A company that specializes in getting businesses to add multi-gym memberships to employee benefit plans is coming to Kansas City.
Gympass promises unlimited access to a network of fitness providers that includes workout gyms as well as boutique studios for activities like yoga, martial arts, cycling and dance. The company's founder and CEO, Cesar Carvalho, said adding that to traditional employee benefits like health insurance makes for more productive workers.
"Multiple studies show that an active workforce is happier, more engaged, makes better decisions and therefore generates a higher return," Carvalho said in a news release.
Carvalho said Gympass' Kansas City network currently includes Boost Physical Therapy & Sports, Zone 6 Fitness and Pilates of Kansas City "with more on the way."
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Brian Laudick, the membership manager of Zone 6 Fitness in North Kansas City, said the partnership with Gympass has been months in the making.
“It’s just a good way for people who wouldn’t normally walk into the facility to be able to do that," Laudick said.
Founded in Brazil in 2012, Gympass has become popular in Latin America and Europe and is now in 13 countries.
Kansas City is one of 12 markets chosen for its U.S. launch. The others are New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Nashville, St. Louis, Houston, Columbus and Minneapolis.
In an email, Carvalho said his company chose Kansas City because of its diverse industries that "employ people that share our values and remain genuinely committed to the health and well-being of their companies."
Gympass says it's able to negotiate prices that are 50 to 70 percent less than employers would pay to add gym memberships at retail costs.
The company plans to add 3,000 U.S. workout facilities to its global network of 30,000. Large U.S. corporations like Accenture, MetLife and Deloitte already offer Gympass to some of their overseas employees.
He said three of the region's largest employers are in talks with Gympass about adding it to their employee benefits as soon as next month.
Pam Whiting, a spokeswoman for the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, said some companies have already tapped into the benefits of a healthy workplace. Some have their own workout facilities, and offer perks like personal training. Pro Athlete even offers employees an on-site pool, racquetball court, batting cages, hot tub, sauna and personal training sessions.
At least 10 companies and non-profits in the Chamber's Workplace Wellness Certification program, including Sprint and State Street, also provide discounts or subsidies for employees to use on gym memberships or fitness classes.
But Whiting said as far as she knows, none of the Chamber's members is offering the type of universal memberships to outside fitness facilities that Gympass will try to sell them.
“It certainly is an interesting concept,” Whiting said.