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[Up-and-coming medical startups of 2020] FITT aims to become national fitness service firm
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2020.03.17 10:58
  • Updated 2020.03.18 12:16
  • comments 0

The global healthcare sector is being immersed more and more by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Korea has also emerged as a "technology powerhouse" as the nation is seeing new innovative startups that are working on visualizing the once futuristic technology to real life. Korea Biomedical Review, on the occasion of its third anniversary, met with up-and-coming CEOs from various healthcare startups to hear about their company and what they believe is going on in Korea's dynamic healthcare startup scene. The second guest is Hong Suk-jae, CEO of FITT. – Ed.

FITT CEO Hong Suk-jae stresses the significance of finding a personalized fitness model in maintaining a healthy life, during an interview with Korea Biomedical Review at its headquarters in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, on Tuesday.

In an era where exercising has already become an essential aspect of living healthy, a fitness software company believes that people can achieve more optimal results if they know the right method of exercise.

"Of course, any exercise is better than no exercise," FITT CEO Hong Suk-jae said, during an interview with Korea Biomedical Review on Tuesday. "However, even though exercise should be designed according to the characteristics that fit an individual, the reality is that most exercise conducted in Korea is standardized with many people doing the same exercise laps, regardless of their situation."

Hong stressed that such cases were most apparent in fitness centers where people who want to stay healthy are not provided the right exercise programs most suitable to their fitness, health, and physical condition.

To address such concerns, Hong founded FITT to provide more objective and quantitative information to individuals.

"FITT is an integrated healthcare data platform that provides customized healthcare solutions based on athletic science data," Hong said. "The company's name is an acronym which consists of the four main fundamentals of exercise prescriptions -- frequency, intensity, type, and time."

While these four criteria are crucial, few people actually know or even acknowledge them before exercising, Hong added.

The company aims to give an insight into such values in the fitness market through information and communication technology (ICT) exercise testing software.

The company has developed more than 20 algorithms related to exercise based on research institute data, including the American College of Sports Medicine, and has integrated it into its "FITT test method."

This is a sample of the 2.4-kilometer treadmill test provided by the company.

The test includes three parts -- treadmill stress test (TMT), functional movement test (FMT), and strength measurement test (SMT).

"The core of the FITT test is the TMT cardiopulmonary test," Hong said. "This test measures the maximum oxygen intake by running 2.4 km or five minutes, which, in turn, makes it possible to evaluate the fitness level of the subject and propose an optimized exercise program."

Besides its test, the company also developed an exercise-related health risk appraisal (E-HRA), which is a tool that provides information about an individual's health risk by measuring the cardiopulmonary ability measured by the FITT test.

E-HRA predicts the incidence of the five major causes of death in Korea -- cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and hypertension -- and suggests an effective exercise regimen to help prolong a healthy life.

Hong emphasized that the company's application provides a more accessible exercise test.

"When conducting such tests at hospitals, the equipment alone costs 100 million won ($83,800), while the test itself costs a million won," Hong said. "I believed that there needs to be an easier and cheaper way to check my body regularly."

With such efficacy, FITT's application has started to gain global attention.

The company has already been supplying its software to Germany's Olympic Training Center since 2017.

"Most recently, two coaches from the New York Yankees, a U.S. Major League Baseball team, showed interest in our product during the CES 2020, while other global fitness and sports organizations have also shown positive views toward our product," Hong said.

Moving forward, the company plans to launch a mobile version of its software in May of this year to move from a business-to-business platform to a business-to-customer platform.

"Until now, we installed our software at computers inside fitness centers," Hong said. "While we received a good amount of data, the data itself was sometimes inaccurate as it required trainers working at the fitness center to input the variables."

With the launch of the application, however, the company expects to get more accurate results and data as it will be more accessible to the public, Hong added.

FITT believes that their new application can become a nationally used application for tracking and managing public health.

"I want to show everyone how effective fitness management is for healthcare," Hong said. "The goal is to make FITT a healthcare application that caters to the need of every Korean."

The company wants to create a reliable exercise structure so that people do not feel like they are wasting money on fitness and healthcare, Hong added.

corea022@docdocdoc.co.kr

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