New Year, New Health Goals

CEO Nook: iFIT Business’s Mark Watterson on the Rise of Hybrid Health

Watterson, who spearheaded the launch of iFIT’s exercise content material, believes gyms have absolutely embraced omnichannel health

Mark Watterson is an iFIT lifer, having joined the well being and health firm out of school over a decade in the past in a procurement function earlier than rising up the ranks. 

Watterson was one of many pioneers behind the iFIT platform, serving to launch the corporate’s now-flagship health and wellness content material service again when iFIT was nonetheless generally known as ICON Well being & Health. Since then, iFIT Well being & Health has grown to grow to be one of many largest and most profitable content material, software program and {hardware} suppliers in health, with over 8 million members. 

In December 2022, Watterson was tapped to steer iFIT Business, a brand new enterprise unit devoted to servicing business health services by combining tools from the corporate’s Freemotion Health model with iFIT’s health and wellness content material. 

Watterson spoke with Athletech Information about his first 10 months on the job, why iFIT and Freemotion provide the right hybrid health answer for gyms, and the corporate’s push into company wellness. 

The next dialog has been flippantly edited for readability and size.

Athletech Information: Are you able to inform us about your journey to turning into CEO of iFIT Business?

Mark Watterson: I’ve at all times liked know-how, electronics, and software program, and I additionally love health. I began out with iFIT (then named ICON Well being & Health) on the procurement facet, in buying, in 2008. I’m fluent in Mandarin Chinese language, so I began shopping for all of our electronics out of Asia, together with one of many first-ever Android tablets to be shipped to the U.S. market.

A couple of years later, we had the concept to launch this cool factor known as iFIT, which I ran as a startup within the bigger company, together with one different particular person. We initially launched with Google Maps, so you possibly can run anyplace on the earth. That in the end led to video content material – we now have over 17,000 items of content material throughout 60 totally different genres, and we’ve been to over 50 international locations on all seven continents. We grew iFIT from two workers to a number of hundred, turning it into a really high-margin subscription enterprise for the corporate with a million paid subscribers and eight million members in complete. 

Our CEO then requested that we develop our business enterprise, together with absolutely integrating Freemotion Health into the bigger iFIT group. So I took over as CEO of iFIT Business in December 2022. 

ATN: What differentiates Freemotion Health from different business health tools suppliers?

MW: Actually on the coronary heart of who we’re as an organization is innovation. We’ve innovated in power, we’ve innovated in cardio, and we’re innovating in know-how.

We’ve got complete power merchandise. The Freemotion Twin Cable Cross actually outperforms any single product available on the market right now. It’s an unbelievable product used all the world over by athletes, rehab facilities and the overall inhabitants. We’re pioneers within the purposeful power coaching house. 

We’ve additionally reimagined cardio coaching. We’ve got a full suite of economic cardio merchandise with absolutely built-in contact screens. Our Freemotion Incline Trainers go as much as a 30% incline, our REFLEX know-how has a 52% discount in tibial shock in comparison with flat floor operating and a 29% discount in affect power in comparison with different treadmill surfaces.

We’re additionally redefining the health know-how panorama. 85% of gymnasium goers are already understanding at house, and we need to assist them in that have. So bringing a linked, hybrid health expertise – the iFIT expertise – into gyms is essential. What’s additionally distinctive about iFIT is that our content material is on the market in eight totally different languages; it is a actual level of differentiation. 

ATN: How useful is it for iFIT Business to have the ability to lean on the bigger iFIT model?

MW: It’s an enormous benefit. We’ve got robust legacy manufacturers together with ProForm and NordicTrack, together with iFIT content material, which is Emmy-nominated. Our content material is world-class in each method, form and type. And that’s what shoppers need. Once they stroll right into a facility, they need that premium content material expertise, and the distinctive iFIT content material on Freemotion tools permits iFIT Business to be extraordinarily engaging as a proposition for our shoppers. 

ATN: Why ought to gyms and studios select Freemotion over different tools suppliers?

MW: With Freemotion and iFIT Business, gyms can ship an omnichannel health expertise with out having to speculate tens of millions of {dollars} into creating their very own health content material. As I stated, 85% of gym-goers are already understanding at house. I feel lots of gyms have realized that they don’t need to put money into spending on a regular basis, cash, vitality and sources to be a health supplier from a content material standpoint. The iFIT platform permits them to present their members a hybrid expertise within the membership, on the go and at house. A few of our preliminary companions are seeing as a lot as a 25% enhance in engagement due to having that linked health expertise. 

ATN: How energetic is iFIT Business within the company wellness area?

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MW: We’ve got cultivated a choose group of strategic companions who performed an important function in our launch. Relating to company wellness, iFIT Business stands out with its distinctive providing. First, we offer the best commercial-grade merchandise, courtesy of Freemotion, for company services globally. 

Second, with the evolving panorama of hybrid work fashions, workers search flexibility of their health routines. Due to our model portfolio, which incorporates NordicTrack and ProForm, we provide one thing extra. Workers can seamlessly transition from house exercises on NordicTrack and ProForm to office-based health periods on Freemotion. Workers can preserve their health objectives wherever they’re.

Third, our use of iFIT know-how empowers companies to interact their workers successfully. We perceive that engaged workers reap quite a few advantages, together with diminished healthcare prices and heightened productiveness. By incorporating iFIT {hardware} and software program we offer companies with highly effective instruments to foster worker wellbeing and productiveness.

ATN: What kinds of exercise tools and health modalities are standard in 2023?

MW: Within the evolving panorama of health traits, power coaching is taking heart stage and at Freemotion, we’ve curated a various number of cutting-edge power merchandise, starting from purposeful cable power coaching tools to free weights and body weight options. However make no mistake, cardio exercises and treadmills, incline trainers and train bikes stay ever-popular with business operators and health facilities. Freemotion and iFIT mixed make intuitive and fascinating tools that appeals to people of all ages and health ranges.

One distinctive side of our providing is the “Thoughts” part on iFIT, that includes holistic well being and health coach-led exercises. This distinctive function not solely enhances bodily health but additionally addresses psychological wellbeing, reflecting our dedication to complete wellness. Furthermore, our iFIT content material is seamlessly accessible by means of the app, empowering subscribers to interact with our well being and health sources at their comfort, wherever they could be.

ATN: What are your long-term objectives for iFIT Business?

MW: As we aspire to steer the business health panorama, our imaginative and prescient right here at Freemotion is deeply rooted in serving to people attain their well being and health objectives and aims. Our aim is to craft unparalleled business tools and ship the world’s premier omnichannel health expertise and platform.

Embedded in our company DNA is a dedication to exceed expectations. We go the additional mile to help our membership, studio, gymnasium and business companions in formulating an optimum digital engagement technique. Our options empower them to transition from a standard brick-and-mortar mannequin to a dynamic digital-hybrid method, fostering elevated engagement with a broader viewers.

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