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NBC launches a big-deal online workout platform

Radius Fitness
“Heavy Kettle” with Alex Isaly, at right. (Photo: Radius Fitness)

With the launch of Radius Fitness on Tuesday, December 9, NBCUniversal is trying its hand at a new business: helping people get fit at home.

Radius is the latest launch in a booming category, where a fast-multiplying collection of companies are trying to create cool, accessible workout videos that are an upgrade to the traditional exercise DVD. There are streaming websites like Daily Burn and Youtube channels like Lionsgate’s BeFit. Cosmopolitan recently launched CosmoBody, and individual fitness brands are increasingly putting their workouts online, from Barre3 to AKT in Motion.

NBC, however, is the first major television network to come onto the scene in a big, splashy way, with top trainers and smart integration with its TV programming.

“We’re trying to take the explosion of innovation that we see in the industry and take premium fitness and make it available to everyone,” says Nick Lehman, president of Digital, Entertainment, & Digital Networks and Integrated Marketing. “There are fantastic new techniques and approaches and all different ways to make fitness motivating, inspiring, and productive for people.”

One way Radius is attempting to do that is by tapping a debut team of instructors who are highly credentialed and already have star power on big-city fitness scenes, like Cyc Fitness’ Keoni Hudoba and NuFit creator Natalie Uhling from New York and Basheerah Ahmad, who spent time in Los Angeles and is now based in Oklahoma City, and has trained Carrie Underwood, Vivica A. Fox, and Jordin Sparks.

Online workouts
The training team. Clockwise from back left: Basheerah Ahmad, Alex Isaly, Natalie Uhling, Keoni Hudoba, and Nicky Holender. (Photo: Radius Fitness)

Each of the instructors comes with a different approach, too, to ensure that there’s a breadth of options when it comes to workout styles. “We want to make sure there’s a fitness experience and opportunity for everyone,” Lehman says. “Not everyone responds to every trainer.”

Radius currently has about a dozen different workout programs that each come with a few individual videos. For example, if you join Hudoba’s “Venom” program, it queues you up for five workouts in the program, but you can do them whenever you want and can skip around and try other programs without a problem.

Individual sessions are all around half an hour, and the site will make recommendations for you based on a short questionnaire you fill out when you sign up, which includes your choice of goals like “build muscle” or “flatten belly.” More workouts, programs, and trainers will be added throughout the year, Lehman says.

And to be clear, NBC is not treating this as a little side project. From now on, every weekday between 6:00 and 9:00 a.m. on NBC Sports Network, there will be a three-hour block of programming devoted to Radius, including two uninterrupted 30-minute workouts viewers can try at home, in hopes they’ll then be tempted to sign up online. Having a list of cable networks at your disposal definitely has its benefits. —Lisa Elaine Held

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