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New year, new you, new fitness goals—sound familiar? We all have the best of intentions. The challenge comes in staying on task. And sometimes, at least for me, it helps to be held accountable to someone, like a friend or coach. Running buddies can flake though, and private coaches, as amazing as they are, can be pricey. This is where Fitmo, with its handy combination of a real-life coach and fitness app, plus an affordable price point, enters the picture.
Through the app, you select a coach based upon your goals—like strengthening, cardio or training for a race—then you fill out a questionnaire and have a video call with your coach. After the call, your coach begins creating your personal fitness plan. You choose how often, when and where you work out. Coaches include videos showing the proper way to do specific moves or anything that might be confusing. Daily workouts are uploaded to the Fitmo app, which is also how you track them. Data from your favorite fitness trackers and programs can also be imported to your Fitmo account to keep all information in one place.
I chose to be coached for strength, stretching and mobility six days a week. Cardio sessions were up to me (at my request). The workouts were just what I needed, and my coach, Johanna, made modifications based upon my feedback. That’s the other thing—there’s a nice amount of connectivity. Upon completing a workout, you message your coach and then they message back—in fact the program includes unlimited chat support and weekly video chat check-ins. I’ll confess that I came to relish the “great job” and “keep up the good work” messages. And when I missed a workout, Johanna was helpful with suggesting ways to keep on track.
Fitmo coaches act as freelance employees, meaning Fitmo vets them and handles the business side of things. Coaches determine their own rates based upon their expertise, what type of coaching they do and years of experience. Monthly packages range from $9 to $250, with $60 being the average price.
The bottom line: This coaching program is both effective and a great value.
We checked in with Dave Roeloffs, Fitmo CEO, and Allison Gould, Fitmo Customer Service Olympian, to learn a little more.
WR: What inspired the growth to the U.S.?
Fitmo: The Fitmo marketplace launched to consumers in November 2014. For us, expanding to the U.S. market was a natural thing to do because so many Dutch running clients were training for U.S. running events. With more than 20 million people finishing a running event in the United States last year alone, and with almost 30,000 running events annually, we saw a unique opportunity to connect. For runners, a great feature of Fitmo, is that they can pair their current wearables and tracking apps, such as RunKeeper, to Fitmo which allows their coach to analyze their running data to give powerful insights, and as well create highly personal coaching plans for the user.
WR: What other countries on your radar?
Fitmo: Currently, 50 percent of our clients are located in the United States. In the future, we could be interested in increasing our market share in the UK and Northern Europe. That being said, we aren’t geographically restricted because we’re an app so we can be wherever our clients and coach are. Our customers benefit from being able to connect with the best personal trainers from around the globe, each of which have a unique focus and expertise. For example, we have American runners connecting with Dutch coaches while they are training for running events here in Europe and the same is true for Dutch clients connecting with American coaches. We think that’s pretty awesome!
WR: Roughly how many athletes and coaches do you have in Europe and the U.S.?
Fitmo: In the United States and Europe combined we have thousands of users and hundreds of coaches to support them. Sorry I can’t be more specific. The number of coaches visible in the marketplace differs depending on the coach’s availability and the selected goals.
WR: Given that coaches are freelance, how are they vetted for consistency?
Fitmo: Our selection process is tough. Only five percent of the coaches who apply get selected. We have hundreds of coaches on a waiting list to get added to the marketplace. There are so many great coaches out there but it takes a pretty special type of coach who is able to form online personal relationships and motivate people through chat like discussions. Online coaching differs in many ways from 1:1 coaching and we need to make sure we get coaches who can do both really well. Of course we continuously educate our Fitmo coaches to become even better (online) coaches. After a coach enters the marketplace, we can measure how well the coach interacts with their clients through our dashboard, which gives us a lot of insight on the effectiveness of the coach. For instance we can measure what the average response time is of a particular coach when he/she gets a question. This allows our coaching team to pinpoint which coaches need a bit of guidance to prove their online coaching service. On the consumer side, a client can view each coach’s certification by reviewing their Coach Profile in the Fitmo Marketplace and choose the coach best qualified for their goals. Coaches also receive ratings, as clients get to review coaches—much like Airbnb and Uber—meaning good coaches rise to the top whilst less performing coaches slowly drop off the radar. To make sure that the quality of online coaching is kept consistent and at a high standard, we have both a coach director and client happiness manager on our team, who vet for quality.
WR: Is there any one sort of subscription that is the most popular?
Fitmo: Our daily coaching subscription is the most popular. This is because clients benefit from the ability to stay in contact with their coach on a daily basis, which holds them accountable to their goals and therefore has the highest success rate when it comes to changing one’s behavior. The average price point is $60 per month. They can chat with their coach, ask questions, and get feedback on their activities, which can be very encouraging. For runners, it is great to have Runkeeper integrated so the coach can then provide more insightful coaching and analyze the client’s workout data.