While lifting weights at the gym to a personalized playlist may be the ideal workout for some, others need a little change in pace and scenery – a feeling David Sciacca and Jonas Caruana understand all too well.
What started as a long distance friendship eventually grew into a shared apartment and a business plan. With a mutual passion for fitness, Sciacca, 30, and Caruana, 29, launched Training Mobs in January 2011, a fitness community website that lists and promotes great local group workouts.
“We really wanted to bring back the social aspect of fitness,” said Sciacca. “Make it easy for people to go to whatever workout they want and not have to be members there.”
Aside from being extremely practical for the fitness community, Training Mobs gives that extra nudge of encouragement to its members, a sense of inspiration that Sciacca and Caruana were searching for themselves not too long ago.
After graduating in finance from Concordia University, Sciacca worked three-and-a-half years in investment banking, a job he had no desire to keep.
“I realized very quickly that I wasn’t doing something I was in love with and I got tired of that,” he said. “To be completely honest, I had no idea what I wanted to do.”
His epiphany led him to Costa Rica where he extended an invitation to his Australian friend, Caruana, who shared the same dismay for his management job. The two had met seven years ago during a university exchange program in Budapest.
“We were surfing and we started complaining about how hard it was to find a great workout wherever we were and how hard it was to coordinate workouts with friends while we were working,” said Sciacca. “We thought maybe there was something out there that would help fix this. When we looked into it and didn’t find anything, that’s when we said, ‘Well this doesn’t make sense.’ So we created Training Mobs from that.”
Committed to finding great workouts for their members, Sciacca and Caruana reach out to independent studios and gyms that offer more intimate experiences bigger gyms sometimes fail to provide. Apart from the free exposure, Training Mobs allows smaller autonomous gyms to connect with their target audience all the while offering a variety of workouts to their members.
“People who have opened an independent gym tend to do it out of passion because everyone knows that opening a studio is probably not the fastest way to get brilliantly rich,” said Sciacca. “When you’re doing something you love, you’re more committed to it – you build a community around you and people enjoy that kind of experience.”
Everyday, Training Mobs offers a fresh list of diverse social fitness classes at a discount rate, from circuit training on Mount Royal to hot yoga in the West Island. No matter the time, location or workout preference, anybody can sign up for a workout on a whim.
While Training Mobs continues to spread across Canada and the United States, Sciacca and Caruana are creating new ways to connect their studio and gym partners with their members. One in particular that is gaining some attention is the MobPass.
“We think the MobPass has potential to change the way people think about fitness,” said Sciacca. “We believe in group fitness because it’s more fun and there’s that social accountability.”
With a monthly purchase of $9.95, the MobPass offers access to every Training Mob gym, studio and trainer at a ten-class-pass rate. Suitable for travelers or anyone with a hectic schedule and an interest in trying new workouts, Sciacca describes the MobPass as being a universal gym membership to all the best independent studios from Montreal to Toronto to San Francisco.
“Why are we preventing people from getting access to these small studios that are specialized by restricting them to one type of workout?” he said. “There’s got be people out there that like variety, that would appreciate flexibility.”
Aside from expanding their fitness community and spreading the word, Sciacca and Caruana are constantly trying to keep an open conversation with their partners and members. They share a blog with their members and encourage people to post videos and messages of their great workouts, and to show newcomers that working out doesn’t have to be intimidating.
“This is a community of real people that are going out and getting active,” said Sciacca. “Training Mobs belongs to the community and we always wanted it to be that way. If you had a great workout experience and want to tell the world about it, let us know and we’ll be happy to shoot it out to the world.”