“Think of it like Uber for personal training,” said Tarek Mounir, founder and CEO of Enhance Fitness, as he explained his business model to Arab News.
“So, the original idea came back in 2018, when we created the platform that connects trainers to clients,” he said. “As the company grew and evolved, we started hiring more and more trainers, and we got into the B2B segments. So, we became providers of personal trainers to large gym chains, hotels and commercial outfits where it was easier for them to subcontract us to deliver the service of personal training.”
Enhance directly services a large base of clients in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar who can choose their preferred packages and book sessions through the company’s app.
“A big portion of our trainers still just go and deliver the service in people’s homes or in the community gym or the building gym, depending on the location,” Mounir said. “But primarily, the reason why we’ve been very successful is that we improved that booking platform, which we created in 2018, into a full management software, which basically helps us manage the personal training business a lot better than the usual outfits that hire trainers.”
Mounir says that Enhance has a rigorous process for recruiting certified fitness trainers and another one to train newcomers to ensure they are of the required standards.
“But really, I can attribute the big part of our success to the software that we develop, because it helps us see clearly how the trainer’s performance is, the relationship with the client, and the results of the clients,” he said.
The software consists of three main pillars.
There is a trainer application, where the history, details and goals of the client are logged. From that, a suitable program for the individual is curated.
The client application reflects the trainer’s goals and allows the client to track their progress through their smart devices.
Finally, there is an interface that allows the business owners who operate the personal training space to follow the relationship between clients and trainers.
Enhance today has over 300 trainers and a client list in the thousands, with the last three years seeing a significant rise in the number of those looking for personal sessions.
“The real growth of the business happened after the COVID-19 lockdown finished,” Mounir said. “That was when there was an invasion of people coming back to the clubs.
“The nature of the fitness industry is very social, very community driven. People want to see each other, they want to be at the gym, so we strongly believe that that business model is going to continue to grow the way it is.”
Enhance Fitness currently operates in six cities, two of which are in Saudi Arabia, where demand for personal trainers is on the rise.
“We are in Riyadh, we are in Jeddah. We are in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Sharjah,” said Mounir. “And we forecast that the highest growth of our business is, at least for the year 2024, going to be in Saudi. There are serious expansions to some of our partners in Saudi. Locations are going to be open and running very soon, and as we are contractually committed to fulfilling our part of the business, I can tell you that we have a recruitment plan that includes hundreds of people to be hired in Saudi in 2024.”
More than 50 percent of Enhance’s personal trainer roster in the Kingdom are Saudi nationals.
“They are by far some of our most successful trainers because the locals have the cultural understanding,” said Mounir. “There’s certainly a big level of expats that cater to the expat community that lives in Saudi, but also it caters to some of the Saudi nationals.”
The service in Saudi remains gender-to-gender.
“We only have male trainers servicing male clients, and female trainers servicing female clients,” said Mounir. “We see a lot of female trainers that are Saudi nationals. That is a huge portion of our current workforce. We see great discipline, we see a great work ethic, we see ambition, we see drive.”
Mounir says that Enhance also caters to gyms that want to hire their own personal trainers.
“What we do with those gyms is that we just license them the software that we build,” he said. “So, we have two segments for the business, working in parallel now. Our own lifestyle business where we hire the trainers, manage them, train them, deploy them, and optimize the business (is one). But we’re also working with other gyms who do not want to let go of that business, they want to manage it themselves, and then we make it easier for them and license them the software and they can run that business in a very efficient way.”
Mounir hopes that the awareness of the fitness industry — brought about in large part by Saudi Vision 2030 — will continue to rise in the coming months and years.
“We believe that what we do is the best prevention of illnesses and disease, and we believe that a workout is a very helpful service to humanity in general. We’re very proud of the mission,” he said. “And we have a great hope that this trend is only starting to go to its next phase. We have very large aspirations when it comes to the fitness industry.”