“Starting a business is hard! You just have to believe in your mission with all your heart, want to succeed more than you’ve ever imagined, and stay inspired for the long haul.”
Meet Megan Smyth, the Co-Founder and CEO of FitReserve, the company that allows you to mix-and-match workouts across studios and classes. FitReserve currently operates in the biggest cities in the United States: Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Miami, Dallas, Seattle, San Diego, Tampa, Charlotte, Denver, and Washington DC. The FitReserve pass gives you access to thousands of different classes in hundreds of different locations around these big cities.
Megan is an avid runner and dedicated gym rat. After getting her MBA from Wharton, she spent over a decade in the corporate world, ranging from public and investor relations to equity research and investment banking.
Then, entrepreneurship called her name — she co-founded and launched GoRecess, the first national fitness class aggregator. This was later relaunched as FitReserve, a multi-studio fitness subscription that allows you to mix and match in-person, live stream and on-demand classes from the top studios, gyms and instructors.
In March of 2022, FitReserve was acquired in March 2022 by Trustmark, a national employee benefits provider. As part of Trustmark, FitReserve will grow both its direct-to-consumer membership base as well as offer business-to-business fitness network options that complement the broad wellness and fitness solutions from HealthFitness.
Tell us a bit about your company
FitReserve is a multi-studio fitness membership that allows you to mix and match in-person, live-stream, and on-demand workouts from the premier studios, gyms, and instructors. Now available in 15 markets across the U.S., FitReserve provides centralized access to thousands of monthly classes from local studios at up to 50 percent off retail prices and hundreds of pre-recorded workouts, with one all-access membership.
What inspired you to start your business — what opportunity in the market are you seeking to address?
Our mission is to simplify your active life by delivering the best experiences in one place to make fitness more convenient, motivating, and affordable. We created FitReserve to fill a void in the market: access to all classes at premier fitness studios and gyms, while enabling members to mix and match workouts to beat workout boredom and create a routine that fits their lifestyle. Additionally, FitReserve serves as an effective marketing platform for studios and gyms to attract new customers and earn incremental revenue.
What is it about your personal background, experience, or perspective that fuels your passion for this venture?
As a fitness-class enthusiast and marathon runner, I started FitReserve to combine my passion for entrepreneurship and fitness, while inspiring others to live healthier, more active lives. In addition, with nearly a decade of investment banking and venture capital experience, I advised dozens of entrepreneurs who created new businesses that impacted thousands and even millions of lives. Inspired by their founder stories, I wanted a seat on their side of the table.
What are one or two of the biggest wins or most encouraging experiences you’ve had so far?
In March 2022, we were acquired by national employee-benefits provider Trustmark. This acquisition has accelerated the growth of our gym and studio network (now available in 15 major markets and rapidly expanding). Additionally, the acquisition enabled our expansion into the corporate market to complement the fitness and wellness solutions from HealthFitness, a Trustmark subsidiary that serves a network of over five million employees. I have always wanted to expand into the employer market and I am thrilled that FitReserve is now available to a larger audience so we can inspire more active lifestyles.
What has been one or two of your biggest learnings so far?
Starting a business is hard! I think many people get frustrated with their jobs and think working for yourself or starting a new business is glamorous or just easier than the daily grind. Even after working nearly a decade in investment banking, which many people would agree can be challenging, I can confidently say that starting your own business can be so much more difficult and stressful. The uncertainties are inevitable, the hours are much longer, and the pay is a lot less. However, it is also incredibly rewarding to create something new that has a positive impact on others. You just have to believe in your mission with all your heart, want to succeed more than you’ve ever imagined, and stay inspired for the long haul.
What is an obstacle that you are grappling with as you continue to build this venture?
As a result of the pandemic, tens of thousands of studios and gyms — many of which were FitReserve partners — were forced to close. As a result, we entered a period of rebuilding to re-establish our network of fitness providers and introduce new studios and gyms to our services. While this effort is ongoing, I am excited to share that we just announced our expansion to 10 more U.S. markets, adding hundreds of new premier fitness studios and gyms, with many more to be announced soon.
What surprises have you encountered as an entrepreneur? Something out of left field?
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted all aspects of our business and was certainly not a challenge we had anticipated. We never imagined a day when all of our studio and gym partners would be required to halt operations, resulting in a 100% loss of revenue overnight. We pivoted quickly to launch FitReserve Anywhere, a monthly subscription service that allowed members to choose from thousands of live fitness classes streamed daily and hundreds of on-demand workouts. We also kept our costs extremely low which allowed us to weather the many months of shutdowns. These strategic actions enabled us to not only stay in business during this uncertain time, but also paved the way for our 2022 acquisition by Trustmark.
What has been the most rewarding thing about starting your own business?
Hearing from our customers! We receive messages from members who hated working out and now love going to fitness classes, as well as stories about weight-loss success, meeting new friends in classes, and many other life-changing experiences. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing that you’ve had a positive impact on your customers’ health and happiness — at the end of the day, that’s what really matters.