SoulCycle to Offer Trainer-Led Virtual Workout Sessions with Startup FLOWN

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FLOWN is a startup that took the virtual co-working idea some of us did during the pandemic and created a model of guided in-depth work sessions with real coaches. Billing itself as Twitch for work, the platform claims it works best with remote workers, who now number in the millions, of course. Last year he raised an initial round to take the idea to the next level.

Now he’s teaming up with iconic exercise brand SoulCycle to bring his energizing workout methodology to the masses.

SoulCycle-led focus sessions called Flocks will be available to all SoulCycle and FLOWN members starting June 26.

One of the most globally recognized wellness brands, best known for its spin classes that border on a religious experience for some SoulCycles, is clearly tapping into a new area where charismatic trainers can motivate a group in a new environment.

FLOWN already runs over 50 live focus sessions a week, led by their facilitators, where practitioners and students work together in silence, on camera, using a technique called body doubling.

If you’ve ever preferred to work in a library, coffee shop, or co-working space alongside other human beings, you’re doing something that comes quite naturally and is often more motivating than working at home alone. In fact, during the pandemic, many of us found ourselves turning on Zoom to work silently alongside friends or colleagues, just for the company.

This natural behavior has now evolved into a thriving new area for startups, and even now it has its own nomenclature. So-called body doubling is the act of working alongside someone else and is said to provide attention, responsibility and a feeling of community.

This virtual, guided coaching trend appears to be gaining momentum and is transforming itself from fitness and exercise (witness SoulCycles moves with FLOWN) into other forms. Peoplehood, led by SoulCycle founders Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice, is set to launch rallies, where strangers discuss their deepest hopes and fears.

Body doubling has also gained popularity in recent years as a way to alleviate the effects of ADHD, whose diagnosis rates have skyrocketed since the pandemic.

While body doubling is well recommended for people with ADHD, others are picking up on the technique. FLOWN claims its subscribers report a 5x increase in their productivity as a result of one session, although it hasn’t been able to independently verify this claim.

SoulCycle Instructors will now join FLOWNs Flocks, injecting SoulCycle’s brand of motivation into the platform. These common experiences can range from cleaning up your own home, completing tax returns, or practicing a tool.

Alicia Navarro, founder and CEO of FLOWN, said in a statement: In a post-COVID and AI-saturated world, there is a profound need for accountability structures that leverage real humans and age-old rituals. I started FLOWN to bring these structures into how we focus at work, and SoulCycle’s approach was an inspiration to me at the time.

I asked Evelyn Webster, CEO of SoulCycle, what was the sticking point that ensured her decision to work with Flown.

When Alicia and I were talking about each of our respective businesses, it quickly became apparent that we share a common purpose to help our community live better lives. With so much overlap in our scope and at a time when SoulCycle was looking to more actively engage our community in ways beyond the bike, the partnership seemed natural, she said.

What do you think of this new trend of body doubling?

I think anything that helps people succeed is great! As I’ve learned more about how body doubling has helped many people gain greater focus and therefore productivity, it’s clearly a tool that works. And of course when we drive as a community to Soul, what holds us accountable? It’s the instructor who walks us through a lesson, along with 60 other runners in the room, keeping you focused, on pace, and fired up, so we know it works.

And why do you think Soul Cycle customers will gravitate towards the FLOWN product?

Wellness is much more than just fitness. Our community is always looking for ways to grow stronger, both on the bike and in other parts of life. We feel this is a great addition to our offering and a natural extension for the brand, he added.

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