The Athlete-Engineered Brands Driving The Future Of Wellness

In Welltodo’s recently released 2021 Consumer Wellness Trends Report, we explore the eight key consumer trends we predict will impact the trajectory of the global wellness industry over the coming year. And the pockets of opportunity that exist within this exciting new landscape.

To give you a taste of what you can expect within this 80+ page resource, over four weeks we’re diving into some of the trends featured in the report, sharing the consumer behaviours and values driving them, and which wellness brands are pioneering new approaches in response.

In the second instalment of the series, we’re exploring how athlete-engineered wellness brands are opening up access to the metrics, expertise and solutions usually reserved for the elite athletes of the world, in a way that makes sense for the everyday consumer. And in doing so, are driving the future of wellness.

THE TREND: In an age where the self-improvement industry generates more than ten billion dollars a year, and millennials, in particular, are more likely than previous generations to put pressure on themselves – and others – to be perfect, wellness brands have recognised that by inserting themselves into the never-ending cycle of improvement they can create new opportunities for growth that are hard to put a cap on.

And, as the high-performance lifestyle trend has gained traction, one such opportunity that has emerged revolves around products and services that are athlete-engineered.

THE STATS: Buoyed by our perpetual desire to upgrade our brains and bodies, consumer interest in products and services that promise to unlock optimal performance and promote peak health has given rise to several interconnected wellness trends over the years.

The explosion of fitness, sleep and hormone trackers empowering people to metricise and modify their lives, the Silicon Valley set sharing biohacking secrets that unpick unusual pathways to longevity and brands like Bulletproof, HVMN and Health Warrior extolling the benefits of functional ingredients as a way to break through the natural ceiling of human potential; illustrate just a few.

Before the start of the pandemic, data already showed that:

  • One in three Americans reported to having worn a fitness tracker, according to Gallup
  • Personalized nutrition was big business, with the market predicted to reach upwards of $11.5 billion by 2025
  • And, according to Mintel, product launches with functional claims, such as sports drinks, had increased by 19% between 2014 and 2018
The Athlete-Engineered Wellness Brands Driving The Future Of Wellness
Image: Levels

THE CURRENT STATE OF PLAY: With COVID-19 not only accelerating interest in health tracking and expert-led offerings, as well as helping to placate fears around data sharing, athlete-engineered fitness and recovery brands like Whoop, Tonal, Tempo, Hyperice and Forme Life have experienced a period of hypergrowth born out of a growing consumer appetite for more intelligent insights and assistance.

Functional beverage brands including Hydrant, EI8HT Energy and Halo Sport have also enjoyed a similar trajectory, as consumers turn to performance-enhancing ingredients as a way to optimise their upended lives, and new heightened approach to health and wellness.

With investors also continuing to pour capital into the space, this suggests confidence in the future growth of the trend. In 2020, personalised sleep and training tracker Whoop raised $100m, metabolic health tracking brand Levels announced a $12m seed round and connected fitness startup Tempo banked $60m.

THE CONSUMER OF TOMORROW: With today’s savvy, health-conscious consumers recognising that every aspect of a pro athlete’s performance is meticulously monitored by some form of groundbreaking technology, their personal data then analysed by experts whose insights are actioned via cutting-edge products and services, the new expectation is that to achieve optimal performance access is needed to the same insights and support. 

This mindset is continuing to fuel opportunities for wellness products and services that are athlete-engineered. And with disruptive, and heavily-funded brands already spearheading sub-categories within the trend, including sleep, recovery and cognitive performance, we predict this category will see further growth over the next 12 months and beyond.

Within this new lexicon, for brands, the secret sauce lies in opening up access to these metrics, expertise and solutions, in a way that makes sense for the everyday consumer.

The Athlete-Engineered Wellness Brands Driving The Future Of Wellness
Image: Whoop


WHOOP: Meeting the rise in demand for more intelligent, athlete-led wellness and helping to mainstream the pursuit is Whoop – a next-gen wearable recently valued at $1.2 billion.

The ‘human performance company’ which claims to be pioneering this new wellness category, provides users with 24/7 health monitoring across fitness, sleep, recovery, strain and more, for $30 per month.

Originally conceived as a product for professional athletes, over time, it has gradually evolved into a consumer brand that’s filling a gap in the market for fitness enthusiasts and health-conscious consumers who want to take their every day health ‘to the next level’. 

TONAL: Tonal, which calls itself the ‘world’s most intelligent fitness system’ – an at-home strength and personal training platform that combines proprietary digital weight, artificial intelligence, and expert-led coaching – has marketed itself as athlete-engineered and approved from the get-go.

Its adoption of a premium, well-polished aesthetic has helped to foster the idea that it’s making an elite and expert experience more accessible.

Its differentiated approach to providing consumers with a personalised, connected strength training experience that mirrors the type of training and feedback only professional athletes are usually privy to, has seen it experience record-breaking sales, according to the brand.

LEVELS: A $399 wearable sensor that tracks the user’s blood glucose in real-time, to help them maximise their diet and exercise, Levels claims to offer the holy grail of attaining peak performance. 

Its consumers are sold not only on its ability to intelligently close the loop between daily actions and performance but on the feeling of being part of an exclusive club that has access to secrets others don’t.

In a similar vein to Whoop, despite the brand entering the market via the premium lifestyle space, its ambition is to eventually become a mainstream brand used by a mass audience.


  • How can you position your high-performance product or service in a meaningful way that demonstrates why it is relevant for the everyday consumer?
  • How can you tap into shared values around everyday health and wellness goals, such as demand for more manageable and seamless solutions?
  • In what ways could you further democratise access to insights and support usually reserved for the elite-athletes of the world?

To find out more about how and why consumers are buying into athlete-engineered wellness brands and how you should be approaching the above questions, get your full copy of Welltodo’s 2021 Consumer Wellness Trends Report, here.