Working out is no longer a stoic activity you bear; it is time you go and enjoy it.
In a world where cast iron machines stare menacingly and loud grunts echo inside a gym, be like actor Ranveer Singh.
He, the newly appointed ‘Motivator in Chief’ of cult.fit, a sports and fitness brand, leads a slow yet much-needed change to the culture of health and fitness – you do not need to bear a workout; you need to enjoy it.
The brand’s new ad, by Bare Bones Collective, takes a jab at the gym culture tropes of sweat and passion and black and white montages. It instead espouses a universe of colour and fun and healthy working out.
“Cult.fit, from the beginning, has been about making fitness feel fun and accessible, and the brand has always stayed away from that machismo intimidating gym bro culture,” remarks Phalguni Aneja, brand head, cult.fit.
Regardless of where their consumers are from, the most common insight, she says, the brand has gleaned is that people feel lost inside a gym and they do not know how and where to start.
“The conscious choice to show that sort of grunginess going to colour in the ad is exactly what you feel when you step into any of our centres,” remarks the brand head.
The brand, Aneja tells us, does not want this announcement of making workouts fun to remain lip service or restricted to one ad.
TV screens at centres where workouts are displayed will now have Singh before a session begins, motivate you, and congratulate you at the end.
Trainers too are not exempt from Singh. They have received official certificates via email making them part of his motivation group, as well as merchandise.
Adding to this, the famed push notifications and emails from cult.fit will now have bytes from the actor for new members, and existing ones, as well as when one decides to pause their membership or cancel a session.
“We have a stellar in-house creative team who live and breathe the brand on an everyday basis and are instrumental in developing the humorous quick-witted tone,” remarks Aneja.
Cult.fit operates out of 40 cities in India with a major focus on Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, and Hyderabad. It, by 2025, wants to deepen its focus to 10 cities and establish meaningful market share.
Walking the talk about making workouts fun is easier said than done – the number of drop-offs after week one at any fitness centre is evidence enough.
Cult.fit tackles this predicament using the diversity card. A member can choose from a variety of formats (brand speak for activities) such as yoga, HRX workout, dance fitness, and boxing bag workout, among others.
Another trick up the brand’s sleeve is utilising data to improve its formats. “We have a format innovation team that continuously looks at member trends, what is working, what should be the program changes so that it addresses your progress,” remarks Porko Elango, head of business, cult.fit.
He, for instance, explains how the brand understood a lot of its yoga users wanted to push the bar on flexibility. “We upgraded our yoga format and in addition to hatha yoga, we also offer evolve yoga which takes care of your flexibility needs.”
Adding to the two are the trainers, who Aneja says, are attuned to the needs of a class, and they can scale up or down someone’s workout customising it even as the customer is working out as part of the group.
These trainers are the face of the brand because they interact with existing and even potential customers all the time. This is unlike Swiggy or Zomato’s delivery personnel where communication is limited.
Even Ranveer Singh gives the trainers a shoutout in the ad.
“We do not necessarily look for skill, we primarily look for high intent because taking a group class is more about intent and energy,” says Elango explaining the brand’s trainer recruitment process.
The trainers, over a month, receive on-the-job and in-the-class training. Then add, every month, a minimum of two hours of certification or workshops from experts, and in addition, between two to six hours of personal one on one coaching that is delivered at the trainer’s workplace.
A happy trainer is much better than a grumpy one if the aim is to make workouts fun.