Atish Parikh, 23, is a medical intern at Mumbai's BYL Nair hospital and works erratic hours. As a result, he's been unable to hit the gym regularly and, six months ago, let his membership lapse.
"I've always been fitness-conscious, but with these hours it doesn't make sense to keep a gym membership going. I don't want to pay Rs 40,000 a year if I'm only going to be able to make it once a week or so," he says.
Instead, a month ago, Parikh downloaded an app called FitPermit on his smartphone after stumbling upon it on Facebook.
It offers him access to 108 gyms and 4,000 fitness classes ranging from zumba to aerial yoga, martial arts and land surfing, and instead of paying a hefty membership fee, he can pay for each session through the app.
"This is the best solution for people like me," says Parikh. "I now book a session at any of the partner centres an hour before I go, and I pay only for what I use."
In addition to access to gyms, some apps also facilitate fitness-related get-togethers. Gurgaon-based account manager Dashmeet Singh, 26, works out at one of the 1,114 partner gyms on Phyzo. Since Singh travels frequently, he says the app helps him keep to his workout schedule wherever he is. (HT Photo/ Arijit Sen and Bhushan Koyande)
Mumbai-based FitPermit, launched last month, is among a bouquet of fitness apps that act as aggregators, letting users choose from a range of gyms and classes and pay and use at their convenience.
While FitPermit works on a pay-as-you-go model, others like Phyzo, FiTicket and FlexiPass have users pay a weekly or monthly subscription fee. Still others, like Labhle and Fitternity allow users to discover gyms, yoga classes and fitness trainers near them, in Delhi and Mumbai respectively. These apps are less than three months old and offer their services in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru, with plans to expand to other cities over time.
For the gyms, they help generate revenue through walk-ins; for users, they offer convenience and flexibility. And the apps either get a commission from the partner gyms, make their money from subscription fees, or both.
"I travel a lot for work so Phyzo helps because it means I don't have to be tied to any one gym," says Dashmeet Singh, 26, an account manager from Gurgaon. "I started using the app a month ago and now I never need to miss my workouts when I travel."
Singh pays Rs 2,000 for a monthly pass that lets him access 30 sessions across 1,114 gyms, yoga classes and fitness trainers in Delhi/NCR and Chandigarh.
Anvi and Rushabh Shah's fitness app FitPermit offers users access to 108 gyms across Mumbai
FiTicket, also a month old and founded by former cricketer Sahil Kukreja, charges a monthly fee of Rs 2,500 and offers access to 500 partner gyms and fitness studios across Mumbai.
"This works well because you're then free to experiment with different forms of workouts," says online retailer Sagar Ramchandani, 28, from Mumbai. "I was mainly attracted to the price point. I took a class in an aerial form of yoga that otherwise costs Rs 500 per session, and I can take three classes here and an unlimited number of others, all for a fixed sum every month."
A third model that new fitness apps are using is a simple listings format. Labhle in Delhi and Fitternity in Mumbai help users discover gyms, yoga classes and fitness trainers near them, sort the options according to preference, price, number of trainers, parking space etc, and apply for free trial classes so they can check out the facilities before joining.
Labhle is the brainchild of three college friends from Patiala who moved to Delhi and had a few false starts while trying to find a good gym. "Two of us paid quarterly registration fees at a gym but stopped going after 20 days because the trainers were no good. That's when it struck us that we should create a platform where people can compare facilities before joining a gym," said co-founder Kamal Kishore, 27, a former software engineer.
"We currently partner with 24 such apps," says Darayus Chaiwalla, senior marketing manager at Mickey Mehta Wellness Temple, Mumbai. "So far, we've been getting about one or two visitors a day from them, between our seven centres."
DOWNLOAD YOUR WORKOUT PLAN
FitPermit: Partners with 108 gyms and 4,000 classes across Mumbai. Works on a pay-as-you-go model, with prices starting at Rs 120 for an afternoon group class
FiTicket: For a monthly membership of Rs 2,500, users can avail of unlimited sessions across 500 partner gyms and fitness studios
Phyzo: For a monthly fee of Rs 2,000, users get 30 sessions across 1,114 gyms, yoga classes and fitness trainers; also allows users to book daily passes
Labhle: Helps users to discover gyms, yoga classes and fitness trainers near them
Mumbai and Delhi
Flexipass: For a monthly membership fee of Rs 999, users can access a total of 700 facilities, 400 in Delhi and 300 in Mumbai. The aim is to encourage users to add variety to their workout routines
Fitternity: Uses GPS to list gyms and fitness studios near you; lets users book free trials or paid classes and avail of discounts. Available in Mumbai, Delhi, Pune and Bengaluru