Running 17 $1M+ personal training gyms

ABOUT THIS ARTICLE

Gym World comes from Kilo co-founder John Franklin, who shares lessons about making money in the fitness industry.

An inside look at “North America’s largest network of premium personal training studios”

What’s up Gym World?

Less than 1% of gym owners break a million dollars in revenue.

This week, we’re talking to someone who has done it 17 times.

Curtis Christopherson is the owner of Innovative Fitness, a “network of personal training studios” that average about $100k/mo in revenue.

Let’s breakdown his business so we can see what he’s doing to defy the odds.

Premium locations

Innovative Fitness studios are located in Toronto, Vancouver, and surrounding suburbs. At around 5,000 sq ft, they’re larger than the average personal training gym.

Half of the space is used for training, and the other half has beautifully designed amenities like a reception area, luxurious change rooms, and a staff room.

examples of personal training gym premium locations at Innovative Fitness

Each studio is capped at 250 members, and like Alloy, they target people who

  • are successful
  • have flexible schedules, &
  • live in expensive neighborhoods

Simple model

Innovative Fitness offers 1-on-1 and 1-on-2 personal training.

Unlike most personal training studios, members work with multiple coaches. Each client has a lead coach who manages their program and handles half of the client’s sessions, and a support coach who does the other half.

With this model, members build connections with multiple coaches, and coaches can take a vacation or leave the business without causing a massive disruption.

Easy marketing

Innovative Fitness has been around for 25 years. If you do something right for that long, you build a brand, which makes organic marketing easier.

Curtis says 99% of their leads come from word-of-mouth and the remaining from digital ads like this one:

example of a digital personal training ad
💡 When I spoke to Curtis, he mentioned that they have about a 1% monthly churn rate, whereas the average gym hovers around 9%. When your churn is that low, you don’t need to do that much marketing.

Upscale packaging & pricing

They sell monthly, 3-month, and 6-month packages.

Most members train 2-3 times a week, and each session costs them $100/hr. That’s anywhere between $800-$1,200/moper person.

💡 It’s a very competitive price point for tier-1 cities. I’ve seen other PT concepts charge $200-$250 a session for similar services.

For 1-on-2 sessions, it’s cheaper. Those go for $65-$75 per person.

Member getaways

Want to explore the world with rich fitness friends?

Innovative Fitness organizes monthly trips to do stuff like:

  • walk around Machu Picchu
  • summit Mount Kilimanjaro, &
  • watch the Tour de France

Here’s what they did back in August:

Here’s what they did back in August:

When you create community, create connection, create trust, and really integrate the client within the experience, that’s going to lengthen longevity of a client and increase retention.

And based on who their gyms target, they can certainly afford it.

💡 Gym owners, take note: people are willing to spend $ on things that make them happy and healthy, especially Gen Z.

If you’re looking for something a little more budget-friendly, check out how this gym in NYC is extending its impact beyond its walls.

Hiring right

For Innovative Fitness, an ideal personal trainer is someone who

  • is 23 to 27-years-old
  • is certified and educated
  • is team-oriented, &
  • leads by example

Coaches work morning (6am-3pm) or afternoon shifts (11am-8pm) for about 35 hours/wk.

They get paid $30-40 a session and get:

  • insurance & medical benefits
  • travel compensation, &
  • career advancement opportunities

Each studio has two salaried positions: the manager and the receptionist. Managers can make north of $100k.

And that’s the whole shebang.

TL;DR: the bottom line

Curtis has been in the game for 25 years. That’s a lot of time to make mistakes and refine a model.

The fitness industry is brutal and few people make it that long. It’s prudent to study as many of them as you can.

So if you consider yourself a lifer like me, watch or listen to the latest Gym World:

Over and out,

j

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