Making a Splash
UFC Gym, which fuses mixed martial arts with traditional fitness, gained more than 80 franchises when parent company New Evolution Ventures (NeV), Lafayette, CA, announced its acquisition of LA Boxing, Santa Ana, CA. When UFC Gym was founded in 2009, one of the impetuses was to create a brand that was an alternative to the traditional fitness club, NeV CEO Jim Rowley says.
“It was our intention for some time to make a big splash with this brand,” Rowley says. “What we set out to do was be pragmatic about understanding the brand, its resonance with the community and the style aspects of it in terms of fusing traditional fitness with mixed martial arts. We took the better part of three years to curate it and really understand where we can improve the traditional fitness club. We knew we had something.”
Although they technically are not called franchises, CrossFit studios continue to grow nationwide as the most recognized training gym in the country. Founder Greg Glassman purchased the remaining half of the Washington, DC-based company from his wife last year as the two began to settle divorce proceedings. CrossFit has 5,000 studios in operation around the world with 400 more in the pipeline.
Even lesser-known training gyms and studios around the country are showing profits, partly because members are willing to spend anywhere from $800 to $2,000 or more per month for a variety of personal training sessions at these studios. Members who participate in the group training that many of these studios offer typically pay less than that per month.
Frank Nash says he was “born and raised” in big-box health clubs. But he has found his niche with his Frank Nash Training Systems, Worcester, MA, which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary next month. The 5,500-square-foot club produced about $800,000 in revenue last year, according to Nash.
“We’re not your traditional club,” Nash says. “We’re not selling a gym membership here. We’re selling a solution. You’re paying for the experience, the expertise and some real-deal great coaches who will get you there.”
Because of their small size, training studios are cheaper to operate than bigger-box clubs, Nash says, which produces lower risk for the owner. Training studios also have less fitness equipment than traditional fitness clubs do. Nash refers to rows of machines as “the enemy.”
“It’s not about having a bunch of equipment and pretty machines,” he says. “It’s about the coaching. It’s about the motivation. It’s about the results. Good people and good coaches are the hardest things to find. My best piece of equipment is my staff.”
Like most training gyms, Frank Nash Training Systems in Worcester, MA, includes exercises in which members pull heavy objects behind them. Photo courtesy of Frank Nash Training Systems.