Health and fitness at your fingertips

HealthifyMe covers workout plans, health advice by online nutritionists, personal trainers and Ria

by LYDIA NATHAN / source: HealthyfiMe

HEALTHIFYME, India’s largest health and fitness app, has moved into the digital space using artificial intelligence (AI) to create a health and fitness platform that provides personalised solutions to help users achieve different body goals.

The company was launched in Malaysia in 2018, and it immediately saw growth in the user base, which now stands at 400,000 users with more than 40 dieticians and personal trainers in the country.

Founder and CEO Tushar Vashisht (picture) said despite the current market offering a gargantuan amount of fitness and health apps, he saw opportunities for HealthifyMe and created the world’s first AI conversationalist nutritionist, Ria.

“We wanted to have a holistic approach to health and wellness, as most apps only focus on one aspect of health like a fitness tracker or diet tips.

“HealthifyMe covers workout plans, health advice by online nutritionists, personal trainers and Ria.

“The personalised meal plans include more than 10,000 local foods and their calories, like laksa, dim sum, clay pot rice and ais kacang,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) recently.

Other than personalised programmes, live workouts and calorie trackers, the app also features immunity assessment tests, while users can join and participate in groups curated by dieticians for those with similar interests.

Beginnings

According to Tushar, there were two defining moments that led to the creation of the app, which included his weight journey and an experiment that led to the success of the app.

Upon returning to India after working abroad in 2010, he realised he had gained weight and his health levels were not great.

“Once I returned, I forced myself to get by on a low food budget of mostly Indian meals and lost some weight, but it was challenging as I didn’t know what the nutrition value of an Indian diet was.

“During that time, I realised that there was no comprehensive database of calorie values for Indian food. I started compiling a sheet of foods and its calorie values to build software with a vision to help Indians become healthier and fitter using online tools,” he said.

In 2011, Tushar embarked on a poverty experiment starting with a monthly budget of 100 rupees (RM6), followed by 32 rupees which were living on the poverty line.

“The experience humbled me as it made me realise that there was a strong link between poverty and innovation. I also came to realise a growing number of people are actually overeating.

“And this is how HealthifyMe was created as a software and released in 2012. Eight years later, we are one of Asia’s largest and fastest-growing healthcare apps with over 20 million downloads worldwide and we have expanded to South-East Asia,” Tushar said.

The company raised RM121.1 million since its launch and its services are currently available in Malaysia, India and Singapore.

Health During Covid-19

Tushar said as a company, there was a month-on-month growth of 10% in terms of revenue over this year especially during the Movement Control Order (MCO).

“We saw a 30% organic surge in user traffic, engagement and retention amid the MCO over the last few months, as gyms and fitness centres closed and more people began exercising at home,” he said.

To cater to the growing demand, HealthifyStudio was launched, aiming to teach users how to do home-based workouts through live sessions with trainers.

“We now have 50 daily classes conducted by trainers from all over the world — including sessions on strength conditioning, yoga, dance fitness and classes catered to senior citizens and children.”

“We also introduced features to help users improve their immunity and adopt a healthy lifestyle. They include free immunity assessment tests and trackers for sleep and handwashing, which are habits that affect one’s immunity system.

“Users who achieved a low immunity score are offered a free consultation session with a HealthifyMe coach,” Tushar added.

Future Plans

Tushar said one of the main strategies for the brand is to remain relevant in the industry while driving continuous innovation to establish itself as the market leader in consumer health.

“We are likely to have more than 50 million users doing north of RM199 million run rate,” Tushar said.

He said the company is expected to continue offering highly localised and curated experiences to users in every market the platform expands into.

“We are looking to launch in Indonesia, Australia and the Middle East within the next two years. After that, we will be looking at Western markets such as the UK, the US and Canada.

“We will also look at hiring more locally based trainers and nutritionists,” he said.

Specifically, for Malaysia and Singapore, Tushar said the platform will target to quadruple its user base from the current 500,000 users to two million in two years.

“We plan to employ 150 dieticians and personal trainers in the region by 2022. We are also looking at corporate partnerships with companies including doctor subscriptions and other mental wellness initiatives soon.

“As a part of our long-term goal, we are looking to form partnerships with insurance companies and testing labs to increase offerings to the users,” he said.