Swipe, swipe, swipe, pause… looks like a good fit. “I was nervous at first but he and I were able to chat quite a bit before I even had my first session with him and I just loved his vibe and knew he was the right guy for me,” says Jaclyn Donovan of the personal trainer she met on LokaTrain. Ever since launching three months ago, LokaTrain has connected thousands of trainers and clients and offers hundreds of personal trainers to people worldwide.
Unless you luck out and find a local gem, chances are you wont find an affordable gym that offers a personalized workout. Oftentimes, the choice boils down to either going to Planet Fitness for $10 a month and receiving no personalized attention or paying over $500 dollars at Equinox just to find a class that might suit your needs. With LokaTrain, you can browse through available trainers in your area and message them right in the app until you figure out a price and routine that works for both of you. “My favorite part of the app is how you get to “meet” the trainers, see what their passion is, their approximate location and based of that was able to decide if they would be a right fit for me. Some were and some were not. It’s like shopping for the perfect shoe!” recalls Jaclyn Donavon.
Having found her last trainer on Craigslist, Donovan considers herself lucky having found a licensed trainer on the website. By seeing and chatting with the trainer beforehand, potential clients can judge if the trainer is a good fit for them and avoid having to browse sketchy websites and clicking through odd listings. Furthermore, most trainers on Lokatrain are happy to offer free trial sessions to see if the matchup is a perfect fit.
Having started LokaTrain by himself almost a year ago, Walid El Jebbari, a former NCAA Division I athlete and bodybuilding competitor, sought to make personal training accessible to everyone, not just the rich and famous. “We saw how access to trainers was limited to people having access to gyms and having to rely on a gym membership consultant to find them a trainer who would fit their needs. So many people wanting to change their health and life but not knowing where to start!” said El Jebbari.
For trainers, the app is a simple solution to a long standing problem – either hope you score the right clients and end up training big name celebrities, or settle to be an in-house trainer for a gym and play by their rules. LokaTrain is the straightforward alternative as it allows trainers to pick and choose clients and work within their specialization, making sure they can deliver on their promises and have fun doing it. However, LokaTrain isn’t about to ignore celebrity trainers, in fact they will soon have their own home within the app so people interested in working with the biggest names in personal fitness can find a trainer too. For trainers like Attila Toth, who has more than 500 thousand followers combined on social media, LokaTrain presents a reasonable way to manage potential clients and keep an eye on the competition. “It is becoming a challenge for both parties to efficiently get connected. Reaching out to fitness personalities with a large social media following, and a high demand for their help usually become an issue,” Attila explained, “As a trainee at LokaTrain, all you need to do is submit your request to any of the Celebrity Trainers you choose to work with. They will get a notification immediately, and therefore react at their earliest convenience.”
The number of fitness trainers jobs is expected to grow 13% until 2022 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which means LokaTrain’s database will only grow larger with time. While the app’s launch goal was to be the simple way to find your perfect personal trainer, for El Jebbari the LokaTrain experience is applicable to much more. “While the trainer and client generally decide to meet at a trainer gym, a facility where trainers pay a small fee to train a client, we are looking to expand to sports like soccer and tennis where trainers can meet outdoors or wherever they see fit,” said El Jebbari. Since many of these activities don’t have to be one-on-one sessions to be effective, LokaTrain also offers the chance for trainers to create bootcamps. “There have been hundreds of group workouts have been set up for prices as low as five dollars for some bootcamps to $25 for more advanced ones, and for that reason, that section and option has been very popular. Looking at the data and the users’ goals, our trainees are using the app for all sorts of goals:2 post-birth getting back in shape all the way to getting ready for a fitness competition and these bootcamps offer the jumpstart many need,” said El Jebbari.
However, Lokatrain isn’t the only app hoping to snag a share of the growing fitness market as the both the Apple and Android app store feature thousands of apps ready to help you lose weight, gain weight and everything in between. As millennials spend less in other areas, they are spending more on fitness. In fact millennials spend upwards of 18% more on athletic gear than any other apparel according to a Goldman Sachs report. The same report also shows that over 22% of millennials include exercising in their definitions of staying healthy compared to 14% and 12% of Generation X and Baby Boomers, respectively. This new fitness focused generation is exactly the market that apps like LokaTrain hope to capture which is why social media is a big focus for these fitness companies. “We have many exciting features that we are coming up with, making sure it works with our partnerships with social media fitness influencers. Engaging with them will help us grow our user base and serves as a win-win for LokaTrain, the influencers, and the users,” comments El Jebbari.