In this episode of the SLN podcast, Laurenn Cutshaw is joined by Ed Buckley, Founder, and CEO of Peerfit. Peerfit is a flexible fitness solution that lives in the corporate wellness category and is fully paid for by health insurance. COVID as we all know created a lot of chaos for fitness operators. Many are struggling to innovate, stay relevant to members, and find alternate revenue streams. Peerfit in contrast used this time to enhance operational efficiency, strengthen their culture, and prepare for the future. Ed and Laurenn cover a lot of topics in this episode, including how Fitbit made counting steps cool, the next big personal data metric, and the value and behavior of the 65+ crowd.

Podcast Highlights

5:40 – What Peerfit does for customers: “We’re an all-in-one stop shop. You as an employer or you as a health plan can say, we want our people to be able to go to the best places, gyms, studios, streaming, personal training. You [Peerfit] handle all of that for us.”

6:59 – Fitness and policy combined: “I think the employers and health plans wanted to do better. That’s not what they do, right? If you’re Aetna or Cigna, you’re a health insurance company, you’re not there to build a network of gyms and studios and streaming and a wellness currency that flows through it. That’s what we’re here to do.”

7:32 – Having the same ideas of ClassPass: “We were spinning out a bunch of different pilots as they were, and they were always named the same thing. Like the passport program and all these other initiatives. And we would almost launch them within a week of each other so much so that we even joked, like, do they have a spy? We’re 4 people down in Gainesville, Florida, so clearly not, but it was just so funny that we were coming up with the same thoughts that they were.”

9:45 – Direct to partner vs consumer: “I just looked at it once again academically and said, what is the better path to get to people? And our team really thought this was always the right answer. And we still think it’s the right answer.”

11:36 – Apple in the health and fitness world: “Everyone has seen their Orange Theory, Apple Watch, right? They’re seeing all that, which is correct. But what they’re not seeing is before they laid the groundwork, they started working with health plans three years ago, four years ago. A lot of people don’t realize this.”

16:20 – Strain will be the new steps: “Let’s talk about activity and strain. Let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about your variable heart rate. Those are things that, my guess, 2 to 3 years from now, everyone’s going to be talking about.”

19:50 – How to create behavior change?: “It really comes down to social. The retention in physical activity is highest when you’re doing it with other people.”

23:00 – Peerfit not competing with anyone: “In our minds we don’t compete with anyone else. We know what we’re trying to achieve. We put our blinders on. We do not care if people copy us. What we care about is, does the lane we’re going down feel like it’s the right lane and let’s do everything that we can do to get down that lane as efficiently as possible and as successfully as possible.”

28:14 – Democratizing decision-making: “We tried to democratize decision-making from it just being department heads who then kind of gives everybody their marching orders to let innovation flow between departments. Let’s get people at the top, middle, and bottom of the org sharing ideas, and let’s give them a really clear focus.”

35:29 – 65+ age group in the fitness industry: “The senior population doesn’t mean grandparents like it used to. All it just means is that person probably has a little bit more time than they’re used to, but they’ve got phones, they love fitness, you know, they’re great consumers.”

38:08 – Battling yourself: “I think the hardest thing is just sometimes battling yourself and getting out of your own way or getting yourself out of other people’s way.”