With gyms shuttered for the time being in light of the coronavirus pandemic and people around the world living under lockdown or in self-isolation, gym rats and studio fitness addicts alike are turning to the internet for their regular fix of endorphins—and everything else.
PopSugar is one of the companies stepping up to support people who want to stay moving while sheltering in place. To do so, it fast-tracked the release of its new fitness app, Active by PopSugar, and is offering it to users for free. The app, which is available on iPhone, Android, Roku and Chromecast, gives users access to more than 500 workouts from yoga and pilates to dance cardio and strength training.
“We worked through the weekend to get to get it out,” said PopSugar general manager Angelica Marden, who oversees the brand’s editorial operations and audience growth, among other things, and reports directly to PopSugar founder and president Lisa Sugar. The team spent the weekend “uploading assets, tightening up the whole system and taking in feedback as we got it in beta.” So far, nearly 10,000 people have signed up.
The app was meant to work on a subscription model, though PopSugar hadn’t finalized the pricing by the time the app was released ahead of schedule this week, according to Marden.
“We really don’t have our focus on [pricing] right now,” she said, and the app will continue to be free for the “foreseeable future.” PopSugar’s aim is to give “support and a small joy to consumers as they’re at home,” she added.
PopSugar, which was acquired by Group Nine Media last year, already offers hundreds of workout videos via its website, YouTube channel and social media platforms.
But Active provides a more curated experience, Marden said, and it’s completely ad free. It allows users to search for workouts by exercise type, duration, difficulty and other tags like whether you have your own equipment at home. It also has curated challenges like the “4-Week Full-Body Fusion” and “21 Days to Kickstart Your Fitness” for those who might need extra motivation to stick with an in-home fitness routine. Users can also flag their workouts through their personal account, making favorites easy to find.
Users have to sign up in order to play the videos, but it only requires an email address (and no credit card info). Active can be accessed through its website or the app, which can be downloaded onto a smartphones, Roku or Google Chromecast. Marden said PopSugar also will add custom content that won’t be available through the publisher’s social platforms.
“The world is still very uncertain right now,” Marden said. PopSugar wanted to “provide a welcoming outlet” for people who are already fans of its fitness content and those suddenly in search of a way to work out while stuck at home, she added.
On a personal note, my roommates and I tried out a couple of the workouts on our back deck after along day of working from home. A quick word of warning: The dance videos require actual talent. Or at least some serious practice.