|If there’s one thing the past few months have shown us, it’s that home fitness is for life – not just for lockdown. At the start of 2020 who could have envisaged workouts on your bedroom floor, let alone being able to take classes with some of your favourite instructors without leaving your house?! With so many people becoming huge converts to working out and taking classes at home, this is the perfect time for a new, exciting indoor fitness brand to launch – and so I’d love to introduce you to Apex Rides. |
There may already be huge international players in the in-home cardio market, but Apex are a brand new British based brand aiming to shake up working out at home, thanks to the Apex Bike, app and range of on and off the bike classes. Apex have partnered with Boom Cycle and filmed with the Boom Instructors from London – which is where yours truly comes into the equation! Yes, I spent most of June filming both spin classes, and off-the-bike Burn classes and cannot wait for the world to see what we’ve all been working on.
Apex has been a long time in development and way before us instructors put on our lycra and headed into the socially-distanced studio to film content, the brand’s founders Simon and Charlie were working tirelessly to ensure Apex delivers what people now not only want, but expect from a home fitness brand. I spoke to them to get a bit more insight into how Apex came about, and what makes them different.
What was the impetus behind Apex? What gap did you spot, and how do you plan on plugging it?
[Simon] If we stand back and take a look at the fitness industry, it’s been growing and evolving at a rate of knots for a little while. It was historically dominated by big players with deep pockets who offered little quality for a lot of money whilst also tying you into lengthy contracts. We then saw the industry disrupted with the emergence of boutique gyms offering pay as you go, usually high quality but also quite expensive, group workouts. Technology supercharged these boutiques when Classpass entered the market.
For us, it made sense to marry up the ideals of a group workout – but to make it affordable, accessible and on-demand through technology. People are increasingly time-poor and in today’s Netflix/Amazon Prime culture, they want high-quality and they want it right now!
Exercise bikes have been too utilitarian and too ugly for too long! In the past, understandably, there was very little thought given to how equipment like this would fit into the home and slot into people’s daily lives so when we started, we set out to change that by aesthetically upgrading the old clothes-horse. We’ve devoted a lot of time to both the functionality and design of our bike – we even offer it in four neutral colours – black, navy, sand and mist – to match your interiors.
When we began building a brand for Apex, we wanted to create something inclusive and encouraging against the grain of the competitive and athletically skewed players on the market. We just want people to get on the bike, have fun, and get a sweat on.
I believe the at-home fitness market is still very much in its infancy in the UK and for Apex – it’s just the beginning.
Why did you decide to partner with BOOM Cycle?
[Charlie] One of the most important factors in our decision-making process when finding a studio partner was that we aligned from a brand and culture perspective. It’s very easy to see why Boom Cycle is one of the best-known premium spin operators in London – they have some exceptionally talented instructors and their classes are fun, energetic, encouraging and importantly, inclusive. With our Apex classes, our mission has been to translate the same unique environment offered at Boom Cycle onto a screen, so that people can have an immersive experience in the comfort of their own homes!
This sentiment is shared by Boom Cycle Co-founder Hilary Rowland. When I asked her the same questions about the decision for Boom to partner with Apex, it’s clear she also saw the huge similarity in ethos and vision.
[Hilary] “Apex and Boom Cycle share a few brand values – Inclusivity and FUN being the most obvious.
We had been considering how to offer Boom Cycle style classes digitally for a long time and when we got the call about Apex and after meeting with them a few times, we realised how similar our visions were. It made perfect sense!”
I went on to ask Hilary what she believed the team at Boom would be able to bring to the Apex workouts.
“Boom Cycle Instructors are a perfect fit for the project. They already uphold and believe in the Inclusivity and Fun brand pillars for both companies and they have not only already been through the rigorous Boom Cycle Training Program, Boom-i-versity (5 weeks +), but they also all have lots of in-studio, practical experience instructing both cycling and floor sessions.
In addition, they’ve all completed further training on the Apex Format which is designed to bring the fun factor to people in a digital medium specifically allowing them to deliver super-fun and engaging classes that are accessible on live stream or anytime that is convenient for you!”
Having spoken with Hilary and Simon and Charlie, it’s clear that the partnership between Apex and Boom works on a number of levels – and speaking for all of us Instructors who actually deliver the classes, we’ve all loved every minute of creating and delivering the workouts to camera ready for the App launch next month. With so many people converting to at-home workouts – including even spin classes, I asked Apex where they saw this huge new trend going.
Now more than ever, with the forced migration to digital and at-home fitness the industry is shifting. What opportunities/challenges do you see impacting Apex in response?
[Charlie] The at-home fitness market has been growing significantly over the last 5 years in response to both technological changes and the creation of new and innovative ways to workout. Even though we’ve been working on this for nearly two years, the unusual circumstances we currently face have accelerated this growth exponentially, which has helped us hugely. People are adapting to the situation and searching for fun ways to workout whilst remaining in the safety of their homes. In such a tough period for so many households, we want to make at-home exercise as fun, painless and immersive as possible. The physical and mental health benefits of regular exercise are obviously indisputable, and there has never been a more important time for us to all to keep moving. That isn’t to say though that these circumstances haven’t come with their own challenges! We’re seeing a lot more competitors come into the market – especially now – so the need to stay relevant and ahead of the game is crucial.
What are your future plans for Apex?
[Simon] We see Apex as an all round at-home fitness and wellness brand. We’ll look to expand our offering with cutting-edge hardware, advanced technology and world-class content – as well as expanding internationally. We’re very keen to keep innovating our offering – it’s key to keep evolving just as people’s lives do.
For me, being asked to be part of this amazing new venture from the start has been a very exciting opportunity, and one I was beyond grateful for during Lockdown. When the Boom Cycle studios were still closed due to Government guidance, to be able to get up, head to our filming studio in North West London, crank up the music, clip into the Apex bike and deliver a class on camera felt fantastic. The Ride sessions on the App range from 15 to 60 minutes from Beginner to Advanced, and with a range of Theme Rides too, we’ve tried to offer something for everyone – in fitness level, time constraints and music choices. There are also two different types of class – Move and Metric – Move being more “party-on-a-bike’ style classes for those who love Full body, choreography-based classes and vibe with the music (and use the dumbbells included with the Apex Bike for weighted upper body sections in some of the Move rides labelled ‘full body’) and Metric working without the ‘moves’ and instead, more outdoor cycling training scenarios with the stats and numbers that the Apex bike reads every time you ride – RPM (how fast you’re going), Resistance (how hard you’re pushing) and the Power (quite literally how much power your speed and resistance combined are generating!) So whilst the fun and inclusivity element are very much still there in Metric classes, this is a great chance for those that love to track their statistics and their efforts to do so from the comfort of riding in their own home.
As great as it felt to be teaching again, instructing a class to an empty room with three cameras on you and a production crew sat silently several metres away was definitely a strange experience at times – creating an atmosphere on your own was definitely a new challenge, but one us instructors tried to embrace head on. We figured with the music pumping, the lights flashing and us living our best lives on the bike will pull all our future Riders into the party atmosphere with us!
Whilst the arrival of the first bikes and launch of the Apex app is imminent, in the meantime some of the Apex Burn classes are already Live on IGTV with more being added every day. Check out some of the latest workouts here. Founding Apex Riders are all sent a Starter Bundle once they place their deposit on the Bikes – which includes Apex Resistance Bands and Sliders, and so myself, Duncan, Emma, Lion and Hinchy have all created an Off the Bike programme to totally complement the Ride offering with both strength based and cardio conditioning on offer, as well as stretching and stability work.
If this year has proved anything to us, it’s that we never know what’s around the corner. Whilst taking a Spin Class, let alone having your own bike at home (that even comes in a shade to match your decor!) may have seemed ridiculous 6 months ago, it’s things like this that truly have become “the new normal”. One thing is for sure, this really is only the beginning for Apex, and I’m so excited and privileged to quite literally be along for the Ride!
To purchase your very own Apex Bike and become a Founding Rider, just click here.