For many of us, working out with friends at a fitness studio motivates and pushes us to stick to the routine, as opposed to working out alone at the gym. Moreover, long work hours and busy schedules make it extremely difficult to have a regular workout routine.
While many digital solutions have tried to solve this problem by offering on-demand workouts, they often lack the crucial element that makes a studio workout fun: interactivity.
With a mission to bring highly engaging community-driven workouts, Ashish Rawat founded Oga Fit in 2017.
Based in Bengaluru, Oga Fit is an interactive platform that offers the true experience of an in-studio workout from the comfort of a user’s home. Through the platform, users can customise workout routines from a wide range of yoga, dance, and fitness content, sourced directly from trainers across the world.
“Our proprietary motion comparison technology compares user’s movements with the trainer’s in real-time, to provide feedback on what went right or wrong,” Ashish tells YourStory.
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How does it work
Oga Fit requires users to have a device with a camera. It can be a laptop, phone, or even a smart TV.
Users will have to sign up on the Oga Fit website and select the content (pre-recorded videos) they want to workout with. The users can either opt for a session alone or invite others to the platform.
Once the session starts, Oga Fit captures the movement of the user from 17 different joints of their body, and compares it to the trainer video. This creates real-time scores where users can see how the other person is performing.
A web app, Oga Fit tracks how well a group is following the workout in real-time by constantly updating leaderboard to further enhance the experience.
Oga Fit analyses two things in real-time: First, the similarity score determines how closely the user’s movements match that of the trainer’s. Secondly, it extracts detailed information such as what went wrong and what could have been done better. The analysis is then presented to the users in audio or video format in between the session.
At the end of every session, users have access to post-workout data, detailing the insights about their fitness and how they stacked up against their friends.
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Why Oga Fit?
Normally, while conducting an online session, a trainer may find it difficult to keep track of all the video feeds of the users while training them. Oga Fit elevates the experience by ensuring that the trainers have access to the data on how the users are performing.
According to Ashish, even though digital solutions try to offer a similar experience, they encounter a major hindrance: one-way communication, due to which trainers cannot see or know what the users are doing.
He says: “We have solved this problem by using a proprietary motion comparison system to track and compare user and trainer movements, to give real-time feedback on the user’s postures, repetitions, and more. The entire experience is designed with the community at the core to ensure users can workout together with their friends and family for the most motivating and engaging workout experience.”
Oga Fit not only provide different forms of fitness routines, but also advises users on the correct way to perform each routine to gain maximum results.
Currently, the entire product is free to access but the team is planning to launch a monthly subscription model.
The journey till now
Ashish started coding when he was 13, and created mods and maps for his favourite games. He was fascinated by video games and the experience they offered. With his goal of creating amazing digital experiences, he went to the UK to pursue a Bachelor’s in Computer Games Development from the University of South Wales.
After returning to India, he started working with different startups to solve problems using cutting edge technologies such as AR, VR, and advanced computer vision techniques.
Since his job kept him tied to the desk for long hours, it was extremely difficult for him to maintain a healthy workout routine. Although he enjoyed working out at his local CrossFit studio, he was unable to attend regularly because of his erratic work schedule.
At this point, he tried out various digital fitness solutions but he found that they failed to offer a similar workout experience for him.
Having worked with cutting edge technologies, he knew that a much better solution could exist – that gave quality studio workout experience, anytime, anywhere. Ashish thus set off to create a highly interactive, engaging, and community-driven workout solution.
He met with several trainers, yogis, and CEOs of yoga and fitness studios to better understand what made their workout experience engaging. Slowly, it led to the creation of Oga Fit.
Getting the right team and partners to lean on was a challenge for Ashish. But he says that he has been fortunate to have hired a team with whom he can share his vision, and who can take the company ahead together.
Today, Ashish is joined by 12 others to form the Oga Fit team. The team is based out of Bengaluru and Ukraine.
The fitness market
According to Statista, revenue from the Indian fitness market totalled to around $1,786 million in the financial year 2020. It is expected to show an annual growth rate of 5.2 percent, resulting in a market volume of $2,189 million by 2024.
The digital fitness market had always been on an upward trajectory, but the recent lockdown has accelerated customer adoption. The $100 billion gym industry has essentially turned digital overnight.
“COVID-19 has been an extremely unfortunate time in all our lives, however, the silver lining for us all has been to witness families and friends coming together on our platform and exercising as a unit, while competing with each other on who does the maximum jumping jacks/surya namaskars, or who is the better dancer, etc. All this is provided to our users as part of our virtual in studio experience,” says Ashish.
Oga Fit competes with the likes of FitPlan, Fiit, BeachBodyOnDemand, Les Mills On Demand, Cure.Fit, and Sarva.
Till now, the startup has raised $670,000 in funding from leaders such as David Giampaolo, CEO of Pi Capital, Sarva Yoga, and Inflection Point Ventures.
The team is planning to launch its product in multiple countries simultaneously and is in the process of onboarding some of the best trainers from around the world. It is also working on building a live marketplace to enable trainers and fitness influencers to create their own studio on the cloud and connect with their fans.
(Edited by Kanishk Singh)
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