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CEO Corner: Tempo’s Moawia Eldeeb Is Changing Fitness With AI
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CEO Corner: Tempo’s Moawia Eldeeb Is Changing Fitness With AI

Tempo is one of the hottest brands in the smart home gym space, raising $220 million in a Series C round in 2021

The fitness industry is very much in the early stages of its encounter with artificial intelligence, but some brands are already working on innovative and potentially paradigm-shifting workout products.

Moawia Eldeeb, co-founder and CEO of smart home gym company Tempo, is harnessing the power of AI to transform the way people strength train. A computer science major at Columbia University and a former personal trainer, Eldeeb co-founded Tempo in 2015 to democratize access to high-quality personal training through AI. 

With the Tempo system, users get access to a set of smart weights – dumbbells and a barbell – that are tracked by AI-powered sensors. The sensors track the way your body moves during exercises, allowing Tempo to deliver real-time feedback on form. The company also uses AI and biometric data to create personalized daily workout plans, among other features.

Tempo has become one of the hottest brands in the home gym space, raising $220 million in a Series C round in 2021 to help it scale and create new products. 

Athletech News spoke with Eldeeb about what separates Tempo from other smart home gym brands, how the company uses AI to personalize strength training, and what could be coming next for the brand. 

The following conversation has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Athletech News: You have an inspiring story. Can you tell us about your background and why you decided to create Tempo?

Moawia Eldeeb: Our mission at Tempo has always been to make personal training and fitness more accessible, and the impact personal training had on my life when I was younger is a big inspiration for that. I was born in Egypt and moved to New York City when I was in third grade. My family became homeless when I was in middle school, and the trainers at my local YMCA agreed to train me if I focused on school. It was with their help that I excelled academically and fully understood the impact fitness could have on someone. 

I ended up attending Columbia to study computer science, and also secured a job as a personal trainer while I was in school. During my time at Columbia, I met Josh Augustin, and together we co-founded Tempo. I realized that one-on-one, personalized training and guidance was unattainable for most people, and sought to fill that gap by combining AI and weightlifting to create the only at-home fitness solution with a built-in personal trainer.

credit: Tempo

ATN: What separates Tempo from its competitors in the smart home gym space, particularly those focused on strength training?

ME: With other connected fitness and smart home tech, users put in a lot of effort but struggle to see actual results. It’s only when you combine AI, biometry and the human connection that people will see the consistency and results they’ve been seeking, and that’s what Tempo does.

Beyond a “smart” piece of gym equipment with a screen, what makes training so effective is getting highly personalized guidance before, during and after. Tempo offers this by leveraging biometric data to create a daily workout experience completely tailored to you. Tempo then responds to your real-time performance to provide feedback that maximizes your time on the mat and to suggest the right recovery for your body to reach your goals. 

As a personal trainer, Tempo takes it one step further by counting reps, tracking speed and providing personalized weight-lifting recommendations. With the mix of human-led training and AI technology, Tempo makes progress and efficiency more attainable than any of its competitors.

ATN: What’s been the biggest challenge in scaling Tempo over the last several years?

MW: One of the biggest challenges has been adapting to the major lifestyle shift that came from moving through the COVID era to today. We haven’t seen a complete bounce-back to the pre-pandemic days, and I don’t think we’ll fully return to that way of living. Many people now have hybrid or fully remote workplaces and are enjoying greater flexibility in their schedules. Because of that, we’ll continue to evolve Tempo so we can provide you with a training experience that offers flexibility, convenience and ease – regardless of your lifestyle.

ATN: Tempo recently released a series of new features to make workouts even more personalized and adaptable. How far along is Tempo on its mission to build the world’s best personal trainer?

ME: I firmly believe that with Tempo, you’ll get the world’s best training experience available today. We know that streaming great workout content is simply not enough to help people to see progress. Results are what get people hooked on fitness and ultimately improving their overall health and longevity, so we set out to build an entirely new way of working out, with training plans that could guarantee faster results by focusing your training on target areas over the course of a 4-week period. Tempo now brings together real-time biometric data, AI, fitness science and human-led training to deliver adaptable training plans, a “Readiness Score,” and the most effective workout for you that day. What you get with Tempo is a training experience that is truly customized and responsive to you in real-time. 

But that doesn’t mean our work stops here. Down the line, I envision Tempo being integrated into your daily life. This means building Tempo into the most effective fitness and health companion that’s as individualized as one-on-one personal training, but far more convenient and affordable.

credit: Tempo

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ATN: Is Tempo in competition with brick-and-mortar gyms and studios or can it be complementary?

ME: It’s absolutely complementary. Strength is at the core of all performance-based activities as well as everyday life, which makes Tempo’s strength training ideal for any fitness journey. While Tempo brings personal training into your home, we don’t identify as a home gym company; we’re a fitness company. 

Our products have evolved to go with our members – whether that’s to the gym or while traveling. With the Tempo Core and app, strength training is now in the palm of your hand with the powerful portable device. Wherever you are, Tempo brings personalized training to you to help you meet your goals, while adapting to your needs.

credit: Tempo

ATN: Will AI ever replace personal trainers?

ME: AI is driving this efficiency and can help support your fitness goals. But I don’t see it replacing personal training. AI alone can’t provide the human connection that people need when it comes to motivation, accountability and coaching. When you bring the two together – humans plus AI – that’s when you’ll see the consistency and results people are after.

ATN: What could we see next from Tempo in terms of innovation and new features?

ME: In the short term, we’re continuing to tweak and improve the training experience, making it as seamless and powerful for you as possible. We want to take out all the guessing and planning on our end, so all you need to do is show up and put your effort into the workout – not figuring out what you should do or what equipment you need. 

We’re working on using AI for more sophisticated movement tracking and training-plan creation based on your sleep scores and heart rate variability to tell you how ready you are to work out that day. We also know that body composition scanning is more beneficial for your fitness journey than a number on the scale, so we’re looking into integrating our in-app body scanning feature directly into a customized training plan for you.

We’re also looking at incorporating more health data such as nutrition, metabolism and beyond to build an even more comprehensive and customized health experience. 

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