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Friday, Aug 19, 2022
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Toughen Up at Streaming Site

With 10 grueling miles of heavy mud, 25 show-stopping obstacles and world class athletic competitors, the Tough Mudder isn’t for everyone. But for those brave enough to register for the extreme race, streaming service Openfit now offers a way to get in winning shape. Openfit, a three-month-old digital fitness and nutrition platform based in Westlake Village, announced a partnership with Tough Mudder in March to create T-Minus 30, an at-home workout program designed to prepare athletes of all calibers for the Tough Mudder Classic and similar outdoor obstacle course races. Users pay a subscription fee to Openfit in exchange for access to the platform’s full suite of workout videos, T-Minus 30 included. The videos can stream on computers, connected televisions, Roku and mobile iOS and Andriod devices. “It’s a new age and we’re a new brand of getting fit and healthy,” said Jon Congdon, Openfit’s co-founder and chief executive. “We’re designed for direct-to-consumer relationships, keeping complete accountability and letting (users) track everything so they have a sense of their success.” T-Minus 30 T-Minus 30’s name alludes to its format: 30-minute workouts six days a week for 30 days. The regimen requires no fancy equipment, just body weight and a pair of dumbbells. The workouts get more intense as users advance through the program. Workout plans were designed by Openfit’s Fitness, Nutrition, and Results team along with brand spokesman Hunter McIntyre, a four-time Tough Mudder champion and one of ESPN’s top 50 athletes of 2017. McIntyre himself hosts the workout videos, explaining how each exercise helps users conquer obstacles they’ll confront during the race. Of course, it’s not a necessity that T-Minus 30 users sign up for a Tough Mudder race — the program can be used for traditional strength training or weight loss purposes, too. And just like the Tough Mudder itself, T-Minus 30 includes a component of camaraderie that helps push individuals to reach their fitness goals and ultimately the finish line. The partnership has set up a private Facebook group for Openfit subscribers to connect directly with McIntyre and about 30 Tough Mudder brand ambassadors. That page already has more than 430 members exchanging workout tips, progress reports, and words of encouragement. “You can find workout programs that challenge you, but to have Hunter there in the group, following your work, commenting on your videos, making you want to work harder — that makes T-Minus 30 so much more than just another workout program,” Chris Oates, a veteran Tough Mudder ambassador, said in a statement. T-Minus 30 is Openfit’s fourth original program. It follows eXtend Barre, a partnership with professional dancer and Pilates expert Andrea Rodgers; 600 Seconds, a series of 10-minute workouts from trainer Devin Wiggins; and 30-day yoga program Yoga 52. Congdon said T-Minus 30 carves out a new niche for Openfit in that it provides something for users with a more “extreme mentality,” who want to see just how fit they can get in one month of hard work. A subscription to Openfit costs $59 for six months or $99 for a year and includes the site’s entire catalog of targeted workout plans as well as nutrition plans, health monitoring services and access to a network of hundreds of health and fitness experts. Digital takeover Openfit’s business model is representative of a shift in the fitness industry, one that parallels the transition of the entertainment and information industries toward online digital distribution. While previous generations would have watched television exercise shows with Jack LaLanne or Richard Simmons, or purchased videotapes of Jane Fonda workouts, the next generation of fitness fans visit a website. “We wanted to create a new brand designed for the new kind of customer who is managing their life on their phone and thinking in terms of streaming,” said Openfit’s Congdon. On the marketing front, fitness companies a decade ago would have purchased infomercial slots to advertise their workout plans on late night television, but modern companies must take a different approach. Instead of selling DVDs, for example, Openfit sells streaming subscriptions as a fitness-oriented version of Netflix. And like entertainment, consumers are demanding fitness services be more personalized and convenient. To that end, Openfit offers more than 140 workouts on its platform. The T-Minus 30 program alone has more than 20 variations and includes plans designed to train users for the Tough Mudder 5k rather than the Classic, and even an equipment-free option for users who don’t have access to dumbbells. Also, users can select specific areas of muscular focus — lower body, back or core — to tailor their workouts to their body types and personal goals. So far, the digital business model is working. Openfit has received more than 40,000 sign-ups since the company launched in January “We’re running slightly ahead of projections for media and online acquired customers,” said Congdon. “We have a very engaged community, great usership and a very high return rate.” In turn, Congdon said, Tough Mudder is anticipating greater ticket sales for this season’s upcoming races, the first of which is April 6 at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino.

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