There’s something special about going to the gym or any fitness center. It builds a sense of community, uniting people in their fitness goals. At cult.fit, we know that nothing gets your blood pumping like a good workout, and no one was more disappointed than we were to close our doors to the Cult community in response to CoVid-19. Which got us thinking — what can we do to make sure our friends, both in and out of the cure.fit ecosystem, can still keep up with their fitness goals. That’s when we realized we could bring our classes to you, through cult.live.
We have been offering digital content for almost as long as cure.fit has been operational, but it was only last year that we really started thinking about how to make this offering even better. We knew, at the time, that convenience was key. People had busy schedules and might not have time to go to the gym, so at-home workouts were the ultimate goal. It would minimize the conflict of having to leave the home and commute, and prevent people from pushing gym day to another day. So with that in mind, we began creating a unique home workout program that would lean into our strengths and give users a chance to get the cult.fit experience at home. This way we would make workouts fun, easy, and super convenient
We knew that one of our greatest advantages as a fitness epicentre was our pool of world-class trainers, and our training infrastructure. They are the backbone of cult.fit and would guide the creation of our final product. Our trainers helped us figure out how to plan home fitness routines and choose routines that would help people reach their fitness goals and promote holistic health.
Basically, we wanted a platform that could bring people together, no matter their location or fitness background, and help them stay fit and healthy. Live classes were the obvious choice.
Creating a routine
cult.live isn’t the live streaming that you’re used to seeing on Instagram and YouTube. Nor is it a video on demand. In fact the ‘live’ part of the name comes from the viewers side — you are working out live with thousands of people around the country.
We understood early on that regularity was a very big part of creating and maintaining a fitness routine. Once you create a routine, you tend to stick to it, but if you skip a day, you’re less motivated to continue. Most home fitness platforms let the user choose when to work out, which doesn’t really enforce a routine. We decided to create time-bound, pre-recorded classes instead. So, for example, if you sign up for a dance workout class at 9 am, you have to log in on time, or you miss the class, just like in any physical cult center. If you log in halfway through, you can still join in, but only for whatever time was remaining in the session.
We floated this idea in October of 2019 to see if it worked for the cult community, and the answer was an overwhelming yes. After an initial run, we found that there was a much higher level of participation when we introduced these time-bound classes, as many people felt the accomplishment of ‘ticking-off’ the task on their to-do list for the day.
Building a community
One of the biggest parts of cult.fit workouts is the community experience of training in a group or the personal experience of working one on one with a trainer. In contrast, home workouts can be quite lonely. We were looking for a way to create that same camaraderie on the digital platform. So we decided to stick to what we do the best, and devolved the product around three core values.
Variety — A workout for everyone
Challenge 1: cult.live is accessed by people of every fitness level, from beginner to advanced.
From the very start, cult.live has been open to people of all fitness backgrounds. That meant we needed to work closely with our expert trainers to create a platform that offered a wide variety of formats, movements, length, to cater to people of every skill level. In short, great workouts to fit every need.
Accessibility — Anywhere you need it
Challenge 2: Most people can’t dedicate a large space in their homes to fitness equipment.
We realized almost immediately that we would need to provide effective routines that required minimum input from the user’s end, in terms of space and equipment. That’s why every workout on the platform is equipment-free — they’re all body weight exercises tailored to collective fitness goals. At most, you need a fully charged phone, a strong internet connection and a little space, maybe a yoga mat. That’s it.
Motivation — I came, I saw, I conquered
Challenge 3: Cult.classes and training give people a sense of accomplishment from the positive feedback that comes from workout out with other people.
Our first instinct was to integrate a fitness band, allowing users to track stats like calorie burn and heart rate. However there are many people who don’t use fitness bands, and far too many brands in the market to be able to integrate them all into the product, and we wanted the platform to be as convenient and accessible as possible. So we nixed that idea and tried something different — gamification, built right into the core of the product. At the start of the class, you give Cult.live camera access (don’t worry, no one can see you, and you can’t see anyone but the trainer). It then uses computer vision technology to track your movements and give you an energy score at the end of the lesson, which you can compare on a leaderboard against the people who took the class with you. Not only does it give you the motivation to go the extra mile, but it lets you flaunt your score and rank on social media too, creating a little friendly competition, a strong feeling of community, and a positive feedback loop, even when you’re working out alone in your living room.
The time is now:
While cult.live was meant to be unveiled over a longer period, it was needed in the cult ecosystem today. With the announcement of the lockdown, we knew we had to fast track this product to help people stay physically and mentally healthy.
Our goal now was clear — we wanted to ensure that people don’t give up on their health and fitness goals in this lockdown and continue enjoying their favourite workouts without having to leave the house.
Get the content ready:
Our trainers and content teams came together to create hundreds of great classes over a span of less than 5 days!
We were then hit with the COVID Lockdown in India. Employee safety is our number one priority, so we quickly moved all the video production to Dubai which wasn’t under Lockdown and that way we continued to produce content for a number of live classes.
Once Dubai went into Lockdown, all new trainer led classes as well as celebrity classes were shot from their respective homes. We will continue to shoot all classes from their homes until further notice from authorities on the Lockdown.
Stabilise the app — prep for the surge in app usage:
Our tech, design and product team worked round the clock to ensure your experience on the cure.fit app was seamless and newer features are rolled faster. Within a short time, we doubled-down our efforts and rolled out cult.live classes on the web and enabled chromecast capabilities so you can stream the classes on a bigger screen.
Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation:
We knew working out alone could be lonely, so we enabled users to invite their friends to cult.live classes — the element of fun and friendly competition is what keeps so many of us continue working out daily and brings all of together as a community in these uncertain times.
Within our day 1 of launch, as anticipated, we had an overwhelming request for everyone’s favorite dance fitness classes. So we brought Dance Fitness classes to you along with Strength & conditioning classes, mind live classes AND celebrity led workouts!
Cult.live was our best foot forward for workout and fitness enthusiasts in the time of social distancing. While there may be many videos that can walk you through a home work out, they don’t have the scientific backing of our cure.fit experts. When you go live, you can workout from home, achieve great results, and grow stronger with the community.
PS: We love how you have made it a part of your life and shown it so much love! So keep working out, stay home and stay safe!