Expensive enrollment and cancelation fees, long-term contracts—which usually make users lose money in the long run—exhaustive routines, lack of commitment… These are familiar problems for anyone trying to engage in the fitness world and pursue a healthier lifestyle. Nobody said it would be easy.

This well-known scenario has pushed Brazilian platform Gympass to invite companies to band together and solve this complicated relationship between users and fitness centers. In 2013, Gympass launched a business model focused on the corporate world and based on the partnership between wellness facilities, companies, and their employees. It offers low-cost plans—with up to 80 percent off retail membership prices—for workers to choose from various facilities to sign up for.

</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Seven years later and after spreading to another 13 countries—including the U.S., France, the United Kingdom, and Chile—Gympass will present its successful case in the digital business </span><a href="https://www.futuro-rio.com/?coupon=Futuro_THEBRAZILIANREPORT"><b>.Futuro</b></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"><a href="https://www.futuro-rio.com/?coupon=Futuro_THEBRAZILIANREPORT"> conference</a>, scheduled for June 5–6, in Rio de Janeiro. As one of the event’s media partners, </span><b>The Brazilian Report</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> will handpick some of the most innovative experiences to be showcased in the summit. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Currently, 46,200 facilities are part of the </span><b>Gympass </b><span style="font-weight: 400;">global network (21,000 of them in Brazil), offering 893 activities across 7,660 cities. The company does not disclose its number of clients, but in Brazil they include banks </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Itaú and state-owned Caixa, and retail giants under the umbrella of the GPA Group.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> International Health, Racquet &amp; Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) revealed last year that Brazil is </span><a href="http://hub.ihrsa.org/brasil/brasil-se-destaca-no-ihrsa-global-report-2018"><span style="font-weight: 400;">the second largest fitness market</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in the world, only behind the United States. It has 34,509 facilities and 9.6 million clients. The sector generates USD 2.1 billion in annual revenue. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Besides gyms, we offer pilates, yoga, martial arts, surfing &#8230; Gympass aims to respect each person’s individuality and to increase workers’ engagement in the activity,” says Paloma Ishii, the company’s marketing director for Latin America. In Brazil, 64% of Gympass users work out at least three times per week, and for almost one-third of them, quality of life is the primary goal. “Human resources consulting companies have found that the corporations’ main concern is to keep their talents. If in the past they had offered programs to lower their staff’s health expenses, now they want to keep them healthy to improve their performance,” she outlines.  </span></p> <h2>Dancing not to quit</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This relationship provides Gympass with a powerful set of data on its users, from their basic information to details on their performance. Spanning 14 countries, anyone can search for a gym or yoga studio while abroad. Thus, users’ geolocation is another key tool to understand their attendance rate, both for companies and for Gympass. “One of the companies’ main challenges was to follow up on fidelity programs—usually partnerships with nearby facilities. Overall, the fitness sector has always had a data deficit on its clients’ profile.&#8221; </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">&#8220;But by using technology—our app, for instance—HR departments, sports clubs, and Gympass have broader access to important information on the users’ habits and preferences. Meanwhile, they learn more about their performance, multiply their options on where and how to work out, and gain more control over their own discipline. For the facilities, the information is also a great way to improve their businesses,” analyses Ms. Ishii.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She pointed out two main hurdles Gympass has found in the Brazilian market: money and mind. Costs are still a problem for those who want to work out on a regular basis. “We want to help users cross this barrier. This is why our cheapest monthly plan costs BRL 29.90, almost an 80 percent reduction from a BRL 120 program.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To overcome the emotional challenge, Gympass invests in a broad range of options so users can find what they really love. “We know that many people feel intimidated. And wellness activities don’t offer an immediate benefit. This is why we want people to discover what they actually like. It doesn’t have to be CrossFit or regular training routines at a gym. Actually, we have found that dancing classes have the lowest cancelation rate,” says Ms. Ishii.

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BY Maria Martha Bruno

Maria Martha is a journalist with 14 years of experience in politics, arts, and breaking news. She has already collaborated with Al Jazeera, NBC, and CNN, among others. She has also worked as an international correspondent in Buenos Aires.