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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Depending on which survey you read, the future of fitness may be sweating at home forever, an eventual return to gyms, or, most likely, a hybrid of in- and out-of-home exercise. 

Why it matters: The fortunes of companies like Peloton and Planet Fitness hang in the balance of which way habits will go as more people prepare for a return to the new normal.

  • Peloton sales saw triple-digit percentage growth in 2020 and a swing of $140 in its stock price in the past year.
  • Planet Fitness held on through a rocky year and plans to open 100 gyms this year as competitors like 24 Hour Fitness and Gold’s Gym filed for bankruptcy.

Driving the news: Connected home gym startup Tempo raised $220 million in new venture capital this week – a sign that investors don’t buy into the “at-home fitness has peaked” theory, Axios’ Dan Primack reported.

  • Nearly a year ago, Tempo competitor Mirror was sold for $500 million to athleisure brand Lululemon.
  • In October, fitness coaching app Future raised a $24 million Series B.

To cover all their bases: Fitness companies and gyms are bundling their products and services to draw customers into newly created ecosystems (think of it like Apple iOS) and to keep them there.

  • At the onset of the pandemic as gyms were forced to close, Equinox introduced a virtual fitness app for its popular classes called Equinox+.  
  • Streaming workouts has also been a way for consumer and gym equipment makers to bridge in-person and at-home experiences, which is why NordicTrack's parent company launched a platform like Peloton’s to make the same videos available for its machines, phone app and TVs.
  • Keeping customers loyal and inside an ecosystem is what Peloton and fitness tech startup Tonal does well through social media community building outside of its own products.
  • Apparel companies realize the benefit of an ecosystem as well, which is why brands like Alo Yoga and Fabletics have launched fitness apps and skincare products

The bottom line: Fitness businesses have to be ready regardless of which way the kettlebell swings.

Go deeper

Trump says he plans to launch new social media network in 2022

Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump on Wednesday announced plans to launch a social media network called "Truth Social," and that it would go public via a SPAC.

Why it matters: Most ex-presidents are focused on their legacies, by creating presidential libraries or engaging in philanthropic endeavors. Trump, however, remains consumed by social media.

Beauty giant Coty Cosmetics looking to sell its own branded products

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi. Photo: Axios on HBO

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi tells Axios the beauty giant will “probably” introduce Coty-branded products one day.

Why it matters: Coty produces some of the world’s most popular fragrances, skin care products and color cosmetics on behalf of other well-known brands, but has shied away from producing its own branded products.

4 hours ago - Sports

NFL to end race-based testing in concussion settlements

Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The National Football League on Wednesday reached an agreement with former players to end the controversial practice of race-based adjustments in dementia testing, AP reports.

Why it matters: The deal, which must still be approved by a judge, comes amid a broader discussion of racial inequities in health care.