Interview with Jason Von Bank, CEO of Wellbeats
Q- I am interested in your background as CEO of Wellbeats. How did you come up with the concept?
A- Wellbeats™, formerly Fitness on Request, pioneered the virtual fitness category in 2008. In 2015, I joined the company as President and CEO. Prior to joining the company, I served executive and leadership roles at Schwan’s, Life Time Fitness, UnitedHealth Group and General Electric.
With Wellbeats, I saw a huge opportunity in being able to offer fitness solutions to everyone. It’s all about making it easier for people to take control of their health with a variety of classes that match their fitness goals and lifestyle. Currently, we serve over 2,100 commercial clients in all 50 states and 19 countries.
Q- What sparked your passion for the fitness industry?
A- I’ve always had an altruistic (and probably naïve) desire to fix the healthcare system. I have witnessed many people’s lives change as a result of disease, injury or other limitations, due to poor lifestyle choices. For me, nothing is more rewarding than to witness people become the best versions of themselves through fitness. I’m fortunate to be able to accomplish this through the work we do on a regular basis.
Q- Is on-demand fitness programming for everyone? How does Wellbeats customize its programming to meet every member’s needs?
A- Yes, on-demand fitness is absolutely for everyone. It allows anyone from busy moms to college students and everywhere in-between, to access fitness on their own time. We offer an abundance of classes for all ages and fitness levels including yoga, kickboxing, office breaks, cycling, dance and so much more. Users can select which class they want, based on filters like class type, age, duration and equipment accessibility. If they have a specific fitness goal they are trying to achieve, we have 30-day or 60-day workout plans to help them stay on track.
Q- What are the benefits to employers offering on-demand fitness programming to their employees?
A- Employers can benefit in many ways by offering Wellbeats to their employees. Wellbeats is easy to implement, cost-effective and allows employees working remotely to also benefit from the program. An employer has access to reporting and analytics to be able to track user participation. Overall, Wellbeats gives their employees the opportunity to work out wherever they feel most comfortable.
Q- What are the benefits to employees and what is included in an on-demand fitness program?
A- With an on-demand fitness program, employees have access to a variety of classes they can take in private, without the intimidation factor of a gym. If they work off-site, employees are still able to access the program. Employees can expect to find classes designed for all ages and activity levels. They also have the option to enroll in a personalized fitness plan to help them stay on track and meet their individual goals. We’re also regularly adding new videos to reflect the changing fitness market, so they will never be bored.
Q- What is the greatest success story you have seen from one of your members?
A- One of my favorite Wellbeats success stories is from a young man named Josh Wright. Years ago, Josh and his friend wanted to take a risk and go skydiving. The two ending up being turned away because Josh was over the weight limit. Not long after, his friend passed away. Due to his loss, Josh made the decision to drop enough weight so he could eventually go skydiving in his friend’s honor.
Initially, Josh felt insecure going to the gym and would only work out during odd hours using Wellbeats as his “trainer”. With the help of Wellbeats, he ending up losing over 150 lbs. within the year. When he did try to go skydiving again, he was accompanied by one of his favorite Wellbeats trainers and successfully accomplished his goal.
Q- With such great success stories, I would imagine HR managers would really get excited about on-demand fitness programming. What type of growth have you seen in the last year, with employers offering on-demand fitness programming?
A- We have experienced exponential growth with on-demand fitness programming over the years. Currently, we average a total of 2 million activity minutes per month and 212 activity minutes per month, for engaged users. HR managers appreciate how easy it is to use and administer the program, the affordable pricing model and the monthly metrics and data provided to them on a regular basis.
Q- Some employers offer gym membership discounts as a wellness benefit. Why is on-demand fitness programming a better solution?
A- With on-demand fitness, you lose that “intimidation” factor you might feel when working out in a public area like a gym. Many of our streaming users prefer to work out at home because it is both private and convenient. Given that more than 35% of professionals work remotely, it’s also valuable to employees both on and off-site.
Q- I love how you have different fitness channels to meet everyone’s needs. What are the top fitness channels right now?
A- Our fitness channels are a great way to house similar classes together in one spot and make it easier for a user to find workouts they like. Currently, our most popular fitness channels are Rev (cycling), Fusion (yoga and pilates), TKO (kickboxing) and Kinetics (high-intensity interval training).
Q- You have shared a lot about on-demand fitness programming today. I am curious; do employers incentivize for participation in these types of programs?
A- Yes, many of our clients partake in their own onboarding campaigns to increase user engagement. Some of our employers choose to offer workout challenges or other incentives to encourage user participation and it works great. People are often motivated by competition – especially in the workplace.
Q- We would love to share a Wellbeats fitness video with our readers to try a quick workout. Which would you recommend?
A- A few of my personal favorites are classes from the Rev or Fusion channels. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIj6jks0OmE&feature=youtu.be