DENVER, Colo. — The more you talk to Matt Lowe, the CEO of Lifestyle Social, a recently launched connected fitness company, the more you get the sense that he was born to do this.
“I started competing as a natural bodybuilder a week after I turned 14,” Lowe said. “I’ve been in the industry ever since, from club management to supplement store management.”
During that time, Lowe worked as a personal trainer for a wide range of clients, from fellow bodybuilders to people struggling with obesity.
“I quickly saw a huge parallel between the extreme athletes I trained and my overweight clients,” Lowe explained. “So I started to implement the practices I used with the athletes with my other clients, and saw massive reductions in their weight.”
Lowe’s success in helping his clients overcome obesity attracted the interest of others suffering from the same condition.
“We started getting calls from consumers who wanted to train with us,” Lowe said, referring to himself and his wife Amy Lowe, who is also a personal trainer. “But they wanted us to give them a workout program first so they could lose 30 to 40 pounds before they came to the gym.”
As interest in their training sessions increased, Lowe and his wife realized that they needed a way to work with their clients outside of the gym. “So three and a half years ago, my wife and I built a platform called NutriTek.”
Within six months, Lowe went from having a collection of clients in Arvada, Colorado, to having clients in 13 states and nine countries. “We more than quadrupled our income,” he said.
As word of NutriTek spread among personal trainers in Colorado, more and more of them approached Lowe, asking if they could have access to the platform as well.
“That’s when the idea for Lifestyle Social was born,” Lowe said.
Three Steps to the Future of Personal Training
“The way that personal training works now is you go to a club and pick a trainer,” Lowe described. “Sometimes they’ll give you a basic assessment. Then you’ll get a card that you take from a file cabinet, and you’ll go and work out with a pencil and a piece of paper.”
“That’s so antiquated,” Lowe admitted. “It’s so outdated it’s not even funny.”
Lowe envisions the Lifestyle Social platform progressing through three phases of development. At the end of these phases, his company plans to have fundamentally transformed the relationship between personal trainers and their clients.
During the first phase, which Lifestyle Social completed prior to launching earlier this month, the company digitized all of the processes that a trainer normally engages in with their clients. “This lets the clients have a record of everything that they’ve done with their trainers, while letting the trainers see everything that their clients log outside of their training sessions,” Lowe said.
Lifestyle Social is currently engaged in the second phase of its development, which Lowe plans to complete by the end of 2015. During this second phase, Lifestyle Social will integrate wearable technology into its platform. “This will allow us to start scanning users and predicting their lifestyle patterns so that the platform can deliver proactive measures,” he said.
In the third and final phase of Lifestyle Social’s development, the company will create a directory of fitness professionals from which consumers can select the personal trainers best suited to their needs. “Every trainer will start with a five-star rating,” Lowe explained. “If you’re a bad trainer, consumers can decide to leave you a poor rating. Anyone below a four-star rating will get kicked off the site.”
Yet Lifestyle Social will give those trainers who use its platform a tremendous advantage in running their businesses, which Lowe believes will offset any anxiety they may feel at the thought of being rated by clients.
“We have resources that will allow trainers to avoid spending so much of their time crafting follow-up emails or motivations or assessments,” Lowe said. “All of that is built-in for them to just click and send so that their clients receive feedback right away.”
The Right Team for the Job
Once Matt and Amy Lowe realized Lifestyle Social’s explosive potential, they set to work building a team that could bring their vision to life.
“We now have experts with decades of industry experience who work with world-renowned gyms and clubs,” Lowe said.
At the head of Lifestyle Social’s medical advisory board is Jeffrey Kazmucha, an exercise physiologist at Stanford University’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, as well as a master personal trainer to several Silicon Valley startups. Among a variety of other responsibilities, Kazmucha ensures that Lifestyle Social’s fitness and nutrition programs meet industry standards.
Kazmucha has also enabled Lowe and his team to have several conversations with Baba Shiv, a professor of neuro-economics at Stanford University.
“Baba Shiv is leading the industry with some ground-breaking research that he’s allowed us to use in our predictive algorithms,” Lowe said. “That’s a massive piece that’s missing out there right now, because if we can let people know ahead of time that they’re entering a depressed or anxious mode, then we can give them proactive measures to help them avoid that slump.”
Lifestyle Social has also partnered with Dr. Jacob Wilson, the CEO of the Applied Science and Performance Institute in Tampa, Florida, who is known popularly as “the Muscle Professor.” Dr. Wilson is primarily responsible for providing Lifestyle Social with materials for its education portal, which will allow personal trainers to not only improve their own knowledge and expertise, but also give their clients a better understanding of their health and fitness.
“Honestly,” Lowe admitted, “sometimes I look in the mirror and think, ‘How did we get these partners?”
A Man on a Mission, a Company with a Purpose
When asked about the future of Lifestyle Social, Matt Lowe talks of global expansion, and of putting a dent in the growing obesity pandemic. But after sharing these grand ambitions, Lowe reveals his motivation for having built the Lifestyle Social platform, which he expresses in the form of a very simple, very humble, and yet potentially radical philosophy.
“Ultimately we’re in the industry of helping people understand what healthy living is,” he said. “Our purpose is to change people’s lives with this understanding. Once your clients understand it, it transforms their mindsets. It’s a difference they can feel.”