MUNICH, Germany — The team behind Europe’s number one fitness app Freeletics has announced the launch of a new “strength gaming” experience that taps into rising demand for gamified and entertainment-led workouts.
“STÆDIUM”, which combines strength training with a unique gaming experience creates what the brand claims is a new fitness category.
The hope is that it will fill a gap for consumers who currently find working out boring or unenjoyable. According to the World Health Organisation, 1 in 4 adults currently don’t work out at all or enough, which is a huge addressable market for brands that can break down common barriers to entry.
By pairing effective, full-body exercises selected by a team of sports scientists, with engaging game mechanisms that can be played with others in real-time or asynchronously, STÆDIUM “will help users build a sense of belonging or improvement over time — bringing them back for more”, argues the company.
“We wanted to make STÆDIUM the equivalent to strength training that playing soccer is for running,” further explained Dr. Kianoush Missaghi, Senior Training Experience Manager at Freeletics.
“While you might be running just as much on the field, the setting, the emotions and the mindset are all completely different, so that the distance feels irrelevant compared to the experience. It doesn’t feel like a workout, because it’s a hobby you enjoy. This is what STÆDIUM is here to change about strength training,” he added.
According to Daniel Sobhani, CEO of Freeletics, despite continuing to experience growth over the past couple of years — registering up to 15 million monthly workouts on its platform — Freeletics began to spot gaps that still existed within the market.
Noticeably, the company learnt that there are two types of people: some who do strength training because they appreciate the success and results, and others who don’t do strength training because the process is not only exhausting but most importantly boring and not fun.
“Both types want more fun in strength training and expect an entertainment factor from their sport,” he told Welltodo.
And so, after a $25 million Series B financing round in September 2020, the brand not only invested time and resources into the further development of its core product, it also started to conduct intensive market research around topics like fitness routines, motivation and workout enjoyment.
“Our suspicion was that something was missing from the industry and the data we gathered only supported our hypothesis: working out was seen by many as the ultimate chore,” Sobhani revealed.
“This desire to bring the fun back into sport became the driving factor for creating our new product.”
Having started working on the process in late 2020, since then the team has delivered quickly and with minimal resources thanks to its combination of eight years of know-how, sports science and AI technology.
The result is a product that combines fitness innovation with premium hardware design, which includes three main components: the console, which houses the software that powers the entire system. This sits on top of the user’s chosen screen and includes a smart, AI-powered motion tracking camera that can track the velocity, acceleration and position of STÆDIUM’s connected dumbbells as well as the movements of the player to count reps and correct form
The dumbbells, which can be adjusted between two and 24kg in seconds and are continuously scanned by the camera to identify their current weight and velocity. And the base, which contains an integrated, removable workout bench and also functions as a home for all STÆDIUM equipment.
The idea is that by destroying the boring parts of working out through a mix of cutting edge technology, entertainment and data, STÆDIUM can revolutionise the way people engage with strength training.
“In 2021, it’s time strength training went from repetitive and boring to smart and addictive,” commented Sobhani.
Moving forward, the biggest challenge will be to ensure an exceptional UX that will improve the individual journey without compromising quality or enjoyment, Sobhani told Welltodo.
This will not only encourage consumer adoption but prime the company for long term success.
He envisions the development of new games, and additional equipment as playing a role in this, with what STÆDIUM has created so far, as only the beginning.
“Freeletics started with a vision to inspire and challenge people to become the best version of themselves. We have shown that the meaningful and intelligent use of technology makes it possible to give people around the world the help they need to take the step towards a healthier lifestyle,” he told Welltodo.
“This vision carries us today and will continue to do so in the future. STÆDIUM, along with our AI Coach and Freeletics Essentials Store, is another pillar to further realise this vision, reach more people, and convince them to fall in love with the process as much as the results.”
STÆDIUM by Freeletics is available for pre-order now in all EU countries, the UK and Switzerland, priced at €2,450.