Distinction Helps Launching a Novel Subscription Fitness Membership Model

With a service as physical as fitness training, the transition to a digital model is always going to be a demanding journey. It’s a challenge Distinction answered by looking to a subscription, inclusive membership model.

In reshaping the whole gym model and launching a dynamic digital platform, Distinction helped the business earn passive income through brand awareness and subscription uptake. And not forgetting their members’ own physical transformation journeys.

Fit for the future – creating passive income from gym membership

How do you move from the restrictions of selling billable hours of your time, to the freedom of earning a passive income that keeps rolling in even while you’re sleeping?

This was a question troubling the M10 personal fitness team. Already a successful business, with thriving physical gyms and flourishing one-to-one training, M10 recognised the need to diversify its revenue away from the limitations of training one person at a time.

Reshaping the gym model

Having previously provided marketing support when launching its second gym, M10 trusted Distinction to explore how the hard boundaries of pure physicality could be removed, and replaced with a new solution: one that didn’t depend on M10 people being in a certain place at a certain time.

Distinction began with a series of deep conversations, asking searching questions like “if you had no gyms at all, how would you make money?” Together, they looked at the heart of what M10 does, and where it needed to be to achieve its ambitions.

Liberating from one-to-one interactions

M10 was already generating lots of original content. This included dietary advice, workout plans, recipes, and training videos, all of which were being distributed via social media and receiving high engagement with extremely positive feedback.

The commercial potential of providing these valuable assets as easily downloadable content within a structured, subscription-based website was clear. By allowing members to track their progress and, depending on their subscription level, download material and have a two-way dialogue with a team of experienced personal trainers, M10 would be liberated from face-to-face interactions. Crucially, they would be in a position where income could be generated around the clock, from any location at any time.

Delivering a personal fitness journey

To bring the subscription-based membership offering to life, Distinction created a sub-brand called M10 Life: clearly related to the core business, but with an element of choice and freedom attached to the main brand.

The main goal of the M10 Life website was to create ‘the home of body transformation’. Key to the site’s success was the design and development of a robust, well-structured and user-friendly system that members would enjoy using and a platform intelligent enough to guide their personal fitness journey.


Transferring knowledge from other sectors

It wasn’t always an easy journey. Throughout, a concern for Distinction’s client was having to take money from a proven and successful business model to invest in a new, untested, and unproven venture. It was clear that, while M10 was founded through entrepreneurial spirit, there were times where the ambition for creating something completely new felt to M10 like an overly risky undertaking.

However, by drawing on the B2B experience – particularly in working with SaaS companies – Distinction could transfer knowledge over to M10 of how an online business operates. In doing so, Distinction helped open up a whole raft of new possibilities for the M10 Life business. Ultimately, the challenge of generating recurring income was overcome with the creation of a paid-subscription model, where members sign up for a one-month trial membership, which then automatically converts to a paid membership.

Trying first, buying next

To make this work, Distinction had to make sure that the complimentary trial membership was rich enough so that the user would see the benefits of full membership, without giving away too much for free and negating the need to upgrade.

While the free trial to fully paid subscription model was a great way to get people on board, another issue was maximising income once members had signed up for full membership. So, as well as aiming to convert users from their free trial to the paid membership, another goal was to up-sell users from one subscription level to another.

Stepping up to a higher level

With three membership levels – basic, elite, and masterclass – the M10 Life site actively promotes the benefits of higher subscription levels during member’s visits to the site. Always the aim is to tempt them into an upgrade.

As the project evolved, Distinction’s client became more hands off, trusting their knowledge and experience of the B2B sector to ensure a successful and sustainable M10 Life offering. This proved valuable as he felt reassured enough to focus on his current business, without the distraction of the M10 Life launch.

Transforming health and fitness

The results are clear evidence of the validity of the approach undertaken. The site has received great coverage from personal fitness magazines and websites. But most importantly, M10 Life’s users have given great feedback, finding the site easy to use and invaluable in supporting their body transformation journey.


Helping a service as physical as fitness training transition to a digital model meant the business could grow through passive income. When it launched, M10 Life enjoyed a huge uptake in subscriptions and member satisfaction scores. But the biggest winners were the members who found M10 Life’s service invaluable to their personal health and fitness journey.

About Distinction

Distinction is the digital product studio who’ll make you stand out. They work with clients to disrupt their sector, challenge the competition, and capture market share by delivering experiences users love.