This gym trains 1,000 members in 3,500 sq ft 


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

& only offers large group training…

What’s up Gym World?

We’ve talked to plenty of gym owners who made the switch from large group training to small group or semi-private because:

  • It’s easier to scale.
  • Clients get more time with coaches.
  • It can be more profitable.

But that’s not the case for Keith Hardwick and Riley Phelps, co-founders of KOR4 Elite Fitness.

💡 KOR4 is a group training concept with four programs that blend elements of Orangetheory, Barry’s Bootcamp, and CrossFit:

Force: strength and conditioning Flex: lifting Fire: heated HIIT Hybrid: mix of Force and Flex

One coach trains 42 people, and members can choose from:

8 sessions/mo for $129 12 sessions/mo for $149 Unlimited sessions for $189

The gym has been around since 2021 and has over 1,000 members training in 3,500 sq ft with a 35% profit margin. These numbers are INSANE for group training.

Here’s why it works:

The founders

Keith and Riley come from a CrossFit background and know how to run a massively successful training gym. Before KOR4, they managed an Orangetheory with 1,600 members in just 1,200 sq ft of training space. 🤯

💡 Being early adopters showed them what was possible in a small training footprint. They realized you could have five times the members of a CrossFit gym in half the space, which helped them set ambitious goals for their new concept.

Members often asked about their workouts to look like them, which were a mix of:

  • Orangetheory
  • Strength training
  • CrossFit
Keith and Riley training
Keith (left) and Riley (right) have a vibe and energy that make you want to train hard.

So, the boys took elements of a boutique gym like:

  • Space efficiency
  • Lighting
  • Design

Then, they combined them with the three training models to create KOR4. And it’s been a huge success.

💡 Keith and Riley are insane operators who know their stuff. They have an “it” factor, like other owners we’ve featured, that sets them apart from the rest.

The space

The gym is 7,000 sq ft with half of it dedicated to reception and locker rooms.

KOR4 reception photo
Reception and locker rooms are often afterthoughts, but KOR4 uses them to stand out from other training gyms nearby.

The other 3,500 sq ft is training space, featuring:

  • 14 assault runners
  • 14 Concept2 RowErgs
  • 14 strength rack stations
  • Barbells and a rig — key CrossFit elements rarely seen in boutique gyms
MADabolic gym equipment
MADabolic took the opposite approach and doesn’t use barbells.

It’s clear from the look that Keith and Riley invested heavily in the space’s aesthetics, including vibrant lighting for each workout program.

KOR4 vibrant lighting aesthetic
For example, Fire uses intense red lighting to emphasize heat and intensity, while Force features cool blue lighting for focus and strength.

And while ambient lighting is common in boutique gyms, they were among the first to pair it with a serious strength workout.

💡 Small investments in your space's look and feel can make it more premium and attract ideal clients. Alloy intentionally does this.

The coaching

Keith and Riley focus on building strong culture by:

  • Encouraging coaches to memorize every member’s name 💀
  • Ensuring personal touchpoints per member per class
  • Maintaining a high degree of high-quality control
💡 Daniel Chaffey’s gyms have over 3,000 members. He says connecting with members is a team effort that makes members feel appreciated and keeps them coming back.

And since members use barbells and rigs, which demand expert guidance, I’d bet their coaching is better than their competitors.

The location

The gym has a vibe you’d expect in NYC or LA:

  • High energy
  • Sexy design
  • Trendy atmosphere
KOR4 high energy vibe
Gyms like Mark Fisher Fitness, Alpha Fit Club, and MADabolic have these vibes too.

But it’s in Charleston, SC, a Tier 3 city with a rapidly growing population.

KOR4 Elite Fitness location
Keith and Riley are opening a second location in Mt. Pleasant soon.

The existing members

KOR4’s Instagram is full of fit, good-looking men and women, so it looks like the gym is targeting a younger crowd than the average one we feature.

This makes attracting more people like them easy, creating a vibrant culture and offering a great opportunity to meet like-minded individuals.

💡 Younger people often seek community. Gyms like West Village Athletics and LifeTime focus on creating these “third-place” environments, which increases the perceived value of membership and keeps people around longer.

Wrapping up

Keith and Riley left Orangetheory to create a unique large group training concept that combines boutique fitness with the intensity of CrossFit.

The results have been INSANE, and they’re opening a second location soon. I’m excited to see where this goes.

For deeper insights into KOR4’s concept, watch or listen to the boys’ full interview on Gym World.



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