Your Guide to Fitness Subscription Boxes

When to Subscribe to a Fitness Subscription Box

Cairn Subscription Box

Subscription boxes are big business, and you better believe the fitness industry has gotten involved. The concept is simple for subscription companies:

  1. Choose a niche audience
  2. Identify products and services of interest to niche audience
  3. Source full-size products at a steeply discounted bulk price or source free samples from interested companies
  4. Sell products in a package to subscribers, so subscribers receive a variety of surprise products at a rate discounted from retail value, but still greater than the cost of the products to the company
  1. Keep subscribers coming back each month for a steady, predictable income flow

Money-wise, it's a good deal for the subscription service and the subscriber, but there's more to consider before you sign up. 

Discovering New Brands

Aside from the fact that you receive a variety of fitness-related products at a discount from retail price, the major benefit of subscribing to a fitness box service is that you get to try products you might not find in the store. 

Many of the companies that choose to participate in subscription boxes are smaller, less-known brands. They want to participate as a way to market themselves to new potential customers. This means that you, the customer, gets to try new things. 

For instance, when I subscribed to an outdoor subscription box, I received products including an all-natural lip balm, a UPF-protective facemask, and a compact fire starter. I had never heard of any of the brands before, and each of them was high-quality.


What You Can Expect to Receive

While product-type varies widely between services, most boxes include 3-8 full-size products. Most of these products are smaller-ticket items, for instance, a lip balm or a protein bar, but usually, one or two products are more significant. For instance, the Pocket Bellows fire starter I received in my outdoor box retails for $15 and "The Tube" Facemask, $20.

These two items alone added up to more than the cost of the whole box, which was just $25 for a single month, or even less for an on-going subscription. 

A Fun Surprise

One of the best parts of subscription box services is the element of surprise. While services might promise full-sized products or certain types of products in each box, they rarely give away details on the exact distribution of products or brands.

So if, for instance, one month you receive a fitness box with a new deodorant, a pair of high-quality socks, a protein bar and a workout DVD, next month you might receive a water bottle, an energy drink, a headband and a resistance band with a suggested workout. 

Because you never know exactly what you're going to receive, it's especially fun to open up your box to check it out. 

An Extra Dose of Motivation

While this may not be true across the board for all subscription services, receiving a new box of fitness goodies every month could help you stay on track with your fitness goals.

If your box provides a new workout routine or a fun new piece of apparel, you could view it as your reward for all your hard work, and a motivator to try new things. 

The Drawbacks

The main drawback to fitness subscription boxes, or any subscription box, really, is that you might not actually want the products they send. It's not uncommon for many fitness boxes to include supplements with every box, but if you're not someone who likes taking supplements, it's a wasted item. Likewise, if you find your subscription service continually sends the same snack every month, and it happens to be a snack you don't like, you're going to start to question whether you should continue subscribing. 

Also, some subscription services primarily send small samples of products in an effort to drive customers to their website to purchase the full-sized item. Usually, the full-sized items are discounted heavily for subscribers, but it still seems a bit like a catch 22. While trying new products is a great benefit to subscription boxes, it's best when you can really try a product, rather than simply sample it. 

Finding Subscriptions

Chances are you've seen a few subscription services popping up in your Facebook Newsfeed, or maybe you have friends who've shared the boxes they use. The challenge, though, is finding the best boxes, and finding new boxes specific to your interests. Rather than simply Googling "fitness subscription boxes," consider checking out CrateJoy. This service curates the best boxes from every category, and sources reviews from users of CrateJoy to ensure they're legitimate. While they have lots of fitness-related boxes to choose from, some of their top-rated include:

  • StrengthCrate: a box offering apparel, supplements and training gear
  • Gain[z]: a box featuring fitness apparel, clean-eating snacks, and supplements
  • Wellness Tribe: a box filled with eco-friendly wellness brands including beauty products, snacks, and essential oils
  • Fun Run Box: a box to keep you motivated to stick with your running goals - you even receive a tech shirt and a finisher's medal as part of your goodies
  • Calmbox: perfect for the yogi, the Calmbox includes candles, tea bags, minerals, and books, all to help you zen out and relax

The real benefit to CrateJoy is you can find out what options are out there. For instance, there are boxes specifically for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, lacrosse, tennis, golf and disc golf, just to name a few.

Apparel Subscription Services

In addition to fitness subscription boxes, there are also fitness apparel subscriptions available as well. These are similar to, but different from other subscription boxes in that you often have more control over the number and type of items you receive. Also, you may still pay full price for items, but you only pay for the items you keep. The companies provide prepaid return envelopes so you can mail back any item you don't like. The most popular subscription models include:

  • Wantable Fitness Edit: Wantable Stylists choose five pieces of apparel according to your style preferences and size for you to try on at home - brands are high-quality boutique companies, some names you might have heard of, most you probably haven't. You decide how much to keep and you can send the rest back. Unsubscribe easily at any time.
  • Fabletics: The initial outfit is steeply discounted, subsequent outfits are more expensive - you, the customer, gets to select exactly which apparel items you receive each month. You can pause your subscription whenever you'd like. Cancelling a subscription is a bit of a nightmare  as you have to call to cancel and deal with a hard sale.
  • SweatStyle: SweatStyle is probably the most fashion-forward (and expensive) option available. SweatStyle Stylists select apparel according to your style preferences and sizes, much like Wantable, but most of their products are designer-level brands. You can keep whatever you want and send back the rest in the prepaid envelope. Unsubscribe easily at any time.
  • FYTSO: FYTSO curates outfits for you based on your preferences and sizes, but unlike Wantable and SweatStyle, they send you emails with their selections before they physically mail you the items. You decide how many of their selections you'd like to receive, and they mail your outfit. You pay for whatever you select, but you can send back items that don't fit. Most items are well-known apparel brands, such as Nike, Under Armour and Adidas.

Overall, apparel subscription services offer high-quality items you'll probably love, but they'll also cost more than a typical subscription box since you have to actually pay the cost for the items you choose to keep.

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