Most people struggle to find time to exercise during the busy work week. And while hybrid or remote work allows for more home workouts, some people still find themselves lacking motivation.
According to a 2021 report, about 39.4% of Americans never work out in a given week. The least active states are Mississippi and Tennessee, while the most active are Minnesota and California.
Future, a fitness and personal coaching app, wants to change that.
Dubbed as one of the most expensive apps in the Apple store, at a cost of $150 per month, the app assigns people with a trainer who curates personalized workout plans and sends messages throughout the day to ensure they’re sticking to them.
According to its CEO and co-founder Rishi Mandal, all trainers are highly certified. About 80% of them have previously trained professional athletes or Olympians. Getting access to those kinds of coaches will typically cost you about $100-$200 per session, Mandal told Insider.
The inspiration to build a personal training-focused platform was founded on the basis that, “the most successful people with their health, for example, professional athletes or celebrities, built support systems,” Mandal said.
“Maybe there’s a personal trainer who helps them move more and a chef that stocks their fridge with 12 meals a week, but also making it a cognitive overhead for them so they’re not having to plan and track,” he added.
So Mandal set out with co-founder Justin Santamaria, a 10-year Apple veteran who worked on iMessage and FaceTime, to make personal trainers more accessible.
“The core problem for people is that we’re left on our own to try and manage our day-to-day health,” Mandal said. But the design of Future is to take a coach, and to truly put them in your life every single day, he added. “It’s the radical opposite of being on your own.”
So, how does the app work?
Upon signing up, you’ll answer some questions about your fitness goals. The app then matches you with an expert trainer who will text you daily after an introductory call. They’ll often be the first person you hear from every day to check in, analyze the workouts that you’ve done, and sometimes just see how you’re doing.
Each new Future member also receives a loaned Apple Watch. “Even if your coach is 1,000 miles away, they can see every single rep or set of exercise so that they can serve you well, keep you accountable and analyze what you’re doing,” Mandal said.
The app sets you up with a personalized and weekly training plan curated by your trainer. The routines come with video instructions for each exercise too. Audio cues that guide you through your workouts while your trainer pitches in with personalized pointers and motivation via pre-recorded clips are also available for members.
What stands out about Future is how personalized the app is. “There’s a real person who is saying ‘how was your run yesterday?’ or ‘I noticed you quit halfway in your deadlifts just now, talk to me,'” Mandal said.
When you text your coach, their average response time is under 30 minutes.
Mandal said that in some cases, people have reversed their obesity or diabetes as a result of using the app. “I’m thinking of a guy who lost 80 pounds and went from being obese and prediabetic to neither of those things and now his quality of life has massively increased,” he said.
Gyms and workout classes are reopening as the pandemic recedes, but Mandal said this has had no effect on the app’s success. “People strive to be active in a certain way and coaches keep them there,” he said.