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Fitness First to invest £7.5m in ‘Connected Fitness Labs’

By Jak Phillips    23 Dec 2015
One of the first products to come from Fitness First Labs will be CustomFit, which will allow users to fully personalise their gym workouts

Fitness First has announced it will invest £7.5m in a series of ‘Connected Fitness Labs’, which will combine professional trainer expertise with the latest fitness technology in a bid to create products which reach beyond the confines of the gym.

According to the company, the Connected Fitness Labs will act like a start-up, using cutting-edge thinking on digital tech in the form of apps, partnerships and services to provide a “truly connected fitness experience.” The Fitness First Labs team is comprised of a core group of fitness, motivation and data scientists, supported by a 150-strong global fitness team and network of 4,000 personal trainers.

The operator, which was recently put up for sale by owners Oaktree Capital Management, wants to fuse technology, fitness expertise and motivational science to create workout platforms which enable consumers to regularly achieve their fitness goals. The company believes there’s a gap in the market for such a product, citing the tendency of many to buy fitness tech products and abandon them within six months.

“We’ll support people to take control not just of what they do in or out of the gym, but their whole lifestyle,” said David Langridge, who is leading the Fitness First Connected Fitness Labs project.

“We understand behaviour change, so we know that this is the right place to focus our energies – this is just the start.”

One of the first products to come from Fitness First Labs will be CustomFit, a new digital training system that is currently in a final club pilot after two years’ development. It will allow users to create personalised workouts, set goals, access a library of exercises and video demonstrations and to track progress, across all devices.

Fitness First says the Connected Fitness Labs is the next step in the company’s transformation, which began in 2013 with a £270m global makeover, but looked in danger of being derailed this summer when CEO Andrew Cosslett was replaced by one of Oaktree’s senior managers, Oren Peleg.

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