When CrossFit Fifth Ave. owner Nathan Forster boldly proclaimed over the summer that he and his business partner’s newest fitness project — NEO U — would become the “Netflix of fitness,” the entrepreneur raised the bar higher than any of his grueling WODs.
Forster, along with Michael Alfaro, based their idea for NEO U, a high-end brick-and-mortar facility and at-home digital platform, on a model that would provide consumers with the best and most expansive list of workouts for both live and on-demand.
Bootcamp, Pilates, yoga, dance, boxing, HIIT, meditation, endurance, and treadmill are all offered at his 20,000-square-foot East Midtown fitness facility. For $19.99, consumers can pick from hundreds of workouts with one swipe and perform at home on the NEO U app.
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The response to the NEO U app, which launched at the end of October, has been overwhelming, already surpassing 40,000 subscribers — impressive for an app still in its infancy, and definitely living up to Forster’s fitness prophecy.
“Content is king, and while most other platforms focus on one specialty, we want to include everything taught by the best in the fitness business. The platform we wanted to create was something affordable that millionaires would love as well as those making $20,000 a year.”
What makes NEO U the Netflix of fitness?
What makes NEO U different than its competitors in the increasingly heavy fitness app market? Forster’s idea of inclusion for everyone who wants a taste of fitness but doesn’t always have the time or resources. Forster says NEO U’s benefit is it offers top-level workouts that can be performed in as little as 10 minutes or up to an hour, eliminating excuses for not finding workout time once and for all.
Scrolling through NEO U may be like scrolling Netflix’s vast list of genres, but instead of deciding between Luke Cage and “Stranger Things,” users now must decide between “Core Rhythm,” a high-intensity bootcamp, or G3 boxing and hundreds of other options, which could appear overwhelming to some.
“I believe most people want to finish a session they start,” Forster says. “It’s why we have 20- and 30-minute options. “We want to have something for everyone.”
Another part of NEO U’s quick success was helped by early backing from big investors — Fresh Direct founder and Chief Executive Jason Ackerman, and Gregory Lee, former CEO of Samsung, who bought into the idea of an all-encompassing workout platform.
“We believe no platform brings wellness and fitness content to the consumer with zero barriers to entry — to everyone from soccer moms with two jobs to hedge fund millionaires,” Forster said.