Tonal says its new NY studio will be the primary focus, but its core fitness community is upset over the loss of its original LA coaches
Tonal is going through a difficult period. In preparation for a possible recession, the at-home fitness gym brand recently announced that it would reduce its workforce and advertising spending, as well as lay off 35% of its workforce. And now, Tonal founder and CEO Aly Orady has announced unfortunate news for the future of Tonal’s LA-based coaches.
“I’ve seen many of your recent posts, and I want you to know that I see you and I hear you. I wanted to use this opportunity to personally provide some clarity around many of the questions that have been bubbling up,” Orady posted in a Tonal Facebook group, referencing numerous posts. The Tonal community has been anxiously writing appreciation posts with the hashtag #saveourcoaches, as speculation swirled that Tonal’s LA coaches would soon be laid off.
“Given the events that transpired a few weeks ago (35% reduction of the Tonal workforce), we will be taking our LA studio offline, and shifting focus to ramp our new studio in New York,” Orady confirmed.
Orady called the coach relationships “complex,” and noted that some of the fitness coaches are contractors and some are full time. “We needed the past few weeks to determine what our go forward plans could be with each of them while maintaining the best possible member experience. The unfortunate reality is we won’t be able to continue in a full time capacity with our LA-based coaches. We know you love our coaches. And we love them too. This isn’t the outcome we wanted, and now, we want to do our best to take care of everyone involved,” he wrote.
Each coach will receive a “generous severance” and continuation of healthcare benefits. “This is a challenging time for Tonal, and we had to make this decision so that we can build a future centered around our goal of helping you get stronger every day,” Orady continued.
Existing content will be available on Tonal for the foreseeable future, and previously unseen workouts and programs from some of the coaches will be made available soon. Live classes, as well as new workouts and four-week programs with newer coaches, will continue.
“In a perfect world, we would have been able to keep going the way we were. But as you well know, the world today is far from perfect. I’m asking for you to stick with us while we figure out the next steps,” Orady shared.
The Tonal community erupted when they read Orady’s confirmation, outraged at the loss of the LA coaches.
“This seems entirely shortsighted and a horrible decision. Who lays off the entire face of their brand and who grew the company for you. Imagine Peloton laid off all their original coaches in one day,” one poster asked. “Have them film from home as you did throughout the pandemic, I’m sure they would love the opportunity,” another poster suggested. “I just find it hard to believe as a business owner myself to get rid of the people who literally carried your business and to then just open another facility and forget them seems like a huge slap in the face,” he added.
“Peloton is watching this closely as a case study and cautionary tale on what happens when you elect to mass exit the face of your company,” another poster theorized.
Tonal achieved unicorn status last year, and has notable investors such as Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, and LeBron James, but as with other fit businesses, there is concern about upcoming economic uncertainty. F45, Whoop, and Hydrow have all recently announced layoffs.
Courtney Rehfeldt has worked in the broadcasting media industry since 2007 and has freelanced since 2012. Her work has been featured in Age of Awareness, Times Beacon Record, The New York Times, and she has an upcoming piece in Slate. She studied yoga & meditation under Beryl Bender Birch at The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute. She enjoys hiking, being outdoors, and is an avid reader. Courtney has a BA in Media & Communications studies.