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Photo: Victoria Matthews

Bethany C. Meyers is basically the manic-pixie dream girl of fitness, and I’m here for her whole vibe. (Try, I dare you, to spend three minutes on her Instagram without breaking into a smile.) The fact that she oozes BDE could explain why she’s one of New York City’s star trainers with a cult following.

People can’t seem to get enough of her personal brand of “come-as-you-are” body positivity. And after years of helping other brands expand the boutique fitness bubble, Meyers has founded the be.come project, which launches its eponymous workout app today.

The fact that Meyers oozes BDE could explain why she’s one of New York City’s star trainers with a cult following.

On a rare rainy morning in Los Angeles, I meet my internet crush to chat about her evolution to exercise maven and inclusivity advocate. “I never thought in a million years I’d be working in fitness,” Meyers tells me straight off the bat. (She started her career in PR before quickly becoming disillusioned by the 9-to-5 grind.) In a hero move, Meyers quit her job and completed a teacher-training program in the Lagree Method, eventually becoming a Megaformer master instructor at SLT, where her high-energy classes were frequently waitlist-only events. Buoyed by her growing fanbase, she left SLT to become a fitness free agent and started teaching her own mat-based, body resistance workouts at buzzy exercise spaces in NYC like Bandier’s Studio B.

In the midst of this all, a 15-second video clip of Meyers demonstrating a series of moves she’d choreographed for one of her classes went viral on Instagram. Subsequent clips were equally well received, as was Meyers’ messaging. “It hit me that what we need is more vulnerability,” she recalls. The bare-it-all, share-your-struggles approach which resulted, she says, gained her the exceptionally supportive social community she feels lucky to have today. And to better serve them, she hatched her app plan. This past spring, Meyers beta tested be.come by offering people monthly memberships to her at-home workouts for $25—and quickly tripled her initial goal in sales. She raised enough revenue through the social experiment to fund her fitness app without bringing on investors.

The resultant app is as stripped down as Meyers herself, who frequently demos moves in her underwear. (“I don’t take off clothes to do my Instagram stories; that’s just what I’m sitting around in,” she says.) Each week, she’ll release a new 25-minute total-body workout routine designed for all levels and…that’s it—there won’t be archives or a library. Meyers insisted on this for a host of reasons, not the least of which is that it allows her to have better control over what her clients are doing. “If someone is telling me their hip is feeling tight, I should be able to pinpoint where it is that they’re making the mistake because I know in the set of 25 minutes what moves we’re doing,” she says. Plus, by only offering one workout per week clients will be able to measure their progress daily, she adds. To be clear though, for Meyers, taking stalk of your success isn’t about how you look after doing her workouts, but rather how you feel.

That stance has found universal appeal amongst her audience, which Meyers taps to appear in her marketing and videos. For example, she tells me she found models for be.come’s first official photoshoot by holding an open casting call, recruiting be.come beta clients of all sizes, shapes, and ethnicities to pose…in their skivvies. “It was such a phenomenal day, watching [the models] through the process of getting [to the studio], getting into their underwear, having a moment of feeling uncomfortable, and then starting to feel good and cheering each other on,” she says. “I’ve gotten so many emails from people being like ‘I just decided I was going to [workout in my underwear], and by the end of it I was crying and kissing my shoulder’…. just these really emotional takes on what people have experienced.”

“I just think it’s so important for people to be able to see themselves represented.”

If these images, which Meyers shares with me and you can now see on her site, look nothing like the fitness branding you’re used to seeing, then Meyers is happy. (In fact, they look more like an Aerie ad than they do anything I’ve seen used to advertise a workout.) “I just think it’s so important for people to be able to see themselves represented,” she says, adding that all of the app’s videos will feature authentic fans of be.come, too.

Through this and other aspects of the app’s branding, Meyer’s hopes to convey a simple-but-profound idea: “Often, we start working out because we think we have to start losing weight in order to feel good,” she says. “I’m coming in and saying the opposite.” Her feelings-first philosophy seems to be succeeding here if the beta tests are any indication. One “bell and whistle” of the app, which is subscription based and costs $35 per month, is that in order to “unlock” your workout each day, you’ll have to answer a question about how you feel, both before and after the routine. “The top words [selected in the beta tests] before the workout were ‘tired’ and ‘unmotivated’ whereas after, they were ‘strong’ and ‘happy’,” she says. “The juxtaposition was really powerful to see.”

Something else that’s pretty powerful to witness? The birth of boutique fitness’ first truly body-positive brand.

Want to know what else is cool in the world of fitness apps? Here are some of 2018’s best, plus one which enables you to stream your favorite IRL classes from home.

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