FITTING IN FITNESS

Get on-demand training from Houston-based app

Houston-based Kanthaka is the Uber or Lyft of personal training, and has recently expanded into the Austin market. Courtesy of Kanthaka

This article originally appeared on InnovationMap.

As a busy lawyer who traveled heavily for work, Sylvia Kampshoff found her workouts were often overlooked as she went from city to city, a casualty of long hours and a busy schedule. And, even though she did have a membership to a national gym with privileges at any of its locations, she hated the feeling of always being sold something and disliked that both the trainers and managers she worked with took very little interest in her personal needs and fitness goals.

She wanted something that allowed her to exercise with someone on her own schedule, and with people who valued customer service. That's how the idea for Kanthaka was born.

The app uses location technology similar to that of ride sharing apps to allow users to book training sessions with certified personal trainers, all of whom are heavily vetted and background checked by Kampshoff and her team.

"Many trainers at gyms or who work privately aren't certified," she says. "And that was important to me, that we have professionals who understand training and the body. And making sure our clients felt safe was a huge priority for me. We interview every trainer personally to ensure they not only meet our standards but also share our goals."

App users can select a trainer who will lead them in a Pilates, yoga, boxing, general training, or a pre- or post-natal workout. They select their location, as well as the date and they want to schedule a session. They can book a single session for $42 for a 45-minute session or $50 for an hour session or purchase a package of six or 12 workouts. There's no long-term commitment — although Kampshoff says that some clients are asking for a monthly subscription option — and the process is designed to be easy and user friendly. Trainers will arrive at a client's home, office, or their preferred gym, providing the gym allows outside trainers to work there.

The app launched in Houston in 2017 and then in Austin this fall. Over the last year, Kampshoff — who left the legal profession to concentrate on Kanthaka's success — says she's learned a lot about the market and her own preconceptions.

"I figured it was going to be business travelers who used it, people who were like me when I was doing all that travel," she says. "But it turns out that we're seeing people use it who want to schedule a session just like any other appointment. Many of our clients are women, who value the rigorous vetting process we have for our trainers."

In addition to vetting the trainers and confirming their certifications...

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H-Town Run Tourist

Are you an H-Town Run Tourist?

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @TourismGymHtx. Facebook @TourismGymHtx

You may have noticed that I have begun calling my column: H-Town Run Tourist. H-Town Run Tourist describes my relationship with the city I live in, the sport of running, and myself. Below is a list of the characteristics of an H Town Run Tourist. Read and decide if you if you are a run tourist too.

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You are super curious.

If you are anything like me, you love to discover new running or walking routes. What is this? What is that? Who painted that? When did that open? What does that taste like? Sometimes I feel like I am a dog that has her nose in the grass ready to smell just about anything.

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You started running to find yourself.

A lot of people spend a lot of time running away from themselves. But, if you are like me, you starting running to run into yourself. (Clever, huh) If you missed it, what I mean is that maybe you started running for your health, a mid life crisis, a divorce, or for your mental health.

When I was in Africa, I asked many of the other runners why they were running in Victoria Falls. I got many answers, all of them were amazing. However, one gentleman answered that he and his wife always wanted to run a marathon. She had died the year before and he was running for her. (I know, I need a tissue too.)

You are just not that competitive.

When I thought about it, I found that I am not competitive with other runners as to be the best. I am more interested in how well I can beat my best self. I am always competing with myself. I feel that once you make it to the start line, you have already won. (many things can happen before the start line.) Many times, I "compete" with how much I can enjoy the experience of the race and still stick to a timetable. I love reading signs, taking pics with new friends, and chatting with people at the before and after party.

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You love to think and dream. BIG.

If you are like me, you love to dream and think BIG. If you are running a long distance, you have time to dream. I quickly found that I could let my mind go. When you are on the open road for hours training, you find that it is the best place to solve problems. Then, I began to dream big. I quickly decided that I wanted to run around the world. I set the intention and I was able to achieve that goal. I also use it to meditate. I love studying flowers and trees for their fractal patterns. It helps get the best endorphin high.

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You have wanderlust.

Let me get this straight. If I strap on my running shoes, walk out of my door, and just keep going, I'll end up in this cool place. If I can do that here, where else can I go? This rabbit hole is worth going down. Where is the next race? In Houston? In Austin? In a national park? In a jungle? Overseas? It never ends.

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You can totally put yourself first.

This sounds crappy. Co-dependent people confuse this with being selfish. Healthy minded individuals know that true self care means to take care of yourself first so that you can take care of others. Others will try to get in your way by guilt tripping you to spend more time with them, but know that you have to be in a good place to help others or it just will not work.

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You are truly grateful for......everything.

Chances are, you don't even know that you practice gratitude. It just comes naturally. If you are anything like me, you starting running out of hardship, almost necessity. But, along the way, you could not help but notice the trees, the flowers, and the birds. You just had to stop and smell the roses. Gratitude comes naturally to you!

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You are Houston Proud and Houston Strong.

If you are like me, you love you some Houston, Texas. Whether you are running in Memorial Park to Buffalo Bayou Park or in the Chevron Houston Marathon. You could be running downtown Houston passing by originals by Gonzo 247, David Adickes, or Daniel Anguilu. You know one thing…..You would not live in another city in this country. In fact, you can't wait until this weekend to do your weekend long run and enjoy all the Houston craft beer that goes with it.

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