The rise and rise of fitness industry: A case of Trio-Fit

If Abraham Maslow got it right, humans, much like monkeys, would yearn to raise from the mundane to the profound, from the necessities to the wants and desires. From a time when Indians were perennially plagued with malnutrition, and food security was an immediate and real threat, we have come to a stage where ‘burning calories’ has become an important issue. Imagine the transition from calories not being enough to being too much, in a matter of one generation. This underlying surge in economic prosperity and social awareness, coupled with the western influence on personal fitness and group activities has led to the creation of this ever-burgeoning industry- fitness. Mind it, it’s fitness and not health care, in a way that it is more proactive than reactive, and is holistic than a mere set of exercises of body toning or belly shaping.

The global fitness industry is estimated to be around $80 billion, with India contributing close to a billion dollar and growing. The market remains highly unorganized and fragmented, true to most in present realms, and is propelled by growing awareness towards a fit lifestyle, higher disposable income, and penetration of mobile apps and other fitness aids. The latest findings published in the reputed ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal suggests that while the entire industry is growing at a rapid pace, world over, there are some specific formats which are gaining more traction than others. For instance, there seems to be distinct liking for body weight training, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), strength training, and group training. This is apart from the perpetually important areas of yoga, personal training, functional fitness, and wellness coaching, amongst others. All this, notwithstanding the rapid adoption of wearable and fitness devices which are now seen donned by most people around.

Milin and Pratik

While the industry, overall, is growing, and there is a greater than ever awareness all around, even in tier-two towns in India, organizing the unorganized remains a challenge. Right from securing the appropriate trainers, to the suitable regime, and scheduling of classes, all the way to personalization of training are identified as concerns by experts and beginners alike. As people in the industry indicate, mobile applications for scheduling of the classes often fail to overcome the information asymmetry that cripples the market. Think of the disproportionate knowledge a trainer has over a member, whether in a club format or at home, on what’s suitable for the individual and most of the mistakes get noticed only after it’s too late. Injuries, often serious ones, are a commonplace in the industry where enthusiasts want to ‘get it all’ without paying heed to what is appropriate for a body type and the sustainability of the regime.

These were some of the pain points, literally so, that led to the duo of Milin Mathew and Pratik Rao to venture in 2013 on their own. Ace trainers themselves and with a fair bit of business acumen by their side, Milin and Pratik sought out to create an institution with a clear focus on bringing the best and the latest from world over to the fitness enthusiasts in India. Pratik and Milin, both have spent over 15 years in the fitness industry with brands such as Fitness First, Fitness One, Gold’s Gym, and Power House, amongst others, in Bangalore and Mumbai. Milin excels in group exercise, while Pratik hones skills in personal training, and they both are loved by many and envied for the same reasons.

Talking about the key concerns in the fitness industry, Milin observes, “there is a huge gap between aspirations and the actual delivery of fitness in the Indian context, and this is because the instructors jump into the fray often untrained and uncertified. We aim to bring up the fitness and competence levels of trainers, and help clubs deploy the best in the industry to the most deserving of their members”.

Trio-Fit, engages with health clubs in offering fitness consulting and managing their requirements on group exercise instructors and personal trainers in a host of fitness domains. Pioneers and specialists in group exercise and personal training, the team at Trio-Fit today has 60 instructors supporting close to a dozen premium health clubs across Bangalore, and eyeing to expand in other cities across India. With 25 fitness regimes, Trio-Fit has one of the widest base of experts in the industry.

While the number of 60 might look tiny with regards to the overall size and the pace of the industry, the thinking at Trio-Fit is to go about quality and excellence in training and delivery. Impressing upon the quality imperative, Pratik observes, “it would have been far easy for us to compromise on the fitness and proficiency levels of our instructors in pursuit of a rapid growth, however, being a pioneer in the industry we always wanted to, and still do, to maintain an uncompromising level of excellence and discipline towards the approach to fitness. For this, regular education for our instructors, quality assurance, and certification programs are a must.

An outdoor event hosted by TROF

Apart from the very successful group exercise format, which is identified as one of the top five global trends, Trio-Fit has a very successful outdoor workout offering called — The Republic of Fitness (TROF). TROF is a typical 75-minute outdoor workout held on a Sunday morning where participants (referred to as ‘rebels’) are inducted to a ‘cult’ expressed through fitness, while they have fun in natural serenity. Typically held at Cubbon Park or Lal Bagh in Bangalore, or some outdoor location around the outskirts of the city, the event is a great attraction for the first timers and fitness geeks alike. Some of the recent events included Mission Impossible, Spartan, Asymmetric, Yogasmic, Kick Box & Punch, and Game based workout, amongst others. As team TROF calls it, the experience offers an exasperation of ‘Oh Hell Yeah !!!’.

As one of the attendees of TROF puts it, “every time I travel out for long, I missed the gym. Not this time around! #TROF has taught me how to work out outdoor. Wow what a team and such beautiful friends I made out here in short time. Call me a freak I love to scream back #OhHellYeah”.

With its format on TROF, Trio-Fit remains a pioneer and one of the most well received outdoor fitness experts around. With an intent to bring the very best and latest to their audience, Pratik notes, “you can advocate fitness to others only if you are fit. For us, the utmost priority is the fitness levels, coaching skills, and interpersonal behaviour of our trainers, and our end customers look forward to working-out with our trainers across clubs. An unyielding focus on the best and the latest propels us.

Apart from the very successful group exercises, personal training, and outdoor workouts, in their endeavour to introduce the latest to the Indian audience, Milin and Pratik have conceptualised Trio-TranceTM, a unique format aimed to bring the global genre of fitness programs under one roof. Started in 2016, Trio-Trance hosts three proprietary fitness programs- Trio-HIITTM (multi-modality functional training), Trio-PatternTM (music led primal/ animal pattern movement workout), and Trio-CarnageTM (high intensity fight moves). These programs offer a unique blend of flexibility, core, balance, strength, and cardiovascular, the essential elements of holistic fitness. Trio-Fit aims to make Trio-Trance a platform where the latest from across the world is showcased, and while doing so put India on the global fitness map.

Some of the other special programs introduced by Trio-Fit include Piloxing, an international workout that combines boxing, dance and standing Pilates principles; and Bollydazz, an aerobic fitness programme featuring movements inspired by various styles of dance and performed primarily to Indian music.

Speaking on the company’s singular objective, Shruthi Biddappa, the Chief Operating Officer and a fitness coach herself, notes, “we have learnt over time that sticking to basics, learning the new, and not compromising on the levels of excellence would pave the way to building the industry.” Further, on the imperative of continued training and competence building, Shruthi adds, “the industry needs fit and trained coaches more than ever, and our endeavour is to offer some of the best and most thorough training and certification programs on the various domains.

Trio-Fit remains yet another tale of a firm enabling the organization of the unorganized, and while doing so, raising the bar of performance of trainers, and health of fitness conscious.