The fitness industry is booming. According to a report by Deloitte and Europe Active, there are 60 million fitness club members in Europe. In terms of revenue, the European health and fitness market accounted for EUR 26.6 billion in 2017.
Experts agree that the reason for the increase is the trend towards a healthier lifestyle. And this has been seen visible at the trade show for fitness, health and wellness: FIBO, taking place in Germany.
With over 1.100 exhibitors from 44 countries and this year’s 145.000 visitors coming to Cologne, it is one of the largest fitness trade shows worldwide. Naturally, startups popping up in the industry need to be at FIBO to present their product. And we have summarized some of the most interesting ones.
Insects To Feed Your Muscles
Visitors get tips at FIBO on how to eat properly during or after their training. There is a special area for cooking and selling dietary supplements, which has become more popular in recent years. The focus is on proteins in particular, which are available as powder, bars or drinks.
Insects are a widely proclaimed source of protein, amino acids and vitamin B12. Timo Bäcker, founder and CEO of Swarm Nutrition, on the market since 2017, uses crickets to produce his protein bars. The company has been working with a small farmer from Thailand, who breeds the animals, processes them into powder and sends it to Germany. The bars come in three flavours Red Berries, Chia Hazelnut and Raw Cacao. The demand from retailers such as Rewe and Edeka proves Bäcker right.
Another interesting source of protein comes from the Hamburg startup Joybräu. Founded in 2016 by Erik Dimter and Tristan Brümmer, the company sells protein beer. The 0.33-l bottle contains 21g of protein instead of alkohol. It is vegan, comes in two flavours (original and grapefruit) and costs 2.69 EUR. Since its launch 500.000 bottles have already been sold, mainly to Rewe, Edeka and the fitness studio chain Fitness First. The startups has even won this year’s FIBO Innovation Award.
Gamification Will Motivate You Just Like a Personal Trainer
Another big trend this year: Gamification. We all know that being member of a fitness club doesn’t necessarily mean we will workout regularly. In order to motivate people to stay active, startups are coming up with gamification concepts. Sports scientist and game designers at startup Sphery have partnered to develop ExerCube. While you are working out in a type of cube playing with what’s on the screen, your physical and cognitive skills should improve according to the company. The workout is adapted according to your abilities and progress.
Or you can just hop on a treadmill from Runbeat that will guide you through a virtual forest. You can even set up running competitions and train with your friends side by side.
Another winner of this year’s FIBO Innovation Award included the virtual training assistant “Elias” from Facefore, which shows the potential studio member the training effects using VR in the first consultation. The idea is that Elias will help fitness studios to win gym members, which is getting harder with increased competition and competitive pricing.
Gathering Training Data
AI is quite a buzz word in the tech industry these days. However, in order to use something like machine learning, you need to gather a lot of data. This is what the fitness industry is trying to do.
Whether it’s your body composition that can be scanned in 3D and shows data like muscles, body fat, Body Mass Index (BMI) or waist-hip-ratio or smart training equipment that measures your performance, the data acquired can be used to motivate or personalize a workout.
Bodygee is such a body analytics startup that wants to disrupt the market for body measurement currently dominated by Bioelectric Impedance Analysis (BIA) scales. Fitness clubs can use the 3D scanner and accompanied software to measure and show customers the training effect and motivate them to keep going. The visualization comes as a photorealistic 3D avatar and can even be shared with friends via social media. In the future the company wants to use machine learning to tell you exactly which workout is best for you.
If you want to gather workout data and measure your performance, there is Solo by startup Heavy Kinematic Machines. The company pairs sensors with training equipment to track how much you lift, the repetitions made, time and movement. You even get a personal trainer to assist you with your performance or you can be old school and analyze the training data with a real coach.
Fitness Tech is on the rise
The importance of sport is reflected not only in the popularity of trade shows like the FIBO, but also in a rapidly growing SportsTech market: There are now over 1,500 SportsTech startups in Europe, and investments have risen steadily in recent years, reaching about 364 million euros in 2018 in the European market. And fitness startups play a major role in this uprise. Need an example? Four out of the top five investment rounds in 2018 are connected with the fitness industry, following the overall societal trend towards better health and wellbeing.
For more details see our European SportsTech Reports 2019.
It’s exciting times to be part of this industry.