There’s a new leader on the Torqboard: Today Flywheel Sports announced the appointment for Sarah Robb O’Hagan as CEO, effective immediately.
The former global president of Equinox, who was there when the company bought spin rival SoulCycle (and who has held leadership positions at Gatorade and Nike) is bringing her self-proclaimed “extreme living” sensibility to the performance-driven boutique fitness brand.
“When I took time out to write my book and work on my platform called Extreme You, I was really taking my time to learn and get inspired by the stories of others—and along that journey, it sharpened the things I really care about,” O’Hagan says. “I joke that Flywheel is fitness for extremists. It does attract a driven, high-performance rider looking to get the most out of themselves and push themselves to the next level—and that goes hand-in-hand with the work I’m doing. So it was uncanny how these two things fit together.”
The new CEO has no plans to coast; in the next few months Flywheel will be unveiling big expansion efforts—which will go way beyond number of doors (they’re at 40 studios at the moment).
“We’re definitely going to see it expand dramatically. We have a lot of desire to grow the current offerings and take them into different channels. But beyond that, I do think we expand into other offerings as well,” she says. “We achieved a very unique audience, and we’re delivering a very high-intensity cardio workout to that person. From there, we have the ability to deliver all sorts of other workouts to [them],” she explains.
“We know the consumer we’re attracting—they want a high-performance workout—and that’s the approach we can take as we look at all manner of fitness workouts.”
As for what, exactly, that could mean (HIIT? Treadmill classes? Megaformer workouts?), O’Hagan is keeping under wraps for now. What she will say: it will get you seriously sweating. “We know the consumer we’re attracting—they want a high-performance workout—and that’s the approach we can take as we look at all manner of fitness workouts.”
O’Hagan is ready to clip-in at a time when some are questioning whether the boutique fitness bubble—a $25.8 billion industry—is about to burst “The health and wellness trend is not going away,” she argues. In fact, the Flywheel CEO believes that that it’s at the very beginning of its growth trajectory.
“What’s interesting about the fitness scene, and in particular boutique fitness, is that there are a lot of small players but very few have consolidated opportunities and made it a more omni-channel experience,” the exec says. “I don’t think that anyone has exploded it in a way that it can be done—and I thought it’s a real opportunity for someone to figure it out.”
Flywheel riders will soon see if O’Hagan is the one to master this challenge.