New social startup aims to help users find a "sweat buddy"

As an investment banker, Jaslyn Koh, did much socialising and networking, and about the only heavy lifting she did was with a cocktail glass. Now, in her new life, Ms Koh, 29, is more likely to be making new friends and business contacts in her activewear, with a water bottle in her hand.

Together with two other partners who still keep their day jobs, the trio started Broccoli & Dumbbells, a social wellbeing startup that connects busy professionals and active travellers over healthy pursuits.

The idea came to Ms Koh, when she left her banking job last year to travel the world. She cliff jumped in Mallorca, went volcano hiking in the Aeolian Islands of Sicily, and hunted for mushrooms in Finland.

"As I was travelling on my own at times, I realised how the most meaningful and productive social connections were often developed as a result of encouraging one another to finish an uphill climb despite the scorching sun, or enjoying that smoothie together after a tough workout," she says.

She was drawn to fellow travellers and locals who like her, shared a common interest for fitness, adventure, wellbeing and experiences.

"However, the often tedious and dreary task of finding out where to go for good wholesome food or fitness classes when travelling left much to be desired," she says.

Enter Broccoli & Dumbbells, symbols of healthy eats and fitness. The website offers several features, one of which is Find Your SweatBuddy. The free service is based on an in-house algorithm to match individuals based on criteria such as location, age, fitness, networking and lifestyle preferences. Since its launch in September, the website has matched about 200 pairs of buddies.

"It is easier to stay on the fitness bandwagon or to try out a new workout together, when you have a buddy," says Ms Koh.

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She is confident that people will not mind networking while sweaty and sticky. "Finding a common ground that isn't work related and getting through that workout or challenge together helps people form a real connection," she says.

Besides finding a sweat buddy, users can also sign up for wellbeing experiences on the website. Ms Koh works with fitness studios and eateries to create experiences that involve healthy dining, and working out, for a fee.

Broccoli & Dumbbells is targeted at both locals and travellers. For example, tapping the Discover Near You button, will reveal a list of healthy eats and fitness studios near the user. "Only quality businesses that have been tried and tested are included," says Ms Koh.

Corporate travellers who are in back-to-back meetings all day, can book a wellbeing experience to get their body moving. "We are working with a few hotel brands to integrate Broccoli & Dumbbells into their offerings," adds Ms Koh.

For travellers who are staying for a longer duration, Ms Koh suggests using the website to find a sweat buddy, discover healthy options and work out like a local.

"We want our customers who are essentially busy individuals to make the most of their time while taking care of their social life and wellbeing," she says.