Fitness can not only be a potential opportunity for business but is also turning into a potential option as a career choice.
Fitness has always been looked as a potential market to start your business in. Many brands are doing successful businesses in this industry at present. People are very much influenced by the various new innovations coming in the fitness business but there has not been a platform that can turn fitness into a career option. In a conversation with Tarun Gill and Mohit Joon, Founders, Fitness League of India, the duo tells us what has inspired them to bring such a concept to the market, the funding they have raised and their future plans for the same.
Kindly give us a brief about your brand, Fitness League of India.
Tarun- Fitness League of India is like IPL of fitness. There are so many leagues out there like Pro Kabaddi league, Pro Wrestling league etc but ironically there is none for fitness because, for all these leagues, you’ve got to be fit. It mostly depends on you whether you want to keep yourself fit and many people in India do that. So, we want to provide such people with a platform and they don’t have to be professionals to be a part of the Fitness League of India. Whether you are a housewife, a school teacher, a working professional- whosoever has an aspiration to stay fit can be a part of this league. The best part of Fitness League of India is that it’s a career option because fitness in India is all about bodybuilding. With our brand, we are trying to bring a revolution by giving people the options. So, there is going to be a season fee that whosoever becomes a part of the league gets an annual fee where they play and not have to worry about how they are going to make money. So, fitness is not just going to be a past time, it is going to be a fully-fledged career.
How has been your entrepreneurial journey so far?
Mohit- I started with my job in IT and have also worked as a media professional. I’ve also done a bit of film production but after that, I wanted to do something unique and bring in a concept which was not in the market at all. Just like IPL, we wanted something where everyone can participate. So, this is why we have started this.
Tarun- The world is moving on a different tangent now. It’s just about putting your ideas into reality and execute it. I believe that it’s not only about business or a concept; it’s about adding value to the people. We wanted to make a dent in the fitness industry. I was a working professional and was enthusiastic to be fit. I was so passionate about it that I wanted to do something and that’s how it became very important. So, I got out of the corporate scene around 4 years ago and started our own company. I was awarded by YouTube for India’s most viral fitness youtube channel and it’s all about being honest and candid. From there I started a supplement company and then I wanted to launch an app. Since Mohit runs a technology company, I met up with him and that’s how we decided to start Fitness League of India.
What are your views on the Indian Fitness Industry?
Mohit- If we look at the Fitness industry, everybody is into it. People want to go to the gym since they have myths that they are not fit. The difference is that someone is physically fit while the other one is mentally fit.
Tarun- The Indian Fitness Industry is obsessed with aesthetics. When anybody thinks of fitness, they just want six-pack abs or a size zero figure. They do not understand that there’s no point having six pack abs if they cannot be a part of regular activities. Fitness is not just about aesthetics, it’s also about feeling good. It’s about the ability to do things that your body can deliver or function. For me, the fitness industry has evolved and that’s why we are trying to revolutionise. Now, it’s all about how functionally fit you are. The idea now is to tell people to be comfortable with their bodies. The industry is heading towards this direction and that is why there is so much focus on wellness.
According to you, how can one turn the latest fitness trends into a thriving business?
Tarun- Well, there are no trends in fitness. It’s not like technology where there is something new every day. The dimension of fitness will always be the same, which is, feeling good. Trends like supplements, gyms, wearable etc are also going to be there. For me, as an individual, trends don’t matter. What matters is people’s health and how you, as a business, adding value. The problem these days with people in fitness is that they are not comfortable. The glamour industry has influenced the youth to move towards six pack abs and this has been engraved in their minds. They do not know that actors build their body for a particular character but in real life, they are normal people. They create their look for a really short time but youngsters put in their whole life to look like them. So, there will never be any trends in the fitness industry. It’s just about you, as an individual, finding your own niche to stay fit. You can wear a fit bit or any fitness device on your hand but at the end of the day, you have to make efforts to stay fit. Fitness has been same as it was 60 years ago, what’s new is that there are many opportunities now. The business model is very simple as you have to do it for the people. You have to add value to your business and give people the platform where they can come in.
Mohit- In fitness business, you have to help people. Just like our business, Fitness League of India, we are not just providing, a platform to people but also employment to them. This is how it needs to be done.
How are your brands (FLI, TG Connect, Aesthetic Indian magazine) helping the youth and fitness lovers?
Tarun- TG Connect is one platform I am really proud of. When you look at India, It’s very unfortunate to know that there is not value for sports. A sportsman can’t make a living in India unless you are a cricketer. So, TG Connect is a platform that was supported by Indigo, John Abraham and many other actors who have come to the event. We wanted to recognise people who were not cricketers and give them a sponsorship. All the companies have a separate budget for CSR activities but I want to leverage that budget and give it back to the society. Now, we have acknowledged over 200 athletes and sportspersons and have provided them with sponsorships. We also do videos through which we provide them a platform to get famous and make a living out of it. That was the backbone of TG Connect as we have been adding value and giving something back to the people. We have done over 18 events over the last one year in different cities and recognised over 200 individuals. In extension to this was the magazine through which we wanted to showcase people but now we are setting up a digital platform because running magazines is a lot different than being digital. The magazine had such a great content and I am happy that now it is going digital. The reason for us stopping its publication is that I want to save that print money and give it to athletes rather than just having the huge printing cost.
Kindly share with us some details about the latest funding bagged by FLI.
Mohit- Franchise India was really interested in our concept and that is why they invested $5OOK in our project.
Tarun- When we had launched Fitness League of India, many people showed interest in it. People from Bollywood and many businessmen reached out to us but we were apprehensive as we wanted someone who can be the right strategic partner to us and who could add value to the existing fitness industry. When we came to Franchise India and had our first meeting, we exactly knew that Mr Gaurav Marya has a vision which has synergy with our vision. We wanted to calibrate that vision together because he is already part of many fitness initiatives. Fitness League of India is one umbrella initiative under which you can find lot many ways to integrate fitness brands. From technology to gyms to other fitness and wellness companies he has been part of, I have seen a lot of synergies. I want to thank Franchise India for coming on board and synergising the vision with us. With funding comes great responsibility because when somebody else invests in your vision, you are doubly responsible for that amount of money. This money would not only be used for marketing budget but also for grooming the participants we have selected through auditions for the event we are going to have. We want to be more visible and want people to know that there is such a platform. The money will be going into the participants who have been selected and have believed in this vision of making a career out of fitness. So, the chunk of the funding will be going into the execution of this event.
What is your business model and how is your brand planning to expand itself in future?
Mohit- Our business model is quite simple. We are taking in 10-16 teams and will divide them according to different places. So, they will be getting employment in that because minimum Rs. 1 lakh will be the fees for the season. After that, we are planning to go for fitness studios so people can get exposure in that.
Tarun- We will be creating opportunities and employment for people who are part of this. For participants, we are going to create a model that is a win-win for a team owner, promoter and for the investor, which is Franchise India. The model will be as such of the gyms which we are looking at. Whenever people think of gyms, they think that it will require a lot of money. We will be going for basic gyms or studios because we have identified people, who had come for the audition, are from really small places. We are also looking at supplements because I am already a part of it. So it will be one area which we would like to take forward. We have been doing lot many events which have been adding value to a team owner. It will be a very big opportunity for the youngsters who were not doing anything till now but now their parents can see them on television and he is also getting Rs 1 lakh as the season fees. So, we are giving them wings to fly.