There’s more to fitness than what’s displayed on your FitBit. While the popular brand of wearable technology is perfect for us average folks who are trying to cram in more steps and ensure we start taking the stairs more often, serious athletes could be left wanting for more.

Training for a strenuous athletic competition (think Ironman Triathlon or marathon) is physically taxing. It requires people to pay attention to what’s going on to themselves physiologically and take extra care fueling their bodies.

But there are other startups out there looking to help hardcore athletes and fitness fans train, recover and compete to their optimal potential. Just look at these four ventures started by local students and alumni.


For an athlete, measuring performance can come in all kinds of forms, such as speed and strength. But, from the most basic level, performance can be quantified by your muscles and how much oxygen they’re using.

Humon, a venture with MIT and Harvard ties, has developed the first wearable to measure real-time oxygen levels in your muscles that is worn on your thigh. Unlike traditional methods, which usually require taking and analyzing blood samples, Humon’s device is entirely non-invasive.

The startup is trying to empower the masses with its technology. Their wearables will arm athletes of all levels with information about their bodies that has formerly only been available to select individuals. With new insight, people can monitor how their muscles respond to activity, enabling them to adjust their intensity precisely when they need to.

As the Humon website put it, “Our goal with the human monitor is to allow everyone of us to have a better understanding of ourselves in order to be more healthy and in better shape.”


Guzzling 8 glasses of water each day can be a tedious task for folks who aren’t into exercising. So imagine how stressful hydration can be for marathon runners pounding the pavement on a daily basis or Olympic lifters training in a gym so hot that it’s at sauna status.

Nix is a startup taking the guesswork out of hydration. Founded by HBS alumna Meredith Unger, Nix is currently testing out its single-use wearable sensors. Its technology allows people to monitor their individual hydration levels in real time during training and competition. Athletes who incorrectly guess their hydration can not only put their safety at risk, but they can also impede their ability to performance. By having a tool to track when they should personally be rehydrating, they can ensure their bodies are functioning to the best of their abilities.


Developed by a former track athlete, Hylux is striving to be a better sports beverage. Lamar Letts, who just finished his freshman year at Northeastern, thought up Hylux when he learned he had a myocarditis, a heart condition that benched him from running and required him to watch what he put into his body.

Most sports drinks on the market contain high amounts of sugar, artificial flavorings and dyes, as well as a limited amount of crucial electrolytes. Letts found himself continuously watering down his libations to lower the sugar concentrations until he decided to make a more effective, healthier alternative.

Hylux is only 80 calories per 16-ounce bottle. It features four different electrolytes – magnesium, potassium, sodium and chloride – along with B vitamins for energy. Better yet, Hylux contains natural ingredients and is free of preservatives.

Iron Tub

How do you get your pre- or post-workout protein shake on when you’re on the go? Iron Tub is your answer. The startup, which was founded by Babson alumnus Jaymes O’Laughlin, aims to make its innovative protein shake vending machines easily accessible to athletes and fitness fanatics everywhere.

Iron Tub’s vending machines prepares you a single-use shaker cup full of protein concoctions within 30 seconds. Nothing is pre-mixed, so you don’t have to deal with questionable, funky tasting formulas. The machine cleanly dispenses powder into a shaker cup of water on-demand. All you have to do is secure the lid, shake and enjoy. As a result, you can quit lugging around your own messy shaker in your gym bag and stocking your kitchen with massive tubs of protein mixtures.

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