Instructors are crucial, and so is "social"

In a rare interview, Zumba CEO Alberto Perlman puts:

"You’re seeing all these trends from boutiques to Zumba to CrossFit, and everything, because the fitness industry realized that it was about the instructor and it was the consumers who told the fitness industry that."

It's hard to disagree with Mr Perlman's words. The latest fitness phenomenon SoulCycle  promotes instructors at the front and center of their web site, and it's probably the secret sauce of their exponential growth.

SoulCycle's home page. See all the social elements at the front and center.

SoulCycle's home page. See all the social elements at the front and center.

As you can see above, (i) the home page comes with the pictures of some members/trainers (ii) Instructors / Community are two of the most prominent items in not-so-crowded navigation bar. That is not a coincidence. SoulCycle is consciously pushing the social as its main selling point. Instructors are presented as "products" in the Instructors page.

Above all, as a SoulCycle cyclist, you are driven to join more classes with the incentive to unlock digital features that augment your self expression online. For example, this:

Members are encouraged to share these "achievements" on their social profiles on Twitter and Facebook , hence free marketing/publicity and traffic for SoulCycle.

Members are encouraged to share these "achievements" on their social profiles on Twitter and Facebook , hence free marketing/publicity and traffic for SoulCycle.

Zumba and SoulCycle can't be wrong. According to Alberto, the rise of the instructor is "the underlying trend behind everything that is happening" and adds that this might pose a threat to traditional, bare-bones athletic facilities. 

Indeed it is. Bare bones athletic facilities have no other choice than implementing "social" at their core. Instructors are the main objects, but members themselves can also augment the experience, help you spread the word.

GymGroups can help you transform your chain to the 21st century. Contact us for more information.

Join Our Fitness Challenge This Super Bowl Sunday!


Super Bowl Sunday is almost here. And it’s so exciting that the big game is in our very own backyard, minutes away from GymGroups headquarters. The city has already started ramping up for the game and has seen a huge influx of people coming in from all over the United States. 

Have fun eating great food and indulging in delicious beverages with family and friends, while maintaining your healthy lifestyle. Make this year’s Super Bowl party an active one. Join our fitness challenge!

Ringing In the New Year!

As we approach 2016, it is important to look back and remember all the good times and the bad, taking the knowledge we gained with us into the New Year. Start fresh this 2016 with some resolutions. Here is a list of 10 resolutions that will keep you healthy and fit all year long.

  1. Get a gym membership if you don't already have one
  2. Increase the frequency of your workouts
  3. Increase the duration of your workouts
  4. Create a workout regimen and stick to it
  5. Try a new exercise or sport
  6. Reduce consumption of processed foods
  7. Eat more fruits and vegetables
  8. Manage Stress
  9. Get 8 hours of sleep every night
  10. Set time aside to focus on yourself

Happy Holidays!

The holidays are a time for giving and for spending time with family. Remember to also stay active, getting a head start on those New Years resolutions. Here is a list of 10 family activities that will get your heart pumping this holiday season. And don't worry about what your climate is like; We have you covered. 

  1. Outdoor Sports. Skiing, snowboarding, sledding
  2. Ice-skating/Ice Hockey. Either indoor or outdoor
  3. Play in the Snow. Snowball fights, make a snowman
  4. Go Hiking.
  5. Beach Sports. Surfing, swimming, volleyball
  6. Workout at a Gym. With machines, group exercise
  7. Workout at Home.
  8. Active Video Games. Wii Sports
  9. Have a Dance Party
  10. Play Games Near the Fire.

And eat some holiday treats, because you deserve it!

Celebrating the Launch of GymGroups

The transition from GROU.PS to GymGroups has been a monumental step for the company. 

We held an exclusive dinner at Paragon Restaurant in San Francisco with select individuals from the press and the gym management community to celebrate the launch of our new product, GymGroups. We saw some familiar faces and got to meet some new ones as well. 

Great food, great drinks, and great company! We could not have asked for a better night.


GROU.PS- GymGroups Transition

Today is a special day. For a tech company, 9 years is a long time. In 9 years, GROU.PS has become a profitable business, a leading private social networking company, and most importantly (for me and my colleagues) a fun place to innovate in social networking (and perhaps one of the only few remaining alive and independent).

Having fun is not the main factor in running a business, particularly when you have stakeholders waiting for increased shareholder value. At, as the CEO, I’m fortunate to have very patient backers , yet I don’t lose sight of my fiduciary duties. Therefore, I have decided to make certain drastic changes to our business.

  1. We will focus all our time and resources into our most active vertical: health & fitness. Not only has the lifetime value of health & fitness communities always been high, with churn being an important metric in all SaaS businesses, but now the company can better cater to the needs of this segment, and apply a more reasonable pricing structure across the board.
  2. We will not leave anybody behind. All our existing customers will be supported uninterruptedly and forever. Global brands like Nikon, chapters of phenomenal TEDx events, and regional giants like Arcelik continue to trust our platform.

Yet, some of our context/group focused social networking experimentations will be shelved:

  • Babyzilla: A mobile social network experiment for families will be discontinued. It was a great way for us to experiment with Facebook’s then-nascent advertising platform and it was our first foray into mobile. (Turns out HTML 5 wasn’t the best choice. Hence we’ve switched to native apps with GymGroups).
  • Altay-OS: Our group/social focused mobile operating system concept. The code will reside in our repositories but we won’t touch it for a foreseeable future.
  • Kontextful: Our browser plugin (written in hack language) is to determine the social context of a web page. Patents are filed, but the product will remain in private beta for a foreseeable future.

On this note, I want to thank tens of thousands of customers we’ve had, most of them we’re still serving and will continue to do so, the 350,000+ online communities that have been built on our platform, and all the 13,000,000 people registered on these groups. With this expertise and focus, we have a vision to reach an even greater number of people, 150 million gym-goers worldwide.


Long live GymGroups,

Emre Sokullu, Founder and CEO of GymGroups


Getting Fit at The Europa Games Expo

Thousands of fitness professionals and enthusiasts congregated at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, on May 1st through the 2nd for the Europa Games Get Fit & Sports Expo. The weekend consisted of bodybuilding, power-lifting, martial arts, dance, contests, obstacle courses, a vendor expo, and several other exhilarating events. The Games Expo takes place in different locations in the United States throughout the year. We were lucky enough to be exhibiting at the Orlando event. The gorgeous sunshine and clear skies along with the stimulating events, made for a truly sizzling weekend.

Exhibiting at The Europa Games Expo this year was an incredible and fruitful experience. It was great getting GymGroups recognized by thousands of health and fitness professionals and active gym goers. The Expo tapped directly into our consumer market, which gave us the perfect stage to showcase our social networking platform.

Lou Ferrigno endorsing GymGroups

We had the added pleasure of hosting Lou Ferrigno at our booth. The line to meet the quite literally "Incredible Hulk" was unfathomable. He was a great sport, taking photos with the event attendees, signing autographs, and endorsing the GymGroups platform. Thank you Lou, for stopping by!

Post-event blues take time to shake, just like the endorphins you get after a rousing workout. We would like to thank Europa for putting on a great Expo as well as promoting us on their social media pages. We look forward to exhibiting again next year!


May the fourth be with you,

The GymGroups Team


We are hiring...

As part of our growing needs in mobile, we're looking to hire senior mobile engineers with endless curiosity and interest in health & fitness in their daily lives.

As a mobile engineer, you will be working on our existing QT based mobile stack and be responsible of developing in C++ to respond to our growing number of product requirements. Since the mobile client works hand in hand with our server stack  (which is coded in PHP), familiarity with PHP, as well as Git and Linux are major pluses.

What we’re looking for

  • Product-driven pragmatic engineers, who love to work in small startup environments.
  • 3+ years experience with QT and C++
  • 3+ years experience with PHP
  • Familiarity with Java and Objective C (Android and iOS development)
  • Strong command of Linux and Git
  • Experience with REST APIs
  • Love of open source, social networking.

If that sounds like the right the opportunity for you, please shoot us an email at

To stay up to date with our job openings, keep an eye on our Twitter account and Careers Page.