Jeff Halevy is the CEO of Altis Movement Technologies, a venture-backed technology startup that will bring its AI Personal Trainer to consumers in 2021
Jeff Halevy is one of the most well-known and respected fitness experts in the United States. He has been bringing his healthy lifestyle message all around the world for nearly a decade, helping people understand how they can take greater control of the way they think, the way they eat, and the way they move.
An award-winning entrepreneur and fifteen-year veteran of the health, medical, fitness, and technology industries, Jeff’s career counts successes and exits in verticals including health clubs, education and content creation, insurtech, television and media, and public health advocacy.
Jeff Halevy is regarded as a thought leader and innovator in the health and fitness industries, which has earned him distinction in the mainstream media, with features by CNBC, Fox, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and Women’s Health as well as trade publications like Club Solutions.
Many people first discovered Jeff Halevy during his appearance as a Health & Lifestyle Correspondent for NBC’s “Today Show” and other media and television appearances.
We recently had a chance to sit down with Jeff to talk about post-pandemic fitness, and more.
So my first question is, post-pandemic, what should we be doing now that things are opening up, and how have we changed the way we look at fitness?
I mean, I’m not in a position to give public health advice. So I don’t want to dole out any “should do” suggestions, although what I will offer is that, very succinctly, it does appear that if you’re vaccinated, the best thing you could possibly do is get exposed to the virus. I understand that it gives you a much more robust immunity – it has to do with epitopes and the different ways that viruses take advantage of being able to infect cells. From a fitness perspective, I think it’s time for everybody to get out there, in there, or stay home, but do something.
Americans gained, I think an average of 15 pounds during the pandemic, what they’re calling the “COVID 15.” And on a serious note, I think that COVID was really eye-opening for a lot of people who otherwise really didn’t factor in how much lifestyle has a bearing on immunity. And when you look at these numbers with roughly 80% of those who were hospitalized or had serious infection being overweight or obese, it starts to inform us as to how these lifestyle decisions that we make on a day-to-day basis can really affect our ability to live, our ability to survive.
I’m excited about what you’re doing with AI and bringing things forward. What can we expect? Give us a glimpse into the future of what we can expect in terms of technology merging with health to benefit all of us?
Well, as far as Altis is concerned, you can expect it to be something that nobody else is doing. So, these are all great companies that I’m about to list, and were great connected fitness 1.0 companies – you’ve got your Peloton, Tonal, Tempo, Mirror – all fantastic companies. But they still didn’t quite nail replacing a qualified personal trainer, being able to really make decisions based on you. And Altis is able to see you, understand you, and personally instruct you, all in a soundbar-sized form factor that plugs into any screen in your home through an HDMI connection. So, what I think you’re going to see is probably other companies like us. I don’t think that I’m the only one out there who’s realized that computer vision can really be used at this point in time to present discernible value to the end-user. I think up until now, the hardware and software weren’t quite there yet.
So I think you’ll definitely see quite a bit in that space. I think that despite everybody boasting that they’ve got AI inside, very few actually do. It’s one of my favorite things to hear, but very few actually do. We, for example, not to toot our own horn, but we do have a very robust machine learning model in which we’ve distilled all this exercise science from people who literally have client lists that include people like LeBron, Kevin Durant, Ryan Reynolds, I mean, you’re just talking about a who’s who list, people who are performance directors for Olympic teams. And what we’ve done is, we’ve really siphoned and distilled all of this decision-making capability into this robust machine learning model that’s able to make decisions for you, not just in the moment of, should you increase or decrease weight — but longitudinally, what does your actual direction look like over time? So I think you’re going to see quite a bit like that emerge as well.
The third piece is, I do think that you’re going to see people really taking advantage of APIs in ways that aren’t happening right now. And for me, in a perfect world of future connected fitness, well, let me say API and IOT, I kind of see those things converge. So, imagine you get to your destination, and your car tells you to park a little farther because you haven’t racked up your steps for the day. Now, as soon as you complete those steps because you have an IOT connected device that perhaps is also operating on blockchain, maybe you’re also, as you’re fulfilling those steps, reducing your health insurance premium through a smart contract running on Ethereum. All of these things sound very futuristic and out there, but all the technologies are available today. It’s just a matter of someone doing the work to turn them into this system. And Altis is, quite frankly, one of those companies that’s trying to do so.
Altis is doing a great job of it. And one of the extraordinary things, being a quantum person and looking at the nature of quantum computing and the effects that it has in your space with wearables, insertables, and eventually replaceables, and that’s the evolution of where we’re going with this extreme technology. But there is also the human quantum nature, which I find really intriguing with you, because as things get tougher, genetically, your family gets better. And quantumly in your nature, your family has inherited a great blessing of fortitude and you have displayed that during the pandemic as well, being a small business and being able to raise over $2 million during the pandemic for your technology and for your company. I always say kids don’t listen to their parents, but they watch them, I was hoping maybe you could share the quantum nature that I’m referring to, that your family has about fortitude and consistent, persistent behavior regardless of the ever-changing atmosphere outside of us.
So what I’ll throw out there first is, it was actually a little under $4 million that we raised, which is in and of itself kind of amazing because a few years ago, if you had said that it would be possible to raise anything just via Zoom and basically due diligence technology through Zoom, I would have said, you’re out of your mind, no one’s ever going to that, and lo and behold, here we are. I mean, from a family structure, what I’d say is, all of my credit really goes to my grandparents. The Holocaust lineage that I’ve got. My grandfather was orphaned at 12 years old and had to survive on his own. He escaped from Auschwitz, ended up in Dachau, and then ended up on a death march when he was finally liberated on May 12th, 1945, which is a number that actually adorns inside of my wrist although. I guess it’s a little sacrilegious based on the faith!
But what I’d say is that the most amazing part about my grandfather and what might’ve very well been passed on genetically is, it’s not just a sense of resilience, it’s a sense of gratitude paired with resilience, which is very remarkable to me, because I think it’s easy to be resilient by having a chip on your shoulder, by having an ax to grind. And my grandfather had none of that. There was nothing but sheer gratitude. In fact, he was the happiest person that I’ve met – ever. Up to current, I’ve never met somebody who is just so happy for the present moment to be alive, to be with family; family was the most important thing to him. And I’d say that’s left a pretty big impact on me as it’s given me something to aspire to. And certainly, now that I’ve sort of done the heroic journey of the 20s, figuring out who I am, then the even more heroic journey of my 30s, which really meant…
Well, my 30s were insane. I got hired by Michelle Obama to create a technology-based campaign for Let’s Move! her childhood obesity initiative, I was a correspondent on the Today Show, I had my own internationally syndicated TV show that’s on in over 40 countries. I did well with the Inc. 5000, I’ve created businesses, sold them. But what I never really had honestly, was that deep sense of gratitude along with this drive, and it’s something that really came at that inflection point that I guess most people call a midlife crisis, but circa 40, where it’s almost like I came online and realized that I had been living all of these years. And then, that I had a finite amount in front of me that it was less about what I was accomplishing and more about the meaning that I was attributing to all of it.
I always say, you give meaning to everything you see, and I’ve had so many friends fortunately or unfortunately that have had parents or grandparents that are survivors. And I jokingly always say, “Man, that must be a difficult situation because I couldn’t imagine ever complaining to my parents or grandparents if they were survivors.” But your mom also carried that through, was an extraordinary woman entrepreneur in the ’60s, which is unheard of. And as much as we’re challenged today, we’re literally 60 years later still challenged with the same problem. Your mom in the ’60s, I think she actually signed a lease when you could only sign them as men, right?
So, actually it’s my mother and grandmother. So, my grandmother was the one in the ’60s, my mom was only five years old then. No one would have let her sign a lease then, and rightfully so; it probably would have been in crayon. But my grandmother was and still is – she’s still alive at 93 years old, a Holocaust survivor also – a fiery and driven entrepreneur. She came here with nothing but the shirt on her back quite literally. The only one real skill which was as a seamstress. So, she started working in the back a store tailoring garments. And she just had such incredible gumption that she decided that she wanted to do it on her own and started making these custom designs. When she went to sign her first lease, this is a true story, they wanted my grandfather to sign it because she’s a woman and they wanted a man’s signature on it. And I think that gave her even more drive to succeed. So certainly, there’s a lineage of drive and then my mother became involved in the business and really took it to new heights as well.
Incredible stories. I mean, it’s obviously in your DNA. Congratulations on everything that you’ve done thus far and everything that I know that you’re going to do in just making the world better for people and making it healthier. Can you tell people where they can find you, and where they can learn more about Altis and some of the other great things you’re up to?
Absolutely. It’s tough to learn about Altis just yet, because we’re keeping it real quiet, but it’s altis.ai. Me personally, for the tiny bit that I still am on any social media, because I’m not selling anything and have nothing to promote. I guess, Twitter, I guess Facebook and then Instagram–but don’t hold your breath for a post. But do keep an eye out for Altis, because it will be absolutely groundbreaking!