Women We’re Watching: Lindsay Cook, Former Exec at FitBit, Launches New Fitness App FitOn
When former Fitbit executive Lindsay Cook felt burned out from the corporate world, she took a risk and traded her thriving career for some time for herself.
After an unforgettable trip traveling the world with her family, she was inspired to launch FitOn, a new digital fitness platform and social experience for on-demand group fitness workouts that feature world-class and celebrity trainers—or as Lindsay puts it, “a product that is always on for those that are always on.” Lindsay’s successful track record with tech startups, her invaluable words of wisdom for fellow mompreneurs and her passion for making fitness more accessible make her a woman we’re watching.
You had a thriving career with FitBit, but your own self care was struggling. How did you get the courage to leave your corporate job to eventually launch FitOn?
When I was an executive at Fitbit for five years, I hit a breaking point. I was working around the clock and although I worked at a health and fitness company, between working long hours and then having kids, it made it impossible to get to my favorite fitness classes that helped me feel good.
I tried finding workout videos that kept me motivated but I either found myself lost in YouTube—taking more time to find a workout than actually do one—or I would got bored trying to follow moves or gifs of someone on an app. I couldn’t find premium workouts that were super motivating and kept asking myself why these didn’t exist.
I took a break from working and traveled around the world with my kids. This break gave me the time to unplug and to build the concept of FitOn—to make a product for other busy people who wanted to stay fit. We’re all too busy nowadays to work out, but working out and being active is actually what helps us feel good.
That’s why we created FitOn, so we can stop putting ourselves last on the to-do list and take care of your body first so you can take care of others. We created a fitness product that’s always on for you, no matter what gets in your way!
You’re the brains behind a number of product launches, including FitBit and most recently your new baby, FitOn. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced when it comes to the wellness industry, in particular tech startups?
The wellness industry is a very noisy one. There are so many products and services for consumers that are targeting the same people. One of our initial challenges was how to break through that noise. We decided to do that with a fitness product that was better designed, with more premium workouts and allowed you to work out together with your friends.
We asked ourselves what a fitness product should look like if it was designed in 2019, and that is what we set out to build with FitOn. With regards to technology, we have really tried to use it as an advantage; it has allowed us to move fast and we went from concept to live in the app store in just five months.
Tell me more about how you’re redefining the fitness experience with FitOn.
FitOn is redefining the fitness experience by offering instant access to personalized fitness programs including unlimited premium fitness classes—from cardio to strength training to HIIT, yoga, pilates, dance and more—that you can do anytime and anywhere.
We have been working with world-class trainers like Cassey Ho, Jeanette Jenkins (The Hollywood Trainer who works with Kelly Rowland), Katie Dunlop (Love Sweat Fitness) and many more amazing trainers, to create motivating workout videos. Plus, if you need some social motivation, we give you the ability to work out together with your friends and cheer each other on. With FitOn, you can turn your phone into a gym, and an easily accessible solution to reaching your health and fitness goals at any time that works best for your schedule.
Instilling a sense of community and interaction is important to you. How do you do this through at-home workouts? Are you seeing more of an interest now to work out at home vs. in-person group fitness classes, and if so why do you think this is?
At FitOn, we have been working to create a sense of community with doing workouts at home. Working out alone at home can be less exciting than a studio fitness class so we thought about how we could create the feeling of that experience at home. This is why we set up live leaderboards where you can compete with friends using real-time heart rates from Apple Watch. We also allow you to invite your friends to classes and see their progress in the app so you can cheer them on!
We are definitely seeing a movement of more people working out at home because we all seem to be getting busier—especially in this age of social media. It doesn’t mean you won’t go to the gym, but FitOn is there to help when you need that extra motivation at the gym or when you just can’t make it there as often as you’d like.
In this day an age, group fitness classes can cost a fortune, sometimes $35+ for a single drop-in. Through FitOn, you desire to make fitness accessible vs. exclusive. How are you achieving this?
Yes, with FitOn, you can get a membership for less than $4.99 a month, which is less than the cost of a couple of studio classes. One of our advantages being a digital company is that we don’t have to pay for large studio space. We want to make premium fitness workouts affordable, so everyone can fit fitness in more often.
What’s your number one piece of advice when it comes to a new product launch?
Listen to your customers. In the early months of the business, we did lots of focus groups and reached out to lots of potential users to help refine the concept for FitOn. This early feedback led to lots of changes in the app and the product features we prioritized for our launch.
This was no different from my time at Fitbit—customers really had some of the best ideas for our products. The more you are able to generate excitement with your user base, the easier it is to get positive word-of-mouth which is priceless for a new product launch.
What have you learned when it comes to balancing work and being a mom, and what advice would you give other mompreneurs?
I’ve learned that it is always a work in progress. Right when you feel like you have everything together, one of your kids gets sick or your nanny can’t make it. I’ve found that owning my own company allows me to find a better balance between being a mom and an entrepreneur.
I spend less time in meetings and more time doing. This allows me to spend more time with my kids or take them to a swim class. My best advice is to just be a ruthless prioritizer with your time. Get out of meetings you don’t need to attend and don’t feel the need to respond to every email. This can free up a lot of time to focus on what matters to you most.
What do you hope to see for the fitness industry in the next two to five years?
I hope to see the fitness industry focus more on wellness and self-care than shaping the perfect body. Through FitOn, I’m hoping we create a movement where people take time for themselves…. and don’t feel bad about doing it! I’d like to influence more people to use fitness as a vehicle for self-care and be good to themselves.
Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s a necessity of our modern life. Whether you are busy looking after your family, career, or both, you need to take care of your body first so you can take care of others.
Interested in other women who are making waves in their industries? Read about how this doctor is shaking up the whole healthcare model, and how this this woman is changing the conversation around female fertility needs.
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