With 12 years of experience in the healthcare industry, Chris Daskam has certainly established himself as an accomplished leader. However, as a college soccer player, black belt in karate, and three-time Tough Mudder participant, he has recently chosen to pursue his passion in the fitness space. His current full-time career as a top-producing, sales leader has taught him the traits he needs to start a new business.
Switching from a physical therapy major in college to a degree in business and marketing has its advantages to assisting a start-up company as well. He has combined his background to create the first mobile platform for home gym owner’s to host their own gym sessions and get paid for it.
AirGym could also be known as the fitness version of Airbnb, and Daskam intends to break the mold of traditional gyms. AirGym allows users to search and schedule workouts at local home gyms, giving fitness lovers the option to workout just about anywhere they want. It’s major purpose, Daskam says, “is to connect like-minded individuals and allow them to sweat together.”
Along with working full-time, creating and managing the AirGym app, Daskam hosts his own podcast and produces the social media content available to owners, members, trainers and suppliers alike. He resides in Thompson Station with his family, just south of Franklin.
“AirGym is designed for home gym owners to make some money and host athletes, but it also allows members to get a workout in at their convenience and experience a setting different from their regular gym.” It could very well be used in place of a traditional membership, as it holds some comparisons to things like Class Pass while supporting local trainers and regular people that have created their own garage gyms.
The app is a platform for home gyms of any type and is filtered by the type of workout you want to do. Whether it is yoga, martial arts, strength training, garage gym CrossFitters, or simply someone looking for a running partner to meet at the track, it is a way for people to share space and not have to work out alone.
While there are only currently 39 trainers signed up across the country, the app gives them an opportunity to supplement their income while giving the everyday home gym owner the opportunity to make some money back.
Similar to the option on Airbnb for entire places or private rooms, AirGym supplies the option for both home gyms and commercial properties. Daskam says, “We aren’t as uncomfortable to meet new people as we used to be. People are willing to step outside their comfort zones now.” Wondering if people would overcome their fear of trying new things was a large concern, Daskam admits, but he has high hopes that people will continue to jump onboard. “I think people will find that there are others out there who care just as much as they do about getting health,” he explains. In turn, those experiences through the AirGym app, build the surrounding community. Especially since each user has the option to leave a review.
Daskam says the idea came about because his neighbor had a garage gym. “They invited me to come workout, and to this day, it was the best workout I’ve ever had,” he admits. Because of the experience, he says, “This light bulb went off and I thought, ‘Man, I would pay you to workout here.’”
“I wanted to create an app that allowed people to have a similar experience. Whether it is in a neighbor’s garage, an outdoor park, or a home gym, the purpose of AirGym is to create networking opportunities and friendships between like-minded people. It can used by anyone – the couple down the street, people on vacation or business trips, or someone looking for a quick sweat on their lunch break. The schedule and the membership combinations are unlimited. “It’s a chance to get to know a different community or enhance your own,” Daskam says. AirGym supports people that want to get in good workouts, save time, and save money. “It made sense for me to create something I would personally use too,” he adds.
Once the idea for AirGym came to Daskam, he says, “I started doing research on home-gym sharing apps and there was nothing out there. Basically, all research found the market to be fairly open.” What he also discovered was a collection of category data telling him the fitness industry is growing and will continue to grow. Daskam put together data that eventually showed him where the money in the market was going.
Surprisingly, he explains, “Many equipment companies direct their advertising to home gyms.” This makes sense when you consider companies like Rogue who are offering lifetime warranties. Facilities order equipment and pay to have that product repaired, but how often are they actually upgrading or purchasing new machines? The market branches out instead of going to the same clients. Now more than ever, companies are outsourcing the same equipment you find at the facility where you pay a membership to homes around the world. The home-gym market is not only expanding, but becoming a contender in the domain of “health clubs”. This is why Daskam’s findings (and his app) could potentially reshape the business of fitness.
Personally, Daskam is no stranger to trying something new. His personal history with fitness went from watching his father be active, to playing sports as a kid and tennager, to focused and intended for a higher level of play in college. However, things really changed for him when he found a specific engagement for extreme sports. Although he knew these interests were risky, he says, “My parents still supported me. They supported the notion of putting myself out there.
His risk has rewarded him with rapid growth though. At the time of this interview, AirGym had received six thousand downloads in the last two weeks alone. In an effort to potentially create a full circle health and fitness venue, Daskam hopes to one day add programming and nutrition, allowing users to have a more personal experience. This could open the app up to health coaches, nutritionists and dietitians.
Daskam encourages, “Download the app, go sweat with someone you’ve never met and I promise you will learn something new about yourself and your community.”
“There are a million ways to get healthy,” Daskam continues. When you share that one-in-a-million experience with someone else, there is a special connection. Not just for the individual, but for your overall health. We know wellness is not limited to physical capabilities, and although the character building aspect that AirGym offers may not have been Daskam’s number one priority, it comes from a genuine place. He confesses that he truly loves helping people and says, “I want to prove that we don’t have to continue the same routine just because it is what we have always done. I don’t want people to be afraid of change. Trying something new and different will always have its benefits.”