How Living Out of Suitcases Became a Fitness App

The story of Gymsurfing begins in June 2013, around the time we found ourselves increasingly at a loss for which was the best city to locate our startup. On one hand, we had pretty deep networks in New York and Toronto, but on the other hand, San Francisco is startup central for many billions of good reasons.

We've been all over

Pulled to these cities by a combination of friends, lovers, business connections, and equal helpings of good and bad advice, we found ourselves on planes, trains, and buses¬†all the time. We were living out of suitcases, bouncing from sublet to sublet, and disguising our metropolitan attention deficit disorders as “travel.”

Friends remarked, “Wow, your life is so cool, you travel all the time!” Secretly, we wanted somebody to reveal to us the answer of where we should live. Life was becoming, as we say in New York, a schlep.

Eating healthy is pretty challenging when you’re on the road, but getting to the gym is even harder. When you finally have time, you sign up for a free gym trial, pretend you’re going to join, use up your 3 days and move on to the next gym. The onboarding process at gyms is positively frustrating. I can appreciate what they’re trying to do, of course, and many of them are talented salespeople, but I got pretty tired of lying to them and started telling the truth: “I am not going to join. Just let me work out.”

Done this like 20 times

Then one day after a workout at Goodlife in Toronto, I found myself on HotelTonight (because my sublet was not suitable for bringing a date home.) For us two startup guys, the two thoughts together seemed so logical: HotelTonight + gym = the perfect solution for people like us. A way for the impulsive, itinerant, or otherwise non-committal to book a hassle-free workout with a few taps on our iPhones.


An ideal use case for Gymsurfing is this: a young woman, eating lunch in Dolores Park with her friends, excuses herself to get back to her office for a conference call. When she gets to her office, she gets an email saying the call is postponed. She opens Gymsurfing, books a workout around the corner for the price of a burrito, grabs her gym bag, and the rest is history.

Gymsurfing: HotelTonight for fitness. Grab the beta here.

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