“It’s like going to the ref on a Friday night,” says Malena Barreda, 35, a fashion designer and owner of a Peruvian boutique. The rest of the world. “You know how you go out and sweat it all out and run into everyone you know and meet new people? It’s like that, but there’s no alcohol. Barreda is a unique indoor cycling studio with over 25 locations in high and unique locations in Mexico, Spain and Peru.
If half the fun is sweating it out with friends, that’s been ruined by the Covid-19 pandemic. But at the same time, the pandemic started a radical fitness revolution. Locked in and stricken with cabin fever, people of all ages and income levels have turned to online fitness apps and platforms. Fitness influencers saw their views and their subscribers soared. Fitness app downloads increased 46 percent in the first half of 2020.
A study by Overwitz in Peru found that 9 million Peruvians began exercising during the pandemic, a 31 percent increase from pre-pandemic numbers. According to Lineo, one of the leading online marketplaces in Latin America, in Peru, searches for sports goods on the platform increased by 91.5% in 2021.
In the year It’s 2022, so Peru is free to go outside, but now fitness companies have tasted the cash that remote workouts can generate, hoping to keep customers at home and in the gym at the same time. This hybrid model is particularly attractive to elite fitness studios like Ciclo, which pride themselves on selling personalized experiences. Speaking with clients and executives of two unique Latin American fitness studios in Lima, The rest of the world Companies are realizing that by making their in-studio sessions small and personal, they can have their cake and eat it too, spreading out to hundreds of clients who practice in the comfort of their own homes.
While there have never been so many workout videos on YouTube, the ethos of specialty studios is such that consumers are willing to pay for a customized experience. “It’s not about fitness,” says Ale Llosa, founder of Lima-based KO Urban Detox Center. “It’s embracing a way of life that saved me and that I knew I needed to share with the rest of the world.”
With studios in Lima, Santiago, Bogotá and Madrid, KO describes itself as a personal development tool that combines bootcamp training, martial arts, boxing, yoga and Eastern philosophy. The on-demand online studio, which they launched in the early months of the pandemic, has now become a core part of the business, he said, because it allows them to reach subscribers beyond the one-hour training sessions they usually have in person. .
When the pandemic hit, Llosa and her team scrambled to launch the online platform in less than a month. “During the first launch, we reached 47,000 subscribers in over 45 countries,” she said. The rest of the world, she says, allows her to share KO’s philosophy more than she would in an in-person studio. Since then, KO has professionalized its streaming offering, building a studio to record new classes and offering plans ranging from $99 every three months to $9 a month for nutrition coaching and meditation classes. 500 Peruvian soles (around $130) a month for in-person classes is still a steal — the least expensive of any of these services.
It’s not just fitness videos on demand that have exploded during the pandemic: Companies like Peloton have integrated hardware and software to combine fitness equipment and screen time, a model known as connected fitness, and cashed in on the pandemic’s growth.
Mexico City-based Ciclo hopes to dominate the connected fitness space across Latin America. Alejandro Ramos, founder and CEO of Cyclo, calls it “a highly curated indoor cycling boutique experience.” he said. The rest of the world In the year Since its inception in 2015, the startup has been growing by word of mouth. But to grow at the scale expected of a VC-backed startup, “we knew we had to go digital,” Ramos said. “Studios can only accommodate thousands or hundreds of thousands of people at most, and we’re looking to reach millions.”
Ciclo opened its first Peruvian studio in an upscale Lima neighborhood in January 2020 with 24-hour notice, two months before the country entered a total lockdown. After not being able to reopen for 9 months, he recently set up his studio and rented out 62 bikes to subscribers for use at home. Cyclo’s best selling point is its stationary bikes (known as bisques), which come with a frame made in Taiwan, a screen made in Shenzhen, and an “arm” made in Mexico.
At-home models claim to provide users with an in-studio experience by connecting them with well-known (and sometimes celebrity) trainers and other users. Similar to Studio Bikes, biSí has a large touchscreen that allows users to stream classes and interact with trainers via emojis and replies.
KO’s Llosa is skeptical about the live streaming model Ciclo relies on. We are planning to launch a new service where we can help subscribers dress up their KO home corner, but we don’t think there is much room for growth in live streaming. … where it is on command.”
“We believe the future of fitness is hybrid,” Ramos said. “It’s like the movies. People don’t go to the cinema every day, but they don’t want to sit on their couch all day watching Netflix.
The hybrid model will certainly open up the small elite (and expensive) fitness studios to a relatively wider audience. While Peru’s top 1% of households earn an average combined income of 12,500 Peruvian soles per month (around $3,200), Ciclo’s $2,000 price tag (with a $20 subscription fee) may be too high for the average consumer. However, Ciclo representatives said their bicycles are currently sold in Peru, adding that they have sold 200 bicycles in the country so far.
The first in-person Siclo “Raves” fashion designer and patron Bareda is sold on the added value of all these expensive gadgets in remote sessions, but not so aggressively. When asked if she would consider getting a BC, she said, “To be honest, you can stream the classes on your TV and use a regular stationary bike.