I remember enthusiastically scrolling through endless classes on the KFit app once. Within a couple of minutes of scrolling, I soon realised that fitness could fall across several categories, and ice skating was even considered a workout as well. I thought to myself that that was a smart idea by KFit to introduce activities which would exert sweat but may not necessarily be seen as a full-on workout.
In fact, for those who aren’t particularly interested in attending dance classes or heading for a kickboxing session, they could still opt for something which would challenge them physically nonetheless. After all, 1 hour of intense ice skating could burn more than 500 calories for an individual who weighs around 58kg.
As Malaysians are one of the most overweight population in South East Asia, it made sense for a local startup to revolutionise the fitness culture in our country. And it did. It grew to not only serve Malaysians, but across places like Sydney, Hong Kong and Manila as well. According to the KFit website, to date, close to 300,000 people have joined KFit.
They got unlimited classes for a mere RM99 per month and it was a small sum to pay for health. That was until recently when KFit changed their subscription plan and now offered 10 classes for RM99. Naturally, paying users were upset. They got a chance to see what it was like to really test themselves physically with a minimal sum of money. Now, workouts are dwindled down and they still have to pay the same amount.
Straight From The Horse’s Mouth
Some KFit users were pretty vocal about their dissatisfaction about the change, as noticed from the Google Play Store app reviews and KFit Facebook page. However, there is another party that has yet to voice their concerns and opinions—the partner gyms and fitness centres on KFit. As such, we reached out to a few of them to find out what they thought about the new subscription plan and how it affects them—for better or worse.
Obviously, that would be the ideal plan to win some and earn some, but a gym owner from the Klang Valley region begs to differ. She shared, “It depends on if we as studio owners receive more per student. If we earn the same, which is already quite low, then it doesn’t make much of a difference to me because I have no choice in the matter.
All the plan does is give us exposure but with the low amount we earn through KFit, we don’t have enough to pay our teachers, no matter what the plan. Again, it doesn’t matter the subscription plan—it’s a win for KFit and a win for the members only, and it is a loss for the independent studio owners.”
As a result of this, the studio owner had to make a decision to offer their less popular classes to KFitters because they understood that the subscription plans are affordable for the members. “I don’t want to close the doors on them just because they can’t pay. What we earn from KFit is good enough for tips but doesn’t part the bills in the long run,” the studio owner remarked.
A Battle For Fitness
Not only that, the gym owners also fought their share of battles with KFit because they experienced a slight drop in their bookings of classes. Satish, a trainer at Afterburn Studio shared with Vulcan Post, “We are aware of KFit’s new plan and here are some of our thoughts. It’s still a pretty good deal—10 classes for RM99, but old KFit members that are doing more than 10 classes a month would not be very happy with the new plan.”
In fact, Satish’s hope is for KFit to revert back to their old subscription plan. “As for now, we do feel a slight drop in our bookings. It will be great if KFit can revert back to their old system, and I highly recommend the unlimited classes as this will make KFit stand out from their competitors, if there are any. But as a trainer myself, I would encourage one to exercise 3 to 4 times a week minimum and KFit’s 10 session a month does not compliment that,” he said.
Ideally, a person should workout more than 10 times a month and if KFit had been their only option, then they would not be exercising as much as they would need to. It would defeat the initial purpose of KFit which is “an affordable monthly pass that gives you all you need to build the new fit you”. If change in one’s physique and health takes time, it would probably now take a longer time with KFit’s new subscription plan.
Pay More, Value More
In spite of all of this, Felix, the Badger Boss at Honey Badgers coaching facility agrees with KFit’s new business move. He told Vulcan Post that it’s much fairer to the gyms and the fitness centres, especially since some of the sessions require personal attention, and that should be placed at a higher value instead of a lower one.
Honey Badgers is a coaching facility whereby coaches are at hand to assess their clients and this requires more effort on their part as opposed to a regular gym whereby users require just their own sheer will alone to utilise a mountain bike or a treadmill.
Felix also mentioned that with a limited pass, users tend to be more careful about how they would spend the 10 passes. If they really did enjoy their services with a gym, then they would be more inclined to sign up with them. He added that placing too low a price to a gym and fitness service makes it seem like it’s of no value to the users and that shortchanges the partners. In general, he agreed that the move is more beneficial for partners, and that members should be paying more to show that they value the services provided.
Revenue In The Long Run
At the end of the day, KFit is doing their job in marketing a gym or fitness facility by listing them on the platform. Some marketing is better than no marketing and it is beneficial for these centres. However, it is also a task for gyms to retain their customers as that is where the income lies.
When users sign up for a package after they have given the classes a go via KFit, the gyms will see the reaping of the benefits. Otherwise, it would have been a futile effort on their part in terms of gaining more consumers and revenue. After all, just as workouts only show results over a long period of time, gym and fitness centres too rake in the cash when users sign up for packages, and not just attend one single class alone.