Mid-levels Mar 2017

Page 40

health & wellness

Fitness on demand

A new app for booking personal training sessions and group classes is looking to shake up the Hong Kong fitness scene, writes Callum Wiggins.


orn out of a desire to disrupt the fitness industry in much the same way that Uber and AirBnB have forever changed the taxi and hotel industries respectively, Melvin Chen, co-founder of Avigo, a fitness app for booking personal training and group fitness classes, has global ambitions. Meeting over coffee in one of Hong Kong’s fashionable coworking spaces in Causeway Bay, surrounded by young entrepreneurs and the obligatory ping pong table required in such spaces, Chen is determined to offer Hong Kongers a new and flexible way to keep fit, with technology at its core. “Our focus is how to use technology to improve the fitness industry”, says Chen. “Booking personal training and group fitness classes can be done on a much better platform with flexibility being its greatest strength”. That’s where Avigo comes in. By signing up to the app, users can book a personal trainer in much the same way that you book an Uber. Send out a request specifying a time and location that you would like to have a session and the Avigo-registered personal trainers can book you in. Alternatively, browse through the list of personal trainers to find the one that takes your eye and arrange a time and schedule for the class. Sessions can be taken in a growing number of partner locations already established or even in public locations such as Tamar or Sun Yat Sen parks. “Many working professionals need flexibility in their approach to working out”, explains Chen. “Having hectic or unpredictable schedules shouldn’t stop you from working out or missing out on training with top quality fitness instructors”. Flagship group classes currently offered on Avigo include bootcamp-style sessions and yoga classes. There is no limit to the number of classes that you can sign up for and users

Group fitness classes held by on-demand personal trainers

are not tied to monthly or annual memberships. Avigo is also not just partnering up with third party fitness classes and gyms. All group fitness classes are led by Avigo-trained instructors which means Chen and his team have complete control over the quality and flexibility of classes. “We are establishing a brand standard

Our focus is how to use technology to improve the fitness industry

within our classes”, says Chen. “With other fitness class booking apps you may not really know what kind of classes you are signing up for or the quality of each class. At Avigo, we are making our own classes to a premium standard so that you know exactly what you’re going to get with each class”. By building up a personal profile on the app which details your class history and progress, instructors are able to assess your fitness goals and tailor classes and sessions to your needs by reviewing each member of the class before it


begins. It’s using technology in this way in that Chen hopes Avigo will distinguish itself within a competitive market. “By offering smaller group classes and flexible personal training sessions we can adapt classes to fit your needs. Tracking your progress and working on your personal goals with the help of professionals is the best way to see results”. Bland and soulless big box gyms can mean people easily see motivation fall by the wayside. Equally, oversubscribed classes mean either you are left squeezed into a class of up to 40 strangers or left frustrated by missing out yet again. Avigo is hoping that the social aspect of working out with friends and like-minded individuals can spur users on to establish long-term fitness programmes. “Our classes are purposefully small in size and we are looking to expand our social elements and events to create a community. Friends can sign up for small classes together which may encourage those who are hesitant at first”. Personal training sessions start from $650 an hour or a 10 hour personal training package can be purchased for $5,850 ($585 per class). A package of three group classes starts from $450. For more details, visit avigoapp.com M

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