When my family first got a computer, my brother and I would fight over who got to use it. We both had Neopets to take care of, friends to instant message, and computer games to play. Sometimes, when it was my brother’s turn to use it, I would just sit next to him the entire time and watch him play the Backyard Sports series. During that magical first year of having a computer in the house, our parents would frequently try to get us off of the computer to go outside and actually play sports in our backyard. Playing outside was healthy; playing computer games was not.
But technology in today’s world means so much more than computer games and AIM. Many companies are looking at how they can best utilize technology to improve the health & personal fitness of consumers. In many ways, technology is healthy now. We have wearable fitness devices, online booking systems for group exercise classes, and websites that allow users to keep track of their daily macros. On the most basic level, there’s a plethora of information available online related to health and fitness. However, it can prove to be overwhelming for someone who’s looking to improve their workout routine or nutrition. Some websites list every possible exercise that someone could do, but how does a person choose the appropriate exercises, decide on an overall workout plan, learn correct form, and stay motivated to keep it up?
I first discovered Gymnut when I completed the Proof of Workout challenge, a 30-day program that provided Bitcoin-related incentives for sharing workouts on social media. Gymnut was one of the sponsors, and I was immediately intrigued by the company – and their acceptance of Bitcoin! I checked out their website and discovered that, much like the Proof of Workout challenge itself, Gymnut seemed to emphasize the importance of sharing one’s progress with others. Through their platform, users are able to connect with personal trainers, discover workout programs, and post their results. Impressed with how Gymnut was applying technology to fitness, I reached out to Cyrus Nambakhsh, the founder & CEO of Gymnut, to learn more.
Nambakhsh described Gymnut to me as the “iTunes of Fitness”. “Gymnut is a web and mobile social fitness marketplace that connects personal trainers, athletes, fitness models, and coaches with fitness enthusiasts, gym-goers, and people just looking for that extra bit of motivation,” he said. He told me that the company was started to address the pains that the co-founders felt in the gym. “We wanted trainers to guide us throughout our journey, but they were not affordable,” he explained.
Gymnut was created a platform that would be mutually beneficial to the trainers and the trainees. On the trainers’ side, they would be able to sell workout and nutrition plans, increasing their reach and their revenue. “Gymnut, for the first time, makes it so easy for trainers to sell their workouts and programs to the people who need them – and for as low as 99 cents, through micro-transactions,” said Nambakhsh. And for the users: “Not only is the workout created by their trainer of choice, but they will also have access to that trainer and can receive the trainer’s advice on every step of the journey.” Gymnut currently offers around 200 trainers from all over the world, ensuring that anyone is able to find a trainer that works for them.
Once a user has created their Gymnut account, they can choose from a multitude of free and paid workouts. The free workouts can be unlocked simply by sharing them with friends over social media. The premium workouts can be purchased for extremely reasonable prices – and with Bitcoin!
I asked Nambakhsh a few questions about his own background with cryptocurrency and how Gymnut’s Bitcoin acceptance has played out so far.
Emily Braun: I first learned of Gymnut through the Proof of Workout challenge, and I love the BitPay integration with the program! It seems extremely easy for a customer to pay with Bitcoin. Do you find that a lot of people have used bitcoins with Gymnut so far?
Cyrus Nambakhsh: The Proof of Workout challenge was a great experience for us. We’ve plugged and deployed the Bitcoin payment option since the start of the challenge. In total, we have had a limited number of transactions [with Bitcoin] on the platform so far, as we are currently in beta and are improving the experience of our users. Nonetheless, a third of our purchases have been transacted via Bitcoin.
Braun: How did you first learn about Bitcoin, and what were your first impressions of the technology? Do you personally use bitcoins?
Nambakhsh: I first heard about it in 2014 when Reid Hoffman invested in Xapo and wrote a post about Bitcoin’s potential. Once I delved into Bitcoin, I realized that it is an asset, like digital gold, and a currency, like a digital app that allows you to begin to trade. Finally, it is a platform that allows us to build financial and other products on top of it, as Hoffman also said. After learning about Bitcoin, I truly began to believe that this is how the world should be in the near future – a global currency and asset that empowers people to trade anywhere in the world, even if they are uncertain about the banks or uncertain about the government currency in their geographical location. I’ve started using Bitcoin since I received my first gift from ChangeTip.
Braun: What future potential do you see with Bitcoin, either in general or in relation to the Gymnut platform?
Nambakhsh: Bitcoin has yet to enter the mass adoption phase. Basically, there are not enough use cases yet to make it easy enough to transact everywhere. However, the future is bright. As more eCommerce platforms and stores get built over the Bitcoin platform to avoid the hassles and limitations of Paypal and credit cards, we are getting closer to the final phase of mass adoption for Bitcoin. And most importantly, the value of Bitcoin is global. You won’t lose anything when you go from one country to another. Whereas, currently, the exchange rates vary and fluctuate a lot. I believe that it greatly benefits Gymnut to be a part of the Bitcoin community. Our BitPay option during check-out gives people the choice to make their transaction either via Bitcoin or via the more conventional payment methods, such as credit cards. All in all, I believe that it will be a great advantage for Gymnut to provide this choice for its users. It’s the right move, because it can enhance their individual experiences, which is all that we care about.
Recently, Gymnut was recognized as one of the four Canadian startups creating the future of fitness by Techvibes. According to Techvibes, “the future of fitness combined apps and analytics with good old-fashioned iron pumping to deliver optimal workouts and the motivation necessary to pull them off.”
With Gymnut, that future is here, and it includes Bitcoin.
– Emily Braun