Weight lifting is the second most popular form of exercise, yet weight lifters are left using notebooks, spreadsheets, and the Notes app to track their progress. IRON co-founders Kyle Collins and Elijah Mishkind wanted to reduce the busy work and develop an app for the gym.
In this article, Elijah and Kyle dive into how IRON started and explain the future of the fitness industry.
Where did the idea for IRON come from?
Kyle: I fell in love with weight lifting while rowing crew in high school. During my junior year, I quit crew to focus on weight lifting and immerse myself in the world of classic bodybuilding. I felt that the current apps on the market were difficult to use and keeping track of lifts with my phone’s Notes app or a physical journal felt archaic. I was very confused why there wasn’t an app for the gym. There are apps for cardio and endurance, but there isn’t an app that every weight lifter uses.
When I got to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, I started working on a weight lifting app to solve this problem but lacked the funding and business skills needed to take it to the next step. A couple of years later, I met Elijah on move-in day. We quickly became friends and started working out together daily.
When Elijah caught a glimpse of some app concepts I had been working on, we decided to resurrect the weight lifting app idea. We shared a common frustration with the workout trackers on the App Store and saw a clear opportunity to upend the entire space. Elijah agreed to fund development and handle business operations, and I would focus on creating the product.
What has IRON’s journey looked like so far?
Elijah: We originally bootstrapped IRON’s first version which gave users weekly handmade workouts and an interface to track their progress. We were so encouraged by the initial traction we received and the success of the release, we knew we needed to go all in on IRON to bring our true vision to market. We pivoted to creating a platform for tracking, analyzing, and sharing workouts and raised capital from Brickyard, an early stage VC and portfolio club for founders, allowing us to go full time.
What excites you most about the weight lifting space?
Elijah: Social media has pushed body image to the forefront of everyone’s mind. We’re seeing people try weight lifting for the first time, and a big part of that is rooted in the popularity of fitness influencers on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. All of a sudden the gym is becoming a digital and social sport with new participants. There’s a real need for a platform for people to record their progress, see what their friends are doing, and share workouts without having to type it in a notes app and send it in a text.
Kyle: What we’re really excited about is creating a digital platform for weight lifting. Right before you go to the gym, you’re opening IRON to get ready for your workout. We’re digitizing the industry onto a single app instead of making people jump between multiple platforms.
What separates IRON from the current weight lifting apps on the market?
Elijah: When you compare weight lifting to endurance sports, tracking is much more cumbersome because it requires more than turning on a GPS. This has resulted in lots of apps with complicated interfaces. We compare weight lifting apps today to investing apps before Robinhood. Most investment platforms offered mobile apps, but trading was primarily done on desktops. We’re taking the Robinhood approach by focusing on the user experience to create an intuitive mobile interface.
What do the next few years look like for IRON?
Kyle: We’re launching our workout planning, tracking, and analytics features this summer. After we take in feedback and optimize the product, we’ll add social functionality and evolve it into a verticalized platform for fitness.