Workouts Meet Social Media with Training Mobs

  • Photo by Sebastien Lafleche

  • Photo by Reagan Alexander

It’s not every day that you hear about two young men leaving high-paying jobs by choice, but for fitness entrepreneurs David Sciacca and Jonas Caruana, their jobs were merely an obstacle in their quest to answer the million-dollar question:

“Why is it so difficult to find an awesome workout, wherever you are, at a convenient time, in a convenient place?”

Sciacca and Caruana are the founders and operators of the rapidly growing fitness company Training Mobs, an online social fitness community that helps people find, plan and share workouts with the goal of motivating its members to be active on a regular basis.

The program was the result of a problem Sciacca was dealing with himself.

“After graduating from Concordia I become an investment banker, and Jonas had taken a job in London as a management consultant,” said Sciacca. “I had grown up always working out and playing sports, and I began to realize that finding great workouts to do with friends, while having a professional career, was hard to do.

“Accomplishing this was annoyingly difficult and excessively complicated.”

And that’s when it clicked.

Sciacca and Caruana left the jobs they were no longer passionate about, and Training Mobs was born in January 2011. They haven’t looked back since. It’s a fairly simple concept, but an incredibly useful tool for workout-buffs.

Interested users sign up on the website for free, giving the user access to a vast variety of “mobs,” the term used to describe group workouts. The mobs can be filtered by type, date, place and people attending, allowing the user to narrow down the search to workouts or classes they are interested in.

When the user finds a mob that they like and that fits in their scheduled, they can RSVP to the mob, letting the community know they are attending; similar to a Facebook event but specifically for workouts.

Training Mobs’ success is owed to the extensive work and research done by Sciacca and his team.

“The kicker to this is that we go out and partner with gyms, studios, and personal trainers,” he said. “We realized that people who want to go work out want variety, they want to try different things, so we give them the opportunity to try high-quality workouts classes, at better rates than they would get if they simply dropped-in at a gym or studio.”

The website is also a comparison platform of sorts; the idea is to also make the search for classes easier for people trying to get information on the web. A person may be looking to compare CrossFit workout options in Montreal, and Training Mobs allows users to see all their options in one place as opposed to having to research multiple places that offer CrossFit workouts, while allowing users to sign up and register for classes directly from the Training Mobs website.

It also gives users the chance to see what other members thought about a certain gym or a class they took.

Sciacca also opens his door to young journalists, who he takes on as interns and has them review and rate gyms, studios and classes around the city to provide Training Mobs members with an even greater scope of the city’s fitness landscape.

Despite only being founded 18 months ago, Training Mobs already consists of over 10,000 members and continues to grow—exactly what Sciacca, Caruana and the latest member of the team, Steve Rodrigue, were hoping for.

“The intention was never to be just a Montreal-based company,” said Sciacca, “We want to expand [Training Mobs], because we recognize that people travel and people still want to get access to a good workout even when they are away from home.”

Ultimately, Sciacca views Training Mobs as more than just a fitness company, but rather a way for him and his team to have a positive and healthy impact on people’s lives.

“The best part so far has been seeing the impact we’ve had on people who have participated,” he said. “Getting off the couch is difficult, and the stats show that-only 16 per cent of Canadians have gym memberships, and only half of that 16 per cent actually end up going to the gym. We’ve met a lot of people who’ve joined our community and have finally been able to make that commitment to come work out and significantly improve their fitness levels.”

“We’ve got stories of people wanting to lose weight and successfully doing so with us, or people progressing from wanting to complete their first marathon to wanting to finish it in under 4 hours. Seeing that level of commitment and the level of camaraderie amongst the members has definitely been amazing.”

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