Association of Fitness Studios Leads Fitness Studio Movement

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The rise of fitness studios by entrepreneurial professionals is changing the fitness landscape, and AFS—backed by dozens of vendors—provides the resources for these owners to be successful.

Most of the challenges of studio ownership are universal; it's our mission to ensure these businesses reach their potential, regardless of the workout discipline they promote.

The latest rage in the ever-evolving fitness industry isn’t a workout at all. It’s the recognition of the fitness studio phenomenon. According to several reputable research studies, there are more than 85,000 fitness studios which clearly represents the fastest growing industry facility segment, far outpacing “big box” health clubs and discount-driven gyms.

The relatively low entry fee along with consumer desire for that personal component-- and the entrepreneurial itch experienced by thousands of fitness professionals – has led to this incredible proliferation of studios.

Leading the movement is the Association of Fitness Studios (AFS) an online community dedicated to supporting fitness studio owners through access to business experts, discounts on products and services, additional revenue streams, industry-leading market research, and ongoing education. AFS has garnered more than substantial support from all sides of the fitness industry – especially vendors, who seek to tap into this long-elusive market of businesses.

The convergence of technology and exercise has created strange bedfellows of vendors pitching everything from heavy-duty gym equipment to technology apps.

“Studio businesses are almost always run by great fitness professionals,” said Josh Leve, President and co-founder of AFS. “However, in order to become a great business owner, it's critical they invest the same amount in their business skills. Both paths must run parallel."

The vendor world agrees. In its first 16 months, AFS has attracted over 40 companies representing an incredibly wide variety of products and services from trainer certifying organizations like the American Council on Exercise (ACE), technology gurus like GoDaddy and MINDBODY, tried-and-true “heavy metal” equipment companies like Stairmaster/ Schwinn, balls/bands/accessories like SPRI Products, and insurance experts Sports & Fitness Insurance Corporation.

“Based on the current rise of studio-type fitness environments, I believe the AFS products, services and benefits can make a substantial, positive difference to the bottom line of almost any studio. We are supporting it,” said Scott Goudeseune, CEO of ACE, which currently hosts 65,000 certified instructors and trainers.

AFS offers an incomparable value proposition for both the studio owner and developer, with annual pricing topping out at $149. With many studios securing $75 in an hourly fee from clients, the simple math tells the story… if in the course of a year, only one client shows up that can be traced to information, education, or research emanating from AFS, and that client takes two sessions at the studio – the membership is paid for.

But that’s a minimalist approach. The reality is AFS’ impact on studios is often a game-changer.

“Through our extensive list of benefits, mentorship and market research, AFS provides the resources and connectivity these businesses need,” said Leve. “Most of the challenges of studio ownership are universal; it's our mission to ensure these businesses reach their potential, regardless of the workout discipline they promote.”

“I love what AFS is doing to help fitness studios and operators be successful,” said Todd Durkin, owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego. “The team at AFS has a wealth of knowledge, a deep-seated and genuine desire to help people be successful, and they are going to have a great impact on our industry.”

Contact AFS or more information on The Fitness Studio Movement.

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Josh Leve
@AFScommunity
since: 09/2013
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