Two years ago, Dan Li could not run for longer than 15 minutes. But in the past year, he has completed multiple half-marathons and triathlons. Li credits his fitness success to his personal trainer, Nick Tyree. Li spent more than 18 years as a software engineer and manager and was “terribly unfit,” he said, until he started working with Tyree.

“Physically, I’m in much better shape, and also mentally. I’m a much happier and more confident person. It was a transforming experience for me,” Li said.

Li realized that the cost associated with hiring a personal trainer is a significant barrier for those who have lower incomes. The average cost of a personal trainer in the greater Seattle area is $75 per hour in addition to a gym membership or contract fee. To lesson the financial burden of fitness, Li teamed up with the best trainer he knew, Tyree, and  launched Guided Fitness on March 30.

The company now has 15 trainers who charge from $25 per hour to $60 per hour. New users complete a short survey and are matched with a trainer based on fitness personality, the user’s goals, and the trainer’s expertise. For a cost of $25 per hour and $10 to use a member gym, the price is considerably lower. If the user has access to an apartment or corporate gym, there’s no gym fee.

Guided Fitness is moving out of beta and has 30 active users. Li hasn’t developed a mobile app yet, choosing instead to develop tools for the trainers that allows them to work independently of gyms.

“We’re lowering the barrier to personal training. We are really expanding the market,
and we’re using untapped resources with apartment and corporate gyms,” Li said. “About half of our sessions are in those gyms.”