Train Fitness has secured $2.5 million USD in seed funding led by Relay Ventures to make recording your workouts at the gym less of an exercise in data entry using artificial intelligence (AI) and smartwatches.
The Toronto fitness-tech startup claims its app can help users log strength-training workouts automatically by leveraging proprietary machine learning (ML) models and the existing motion recognition capabilities integrated into the Apple Watch. Since its launch in early 2022, Train Fitness has grown to support over 160 exercises, including bicep curls, push-ups, sit-ups, squats, bench presses, and deadlifts, and amassed over 10,000 weekly active users.
“I quickly found that going to the gym became a manual data-entry process and I couldn’t focus on the workout.”
-Andrew Just, Train Fitness
Today, a sea of workout-tracking apps exist. While many can log cardiovascular workouts, most require users to manually track anaerobic exercises, such as weight lifting.
As a triathlete-turned-weightlifter, Train Fitness founder and CEO Andrew Just said he used a slew of apps before realizing that there had to be a better way to track his strength training sessions—and setting out to build one.
“If you consider going for a run or a bike ride, you just press ‘start workout’ on your GPS, or your watch, or your phone and the rest is taken care of,” Just said. “That experience of totally automatic hands-free tracking was one I wanted to try and replicate in the anaerobic space.”
Train Fitness’s all-equity seed round, which closed at the end of May, also saw participation from BAM Ventures, Anorak Ventures, Boost VC, Alumni Ventures, Spacecadet Ventures, Mana Ventures, Republic Capital, Gambit Partners, undisclosed family offices and angels, and ex-NFL player Coby Fleener. It came at a post-money valuation of $11 million.
This capital brings Train Fitness’s total funding to $3.5 million, a figure that includes a $400,000 friends and family round from January 2021 and $600,000 in pre-seed financing led by Austria-based Calm/Storm Ventures in March 2022.
Apps like Apple Fitness and Strava have dominated the workout-tracking market for some time, but they focus primarily on tracking cardiovascular activities automatically. While other wearable options like Fitbit also exist, they cannot log strength training without user input.
As Just put it, there are hundreds of manual workout tracking apps currently on the market, “in every colour and flavour and shape and size.” But for his part, the CEO wasn’t a fan of the “very cumbersome and distracting” process of using them.
“You’re manually inputting your sets, your reps, the weight, the exercise type, the rest time, any sort of variations [or] notes,” he said. “I quickly found that going to the gym became a manual data-entry process, and I couldn’t focus on the workout.”
A handful of firms, including Tonal and Mirror, have tried to address this issue within the anaerobic space by leveraging computer vision to record strength-training workouts without manual user input. However, this approach requires users to film themselves, which isn’t always feasible or even permitted in gyms or fitness centres.
Founded in 2021, Train Fitness takes a different approach, observing how users’ Apple Watches move through 3D space and collecting data based on this movement. The startup’s patented ML algorithms then take this motion data and determine what exercises users have completed, how many reps, and so forth.
Train Fitness claims it is the first company to bring this sort of tech to market. The startup currently offers its app for free in a limited form, selling its full version for monthly and annual subscriptions of $7.99 and $49.99, respectively.
“There are some direct competitors [to Train Fitness], such as FitBod, providing workout programs, but it relies on manual inputs, which is inherently flawed,” Relay Ventures vice president Simon Sokol, also co-founder and general partner at Gambit Partners, told BetaKit.
Sokol claimed that while firms like Strava have solved this problem for aerobic training, in the anaerobic space, “Train Fitness is the only company enabling the automatic detection and tracking of resistance workouts without the use of a camera”—which he noted “can be highly invasive and brings up serious privacy concerns.”
With its latest funding, Train Fitness’s focus is largely on product development. The startup, which has already grown its team from five to 11 with plans to add a couple of more employees, hopes to expand to more than 250 exercises and attain 99 percent accuracy by the end of this year (it currently claims 96 percent). Train Fitness also intends to roll out AI-powered workout recommendations, as it looks to grow beyond just tracking workouts into building and prescribing them.
Over the longer term, Just also sees room for Train Fitness to expand beyond just basic strength training and into adjacent activities like yoga, pilates, and martial arts.
Feature image courtesy Train Fitness.