Fitness and technology intersected today with Wello, a video-service that went live.
The brainchild of college friends Leslie Silverglide and Ann Scott Plante, the start-up offers one-on-one personal training via the Web. For about $40 an hour, consumers can work out from the comfort of their homes with yoga, pilates and other classes. (Classes come in 25-, 40- and 55-minute sessions.)
Customers choose from 100 to 150 instructors based on the type of workout, time of day and demeanor of the trainer. Some may prefer a drill sergeant; others, a lighter touch, says Plante.
"Some of our customers call it the new book club," says Silverglide, who also owns Mixt Greens Restaurants, a small chain of gourmet salad eateries in California.
Despite many Americans' preoccupation with fitness, only 10% are gym members, according to the co-founders, who met at Stanford Business School.
They foresee a large market of folks who don't exercise for a number of reasons -- either they can't make it to the gym, are self-conscious about their weight or just plain scared of trying something new. Think men and yoga or pilates, says Silverglide.
Wello is using its own video-platform technology, based on the OpenTok standard, which is best viewed on a PC or tablet screen. As more TVs are Internet-ready, the service will eventually take the form of classes with multiple participants and screens for those who prefer that.
Ultimately, Silverglide sees Wello offering courses with nutritionists, sports psychologists and physical therapists.