In a time of global uncertainty, few businesses are not just getting by – but immensely thriving – to help ease the societal burden. Arguably, the most prominent industry that has soared is fitness, which has seen a 300% growth in merely 10 weeks, according to Forbes. Worth nearly $100 billion, business has grown exponentially as health-conscious people around the world have adapted to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, which include the closing of gyms, exercise studios, parks, beaches, and other environments where one can exercise. Worldwide, people have purchased savvy machines (take the new Lagree Fitness Microformer, for instance), overwhelmed Amazon with weights and band orders, and have resorted to social media livestreams and YouTube classes to get their daily fixes – and they’re enjoying it. 

So, what next? When life resumes, will we forego our new routines that we’ve come to know and love, trust that gyms and fitness studios are abiding by hygienic norms, or perhaps, will we combine our old ways with the new, and find a harmonious balance in our fitness-focused futures? Sebastien Lagree, internationally renowned fitness entrepreneur, and CEO of Lagree Fitness, speaks exclusively to Thrive Global about finding a new normal, and how his company has maintained absolute productivity throughout the past three months.

Lagree, who holds 80 patents on his licensed method and machines, and has nearly 500 studios globally teaching what he invented, has been selling his new Microformer machines, as his clients are eager for new ways to workout at home. The Microformer, which is much more reasonably priced compared to competitors like the Peleton, is the perfect addition to the Lagree brand, as it complements the iconic Megaformer that people around the world have known to love for its ability to completely transform bodies by offering high-intensity, low-impact workouts. Even more, the French businessman just launched his highly-anticipated Lagree at Home app, which offers more than 200 workouts based around the home workout market. A true visionary, he’s pivoted in a meaningful way during the pandemic – but even still, Lagree knows there is a huge opportunity for gyms to bounce back stronger than ever in the near future. We can have the best of both worlds when it comes to staying active, and Lagree shares how.

We’ve seen a major boom in the home fitness industry amid COVID-19 – Will this continue once things start going back to normal? Do you see this as being the future of fitness?
I am getting many emails about how people cannot wait to get back in the gym. I think that the virus will scare some, but not all. I don’t see home training as being the future of fitness, but I see it as being a significant facet of the future of fitness. Some people will not return to a gym when this crisis is over with. How many of those will it be is the question.

So many elite gyms are changing the core of how they operate to adapt to the pandemic, and people seem to be reconsidering expensive memberships. What does this mean for home fitness? Is it the perfect time for people to reconsider how they approach their exercising regiments?
Yes, it’s a phenomenal time for people who like to exercise at home. They will now have more choices and more access to online/virtual training. All this new competition is also going to drive the price per classes down, which will benefit the consumer in the end. 

It seems like you chose the ideal time to launch the Microformer. Does the Microformer set the stage for a whole new era of Lagree?
You better believe it. I have been wanting to enter the home market for a while now. I had to be careful in designing a machine that would complement and not compete with the very popular Megaformer. I am happy to report that the goal was achieved and the Micro is on track for phenomenal success just like its big brother the Mega. I am launching an e-commerce site very soon that will feature a myriad of new products for at home, but also for studio use. All the machines that I design are commercial grade which means that they are sturdy enough to handle heavy usage. We are already developing the Mini, which will be released soon.

For those who have always been loyal to the Megaformer, how does the Micro complement it, and how are they different?
It was very important for me to introduce a new family of exercises based on the very popular Megaformer moves. I designed the Micro very low to the floor because the Micro is a much smaller machine and more compact. If I had kept the Micro height similar to the Mega, the Micro would be very limited in terms of the exercises you can do on it; however, it is not, and because the Micro is only 5.5″ above ground, you can integrate any floor exercises. Right now, on the app, we have over 200 catalogued exercises on the Micro. More exercises will be added as time goes on.

How will Lagree at Home play into this, and be another strong addition to the company?
Lagree is a very technical workout, you absolutely need the proper instructions. does just that by showing and demonstrating the effective form for each exercise and also  teaches you effective routines to strengthen your core, your muscles, get you your heart rate up, work on your cardio and muscular endurance.

With other machines on the market, how have you stayed so successful and competitive?
I never ever consider what others are doing in the fitness industry. I don’t do market research analysis, demographics research, etc… Others have to because they are out of touch with their market. I am not. I am very much in contact with everyone: licensees, teachers, students. I know what my clientele wants and I deliver each time. I am very observant and I listen a lot.

How many years ahead do you think when you create new machines? What are you thinking right now in terms of what fitness will look like in five years, let alone next year?
I have the Mini, Supra, Ultra, M4, M5, Iformer in development. I have a patent on a mind/machine connection; I have another patent on a levitating carriage and have the actual machine with the carriage that levitates. You can say that I am at least 7 years ahead in terms of development; however, some of my projects will take me 20 years in the future. The future is where I live most of my days. I imagine how people will want to exercise. That’s why I made the “Future of Fitness” documentary available on Amazon.

What Lagree goals are you currently focused on, and what’s the timeline? 
My goal has always been the same; only 1 out 6 to 7 person exercises on a regular basis. Exercise is a NECESSITY. My goal is to find the trigger for why the other 6 or 7 do not engage in regular physical exercises. I have designed equipment and workouts that are more engaging, more fun, that requires less time to workout, etc… I find the obstacles and I remove them.