Enhancing Fitness with AI: How FITPASS Revolutionizes Wellness in India

CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Akshay Verma, Co-founder, FITPASS

  1. How does FITPASS utilise AI technology to enhance users’ fitness experiences?

FITPASS is India’s largest smart membership program for universal fitness and wellness. Our mission is to defeat inactivity by inspiring people to incorporate fitness into their daily routines. We believe in personalising each individual’s wellness journey to help them feel good and be well. With our philosophy of #YourFitnessYourWay, we support people in achieving their fitness goals by catering to their unique needs and requirements.

Our guiding principle is that “working out should work out.” In addition to access to premium fitness centres, FITPASS also provides in-app A.I.-led personal fitness coaching, customised nutrition services, and live workout sessions with expert trainers from across the globe.

One of our core features, FITCOACH, is a groundbreaking AI technology, ARIA (Advanced Recommendation Engine for Individual Assistance), which has redefined personalised fitness coaching. Unlike traditional human-led coaching, ARIA’s adaptive approach tailors workout plans based on each user’s unique fitness needs and performance. Analysing vast amounts of data and considering 130 different ways the human body can move, ARIA creates convenient and impact-driven workout plans with precision and efficiency.

Since its launch in January 2018, FITCOACH (ARIA) has consistently been a disruptor in the fitness industry, now coaching over 8 lakh people each month. Its innovative approach addresses the issue of certifications among fitness coaches in India, offering reliable and well-qualified AI coaching, outshining traditional methods.

Empowering users to explore various workout options, FITCOACH allows them to make choices that align with their unique individuality and aspirations. With the “build your own workout” feature and feedback mechanism, users can curate their exercise routines based on their experiences and preferences.

FITPASS showcased its forward-thinking vision and commitment to innovation by introducing A.I. technology to fitness coaching when such innovations were still in their early stages of adoption in India. FITCOACH (ARIA) has set new benchmarks, paving the way for the future of fitness coaching in India and beyond.


  1. Can you share insights into how FITPASS effectively addresses the diverse needs of fitness enthusiasts in the Indian market?

Since our inception in 2015, FITPASS has remained steadfast in its mission to democratise fitness, making it accessible and affordable for all. Recognising the need for evolution within the fitness industry to offer flexibility and accessibility, we’ve onboarded a network of over 7500 gyms and fitness studios across India. This diverse selection includes traditional gyms, specialised fitness studios, yoga centers, dance studios, martial arts facilities, swimming pools, and more, ensuring that our customers can find facilities that align with their interests and goals. Our expansive network spans various locations, ensuring accessibility to fitness for everyone, regardless of their geographic location.

FITPASS is also India’s only tech-led membership service that has grown into India’s largest smart membership program, offering multiple benefits under one roof. Our users also benefit from a diverse range of fitness options, complemented by FITFEAST, a 24/7 in-app personal nutritionist. In response to the increased focus on health and wellness, especially since the 2020 pandemic, FITPASS launched FITPASS-TV – a convenient way for individuals to access fitness from their homes 24/7, guided by certified fitness instructors/trainers. FITPASS-TV offers over 45 workout formats worldwide with a team of national and international trainers via pre-recorded and live workout videos, emphasising FITPASS’ commitment to enriching well-being through innovative technology. Furthermore, we leverage AI for daily wellness management through our AI-powered FITCOACH (ARIA), that customises workout plans to meet individual needs for a personalised fitness experience.

FITPASS’ technology-driven approach also revolves around personalisation and community. Through its social platforms, webinars, blogs, and personalised content, FITPASS builds a sense of community and ensures that each user’s fitness journey is tailored to their unique needs and preferences, contributing to a holistic approach to well-being.

Furthermore, FITPASS through its corporate wellness program, FITPASS Secure strives to create “Fighting-Fit Organisations” by offering an extensive range of tech-driven solutions designed to enhance employees’ physical and mental well-being. FITPASS has consistently enabled corporations to invest cost-effectively in their most valuable asset—their employees—it has generated a remarkable 6x return on investment. This achievement is underscored by key outcomes observed from working with over 1.7 million active corporate employees. The following key results were derived from a comprehensive 12-month study involving 17 clients, each with a minimum of 5000 full-time employees (FTEs).


  1. Can you emphasise more on your first series of campaign films?

We introduced our brand films in September 2023 which aimed at promoting the concept of ‘Your Fitness Your Way,’ a flexible approach towards fitness and wellness. Comprising eight captivating films, this series underscores our dedication to transforming the fitness landscape, making it inclusive, accessible, and personalised for every individual.

These films spotlight FITPASS as the ultimate fitness and wellness destination in India, championing a holistic well-being approach. The series redefines traditional fitness norms, emphasising that fitness isn’t one-size-fits-all, needn’t be expensive, and shouldn’t be rigid. By breaking paradigms, the films challenge the status quo of how fitness is marketed in the country. The films chronicle the daily fitness journeys of regular people, illustrating FITPASS’ diverse offerings catering to individual requirements.


  1. How does FITPASS choose its partners? Can you elaborate more on your recent expansion?

At FITPASS, selecting network partners is a meticulous process centered on providing our users with the best possible fitness experience. We prioritise partners who share our commitment to quality, diversity, and accessibility in fitness. We have a 134 points checklist that every partner needs to fulfill before getting on board with us, few of our criteria include factors such as the range of facilities offered, location convenience, and the quality of services provided.

Our recent strategic partnership with Wexer, a globally recognised content provider with expertise in delivering virtual fitness experiences was to enter a new era in the Indian fitness industry and the global fitness technology sector. This partnership also marks Wexer’s entry into the Indian fitness market, leveraging FITPASS’ extensive network and dedicated customer base.

Choosing Wexer as our digital partner was strategic, and aimed at enhancing our offerings. This collaboration goes beyond partnership—it’s a journey fueling innovation and long-term growth and making fitness accessible to everyone across the country. We’re committed to providing top-tier fitness experiences, and Wexer aligns perfectly with this vision.


  1. Please tell us more about your corporate wellness program

Our Corporate Wellness Program – FITPASS Secure, is India’s largest wellness wallet, providing a wide range of benefits that promote holistic wellness and security. With FITPASS Secure, employees can work out anywhere, anytime across 7,500+ fitness studios, access international workouts from 4000+ premium global studios, and enjoy unlimited doctor consultations across 10+ specialties. Our IRDAI-approved deep integrations with insurance companies help lower health premiums, offering financial protection and peace of mind.

We take pride in being tech-first, offering cutting-edge solutions to enhance wellness:

– A.I. -led personal fitness coaching

– Activity tracking, meal tracking, heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and more

– A.I. driven daily wellness management

– A.I.-led health risk assessment, metabolic profiling, and health insights

– Healthy habit formation through A.I.-driven incentivisation and gamification

– Wearable integrations, including Apple Health and Google Fit

– Cashless health checkups and pharmacy vouchers

– Personal nutritionist services


  1. How are personalized fitness journeys created within the FITPASS Secure for the employees and how do you feel it is beneficial to them.

FITPASS promotes a personal connection with employees with features such as:

  • Team challenges and engagement platforms
  • Social community platform
  • Emotional wellness Employee Assistance Program (EAP), including bereavement support and mindfulness
  • Rewards ecosystem
  • Webinars, blogs, and personalised content
  • On-site workshops, camps, and interventions

We are striving to create “Fighting-Fit Organisations” by offering an extensive range of tech-driven solutions designed to enhance employees’ physical and mental well-being.


  1. Regarding the recently launched report by FITPASS, what specific improvements do employees feel are needed in current fitness and wellness programs, given the dissatisfaction reported?

Our ‘The State of Fitness and Wellness in Corporate India 2023-24′ report, transcends corporate boundaries to unravel India’s prevailing wellness paradigm. The analysis garnered calls for a departure from outdated legacy programs, resonating with the urgent need to recognise the needs of the world’s youngest workforce. It is high time that organisations shift from reactive to proactive wellness strategies which are more beneficial for the employees and acknowledge the cost implications of neglecting wellness in our fast-growing economy.

Below mentioned are the key findings obtained from the report:

  • 77% of employees deem current wellness initiatives inadequate, highlighting a critical need for more personalised solutions.
  • 45% of employees prioritise physical health and fitness memberships, contrasting with the mental health-centric focus of existing programs.
  • 96% of employees feel organisations lack flexible wellness options for personalised fitness, medical health, and emotional well-being.
  • About 69% of employees express the need for increased access to digital solutions for personalised health and wellness benefits.


  1. How can organizations better prioritize both physical health and mental well-being in their wellness initiatives, considering the contrasting preferences reported by employees?

The global phenomenon “Sitting is the new smoking” underscores the critical need for employers to invest in employee fitness, especially given the evolving needs and perspectives of today’s multigenerational workforce. Understanding the distinct requirements of Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X leaders, it is essential for bridging the gap between fitness and wellness initiatives and their impact on corporate productivity.

Our report’s comprehensive findings also align with global trends, indicating a growing demand for proactive wellness solutions, with 52% of employees acknowledging the negative impact of a sedentary lifestyle.

Central to this approach is prioritising employee needs and empowerment. The report highlights the importance of personalised digital solutions tailored to individual preferences and goals, such as fitness coaching and nutrition planning. By integrating these personalised elements into corporate wellness programs, organisations empower employees to take proactive steps toward improving their physical and mental well-being.

Moreover, the report underscores the dual benefits of such initiatives. Not only do they contribute to the overall health and happiness of employees, but they also have the potential to positively impact organisational outcomes. By investing in preemptive wellness programs, companies can mitigate the risks of burnout, enhance employee engagement and productivity, and ultimately foster a healthier, more resilient workforce.


  1. What challenges do organizations face in aligning wellness efforts with employee expectations, particularly in light of the reported need for program revisions post-COVID?

In the current landscape, many organisations currently focus on reactive wellness programs, primarily offering health insurance that activates only when employees fall ill. This approach overlooks proactive measures aimed at preventing illness and promoting overall well-being, increasing the risk of employee burnout. To address this, organisations must adopt proactive wellness strategies. Investing in preventive care not only improves employee health but also yields significant returns for the company. According to a Harvard Business Review report, every dollar spent on employee fitness results in six dollars in tangible savings. By prioritising proactive wellness initiatives, organisations can reduce healthcare costs, enhance productivity, boost morale, and foster a healthier, more resilient workforce, ultimately contributing to long-term business success.


  1. How can organizations address the reported lack of flexible options for personalized fitness, medical health, and emotional well-being among employees?

To address the reported lack of flexible options for personalised fitness, medical health, and emotional well-being among employees, organisations can develop customised wellness programs offering diverse options such as gym memberships, virtual fitness classes and nutrition counseling. Additionally, the pandemic has spotlighted these issues, underscoring the importance of aligning wellness programs with the diverse needs of today’s workforce.

According to our recent report titled, “The State of Fitness and Wellness in Corporate India 2023-24”, Organisations must adopt a strategic approach that emphasises prevention over treatment. Companies must invest in continuous engagement, personalised support, and programs that address physical activity, nutrition, and mental health, aiming to optimise the well-being of their workforce from day one. Currently, over 96% of employees lack access to flexible wellness wallets. About 69% mentioned their organisation does not offer access to a digital solution to personalise their health and wellness benefits. This indicates a significant personalisation gap in current programs, failing to cater to individual needs and preferences across medical, fitness, and emotional well-being leading to attrition and lower retention rates. Furthermore, the report highlights the necessity for wellness programs to transcend geographical boundaries. Organisations need to view employee wellness as shared accountability rather than solely the responsibility of employees.

FITPASS addresses this need gap by providing flexibility through its specially curated corporate wellness program. We offer convenient access to gym and fitness studios across the country, online fitness and wellness support through its AI-led FITCOACH, and nutritionist services known as FITFEAST. FITPASS also provides global workout videos on its platform through its recent partnership with Wexer. These offerings are supplemented by wearable devices and health-tracking apps for accountability.

In addition to this, mental health support can also be provided to employees through counseling services, stress management workshops, and fostering a supportive work environment for open discussions.

Moreover, to break the norm and establish itself as a changemaker, the organisations can also opt for flexible work arrangements, including remote options and paid time off for self-care, helping employees balance professional and personal commitments. This approach not only enables employees to prioritise their health and wellness but also allows them dedicated time for self-improvement, ultimately benefiting the organisation as well.

These measures collectively foster a culture of comprehensive well-being, ultimately enhancing overall productivity and satisfaction among employees.


  1. Considering the high demand for digital solutions in wellness benefits, how do you recommend organizations integrate technology effectively into their wellness programs to meet employee expectations?

The shift in perspective towards proactive health strategies is becoming increasingly apparent. Traditional workplace health approaches have focused primarily on reacting to health issues as they arise. However, contemporary research and empirical evidence indicate that employees now view traditional health insurance, doctor consultations, and pharmaceutical benefits as reactive and inadequate. They are now advocating for holistic fitness and wellness programs that empower them to proactively manage and enhance their health and fitness according to their unique needs and preferences.

Our recent research report ‘The State of Fitness and Wellness in Corporate India 2023-24′ also highlights that there is a limited proactive focus when it comes to corporate fitness and wellness programs. While 24% offer proactive programs, 44% remain in reactive approach, highlighting a need for preventive and holistic strategies. Additionally, 12% of respondents considered both proactive and reactive programs equally important, and 20% were inclined towards specific requirements focusing on a holistic approach, health insurance, and more. This shift in employee mindset highlights the urgent need for a proactive health strategy, emphasising preventive care and physical fitness to ensure the sustained well-being of the workforce in the long term.

Furthermore, the digital gap between employees and corporate wellness programs currently impedes the effectiveness and accessibility of these initiatives. India’s workforce comprises a diverse mix of generations. However, 69% of employees report that their organisations are yet to provide a customisable digital solution to their wellness programmes. By failing to incorporate digitally enabled personalised strategies, organisations resort to a one-size-fits-all approach that overlooks the varying preferences of this young and diverse workforce.

This evolving employee need motivates employers to integrate proactive wellness strategies with a personalised approach into their programs, directly impacting organisational performance and growth. This approach prepares corporations to support the long-term health and resilience of their employees, who are the future leaders.