Mark Milburn

5 Things We Learned from Launching an Online Fitness Platform

July 7, 2020

In March of 2020 the Peeled Media team partnered up with a local fitness company, MVMT ACADEMY, to launch an online live-streaming 30 Day fitness platform to support people, and families who were required to social distance and isolate. Recognizing the opportunity that existed to not only provide high quality content, but to also support other local small business and trainers, the MVMT CHALLENGE went live to 1500 users on April 12.
It was exactly what we needed to get though this incredibly difficult time together. We created a new bond, we were addicted to the daily announcement videos and just loved working out and meeting the new trainers online, all in the comfort of our own homes.

When Covid hit and the film/ commercial industry came to a stand still, the Peeled Media team decided to pivot and anchor our strengths in something we knew really well. Fitness! Considering that both Mark Milburn, a form elite level athlete and gym owner, and Michael Decker, former elite hockey player and personal trainer, had a strong grasp on this world, we knew that with the right partnership we could make something really great.


It was a 30 day online live-streaming fitness platform built on a 3rd party platform out of Washington, DC. We adapted our business model to their platform and released daily announcement videos to our users explaining what was to come. Each day the users could log on to the platform and join 3 live streamed coached sessions. Should they miss the livestream, the videos would be saved to the platform to be viewed at any time.


Truth be told, it was substantially more work than we ever imagined.  But, it was so worth it! Each week we were able to build upon the previous one by implementing strict social media protocols designed to harness the community and their involvement. As the platform evolved, live chat was introduced as well as weekly update videos congratulating the participants on their success. The trainers and admin team became very involved in the goal of helping the maximum amount of people make it to the finish line.


A lot!!! But let's keep it to 5 things:

1. One supporting local wasn’t that important

When we first launched we relied heavily on the "Support Local" angle, thinking that community would mean the world to everyone. What we learned, real quick from over $10,000 in ad spend was that any ad, or mention of support local really landed on deaf ears.

Instead, what seemed to really hit home was the message of self empowerment, self investment and the ability to belong to something, regardless of where they were located.

2. You can make people feel like they are a part of some thing and belong digitally

This one truly blew me away. There are many platforms that allows us to converse with each other and see each other, like Zoom ad FaceTime, but unfortunately our platform was one directional meaning, the user could see us, but we couldn't see them. At first we figured this would be a huge detriment, but it actually worked out in our favour. Users could leave comments on the live chat and our coaches could read them and call them out. We could also see who was in the virtual class and once again call them out, comment on them and even share specific feedback to them.

The response, people really felt like they belonged to something. Between our Facebook group and the live-streaming workouts we were able to harness the value of belonging and bridge the digital gap.

3. There are communities within communities and you need to foster them but can do so indirectly

This brings me back to the Facebook group. One of the trickiest parts is accountability. In a physical class you can ensure people are actually there, but virtually, there is really no way, cheaply, to ensure people are a) present and b) participating. Of course we could build out an app that would sync heart rate monitors with check-in markers etc but in the tight timeframe we needed to figure out a better solution. Hence, the Facebook group.

This worked great at first with people really engaging and leaving comments but this also required us to have a lot man power to ensure each voice was heard. Then, something magical happened. Natural leaders starting popping up in the community - we called them our heroes. These people had fallen in love with that platform, with the training and with the community and really wanted others to feel as good as they did.

Lesson here... do everything you can to find and support these people as they will keep your group alive and breathing. But this also comes with a warning. More to come on this.

4. Sometimes scaling a business just requires more money and not necessarily more infrastructure

Many businesses have a ceiling, such a gyms with a floor space to person ratio, or a restaurant with its kitchens ability to produce so much food per sq.ft. Whats great about a Digital gym, there really isn't a ceiling. You can have as many subscribers as you want as long as you build in systems to support the micro-communities that will pop up and the ability to support your customers should they have any needs.

For the MVMT CHALLENGE, the only thing we actually needed to be able to scale and grow the business was capital with 90% of it being directly invested into making noise. Ie, advertising, marketing and in your face awareness of its existence.

We weren't limited by a footprint, the equipment needed to showcase the workouts was basic and aside from a good internet connection the ceiling was infinite.

5. Peoples expectations of themselves are much lower than what they can truly accomplish

This is more of a marketing take-away than anything. Most people seem to have a much lesser expectation of themselves and a very low confined level in their abilities. Each day we received messages of people exclaiming how they couldn't believe they achieved the feats of that days workouts, or that they could make it from one day to the next.

I think this is something we can truly harness in our marketing messaging and also as companies.  Let's build products and services that challenge the user but reinforce their potential. Let's educate non-stop and give them a community to connect with and feel safe in.

The MVMT CHALLENGE was a digital success and it brings me a ton of pride knowing we were able to have such a profound impact on so many. It was very much something for me personally to sink my teeth in during the Covid shutdown and I am grateful for all I learned. I could truly write an entire book about it, but just don't have the time.

If you have any questions or want to learn more please don't hesitate to reach out.

Till next time,


#marketing #onlinefitness #video #creativity #workout #health #production #strategy