Yesterday I was disappointed to read that Fitocracy had launched a merch store. If you don’t know what Fitocracy is, they are a mobile application that enables you to track your workouts and share them with friends and other members of the Fitocracy community. As someone who works out multiple times a week, I found the product to be fairly enjoyable and useful for tracking my workouts.

However I’m somewhat dumbfounded by the launch of the company’s “merch store”. The launch of a merchandise store, and the subsequent press announcement of it, suggests to me that the company hasn’t yet found a successful business model. The result is that they are now trying to sell t-shirts to pay the bills.

Hilariously, some of their shirts have the statement “Ask me about Fitocracy”. So let me get this straight. You want me to pay $30 to get a t-shirt that is nothing more than a promotion of your company? You also want your customers to purchase standard American Apparel t-shirts? Perhaps the company had users begging for clothing, but I doubt it.

The Business Potential

I’ll give the team at Fitocracy a break here. They’re trying to come up with clever business models. Rather than just berate them in an article, I figured I’d share what I think is the greatest opportunity for growth. Over the past few weeks I have been trying out the p90x exercise program. It’s a comprehensive workout program that makes you sweat. I’ve also been using Fitocracy to keep track of my progress during the program.

The problem is that I have to manually add each exercise, and many times the names of the exercises used in the p90x program are trademarked versions of existing exercises making them difficult to find (if they even exist). For many of the days I’ve skipped entering the exercise because it’s a yoga program or non-weight related exercises that are not listed within the Fitocracy application.

Regardless of whether or not you know the details of how the Fitocracy application works, all you need to know is that they are targeting the market that already exercises. Anybody who exercises regularly knows that repeating the same routine over and over can get boring. That’s one of the reasons Men’s Health and other fitness magazines have a business. They provide readers with new workout routines to use at the gym.

Fitocracy doesn’t provide users with an easy way of creating or sharing their routines. While you can follow people and see their workout routine, there’s no effective directory of routines to browse through. Which is the most obvious business model for the company. Whether it’s charging for routines or providing sponsored routines, Fitocracy could become a directory or marketplace of workout routines.

I’ll easily pay $0.99 if not more to add a routine to my inventory. Manually entering every exercise is simply too time consuming. This is why apps like Gorilla Workout have been so successful: they require no effort of picking out exercises. The bottom line: Fitocracy needs to add some way of saving, buying, or selling workout routines.