If your New Year’s Resolution was to feel mentally and physically healthier this year and to spend less time on your smartphone, you might want to reconsider the latter goal.
Thanks to the rise of live video platforms last year, with Facebook, YouTube and Twitter all promoting their offerings, trainers have never been so accessible. AJ Joshi, a U.K.-based tech entrepreneur, is on a quest to offer an expansive and free digital video network for healthy living.
He launched FIT.live on Twitter’s live-streaming app Periscope last year under Valens, his health and wellness company that also sells supplements. A handful of trainers from a yoga instructor to a health coach broadcast a few days a week.
There, they can take questions and demonstrate exercises without having to be physically with clients. It’s beneficial for people who are physically unable to leave their home or who are intimidated by the idea of working out in public.
It’s far from the only fitness channel on Periscope and online, but for 2017, Joshi said he wants FIT.live to be one of the biggest. The network will feature an estimated 62 shows that run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. People can tune in across Facebook Live, YouTube and Periscope, and soon there will be an app for Apple TV and Amazon Fire.
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Joshi was inspired by his own experiences. Two years back, after he said he gained weight while working a desk job, he began searching for tips to loose weight and feel happier.
“I found through my fitness journey [that] a personal trainer is intimidating, and gyms are intimidating,”Joshi told Mashable. “I want to create a channel where my mom could watch somebody online and be inspired by that, be inspired by someone who drops the camera. I dont want to have it polished.”
Linda Steele is a certified personal trainer who works with clients in person at a gym in Chicago, but for a couple of hours a week, she streams from that same gym with exercises such as dead lifts and crunches.
On Jan. 3, she started the session by taking questions from viewers. A few hundred watched simultaneously on Periscope. Someone asked for a recommendation on protein shakes and another user asked if she had a six pack.
Not all questions were particularly appropriate, but Steele navigated them while, for the most part, keeping on schedule and completing her sets.
Livestreaming seems to be on every platform, and if it isn’t, it’s probably coming. While Facebook Live is most likely drawing the most daily views, Joshi said most of the action for FIT.live happens on Twitter’s Periscope.
That’s where FIT.live has its biggest audience, since the channel was created shortly after Periscope launched. Joshi, who has his nickname AJ (@AJ) as his Twitter handle and now has more than 332,000 followers, described himself as a big fan of Twitter and saw the opportunity with Periscope immediately.
“The interaction level of Periscope is second to none.”
“We use Periscope as the comment platform, and if theres a serious question on YouTube well respond to that after the show because the comments on YouTube stay there forever,” Joshi said.
As an early adopter, Joshi has also worked closely with the team at Periscope to hear about and suggest new features.
FIT.live itself is free for users, and Joshi said he wants it to remain that way. For now, the company is pulling in revenue from sponsorships.
The effort is completely bootstrapped by Joshi, who splits his time between running Valens and an app development company called Sivvr.
The latest development for Joshi and his team include creating a headset for 360-degree viewing. The device, which is in part being manufactured by a company abroad, will be released on Amazon next month, according to Joshi.
Unlike some other virtual reality headsets, it offers full-wraparound audio. “For medication, immersion is key. We plan to give some away and charge very minimal, making it one of the most competitive headsets on the market,” Joshi said.
FIT.live began the new year with seven trainers, and they’re planning to add a lot more this month to fill in slots for 24/7 fitness. So far, 180 people have signed up for a waiting list to potentially earn a show.
Joshi declined to disclose if trainers are directly paid. They do gain from exposure and can also coordinate sponsorship deals.
With livestreaming video becoming even more accessible, it’s possible for any personal trainer and corporate fitness company to offer a similar service, which could begin to take away from FIT.live’s dedicated viewership.
Joshi said he’s counting on first-mover advantage and his team’s motto. “A lot of other companies focus on appearance. We focus on being happier and a good well-being and getting thinner for the average person … Were more of a broader audience, a Wii Fit type audience,” he said.
Read more: http://mashable.com/