From studio to store: LIT Strength Machine finds home at Westfield UTC
Rowing machine, now on display at the mall, is meant to double as a total home gym when used with resistance bands and the company’s companion app
Despite being closed for more than a year, Los Angeles group fitness studio LIT Method is the opposite of a COVID causality. Rather, owners Justin and Taylor Norris are growing their retail footprint, starting with a 900 square-foot presence at Westfield UTC.
The new location, called LIT Lab, opened March 22 and is the company’s first permanent showroom. At the lab, mall visitors can test out the couple’s LIT Strength Machine, a $1,750 rowing machine that doesn’t require electricity and still doubles as a total home gym when used with the companion app. Perhaps more importantly, customers can also trial the low-impact philosophy popularized by the husband-and-wife duo at their West Hollywood gym.
“In late 2018, we started prototyping what’s now called the LIT Strength Machine. Fast-forward to May 2020, when the world was in the middle of a pandemic, we launched our strength machine and (it) instantly exploded,” Justin said. “With our machine, what we wanted to do is create ... a strength machine to offer 500 different exercises, to offer a cardio component. ... People want to work out from home, they love cardio, they need strength training and they also need to focus on rehabilitation, such as fixing injuries and correcting posture.”
The LIT Strength Machine is a dual-tank water rowing machine that supports up to 40 pounds of resistance. The product’s base package includes a pair of 15-pound resistance bands. Customers can opt to pay extra for add-on accessories, such as a strength bar to mimic barbell exercises or ankle cuffs to enhance Pilates classes. The LIT app, which includes a catalog of more than 500 live and on-demand classes, costs $24.99 a month.
The rower is a rival to home spin bikes, treadmills, smart mirrors and other new products that have exploded in popularity as pandemic-related restrictions have kept many gym-goers at home. It competes in an industry now saturated with options, including a few — Peloton and Forme Life — that are already on display at Westfield UTC.
But the Norrises, who started with a studio-only workout in 2016, believe they’ve hit on something special. And they’ve attracted a yet-to-be-named “A-list” celebrity investor to help fund the machine’s expansion into more homes and malls across the country.
“The versatility of the machine has been very crucial to our success,” Justin said. “We offer so much on one piece of machinery, and it stores vertically in a very small space.”
At the Westfield UTC location, would-be buyers or even just looky-loos can test the rower in a 30-minute session that includes strength, cardio and posture tests. They’ll leave with a free, customized workout plan. The take-home program, complimentary for 30 days via the company’s app, does not require people to have the machine and is meant to contrast with the sometimes overwhelming wall of online videos in competitors’ digital apps.
The LIT Method owners expect to expand their approach to home fitness in the months ahead, opening as many as six more lab-style showrooms in malls before the end of the year. The road ahead, however, does not necessarily include a return to in-person classes at their flagship studio.
“We closed down March 16 last year and we do not plan on opening group fitness classes any time soon. We really are focusing our brand digitally,” Taylor said. “We’re a whole new brand.”
The LIT Lab showroom is located across from Victoria’s Secret at Westfield UTC.
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