PETALING JAYA: Ever wanted to take up something exciting like Muay Thai or strength training but never quite knew who or where the best trainers were?
What about desperately wanting to knock off those extra kilos but feeling intimidated by commercial gyms or put off by the inconvenience of joining one?
If you yelled out a frustrating “yes” at all of the above, then the Joompa app, Malaysia’s first ever sports coach concierge service, is just for you.
Joompa founder Benjamin Price, 27, is the brains behind the app, which matches users with freelance personal fitness coaches for strength training, weight loss, yoga and martial arts based on his unique algorithm.
Speaking to FMT about the app, Coach Benny as he is known, said, “I found it very frustrating that marketing yourself online, thanks to Instagram, is booming.
“Anyone and everyone with a good camera can pull off being a fitness guru.”
He also said there were a lot of “phonies” out there, who called themselves instructors without having the proper certification.
Personal training, yoga in particular, he said required “a lot of certification” to become a competent practitioner who could achieve results for those they trained.
To fill that gap in the market, he created the app Joompa, and took to contracting the best of the best at the right price.
“The cheapest package (on Joompa) is a 10-session deal with a beginner coach which is RM60 per hour.
“The price for single sessions with a senior coach can go up to RM200,” he said, adding that the market rate for gym sessions was similar to that of senior Joompa coaches.
How the Joompa app works
With Joompa, users choose their sport, enter their home location, date, time and session duration, then pick a trained coach, pay for the session and tada!… you’re done!
If users don’t have suitable space for a workout or appropriate equipment at home, they can pick the nearest partner gym or fitness centre to sweat it out at – it can even be in a nearby park or a gym at their condominium.
Pretty apt then that the app is called Joompa, a play on words for the Malay term for find, “jumpa”.
Joompa makes working out or trying out a new sport so much more reliable. Before finalising a session on the app, users get to read a personal trainer’s “resume”, complete with their qualifications.
And if you’re still not convinced, then see what their former clients had to say about them in the testimonials section.
Also see how many Joompa sessions coaches have under their belt and only then make your choice.
Joompa’s winning proposition to coaches
Coach Benny, himself a certified trainer, a seasoned martial artist and multi-sportsman with a black belt in Ashihara Karate, is constantly looking out for new coaches to join Joompa.
He said commercial gyms gave commissions as low as 20% to their coaches, whereas Joompa coaches were motivated to deliver a high quality experience and results because they received up to 90% of the session fee charged.
This also means they can carry out far fewer sessions a day than commercial coaches, allowing them time during the day to work with users when they’re not in the gym too.
“We spend time away writing programmes and dating users’ progress. We get into their diets and food nutrition. That’s important too, for achieving goals,” he said.
He’s also built relationships with popular gyms in the city by purchasing sessions in bulk, so his clients receive discounted entry fees with their coaches, included in the lump sum fee for the session.
A bootstrapped business, Joompa is presently enjoying encouraging growth from when it started a year ago, and Coach Benny is optimistic business will escalate in time.
But even if it doesn’t, he’s got his social media pages to spark a difference. He’s already amassed a huge following online, not just on his own pages but Joompa’s.
And who knows, perhaps Joompa will be the first of many more services to get people on their toes and into working out again.
The app, available only on the Apple App Store at present, currently covers the areas of downtown Kuala Lumpur and its immediate westerly suburbs, but fret not – if your area isn’t available on the app you can make requests via Joompa’s Facebook or Instagram pages and Coach Benny will work something out.
Joompa also provides a “manual” service for Android users who don’t have access to the app to ensure they’re able to get on board with the home-coaching experience.
Alternatively, you can visit www.joompa.com.my for more information.