20 million in only one year by changing her strategy to meet the needs of the society during the pandemic. Chloe Ting’s workouts are completely free, and even then, she is estimated to earn 500k monthly.
Virtual Wellness Apps
Trainers that already had a set group of students started organizing remote workout sessions. This was a clever way to keep working with clients; people also tend to work out better when they are competing with each other instead of when alone.
Fitness apps have been pioneering the work of virtual wellness for many years now, giving people the option to select among thousands of preset routines designed to exercise from home; where little to no equipment is usually necessary. Other apps do not focus on a set routine, but will help you track your miles while you run, or how many calories you burned during the exercise.
Fitness apps were pioneers in the virtual wellness club. Resilient trainers took their business online as soon as they had to. The good thing about these apps is that the client can do what they love, and trainers can still help achieve that. An example of a fitness app is AARMY. The app was created during the pandemic where the physical location of the gym of the developing team was forced to close. The developing team started working right away on the app to keep their business going. This sets AARMY apart; beside just offering workouts, AARMY connects people together to work out as a group – something often hard to achieve during the pandemic.
At-Home Gym Equipment With Subscriptions
Later in the year came the at-home gym equipment momentum. Brands focused on giving their customers the best possible experience at home, which combines a workout routine and the equipment to do so. This new at home gym combines the different gym equipments with innovative technology. Here are some examples:
Is probably the most popular at home workout system. Founded in 2012, Peloton is a stationary bike or treadmill that allows monthly subscribers to participate in classes remotely. Peloton bikes look very similar to spinning bikes, but have a 21.5 inches screen attached to it for you to choose the classes. Peloton has a variety of workouts focusing on cardio exercise, strength training, meditation, cycling, and boot camp. The classes are made by different instructors and use different styles of music, making the classes super versatile for the user to choose. The classes can be prerecorded or live. The system helps you see your ranking in the class depending on your speed and completion of the workouts, stimulating healthy competition. If your friends have a peloton as well, you can join the same class as them and connect with it during the class. Even though Peloton was released over 8 years ago, 2020 was their biggest year in sales with over 1.1 billion dollars in sales. The company adapted to the pandemic utilizing new marketing techniques and investing in more stock in preparation to higher sales and it definitely paid off.
This workout uses a mirror that allows you to see yourself while you work out and has pre-recorded classes that sort of project to the mirror itself. Mirror is marketed as an invisible home gym, because when it is turned off, it looks like a regular mirror. Unlike other competitors, the mirror does not include any extra equipment. The classes range from 15 to 45 minutes, and include cardio, and strength training. The mirror allows the users to use any kind of workout they like; these workouts are divided by levels, from 1 to 5, allowing the user to select the difficulty level depending on their skill. Mirror provides a heart rate monitor that monitors the amount of calories burned. Additionally, if you have any friends who also have the mirror system, you can connect with them and compete in challenges. The system gives you real time feedback on your workout to correct your form. The system was designed in 2019 but became super popular in 2020 because of the pandemic, with over 300 million dollars in sales.
Tempo is the newest fitness product on the market; it is a 42 inches touch screen that plays live or pre-recorded classes, has weight equipment from 7 pounds up to 11 5pounds and uses artificial intelligence to monitor the user. The system has a great storage system, so Tempo can be easily stored in the house. Tempo also has 3D sensors that track the motion of the user and let them know if they are making mistakes or if the form is incorrect. Using infrared light, the tempo recreates a 3D model of the body to help monitor form. The system recreates the experience of working with a trainer. The classes last from 15 to 45 minutes and range from cardio workouts to strength training and a combination of both. The system comes with a heart rate monitor, and it provides analytics at the end of the workout about calories burnt, accuracy of the workout and areas that can be improved upon. In addition, Tempo provides work out challenges and creates a ranking system based on the analytics of its users, showing the results of other users in hopes of stimulating healthy competition. Tempo was designed in 2015 when their founders had the idea of a home workout that could accurately create a 3D model of the user to correct the form. The great part about Tempo is that the artificial intelligence progresses every month and the system can be updated. After its launch in 2020, Tempo has produced over 220 million dollars in sales.
Besides working out, the virtual wellness world also tackles nutrition. With the pandemic, consultations with nutritionists became more difficult and in general the popularity of nutrition apps have been growing since 2019. Some of these apps, such as MyNetDiary, have certified nutritionists to help people design an eating program, as well as providing recipes of what to eat and how so people can be more informed to make better decisions
Noom, is an app program that promotes weight loss by focusing on teaching people how to eat by making behavioral changes surrounding diet. Once people choose their goals, Noom helps customize the eating plan and takes the time to explain why they suggest the specific program. It will not give people an exact diet to follow, but it will give them the tools to decide how to eat, so they can keep the habits even after the weight is lost. The app also teaches people about calorie reduction and carbohydrate intake.
This is the app of the Kardashian family nutritionist Dr. Goglia. The app makes the user take a quiz to evaluate their metabolism type and decide from there what the best strategy is in terms of eating. It also makes them choose the food that they like and do not like. It has options for vegetarians, pescaterians and vegans. Unlike Noom, G Plans provides an eating program with recipes to follow to achieve weight loss goals. The app will modify the food every week depending on progress until people have reached their goals, and then the app provides a maintenance program.
Just like all the options mentioned above (except for YouTube), most nutritional program apps come with a monthly subscription that ranges between $20 – $30 a month.
Virtual wellness businesses prove that staying resilient and finding solutions to problems is the key to achieving a successful business. All the mentioned brands and personalities manage to find a way to thrive during hard times, and help people get through the hard COVID months.
2020 was also the year for releasing meditation apps and remote class options. The rise of meditation started a few years ago, and most people prefer to meditate with a guide or at least with a set mantra to follow. During 2020 apps like Headpsace thrived. People were at home with more free time to dedicate to themselves, but also more anxious than ever. Meditating became more popular and online meditation programs saw an opportunity to help. New and improved marketing techniques for these apps helped more people become aware of the benefits of meditation.
What started as a temporary solution to help people get by during the pandemic, became a preference for many people. People realize all the benefits of working out from home – privacy, convenience, increase of productivity, cost and freedom of choosing their own time. The new at-home gym equipment offered a great solution with thousands of classes to choose from and the ability to connect with friends from a distance is extremely helpful. Besides, having something like Tempo that can actually monitor form and make sure that the exercise is done correctly makes sure the quality of workout is not compromised.
Price wise these new remote virtual wellness options are more expensive than the traditional gym. Fitness apps have monthly fees between $10 – $30 depending on what is chosen. Peloton, Mirror, and Tempo are in the $1500 – $2500 range plus a $30 – $40 monthly fee to have access to the classes. Depending on how much you are used to paying for your gym subscription, these new options might be more expensive.
Despite the price, you cannot beat the privacy of working out from home, the freedom of choosing your own time, and avoiding commuting.