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The new fitness app pledging to chase influencers away

Anastasia Santoreneos
·3-min read
Lorena Sumich and Jahney Smith founded a fitness app to tackle influencers. Source: Supplied
Lorena Sumich and Jahney Smith founded a fitness app to tackle influencers. Source: Supplied

When Lorena Sumich finished a workout from a regular, paid health and fitness app back in 2018, she wasn’t overly impressed.

“It was really expensive, and it was just okay,” Sumich told Yahoo Finance.

Perth-born Sumich, who is a marathon runner and avid trainer, knew what a good workout was supposed to feel like it - and what was currently out there for consumption just wasn’t it.

“Health isn’t about active glamour shots or model workouts, with glamorous filters and photoshopped results,” she said.

Somewhere along the way, the $2.5 billion fitness industry had become crowded with paid-for applications that just weren’t cutting it, according to the founder.

“While there are a number of fitness applications on the market, people are increasingly realising that most of these apps, programs and images are inauthentic and fake in so many ways. Most of them are just big business profit machines,” Sumich said.

Experts lose to influencers

Real, experienced trainers were constantly losing out to “a select few” who had the cash and the social media reach to make their own application viable, she said.

“Everyone could create their own application, but it’s really expensive to do,” she said.

Fast-forward to 2019, and Sumich, who was a senior management consultant at Deloitte, decided to create her own app, KIXXFIT, with the help of her high school friend and marketing expert, Jahney Smith.

The app offers on-demand movement, nutrition and mindset sessions from Australian health experts, and all the content is produced by real coaches who previously didn’t have the resources to make the content on their own.

And it’s making its mark already, Smith said.

“Feedback has been phenomenal,” Smith said.

“To quote some of the coaches, one said, ‘Thank f*ck you built this’.”

Users who couldn’t afford to train with their own personal trainers in person told Smith through the app they had constant access to the trainer for a fraction of the cost.

Building an app is a long slog

While Sumich had an awesome job, she said it wasn’t a tough decision to leave it in order to pursue KIXXFIT.

“It was nothing other than a wicked introduction into the world of business, where I learnt to become incredibly comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty,” she said.

But, she admits she thought it would take “a quarter of the time” it actually took to get it off the ground.

“We knew there was always going to be a lot of work ahead, but something inside of me said, ‘I just have to do this’.”

To start with, Sumich embarked on a “pretty intensive” research and planning project.

“I devoured every industry report I could get my hands on, researched more expensive competitors and tried out every app on the market,” she said.

From there, Sumich developed the initial framing for the application, which involved around 120 detailed notes on where each link would take the user, and what it would look like.

Then, Sumich enlisted Smith to be co-founder and chief marketing officer to market the app and get it out there.

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