Fitness may be the buzzword today with fitness centres and gyms mushrooming everywhere and dedicated 24X7 fitness TV channels broadcasting the whole buffet of workout, from hot yoga to pool exercises and the spunky Zumba; however, the hard fact is that more and more people are getting obese!
According to the World Health Organization website, global obesity has nearly tripled since 1975. In India, the situation is no different. Sedentary lifestyle, the influx of processed and fast food, and a growing middle-class income have been the reasons behind the rise of obesity in India.
While nations pondering over more ‘weighty’ issues may have ignored this disconcerting trend, it didn’t escape the notice of an engineering student who genuinely desires to see the world as a healthier place.
“I have always been drawn towards a healthier lifestyle and physical fitness. I started to train and workout while in college. I have always wondered why people are so naïve about issues such as obesity, which causes several life-threatening diseases!’ exclaims Akshay Kumar, the CEO and the Founder of Fitness Konnect.
Akshay feels strongly about the lack of fitness consciousness in the country, especially in Goa, where he studied Engineering in Electronics and Telecommunications. According to him, most of the problems plaguing humanity can easily be solved if more and more people adopted a healthier lifestyle.
“I see fitness directly linked to mental and physical well-being, which, in context to our country, translates into a large, robust workforce that is hard-working, focused and disciplined,” adds Akshay.
Wondering if technology had the solution to motivate more people to embrace a healthier lifestyle, Akshay roped in a few college mates and began studying the fitness landscape of Goa. A little research revealed that though there was an increasing trend in the number of gyms and fitness centres in the state, most were plagued with the problem of irregular users and delayed membership fee payments. The young team brainstormed the reasons behind this trend and arrived on three basic findings – most gyms were poorly managed with no systems to track memberships and payments, gym users didn’t get personalized attention they needed to complete their fitness goals, and finally, there were no systems in place to continually engage with and motivate the users.
"We sat down and developed a basic software that tracked members attendances and fee payments. We designed the interface to be extremely simple to be used by the gym owners/management team," shares Nikhil Singh, CTO and Co-Founder at Fitness Konnect.
Thus, began the journey of Fitness Konnect in the year 2017. With Akshay helming the startup, Ritesh Singh was assigned as the Chief Information Officer, Kundan Singh took up the role of a Chief Information Security Officer, K Karthikeyan stepping in as the Chief Digital Officer and Nishant Singh as the Chief Marketing Officer, the band of friends got united to achieve the common objective of leveraging cutting-edge technology into motivating more and more people to adopt some form of fitness training.
In its initial six months, Fitness Konnect garnered significant success, winning around 45% of gyms in Goa. But Akshay and his team didn t stop there, and continually worked on the software to come up with more advanced versions having immersive features such a BMI tracking to track members attendance, allowing entry only to the members who had paid the gym fee. There were also additions to the software that allowed more personalized service from fitness trainers to members.
"We found more success with our fitness solutions as we integrated advanced features. Our clients were able to manage their business better, and in turn, were also able to offer personalized training to the members," reveals Nikhil.
Having solved two spectrums of the problem, the Fitness Konnect team is now working on creating smart solutions that integrate the entire fitness ecosystem, bringing together fitness services providers, equipment sellers and the people to offer a holistic solution that handholds, motivates and engages with people from all walks of life to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
"Soon, we are going to release our specially-designed portal that enables users to find the right fitness centres, diet plans, workout regimen, etc., based on their body type, work commitments, workout preference and fitness goals. Additionally, we are working on a highly-personalized support system that interacts and guides people at various stages of a wholesome life full of vigour,” shares Nishant.
The team Fitness Konnect is incorporating emerging technologies such as Machine Learning, AI and Data Analytics to make their upcoming fitness solution more relevant, responsive and personalized.
Fitness Konnect is incubated at FiiRE (Forum for Innovation, Incubation, Research and Entrepreneurship), Goa. “We have found a lot of support and handholding at FiiRE, especially in terms of shaping and grooming our startup to become a prominent player in the market. The advanced infrastructure and amenities at FiiRE help our team to work uninterruptedly in a positive startup environment,” Akshay sums up the Fitness Konnect’s association with FiiRE with utmost sincerity.