Past Issues

The business of fitness and wellness.

What’s Trending in Fitness & Wellness


In case you missed it... we kicked off the year by publishing the 2019 Fitt Insider Outlook. From fitness to food and wellness to wearables, we surveyed the landscape to get a sense of where consumer behavior was tracking. Then, we drilled down into the business implications of what’s happening and why.

Now, as we near the halfway point in the year, we’re revisiting the main takeaways to see where we stand and what’s next. 

Our key findings were on target

  • Plant-based meat and dairy alternatives are disrupting Big Food.
  • Connected/on-demand fitness is changing the way we exercise. 
  • Cannabis/CBD is becoming a pillar of wellness. 
  • Wellness tourism and real estate are reinventing how we live. 
  • Healthcare is being redefined by wellness and self-care.

But we missed some stuff…

File these under, should have seen that coming. Or, we had eyes on these developments, we just underestimated the rate at which they’d gain steam or the significance of their impact. Either way, we’re taking note now. 

Non-alcoholic is the new cool: With beer sales slumping and more millennials choosing to forgo booze, global beverage brands are taking aim at the “sweaty consumer.” As consumer behavior shifts, new entrants are seizing the opportunity — see Kin, Seedlip, and Haus. Meanwhile, a subculture of sober-friendly bars, social clubs, festivals, and retreats is taking shape, signaling the staying power of this trend.

Selling sleep: Pulling an all-nighter isn’t a badge of honor anymore, it’s hustle porn. As we place a higher value on sleep and recovery, WHOOP—a wrist-worn tracker—stands out from the pack. Analyzing heart rate variability, resting heart rate, and sleep, WHOOP provides users with a daily recovery score. In doing so, the company is reframing sleep as a competitive advantage in athletics, fitness, and in life.

DTC healthcare: From generic Viagra to hair loss treatments and birth control to anti-anxiety meds, we’ve seen an onslaught of direct-to-consumer healthcare companies — hims and hers, Roman and Rory, Keeps, Nurx, and The Pill Club, to name a few. Going forward, the healthcare industry will be remade by telemedicine, the full-stack pharmacy (like Truepill or PillPack’s Pharmacy OS), and startups reinventing primary care.

Looking ahead

Building on the key takeaways from the 2019 Outlook and keeping the misses top of mind, here are a few areas we’ll be exploring the second half of the year.

  • Women's health, fertility startups, and sexual health entering the mainstream.
  • The impact of an economic downturn on fitness and wellness. 
  • How competition, innovation, and disruption will hit fitness booking platforms.
  • Consolidation across connected equipment and on-demand/audio fitness. 
  • How significant of an impact AR/VR will have on health and fitness.

Finally, beyond tracking specific trends and developments, we’ll be working to build out a framework that helps explain the motivations and root causes behind the broader shifts taking place across fitness and wellness. We hope you’ll stay tuned! 

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Headlines & Happenings

🛍 Capitalizing on Connected Fitness

Electronics retailer Best Buy will begin selling Flywheel Sports’ at-home bike and Hydrow's rower in a dedicated fitness section of its stores. The assortment will also include a compression recovery system from NormaTec, muscle rollers from Hyperice, and connected treadmills by NordicTrack.

In recent years, fitness watches and activity trackers have been some of Best Buy's fastest-growing products. Now, the company is doubling down on exercise, sleep, and health in an effort to expand its tech expertise beyond laptops and televisions. In addition to floorspace, Best Buy will also offer delivery and installation from its Geek Squad teams.

On the fitness front: Showrooms have been the retail channel of choice for connected fitness companies like Peloton, Tonal, and Mirror who 1.) are positioning themselves as high-end brands and 2.) want to control every part of the customer experience. Flywheel, on the other hand, can’t be as choosey — its at-home bike is also available on Amazon. 

Takeaway: This news speaks to the growing interest and opportunity in connected fitness equipment, health tech, and on-demand workouts. How long until we see Target or Costco push into the fitness space? 

🔥 Hot in Herre

Turns out, saunas are good for more than clandestine business meetings. New research shows that the more often men spent 20 to 30 minutes in a sauna set to 176 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, the less likely they were to be at risk of fatal cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality.

Whether it’s Tony Robbins, Joe Rogan, big wave surfer Lard Hamilton, or music producer Rick Ruban, countless top performs rave about the positive effects of frequenting the sauna. And now, sitting in a sweltering hot room is becoming a central component of health clubs like Rise by We, The Well, Equinox, and Life Time. 

What’s next? Hot yoga was just the beginning. Wellness concepts like HigherDOSE are rolling out infrared saunas as part of a recovery or self-care routine. Similarly, boutique studios like Red Effect Infrared Fitness and HOTWORX are looking to capitalize on this trend. 

📰 In other news

  • Shaq wants to buy Reebok and “bring them back to basketball and to fitness.” 
  • NYC’s SoHo neighborhood is where wellness brands go to pop-up. 
  • Olivier Rousteing designed exclusive gear for the launch of Barry's Bootcamp Paris. 
  • SoulCycle will launch a Sirius XM channel featuring instructor-curated playlists.

💰 Money Moves

On the heels of their $300M investment into Gympass, SoftBank is mulling a $200M to $350M investment into India’s Read our report on in Issue No. 24

Mondelēz International purchased a majority stake in Perfect Snacks, makers of nut- butter-based protein bars. Perfect Snacks is said to have generated some $70M in net revenue, with double-digit growth from the prior year. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Read more the billion-dollar nutrition bar industry in Issue No. 6

Iris Nova, the beverage company behind Dirty Lemon, plans to invest $100M into building a “conglomerate of beverage brands” to compete with legacy companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo

Bragg Live Foods, a popular maker of apple cider vinegar and liquid aminos, has been acquired by Swander Pace Capital, Dragoneer Investment Group, and co-investors singer and songwriter Katy Perry, actor Orlando Bloom, and the founder of Pressed Juicery, Hayden Slater.

Morgan Stanley Capital Partners acquired Impact Fitness, a leading Planet Fitness franchisee, from Bain Capital and Bridges Fund Management

United PF Partners, the largest Planet Fitness franchisee, acquired 26 Planet Fitness clubs in the Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Mississippi, and Illinois markets. 

SC Johnson plans to purchase Sun Bum, makers of sun protection, hair care, and lip care products. 

Scentials, a Mumbai-based, celebrity-led beauty and wellness company, raised Rs 25 crore ($3.6M) in Series A funding led by Unilever Ventures.

Parmela Creamery, makers of cultured, plant-based cheeses, secured $1.25M in seed funding led by 25Madison.

Alma, a New York-based co-practicing community of therapists, coaches, and wellness professionals, raised $8M in Series A funding. 

Fatburger’s parent company, FAT Brands, acquired Elevation Burger, a restaurant chain specializing in grass-fed, free-range food, for $10M. 

Mother Beverage, makers of an apple cider vinegar drink, secured an investment from CAVU Venture Partners. Terms were not disclosed. 

Israeli startup DouxMatok raised $22M in Series B funding for its sugar reduction system. 

Zava, a UK-based wellness company and online pharmacy (think Ro or hims), landed $32M in Series A funding.


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