Wednesday, August 1, 2012

If the App Fits, Download it: Introducing peerFit

This is it—your year to get fit.  You purchased your new tennis shoes, you joined the local gym and you even gave in to buying those outrageously priced $22 dri-fit socks that the salesman at the Nike outlet somehow suckered you into.  Now, it’s finally time to take a look at the gym’s fitness class schedule and pick your poison.

And then you reach a state of pure panic.  Your eyes skim the gym’s online class calendar with confusion. Zumba...what the heck is that?  Instructor Michael he going to kill me?  Yogalates?...I can’t even pronounce that!

After questions such as these, you might give up on the fitness classes all together and opt for the monotonous 45 minutes on the elliptical.  Bummer.

Ed Buckley, President of peerFit.
Ed Buckley, Ph.D. student in the department of Health Education and Behavior at the University of Florida experienced this same problem...only he decided to fix it.  As a group fitness instructor in Gainesville, Buckley knew he taught a great fitness class, yet no one seemed to show up.  To draw people in, Ed decided to start writing exercises on the whiteboard in the classroom so gym passerbys could take note of what to expect during classes.

This small, seemingly insignificant change drew in more people than Buckley was prepared for.  Suddenly, people in the Gainesville gym wanted to be social while working out.  Ed Buckley immediately saw a need...and that need became known as peerFit.

peerFit is a free online and mobile app designed to allow users to quickly search and filter through workout options to find a class that best suits their individual needs.  The peerFit program has been developed in order to give users a more interactive platform for discovering and researching new workout classes within a particular area.  The app alone has not only helped gyms go social, but has inched users closer toward their fitness goals.

“Thirty percent of people are more likely to keep working out if they get into the right class,” says Buckley.  “We want to help people find the right class and then allow them to share the classes that they like with others.  People like to share their workout experiences—and prove that they went to classes!  It empowers them and it’s one of the greatest parts of the health realm.”

In other words, peerFit helps perpetuate the fitness “circle of life” that makes most apps (not to mention fitness regimens) so successful.

There’s more to peerFit than meets the eye.  The app and mobile site incorporate an interactive calendar, workout uploads, instructor reviews, class reviews and overall class recommendations too.  Currently, the app is in Beta launch with a full peerFit marketing campaign to launch September 1, 2012.  The campaign will take place in Tampa, Atlanta and Jacksonville, however, any gym in any city is able to download and give peerFit a try today.

The founders of peerFit.
As part of its mission, peerFit has helped to make gyms more social and connect people to one another through fitness.  So it comes to no surprise that Buckley immediately brought on three business partners (which also happen to be his good friends) to help launch and grow the app.  The peerFit team is currently made up of four partners including Buckley, Rex Tullius, Matt Redinger and Scott Peeples as well as public relations specialist, Anastasia Revzina.

The team has been working tireless hours (on top of fulltime jobs, grueling swim practices and never-ending graduate school lectures) in order to see that peerFit is the best app it can be.

“I think the coolest thing about this process is that it has been beyond a fulltime job for us, but we are still able to run it as students and professional athletes,” says Buckley.  “We love to be busy, we love going 100 miles per hour and we love meeting people.”

Ed Buckley and Rex Tullius came all the way from Florida to visit
 Think Big Partners and to learn more about Kansas City's startup resources.
During the app’s build phase, the peerFit team somehow found enough time to survey over 10,000 potential users about the impact that the app could have.  According to results, 77% of surveyors believed they would be more motivated to try a new class if they could read about the workout ahead of time.

“It’s important for us to take a step back and look at peerFit from an outsider’s perspective,” says Rex Tullius. “We are all about picking people’s brains.  Those potential users know how to make the product better.”

What can we expect from peerFit in the coming months?  Other than its mega marketing campaign hitting in the southeast in September, we can also expect a rollout of the full mobile app and website at the beginning of September.

“I am proud of the process we have built,” says Buckley.  “We love meeting with different gyms and getting to know people.  That’s what makes us unique.  But the truth of the matter is great athletes, great musicians and great entrepreneurs just aren't ‘normal’.  We are obsessive.  Running a startup is difficult, but we love it.  We may get criticisms 10, 20, 30 times over, but we always come back with more passion to move forward.”

Keep an eye out for peerFit, the fitness app that’s making major waves, this fall.  To learn more or to get your gym involved with the app, visit

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