Hello everyone! This is Damian kicking off our first letter to you. We’ll be looking to share through this space about our work behind the scenes, upcoming developments, insights in the health and fitness domain, our personal journeys, as well as general tips that we come across that you might like.
For the first letter, I’d like to start off by reflecting on our Gym Pod’s short period of existence so far.
The first Gym Pod was launched in June 2018 and since then it has been a rather interesting journey for the company and for me personally. From the very beginning, the founding vision was to provide anybody who was interested in building a healthy lifestyle a private space to explore, experiment, and educate themselves by leveraging technology. For selfish reasons, I simply wanted an affordable private gym to work out in and have some quiet time to blow off some steam.
Fortunately, there are many of you who shared the same desire. To date, you have booked almost 50,000 workout sessions across our existing 6 pods, and more satisfyingly, many of you have shared how you have loved using The Gym Pod. As an unmanned gym, it is sometimes hard to get face-to-face interactions with our customers, so we really appreciate all the digital love and feedback that you have sent across.
However, the journey has been far from smooth. We struggled to understand and learn about the ins and outs of building a container gym. Things like importing materials, logistics, electrical works, finding the best combination of equipment to fit within the constraints of a pod were all foreign to us.
The biggest challenge is getting approval for the spaces that we can use for placing a Gym Pod. Our dream is to have a Gym Pod within 1 km radius of your home and workplace.
I have since been in numerous meetings with countless government agencies, trying to navigate through the various regulatory bodies, and it has been a rather difficult process. Fortunately, there are also passionate folks within the agencies that advocated hard for us and we will be launching new Gym Pods in parks very soon.
Internally, we lost one member in 2018, and as CEO, it was a particularly heart-wrenching event even though we parted on good terms and remained friends. It was a sobering moment for me to constantly re-examine ourselves as much as our focus on growing the pods. The Gym Pod is now a team of four – Lucius, Gerald, Peter, and me. Amongst us, we take care of customer servicing, marketing, creatives, business development, product management, and pod operations. If there’s anything you feel we can do better, do let us know.
Despite the above-mentioned challenges, I still feel surprised and incredibly lucky that we have still made it to launching 6 pods to date, with the latest one being the first ever unmanned spinning (indoor cycling) pod. On a personal fitness level, I have actually gained about 8kg (the good kind of weight =p) since I started working out at Gym Pods exclusively. I’m still a skinny dude but I have never felt as fresh and strong for a very long time, and I’m also pretty happy that I could consistently put in an intense workout at least 3 times a week.
Plans for 2020
In the first month of 2020, we launched the first ever Gym Pod for indoor cycling which we affectionately dubbed as the Spin Pod. We are incredibly excited about it as there are many of you who asked for more guided and class-based workouts while retaining the privacy aspect. We have teamed up with the experts from Les Mills to create a heart-pounding and immersive virtual spinning experience within the pod.
For the rest of 2020, you can expect the launch of more and more Pods. There will be more of the traditional Gym Pods that you have been using, and we will also be experimenting with variations just like the Spin Pod. As mentioned earlier, we will also be launching Gym Pods in public areas like the parks very soon.
It has been a trying start to the year for everyone with the ongoing COVID-19 situation and many of you have shared your concerns. We have increased the intensity of our regular cleanings as well as placing sanitizers within the pods. We are actively always looking for ways to improve the hygiene and cleanliness of our pods. We are also very touched by the amount of self-responsibility and care for the pods that most of you have displayed. So do keep it up!
On a personal note, my wife and I are expecting our first baby in August 2020. It will be even tougher to manage the time between The Gym Pod (which is kind of like a baby to me), and the actual baby. Perhaps some of you daddies and mummies out there could give me some advice on how to keep yourself fit even as you take on parenting duties!
Finally, thank you to all for letting us be part of your fitness journey. We are truly grateful for your support. Stay safe (especially during this period), stay fit, and be kind!