One day I asked my clients ‘What’s happening? Why are you guys always cancelling? What can I do to get you more consistent?’” recalls Bary El-Yacoubi, a Tysons Corner resident who was working as a personal trainer at the time. After hearing people say they just couldn’t make it to the gym, Bary offered to come to them, saying with a laugh, “I had clients, when I would train them, say, ‘Bary if you did not knock on my door this morning, there is no way I would ever get up and do this.”
With that feedback, Bary, who studied exercise science and sports management, and his older brother, Muhssin El-Yacoubi, who has an MBA from University of Virginia, combined their backgrounds and created Bounce Fitness in 2007, an online platform through which a fitness consultant will visit a client’s home, do a consultation and then select a personal trainer to help the client accomplish their goals, sans gym. But that initial setup could take 3-5 days, a wait time that the El-Yacoubis plan to cut back on with their next venture: Send Me a Trainer, an app that launched in November.
“Send Me a Trainer now accelerates that process so once you download the app and purchase your program, you can connect with a trainer immediately and coordinate a session as soon as tomorrow or even that same day,” Bary explains. In addition to summoning a trainer to your home, the brothers are also developing a FaceTime-like interface that would let you train via live video.
Send Me a Trainer aims to set itself apart in the personal training business by allowing users to work with multiple trainers. After downloading the app and answering questions about fitness goals, users can purchase one-hour sessions ($75 each, plus multi-session package options) and choose which classes—yoga, pilates, Zumba, kickboxing and more—they want to try.
“A lot of other apps, you are buying a package directly from a trainer and you are committed to sticking with that trainer, so you don’t have the flexibility of mixing and matching your workout,” says Muhssin, noting that the app will only feature the top certified trainers they’ve worked with, eventually in multiple metro areas. “If users are traveling to a new city, they can connect with a trainer there using their same package.”
The brothers’ business venture is also designed to support and develop talented personal trainers.
“The average [job] lifespan of a trainer is two years, and typically they are great trainers, but they just aren’t being discovered and they can’t grow their business,” Bary says. “We are trying to support trainers to succeed, and the way to do that is to give them a platform where they can now grow their clientele, make this a full-time gig and give them all the tools that they need to manage basically their own business. From payments, to tracking sessions, to communicating with the client, it’s all done very seamlessly on the app.”
But, first and foremost, it’s about helping users easily lead a healthy lifestyle—and reclaim their gym commuting time.
“By having a trainer come to you, you save the time and hassle of actually going to the gym, and what we have found is our clients save an hour in a day,” Bary says. “So the question is, what are you going to do with your extra hour?” // sendmeatrainer.com