HCM People
Andrew Sugerman

We’re in discussion with health club operators about Centr x Hyrox, as there’s a lot of interest in building functional fitness spaces

By Liz Terry | Published in Health Club Management 2023 issue 11


What drew you to the industry?
The opportunity to be CEO of Centr was a collision of personal and professional interests, with an amazing mission to make people happier and healthier.

I’ve competed in marathons, triathlons and Ironman events while also spending my career in education, media and entertainment.

My work involves creating compelling content and motivating, inspiring experiences to support people, so it feels as though it pulls together all the elements of my life so far.

Having come from outside the industry, what do you see as its strengths and weaknesses?
There’s still economic uncertainty, but I believe this is a resilient industry and that coming out of the pandemic people care more about their health and wellbeing.

What’s exciting going forward is establishing how to support our members’ happiness.

The future is about helping people to be healthy anywhere at any time. It’s about enabling them to work out at home, outdoors and in health clubs, for example.

I was at the forefront of the development of Disney’s AR and VR experiences and it’s exciting to see the health and fitness industry moving towards mixed reality, opening up a world of opportunity.

I’m excited to tap into some of what I did back at Disney here in the world of fitness.

What appealed to you specifically about Centr?
Firstly, the way it’s built around a holistic approach to wellness, covering fitness, nutrition and mental wellbeing.

I love Centr’s mission to democratise health and wellness, giving everyone access to expertise from world class trainers via the app, similar to those who support founder Chris Hemsworth in preparing for his leading roles and delivering workouts and nutrition, sleep and recovery advice.

The second reason was the Inspire Fitness equipment side of the business. More than two decades of craftsmanship has gone into designing, developing and building the equipment we’re now selling under the Centr brand (www.shop.centr.com), which is an amazing launchpad for all of the things we want to do going forward as we combine equipment and the app, both for health club operators and for consumers.

How did the partnership with Hyrox, come about?
Once we had the app and the equipment in place, the one piece of the jigsaw I felt was missing from the Centr equation was motivation. What inspires people to go to the gym? What inspires them to eat better? What inspires them to meditate?

We settled on two ways to build this motivation: firstly training for a milestone or event and secondly, building a community and both these led to us partnering with Hyrox.

I'd been to the Hyrox competition in Anaheim, California in April 2022 and was blown away by the energy. It was one of the most supportive communities that I’d ever seen, and so this sowed the seed of the idea.

Now this new partnership benefits everyone: we win, Hyrox wins, health and fitness clubs win and athletes win.

Tell us about the equipment you’re launching
We’ve been developing products with Hyrox, identifying ways to elevate the competition and make products with a contemporary design language and we’ll start rolling this out in early 2024, in both North America and Europe.

The Centr x Hyrox equipment spans all the strength training areas that are used in a Hyrox race, including power sleds, ropes, a unique form of kettlebell, a new wall ball, sandbags, a rig design with targets and interlocking bumper plates. The whole thing will feel unified and connected.

With Hyrox, we’ve also been creating elite products for competition, gyms, health clubs and studios. We’ve just launched a whole line of functional strength trainers and adjustable dumbbells which are beautiful, with a unique design and colour palette.

We’re in discussions with a number of health club operators relating to Centr x Hyrox, as there’s a lot of interest in building out broader functional fitness spaces using the Centr-branded competition equipment from Inspire Fitness. We’ve also launched a selection of Centr consumer wellness products, ranging from US$20 to US$100, with the goal of making wellness very accessible.

What does your partnership with Lifespan.io involve?
Lifespan.io produces science-backed content which is authored by world-class experts to educate the public in healthy ageing and the latest longevity research and Centr is offering an adapted and curated selection of this educational content to help members make more informed lifestyle choices.

Holistic wellness is a key area of interest among Centr members, so we continue to release a variety of tools to support them in optimising their minds as well as their bodies, including mindful meditations, soundscapes and sleep audio.

Why does Centr put such emphasis on mental health?
In the last three or four years, mental health has become a key component of wellness, moving from the fringe to being a primary driver.

Research in the US has shown that mental health is the number one reason for people joining a health club and in an unstable world people feel the need to support their mental health, so we wanted to make it a core element of our programme.

We classify mental health in two ways: being able to calm your mind and being able to sleep. People are increasingly realising that sleep is a massive part of wellness: around 45 per cent of the world’s population are in a position where lack of sleep is threatening their health.

We’ve just released a new audio series with Chris Hemsworth, called Power Sleep, which is designed to help people lean into having a better night’s sleep. The audio series includes a range of sleep visualisations, meditations, audio stories, guidance from coaches on how to think about mental fitness and how it works with nutrition and fitness.

Who uses the Centr app?
We call them holistic explorers: people with a strong passion for wellness. They love new ways to work out, new programmes, new competitions. They’re intrigued by technology that helps them to live a healthier life. The demographic curve goes up to the mid-50s and the top of the curve is somewhere in the upper-30s. Half of them have children at home so are looking for short, snackable workouts which they can fit around their busy lives and family-friendly meal options.

CENTR Insights

• More than half of Centr members are driven by goals that focus on either total wellness or mental health, and want to be proactive about their health as they age.

• In 2023, active Centr members completed 35 per cent more workouts per month than previously. This is attributed to the launch of short, snackable programmes; a variety of training modalities and series-based programmes to keep members engaged on a progressive journey.

• While strength training remains the most popular workout modality, there’s growing interest in mobility and functional exercise.

• Body-part muscle-building programmes have spiked engagement from women, especially compared to all-over muscle-building programmes.

• 95 per cent of Centr members report that exercise is critical to their mental health and the primary driver for reducing stress.

• The introduction of soundscapes saw a 43 per cent boost in engagement with mindfulness content.

• Recipes makes up one-third of Centr’s content views.

First person: Kath Hudson
My Centr experience

Having embarked on a 13-week power plan, I’m really enjoying Centr.

There’s a wealth of information available, but it’s not overwhelming. The workouts on my programme are around 30 minutes long, some need equipment others don’t and three of the six weekly sessions are optional.

Deciding what to eat is often a pain point for me, so I’m loving the meal plans. All the recipes I’ve tried have been delicious, as well as quick and easy to make. The meditations are a real asset: the best thing about the Chris Hemsworth-narrated sleep meditation was that I didn’t hear the end of it.

The videos make it supportive for newbies and I think this will motivate people to both join gyms and adhere to training programmes. I found what I wanted very quickly, but I have a sense that I’ve only just scratched the surface and there’s plenty more to discover, especially on the mental health side.

Actor Chris Hemsworth is Centr's founder Credit: photo: Centr / Anthony Blasko
Recipes make up one third of content views on the Centr app Credit: photo: CENTR
Hemsworth uses the new Centr equipment Credit: photo: centr
 


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SELECTED ISSUE
Health Club Management
2023 issue 11

View issue contents

Leisure Management - Andrew Sugerman

HCM People

Andrew Sugerman


We’re in discussion with health club operators about Centr x Hyrox, as there’s a lot of interest in building functional fitness spaces

Liz Terry, Leisure Media
Sugerman was previously at Disney photo: CENTR
Actor Chris Hemsworth is Centr's founder photo: Centr / Anthony Blasko
Recipes make up one third of content views on the Centr app photo: CENTR
Hemsworth uses the new Centr equipment photo: centr

What drew you to the industry?
The opportunity to be CEO of Centr was a collision of personal and professional interests, with an amazing mission to make people happier and healthier.

I’ve competed in marathons, triathlons and Ironman events while also spending my career in education, media and entertainment.

My work involves creating compelling content and motivating, inspiring experiences to support people, so it feels as though it pulls together all the elements of my life so far.

Having come from outside the industry, what do you see as its strengths and weaknesses?
There’s still economic uncertainty, but I believe this is a resilient industry and that coming out of the pandemic people care more about their health and wellbeing.

What’s exciting going forward is establishing how to support our members’ happiness.

The future is about helping people to be healthy anywhere at any time. It’s about enabling them to work out at home, outdoors and in health clubs, for example.

I was at the forefront of the development of Disney’s AR and VR experiences and it’s exciting to see the health and fitness industry moving towards mixed reality, opening up a world of opportunity.

I’m excited to tap into some of what I did back at Disney here in the world of fitness.

What appealed to you specifically about Centr?
Firstly, the way it’s built around a holistic approach to wellness, covering fitness, nutrition and mental wellbeing.

I love Centr’s mission to democratise health and wellness, giving everyone access to expertise from world class trainers via the app, similar to those who support founder Chris Hemsworth in preparing for his leading roles and delivering workouts and nutrition, sleep and recovery advice.

The second reason was the Inspire Fitness equipment side of the business. More than two decades of craftsmanship has gone into designing, developing and building the equipment we’re now selling under the Centr brand (www.shop.centr.com), which is an amazing launchpad for all of the things we want to do going forward as we combine equipment and the app, both for health club operators and for consumers.

How did the partnership with Hyrox, come about?
Once we had the app and the equipment in place, the one piece of the jigsaw I felt was missing from the Centr equation was motivation. What inspires people to go to the gym? What inspires them to eat better? What inspires them to meditate?

We settled on two ways to build this motivation: firstly training for a milestone or event and secondly, building a community and both these led to us partnering with Hyrox.

I'd been to the Hyrox competition in Anaheim, California in April 2022 and was blown away by the energy. It was one of the most supportive communities that I’d ever seen, and so this sowed the seed of the idea.

Now this new partnership benefits everyone: we win, Hyrox wins, health and fitness clubs win and athletes win.

Tell us about the equipment you’re launching
We’ve been developing products with Hyrox, identifying ways to elevate the competition and make products with a contemporary design language and we’ll start rolling this out in early 2024, in both North America and Europe.

The Centr x Hyrox equipment spans all the strength training areas that are used in a Hyrox race, including power sleds, ropes, a unique form of kettlebell, a new wall ball, sandbags, a rig design with targets and interlocking bumper plates. The whole thing will feel unified and connected.

With Hyrox, we’ve also been creating elite products for competition, gyms, health clubs and studios. We’ve just launched a whole line of functional strength trainers and adjustable dumbbells which are beautiful, with a unique design and colour palette.

We’re in discussions with a number of health club operators relating to Centr x Hyrox, as there’s a lot of interest in building out broader functional fitness spaces using the Centr-branded competition equipment from Inspire Fitness. We’ve also launched a selection of Centr consumer wellness products, ranging from US$20 to US$100, with the goal of making wellness very accessible.

What does your partnership with Lifespan.io involve?
Lifespan.io produces science-backed content which is authored by world-class experts to educate the public in healthy ageing and the latest longevity research and Centr is offering an adapted and curated selection of this educational content to help members make more informed lifestyle choices.

Holistic wellness is a key area of interest among Centr members, so we continue to release a variety of tools to support them in optimising their minds as well as their bodies, including mindful meditations, soundscapes and sleep audio.

Why does Centr put such emphasis on mental health?
In the last three or four years, mental health has become a key component of wellness, moving from the fringe to being a primary driver.

Research in the US has shown that mental health is the number one reason for people joining a health club and in an unstable world people feel the need to support their mental health, so we wanted to make it a core element of our programme.

We classify mental health in two ways: being able to calm your mind and being able to sleep. People are increasingly realising that sleep is a massive part of wellness: around 45 per cent of the world’s population are in a position where lack of sleep is threatening their health.

We’ve just released a new audio series with Chris Hemsworth, called Power Sleep, which is designed to help people lean into having a better night’s sleep. The audio series includes a range of sleep visualisations, meditations, audio stories, guidance from coaches on how to think about mental fitness and how it works with nutrition and fitness.

Who uses the Centr app?
We call them holistic explorers: people with a strong passion for wellness. They love new ways to work out, new programmes, new competitions. They’re intrigued by technology that helps them to live a healthier life. The demographic curve goes up to the mid-50s and the top of the curve is somewhere in the upper-30s. Half of them have children at home so are looking for short, snackable workouts which they can fit around their busy lives and family-friendly meal options.

CENTR Insights

• More than half of Centr members are driven by goals that focus on either total wellness or mental health, and want to be proactive about their health as they age.

• In 2023, active Centr members completed 35 per cent more workouts per month than previously. This is attributed to the launch of short, snackable programmes; a variety of training modalities and series-based programmes to keep members engaged on a progressive journey.

• While strength training remains the most popular workout modality, there’s growing interest in mobility and functional exercise.

• Body-part muscle-building programmes have spiked engagement from women, especially compared to all-over muscle-building programmes.

• 95 per cent of Centr members report that exercise is critical to their mental health and the primary driver for reducing stress.

• The introduction of soundscapes saw a 43 per cent boost in engagement with mindfulness content.

• Recipes makes up one-third of Centr’s content views.

First person: Kath Hudson
My Centr experience

Having embarked on a 13-week power plan, I’m really enjoying Centr.

There’s a wealth of information available, but it’s not overwhelming. The workouts on my programme are around 30 minutes long, some need equipment others don’t and three of the six weekly sessions are optional.

Deciding what to eat is often a pain point for me, so I’m loving the meal plans. All the recipes I’ve tried have been delicious, as well as quick and easy to make. The meditations are a real asset: the best thing about the Chris Hemsworth-narrated sleep meditation was that I didn’t hear the end of it.

The videos make it supportive for newbies and I think this will motivate people to both join gyms and adhere to training programmes. I found what I wanted very quickly, but I have a sense that I’ve only just scratched the surface and there’s plenty more to discover, especially on the mental health side.


Originally published in Health Club Management 2023 issue 11

Published by Leisure Media Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385 | Contact us | About us | © Cybertrek Ltd