This is one in a series of stories that highlights each company in the 2019 class of the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars. Visit LIFT Labs to learn more about this world-class program for connectivity, media and entertainment startups, and get information on applications for the next class.
There's a simple but powerful concept behind picking the right music for a fitness class. It's called entrainment — the proclivity for human beings to adapt to the rhythms around them. In an exercise setting, the right music inspires motion and activity, and ultimately gets students to work harder. (That's why you jog just a little bit faster when Lady Gaga pops up on your Spotify.)
If you've ever been lucky enough to take one of Amira Polack's spin classes, you know the music is incredible. It comes in steady during a climb. It's loud and intense during a sprint. Somehow, her playlist corresponds perfectly to the ebbs and flows of the class — and you can't help but move your body accordingly.
In the past, getting the timing and rhythms just right took five hours. She'd rely on everything from spreadsheets to handwritten notes. Then, she'd be forced to memorize the specific instructions for her class and precisely when to give those instructions.
There had to be a better way. So, she built it. Her company is called Struct Club and the Los Angeles-based startup offers a mobile app that helps fitness instructors to choreograph, run and manage their classes.
"I realized that other fitness instructors were planning classes by using old school methods like pen-and-paper. They were even memorizing their playlists," Polack recalled. "As somebody who lives on her phone, I felt that planning and running fitness classes should be taken into the 21st century so instructors can do more one-on-one coaching.
With Struct Club, instructors can flag points in a specific playlist or song that inspire different motions or coaching notes in the workout. When they're ready to run class, the app points those flags back to the instructor in real time so they can easily offer instruction without cycling through paper notes or spreadsheets.
Polack's idea has really taken off. Instructors at big-name studios like Equinox, SoulCycle and FlyWheel are using her technology — as well as fitness leaders at YMCAs, university gyms, corporate facilities and smaller studios across the U.S. and Canada. Some American and Canadian instructors based in 11 countries, such as China, Germany and Iceland, have also begun using Struct Club. And they're not just using the platform for spinning class. They're using it for high intensity interval training, yoga, bootcamps and circuit workouts, too.