It's 90 degrees outside. A walk seems impossible, never mind a jog. The last class you took was a little too clammy and loud for your taste and so you're wondering - what am I going to do to stay in shape this summer?
Lauren Foundos has you covered.
Foundos is the founder and CEO of Fortë, an online fitness subscription that is revolutionizing the way people work out from around the world.
Fortë delivers both live and on-demand fitness classes to the globe from some of the hottest and most sought-after classes in New York. We've all heard the line - "all the celebs take this class," and now you can know for sure - without the price tag. Think yoga, boxing, pilates, TRX classes, but without the terror or anxiety of actually going and wrestling with the fact those around you are so much better. Fortë allows you the privacy to get on your feet without thirty people around you seeing you wobble a few times first.
Foundos has hand-picked the best instructors in the business. And it all began when she wanted to invest in Class Pass but couldn't. “I started to realize the power of studios," she recalls, and went on to formulate a plan to work with the studios directly, hoping to entice it into live-streaming their classes.
Selling the studios on live-streaming two years ago was more difficult than it sounds. Facebook live wasn't around to entice and Foundos struggled to drum up excitement about her idea.
“It wasn't like it is now," she remembers, continuing, “only the more progressive places were putting video content online." It was these studios that she would go on to target.
“A lot of people are actually just scared of working out, and for them a studio compound is even more intimidating."
“If you don't do yoga, and you're at a studio where everyone does yoga - you definitely feel out of place I think," says Foundos, while explaining the necessity of a medium like Fortë, for the shyer people out there. “But it's also just the proximity. A lot of these boutiques aren't going to go a lot of places. So in a small town - you know, they don't have access to a gas station for 20 or 30 miles! These boutiques aren't going to be popping up there. So why shouldn't they have access to the things that people are mobbing the doors for in big cities?"
The first time Foundos realized this class-level awkwardness was when she was invited to a dance studio for what she thought was a meeting, but it was actually an invite to participate in a dance class. Regardless of how fit she was, Foundos admits “I am not a good dancer. I was a little nervous - in the back, sweating bullets."
“This feels horrible," she recalls thinking. “If that's what people feel like when they walk into a gym - that does not feel good." And so Fortë seemed a genuinely natural solution to this fear many experience heading to the gym or to the famed difficulty of TRX for the first time. It's terrifying.
“It's intimidating if you've never done it - like where do you begin?" Foundos asks, and Fortë provides the answer. Take these classes into your home - become acclimated, and grow in confidence.
“We're not really only at-home fitness," she continues, referring to the fact you can get classes on your phone also - so that if you are a gym goer, but often feel like you're not very productive during your time there -you can have someone in your ear and on your screen for the entire session telling you to push harder. “And it's interactive, they know that you're out there," she says - so expect a shout-out ladies.
Fortë will not be a standalone venture for Foundos. This Winter will see the launch of a wearables line that will coincide with the online subscription, so users can track their progress and keep up-to-date with their health and wellness. “I think the 10,000 steps on a fitbit has really triggered something in a lot of people that's really interesting. It's triggering an awareness in people that is really good. We're able to tell people that instead of this 'thirty-day weight loss' and all that type of language that exists, we're able to tell people, your heart's working more efficiently, your resting heart-rate is lower."
“Forget summer body and all that talk, this is improving the quality of your life." Foundos says, encouraging a healthier and longer-lasting health plan over the quick and potentially harmful regimes. Fortë allows you to explore and engage with fitness a revolutionary way and will undoubtedly bring the best out of those who never really knew which exercises worked for them. They're able to try everything now, without the embarrassing shuffles and falls that others may witness.
Stay tuned for Fortë's wearables, slated for release this year, and watch the site for updates to come, and forthcoming L.A. classes planned.
Gender divisions in sports have primarily served to keep women out of what has always been believed to be a male domain. The idea of women participating alongside men has been regarded with contempt under the belief that women were made physically inferior.