This Sleek New Dating and Networking App Aims to Connect the Wellness-Minded

ateam was founded on the idea that all relationships should function as a partnership — and the shared interest of wellness is sure to up the chances of success.

Photo: Courtesy of ateam

If you've always wanted to walk up to that hottie who's regularly in the gym the same time as you, the speedy runner you always see during your morning miles, or the ripped baddie squatting across from you at the box — whether to flirt or just make friends — and could never do it, this new dating and networking app might be just the thing to help.

The new app called "ateam" launched today and was founded on the idea that the best relationships function as "a team," (whether romantic, platonic, or professional) and aims to connect like-minded, wellness-focused people to cultivate exactly those types of partnerships, says founder Dan Ilani.

"I looked at the world of health and fitness, especially boutique fitness, running, and cycling, and built a better way to connect with those people," says Ilani. "I realized that the places that we're usually surrounded by the people we're most compatible with, are often so hard to meet others in — ateam solves that."

If you've seen other fitness-focused dating apps appear and go nowhere fast, well, Ilani has a plan. "Often, companies and brands treat the health and fitness world like individual silos of yogis, runners, CrossFitters, etc. and they ignore that at our core we are all very similar — motivated, focused, energized people who invest time in self-care and self-improvement," he says. "I think a yogi and Crossfitter can live happily ever after, but they aren't going to meet at the studio."

So what does this virtual relationship haven look like? Don't imagine Bumble or Tinder.

Unlike traditional dating apps, which are free from the outset (often with options to purchase VIP memberships or unlock premium features), ateam requires all members to pay a flat cost of $14/month for access to absolutely everything. And, more importantly, there's no dopamine-inducing swipe-to-match feature. Rather, ateam is designed to move away from the "gamified deck-of-cards experience" that other apps foster because Ilani says he "doesn't believe that finding a soulmate or a new friend should feel like a video game." Instead, it reads more like Facebook or Instagram in that you can view people's profiles, come back to them later, and send direct messages. In addition to the usual photos and answers to questions, members can also include "cultural items" to spark conversation such as books, podcasts, and songs they love. To fully connect with someone, you need to initiate a conversation and the other person must respond in order to "match."

"More than anything, I hope that we can make the process of meeting people feel positive and exciting," says Ilani. "Dating through apps has become so fatiguing because you constantly meet the people who are totally wrong for you. By curating a community of people who truly value wellness and fitness, you are much more likely to feel compatible with the people you meet."

And on that note, know that ateam is not only for single people or for dating. "We separated the dating area so that those coming for 'Friends Only' feel comfortable and that there's clarity around everyone's intentions," he says. If you can't find someone to climb with, or need someone to show you the ropes on local mountain biking trails, consider this your in.

That said, it is a bit exclusive. Right now, to get in, you need to download the app (available on iOS) and submit an application. It'll then be reviewed by a committee of health and wellness leaders who simply want to make sure you're a real person who's actually into wellness and have put more than the bare-minimum effort into your profile. Don't worry about showing off abs or crazy skills: The brand emphasizes that it's founded with the perspective that health and wellness is a mindset, not an aesthetic, and makes a point to be welcoming to all bodies, genders, races, sexualities, and identities.

Coming out of a year+ of the COVID-19 pandemic — a time marked by less face-to-face human interaction than ever before — the app is also planning to incorporate in-person events and to bring the connections to life off-screen. They're partnering with workout studios to offer in-person wellness events and workouts as well as virtual offerings. Two-time Olympic bobsledder Aja Evans, who's joined ateam as a spokesperson, will even be hosting an upcoming virtual content series. (See: Why You Might Be Feeling Socially Anxious Coming Out of Quarantine)

Evans, herself, is arguably the app's perfect test case. "I recently moved to Atlanta, GA, and the ateam app helps me connect with people both in my city and around the world," she says. "Since joining the platform, I've met people that share a passion for health and fitness, and got to check out some new fitness facilities in the area."

If you think dating as a "regular" is hard, imagine being an elite athlete. "It has its ups and downs," says Evans. "I think men are very intrigued by my capabilities, dedication, and drive. But, I also travel a lot and it can be difficult to build relationships when you're always on the go." And when you eat, sleep, and breathe athletic performance, it makes sense that you need someone who can respect and empathize with your lifestyle — or even join you. "Wellness plays a major role in my dating life," she continues. "I'm naturally very active, I enjoy eating healthy, but I also have a sweet tooth. So, balancing that has become a part of my life. I love being able to share experiences with others, especially activities like working out, hiking, yoga, boxing, and dining out. I want to be with someone that enjoys being active, but doesn't judge when it's time to order dessert and I go for the crème brûlée."

Whether you're looking for someone to share a long run and then crème brûlée and then life with, or simply for a new workout buddy, it seems like a team is up to the task.

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