Since 2008, BodyRockTV has revolutionized home workouts by building a massive online catalog of free routines and workouts. In doing so, they’ve built a huge fanbase and following, known as Bodyrockers.
Having originated in Kingston, Ontario, creator and owner Frederick Light has taken the company across Canada coast-to-coast, through Europe, as well as the ‘Mecca of fitness,’ Los Angeles. He’s now settled back in Kingston, where one of our writers sat down with him and talked about BodyRockTV, and its future.
It was an honour sitting down with someone whose story is quite similar to ours at LionsDenU.com, just on a larger and longer scale. While our website was built on word of mouth, cross promotion and being awesome, BodyRockTV started on just $25, a free WordPress domain, and a powerband-rope. It goes to show that through hard work, dedication and consistency, anything is possible!
With over 600+ videos on their Youtube Channel, they’ve became a well-known name throughout the fitness industry, and those who think BodyRock has become what it is by employing overtly sexual filmography probably don’t realize that 90% of their fan interaction on Facebook and iPhone App comes from females.
Many fans who were moaning and groaning about the departure of Zuzana, the instructor who used to host the videos as BodyRock’s Trainer, are no longer upset , as Lisa-Marie Zbozen has taken on the job and helped the community grow even more with her bubbly personality and never-quit attitude.
As for Freddy, he has big plans for the future, and is looking to turn BodyRockTV into what one would consider the ‘biggest online gym class.’ Don’t bet against it, as they have already implemented BodyRock Sculpt, Burn and Flow, and even started BodyRock Lite for beginners who feel overwhelmed by some of the more advanced work outs. With thoughts of expanding into Yoga, and more sport-precise workouts for those interested in alternative sports MMA, the sky is the limit.
The part that remains the most amazing for the BodyRock nation is that everything is free. Everything!
Interview with Frederick Light
Who are you, and what is your background?
I’m Frederick Light, the creator and owner of BodyRock TV. I was born and raised in Kingston, Ontario, and I attended KCVI highschool, followed by the Queens University Film Program, a post-grad in Radio and Television Arts at Ryerson University, and Digital Media at George Brown University.
When and how did you become such a fitness junkie?
In general, I wouldn’t consider myself a fitness junkie, but I was able to see fitness as a platform to create a channel involving my background in media and film. Having started with a low budget, all we needed was a camera and a trainer in order to do our first BodyRock workout.
What inspired you to start BodyRock TV?
I met a Celebrity Blogger, the owner of http://www.thesuperficial.com/, who mainly posted funny comments and articles and he had quite a lot of success with the blog… So I thought, if he can do it, why can’t I.
With YouTube’s decision to monetize videos, BodyRockTV was created with $25, a free WordPress domain, and a powerband-rope for working out.
Your company had immediate success. Did you ever imagine the videos shot in your apartment in Kingston, Ontario would go viral?
No. I had no idea. I have a belief in what we were doing, but even after 3-4 months when we hit our 1,000,000 view benchmark, I remember at the time, calling my family and saying ‘We hit a million views!’, but then got back online and saw that a YouTube series like ‘Hot For Words’, has 300 million views and I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to have to do this 300 more times?’ and decided to stop looking at the numbers at that point, and just move forward with the company.
With the success of BodyRock, where is the most memorable place you’ve for the sake of building the business?
We’ve shot all over Europe, and Canada coast-to-coast, but signing with a company down in Los Angeles was pretty memorable. I’ve gotten to meet the C.E.O. and creator of P90X, Tony Horton… just about anyone you see fitness related on American Television, I’ve met.
BodyRock is now hosted by your brother Sean, and Lisa-Marie Zbozen. How did you meet Lisa-Marie?
I’ve known her for about a year now, and she was also one of our early Bodyrockers, as she’s been following us, and sent in pictures of her progress. She came to visit after I moved back to Kingston from Los Angeles, and I had no intention of inviting her over to become the new host of BodyRock.
I’m not sure what it was at the time, but I think I just needed to put out a video, and Lisa-Marie decided to jump in and had great energy and assumed the role to perfection. We’d had previous hosts such as Jess and Kyla, but Lisa-Marie was able to lead the community. She hit some resistance at first, as the Bodyrockers had become associated with Zuzana, but once the fans watched Lisa-Marie, they embraced her, and she now has 115,000 fans on her own fanpage, which only started in December 2011.
The videos on the BodyRock YouTube channel are sexy, yet informative. How much has sex appeal helped with the success?
I think it helped us initially break through, as there are hundreds-of-thousands of videos uploaded per-minute on YouTube, but we feel we’ve taken a fun, playful approach to our workout videos. They’ve all come from a good place, without any intention of being sleezy, and we feel that people should be proud of the bodies they’ve worked so hard to get. Also, demographically speaking, 90% of user interaction on Facebook is female, while our websites analytics show 85% of viewers are also female.
Woman definitely love in-home, easy to follow workouts, and there’s no question what you put out is next-to-none. So what would you say to people that are not sure if they have time to work out the way they need to?
That’s the exact group of people we try to hit. We understand life gets in the way and it’s sometimes hard to find the time and/or motivation, but our videos are high-intensity, 12 minute work-outs. Occasionally we’ll throw in a bonus video, but our core videos are all 12 minutes long and if you can’t find 12 minutes in your day, it can’t be narrowed down for you anymore than that. The before and after stories from our Bodyrockers show that 12 minutes a day can have huge success.
In videos, it’s always recommended your viewers weigh in with their experiences and thoughts on the workouts. How important is it to be interactive with your viewers? What’s the best way to stay in touch?
As far as fan interaction goes, Facebook is the easiest way to stay in touch and communicate with both the BodyRock Trainers and the community as a whole. We’ve also recently put out our mobile downloadable app, which debuted at #2 in the Health & Fitness Category in the App Store. It had moved up to #1 for a few days and still sits as a top-5 app ahead of apps like Nike Training Club and Weight Watchers.
How do you handle, and what do you say to people that are critical of Bodyrock videos and how much attention do you pay to the Youtube comments?
As far as the critics, I will gladly listen to constructive criticism as long as people approach in a polite and respectful manner. But when people personally attack the company, or our hosts, we just ignore it.
The YouTube comments I mainly turn off, or approve a few positive ones here and there. If you look at social platforms, with Facebook, people have a profile which is tied to what they write in a very public domain. With YouTube, there is practically no association with who is writing the comments and they can occasionally get very negative, and it’s best we don’t subject ourselves to or get involved in the negativity.
What has been, in your eyes, the best success story from someone that’s followed bodyrock?
The other day I was in Starbucks with Lisa-Marie and a women came up, threw her arms around Lisa and said ‘Thank you, I’ve lost 65 pounds following your videos’. This sort of thing has been happening more and more, which is extremely cool.
For those who don’t follow you yet, what is the 30-day challenge?
The 30-day challenge is a program over a 30-day period, much like you’d see in a gym, but the difference is, we offer the workouts for free. There is a schedule to follow, with a fitness test you administer for yourself at the start, and end of the program to track the progress and changes in your body. It’s a great way to see how far you’ve come over 30-days, and with following the diet-plans we put out along with it, it’s impossible not to see success.
What would you say is the toughest work-out you’ve ever put out?
I’d have to say our 800 or 1000 rep challenges. They aren’t 12-minute work outs, but timed workouts, where someone extremely fit may do it in 15 minutes, and someone less fit may take 45 minutes.
You’re more behind the scenes doing editing and camera work, but how physically fit do you stay yourself?
I do the BodyRock workouts myself.
While I’m behind the scenes more, I do want to note that what you see in our videos, is real. The 12-minute is edited down to the best material, but it’s our trainer working out straight, the entire time. A lot of other videos will stop to fix hair and make-up during the routine. But what you see in our videos, is the real 12-minute work out, which shows how effective it is.
There are other fitness programs out there that use video, what makes yours more effective?
We stay in touch with our community, as Lisa-Marie spends a large amount of time responded to almost all comments and questions. We figure it to be about 95% ratio of fans inquiring to her giving a response, which is a great commitment.
Ninety percent of the world is focused on fat burning and fat loss, and high-intensity workouts are the way to go. What we provide is accessible and free for everyone. You can do everything from your own living room, and through years, we’ve provided consistency, and when people become more connected in something, they tend to stick around longer.
What do you think of p90x and CrossFit?
CrossFit, I have a huge amount of respect for. What the CrossFit world is doing is great. The difference is that BodyRock is more accessible for those who can’t get to the gym all the time, or don’t like working out with a group of people. Some people like the online community. We’ve had lots of people who do CrossFit, tell us they do BodyRock when they can’t make it to the gym.
P90X is created by Tony Horton, who I had the honour of meeting. The reason I went the way I did with BodyRock is because I feel that with a DVD format, it’s the same DVD over and over, where we have 600+ videos on our YouTube Channel, and actually just finished shooting another one this morning.
Where do you see BodyRock going in the next 5 years?
I want BodyRockTV to be the biggest online fitness resource in the world… the ‘world’s biggest gym class’. We’ve started to expand with the addition of burn, sculpt and flow workouts, and just implemented BodyRock Lite, which is aimed at beginners, who are new to fitness, and may be overwhelmed by some of our workouts.
I’d like to expand even larger, and get an MMA-based program, have instructional yoga videos, and any kind of workout that our community wants to see.
Most importantly, regardless of how big BodyRock becomes, we will always remain accessible and free. There will never be any fee for memberships, or anything in that regard.
Any closing thoughts for readers and fans?
First, I’d like to thank you guys at Lions Den U for taking the time to feature BodyRockTV. But most importantly, I want to thank everyone from the get-go for all the support, from the entire BodyRock Community.
Thanks for your time Freddy! We look forward to watching BodyRock grow.
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