The Disruptors Making Waves
The way we train, see our doctor, eat on the go: These are the companies who are completely changing the game.
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Every day, it seems, an innovative new product or service is created to enhance the lifestyle we love—yesterday's Apple Watch event in San Francisco is a prime example. A number of recent offerings are truly disruptive, shaking up old paradigms and offering better ways forward. Check out these five disruptors in the areas of fitness, nutrition, and health.
The Bread Makers: Community Grains
There’s growing evidence that the recent spread of gluten sensitivity has been caused not by wheat in general but by modern industrial varieties of wheat, which have been bred to grow quickly in poor soil rather. Community Grains is part of a thriving new movement to restore taste and nutrition to our grains, taking the industry in a new direction. Based in Oakland, Calif., the company sells whole-grain flours, pastas, and polenta made with locally grown wheat and corn.
The Brain Trainers: Axon Sports
In a 2012 study, trained athletes increased their endurance performance by nearly 20 percent in just six weeks by playing videogames designed to strengthen a part of the brain that is believed to play an important role during exercise. Head-slapping discoveries like this one have led to the development of brain training tools for athletes. Axon Sports is at the forefront: Founded in 2010, the company creates cognitive training products for football and baseball players and operates training centers in seven U.S. cities and the UK that provide cognitive skills training to all types of athletes. You may soon find yourself building extra fitness while sitting in front of a computer.
The Fast Foodies: Lyfe Kitchen
Imagine a chain of restaurants that offer the convenience and affordability of a higher-end fast food franchise but serve truly healthy and delicious food that is sustainably sourced. Mike Roberts and Mike Donahue, both former McDonald’s executives, did just that. Founded in 2011, Lyfe Kitchen is now feeding health- and budget-conscious eaters in six states. Among its signature entrées is Art’s Unfried Chicken, served with roasted brussels sprouts and butternut squash, which contains only 570 calories.
The Concierge Docs: One Medical Group
Same-day appointments that always start on time (or early). Physicians with 35 percent fewer patients, so they actually remember you. Direct email access to your provider. That's One Medical Group, a rapidly growing network of primary care clinics spearheading concierge medicine. In return for an annual membership of about $200, patients get more time with doctors, personalized preventive care plans, and other feel-good benefits.
The Incentive-Maker: Vitality Insititute
A recent study by the Mayo Clinic found that enrollees in a one-year weight-loss program were 36 percent less likely to drop out and lost 3.5 times more weight when they were given financial incentives to stick with the program. The Vitality Institute has taken note. Their plans work much like credit card rewards. Employees earn points redeemable for merchandise by recording exercise activity on wearable devices, getting regular check-ups, and more. Numbers don’t lie: A five-year study involving more than 300,000 workers at Vitality-affiliated companies reported a 23 percent jump in the number of regular exercisers and a 16 percent decline in medical costs among those who were most active.