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Lauren Foundos Introduces the Netflix of Fitness Apps

Forte founder talks about the idea behind her subscription based service and how it works.

Fitness has always been a big part of Lauren Foundos’ life. She grew up playing sports and was a 2-time All American field hockey player who went on to play for the Division 1 field hockey team at the University of Maryland. After graduation Foundos found herself working on Wall Street. Her demanding work hours left her scrambling to find time to workout.

“I would have to go to work so early that working out in the morning was just basically the middle of the night, so I started to go workout after work. I would disappear from 5:00-6:00pm  then I would go meet my clients for dinners,” explains Foundos. Since she would be so crunched for time Foundos started going to studios and realized that it was so much better than going to the gym. “It was a better experience and I felt like I was almost back playing sports again because studios give off a bit of a team atmosphere and unspoken camaraderie of seeing familiar faces each class,” says Foundos.  

“Today in terms of numbers, studio’s make up 25% of the fitness industry's revenues and its only rising,“ says Foundos.  She took her first step in starting her company Forte by talking to studios to see if they would be willing and interested to stream their classes.  “Two years ago there was a little bit of push back about if clients would like that. Fast forward to today and everyone is using Facebook Live and that's the norm,” says Foundos.  When interest from studios started to take off Foundos had to make a huge life decision. She decided to leave her job on Wall Street in order to fully dedicate her time to Forte.  

“I think from my perspective I love these places and it was sort of a passion career move for me. For me I left a big career behind, but I just felt like I had to fully commit to this if I wanted it to work,” says Foundos.

So what is Forte and how does it work? Forte is a subscription-based fitness streaming platform, think the Netflix of workout classes. They have created hardware and software that they install into boutique fitness studios allowing the classes to be live streamed to the site. After a live stream class is over it goes into their on-demand database giving you access to it at your convenience. You’re able to watch via your smart phone, computer, Ipad, or TV giving you the choice of working out at home or following along at your gym.  As you continue to use it more and more the site gets to know you better allowing it to suggest certain classes you may like and giving it a more customizable feel. This will come in handy since there are over 1000 videos available to you at any time.  

You can also follow a certain studio, trainer, and other users where you get notifications of their activity similar Facebook. They’re planning to incorporate wearables into your experience as well. Basically your Fitbit, Apple Watch, heart rate monitor, etc. will sync to the platform allowing you to track your performance in real-time on live leaderboards, and giving you a better view and understanding of your progress and fitness achievements.

Forte is the best of both worlds compared to at-home fitness dvds and class subscriptions. You’re able to access different studios that aren’t geographically close to you. The classes are full of real people and real instructors and the video changes with every class session making sure you won’t get bored of the same routine and makes what you’re watching more relatable. There's a wide variety of classes from boxing, barre, yoga, jump rope, and dance to name a few allowing you to find things that work for you personally.

When asked if her experience as an athlete has influenced Forte Foundos said, “I feel like a lot of people think that they can’t do it when it comes to being in shape and that it comes down to genetics. Nobody in my family was really an athlete, I just practiced everyday and I loved it and I did it and I think it's fun to see people surprise themselves.” Foundos believes determination is key when it comes to reaching a goal.  

“If you try to do a push up everyday you will eventually do a push up. That's how the body works, it’s a machine. I just feel like people doubt themselves so much when it comes to working out, but if you train your body to do something it will do it. It’s that simple.” They did a lot of research and found a lot of people feel nervous and unsure in the gym or a studio. Foundos wants Forte to be a space where this is not the case. “I want people to see real people, we’ve been so accustomed to see workout videos of pre choreographed tan bodies on the screen and that's not the reality of what people go through to get in shape. I think the factor of seeing real people in these classes is something special and builds on the idea of this being a community and they you’re in this together.” 

The early adopter rate is $99 per year ($288 regularly)after a 30-day free trail. To give Forte a try go to Forte.fit.

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