iFIT Health and Fitness: Fitness Never Felt So Personal
In a world of the same fitness exercises, one company took a more personal turn.
Slowly but steadily, we are coming back to our old daily routines and habits, finally free of restrictions.
As the fitness industry is expanding by the minute, more and more people are confiding in fitness to achieve their dream figure and boost their health.
Many of us have tried different sets of exercises recommended by our friends, swearing by them, but they did nothing for us. Back in 2013, two men set out to shake things up in fitness and revolutionize the industry, offering to each their own.
iFIT Health and Fitness is a fitness and health technology company that offers personalized software for exercising from the comfort of your own home, marching to the beat of your own drum.
Stick around to read the story of Scott Watterson and Gray Stevenson - the masterminds that customized the way we exercise.
The story begins with two men with a knack for innovation - two college buds that put their heads together and stirred the fitness industry to its core.
But, first things first - let’s see who Scott and Gary are.
Small-town boy Scott Watterson was born in picturesque Utah in the 50’. Born to a traditional, loving Mormon family, young Scott was a rather typical young boy who loved to browse through nature and explore.
Following the Mormon tradition, Scott’s parents seeded the love for God in young Scott, a trait he carried on through life. As time went by, it was time for Scott to enroll at Utah State University. At just 19 years old, the Mormon church assigned young Scott as a missionary to Taiwan - oh, what a turning point that would be for Scott. Growing up in rural western USA, Scott had never been on an airplane before, and he was loving every single minute of the trip to Taiwan. He spent his days there sightseeing on his bike, as most natives did.
Assigned to spread the Mormon faith, Scott spent 2 years in Taiwan and became entranced with the culture - how health-oriented people in Taiwan were. Although he loved his stay overseas, Scott’s missionary work had come to an end, so he returned to Utan and dedicated himself to finishing his studies, choosing Chinese as his minor at Utah State University.
Great Minds Think Alike
In 1977, Scott met Gary, the iFIT co-founder at Utah State University. The two of them hit it off right away, both as classmates and buds.
In the beginning, Scott told Gary about the missionary work he had done in Taiwan and the culture of the Taiwanese people that used their bikes to go about it. Both Scott and Gary were into fitness, but they were somewhat disappointed by the obscure ways fitness exercises are designed - “what works for you, might not work for me” - they thought.
Before founding iFIT, Scott and Gary set the foundations of ICON, the predecessor of now-beloved iFIT. In 2013, Gary and Scott’s idea was finally starting to take shape.
As things slowly moved forward for the two college buds, something was about to dim the light on the bright idea.
The Treadmill to Success
Geared up on the brilliant idea to make fitness a customizable experience for health buffs, Gary and Scott felt on top of the world. The year 2013 was a pivotal one for the power duo since it’s the year iFIT hit the track. Every single drop of inspiration and motivation Gary and Scott had was poured into the founding of their company - they utterly believed they made it.
Both Scott and Gary believed they would innovate the fitness industry by delivering custom-tailored, interactive exercise content through patented streaming platforms and cutting-edge equipment like NordicTrack and Proform.
However, little did Scott and Gary know when they set their minds out to attract the fitness buffs to their products, someone was already making the same claim. Peloton, a giant in the fitness industry, preceded iFIT - founded in 2012, the company made iFIT question its chances for success.
Still, being ready and willing to show their ideas to the world, Gary and Scott put whatever they had saved up into jumpstarting iFIT. After some time, the two college buds started to see some results - people in the US were growing attracted to the novels offered by iFIT, which is exactly what Scott and Gary needed - a little boost of faith.
Money Makes the Treadmill Work
Six years had passed before Scott and Gary’s iFIT garnered the attention of investors. In 2019, the company received its first-ever funding of a not-so-shabby sum of $200M by a private equity fund with Pamplona Capital Management as the lead investor.
After the funds were secured, iFIT continued expanding its offer and making the exercising experience feel as personal as possible.
Thanks to the $200M investment, iFIT delivered NordicTrack, ProForm, Sweat, Freemotion, Weider, and 29029, treadmills, running tracks, and other fitness equipment that revolutionized the fitness industry.
Scott and Gary made sure to stand out from the crowd by delivering a unique and customizable fitness experience using integrated health and fitness platforms that offer fitness aficionados a hands-on experience, as if they were running up the Alps, or by the Senne, for example.
The secret to iFIT’s uniqueness lies in the fact that the company managed to smoothly connect the company’s proprietary software, experiential content, and interactive hardware with the user.
iFIT Wants Everybody Fit
As success kept piling up, so did adversities. Namely, iFIT’s arch-nemesis - Peloton, tried to overrun iFIT’s run to the top by messing with their patents and ideas. The brawl even ended up in court in 2016, with iFIT suing Peloton for patent infringement.
However, things started looking up for iFIT, leading the company to adopt a more socially-conscious approach by partnering with marathons from all around the world. iFIT proudly announced long-lasting exclusive connected treadmill and content partnerships with the marathons in Boston, Chicago, London, and New York City.
To the satisfaction of many, iFIT subscribers will get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to virtually run all four marathons, viewing the actual scenery during the actual races on their connected treadmills, stridden by iFIT coaches.
Giving Back to the Community
Driven by gratitude and humbleness, the new management board of iFIT is doing its best to make sure good deeds keep on rolling. Influenced by faith, Scott’s children - now in the management of iFIT - have founded the iFIT Foundation which serves and helps those in need.
Annual fundraisers, as well as seasonal “garage sales” of iFIT equipment, take place to raise funds that would later be donated to deserving families and individuals.
With close to 7 million users, the company wishes to give back, and we all appreciate a company that’s seeing the bigger picture, just as iFIT does.
On Top Of the World
Today, iFIT is reigning in the fitness scene thanks to its many brands that have altered the experience of fitness buffs to the most positive connotation.
Out story of iFIT ends with Scott Watterson stepping down from his CEO position, leaving the reigns in the hands of his children. After more than 40 years in the business, Scott is now turning back to his missionary calling to spread the word of God to the world. Gary Stevenson also traded fitness for faith, leaving iFIT in good hands.
Headquartered in Logan, Utah, iFIT is the proud employer of over 2000 people, scientists, technicians, IT specialists, and fitness professionals that work around the clock to make sure iFIT stays a fan favorite for many years to come.