Fitness Franchise 9Round Kicks Members Into Shape

In this Salute to American Success, we’re taking a look at gym franchise 9Round, and founder and CEO Shannon Hudson. The company features a kickboxing-based workout of nine different circuits lasting a total of 30 minutes. Hudson began his career in fitness as a kickboxer and after nearly 80 bouts in the ring, founded his company in 2008.

“I grew up in martial arts,” Hudson said. “I’ve been around it my entire life… I love to compete. When I was 18, I said, 'I want to amateur box and amateur kickbox.' I would fight anybody, anywhere, anytime. People thought I was crazy. I turned professional in 2005, but the problem with fighting is that it doesn’t pay very well.”

Hudson faced some adversity when he decided to open his own gym.

“It cost us about $12,000-15,000 to open the first location,” he said. “We scraped up the money, maxed out the only credit card we had… we couldn’t even afford a sign on the building.

In their first month of operation, 100 members signed up for the club, according to Hudson. A year later, in 2009, Hudson decided to use a franchise model to increase corporate growth. In the last 12 months, 9Round has opened more than 100 locations and plans to open 1,000 stores worldwide by 2018.

Currently, the company has 252 clubs in U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia and Saudi Arabia. According to Hudson, more than 300 clubs are in various stages of development including about 100 in development in the Middle East.

“All of those markets seem to respond well to 9Round, especially Mexico,” Hudson said. “Boxing is big in their culture. It was tough going international. There’s a lot of red tape. You have to be financially ready if you want to go international with your brand."

With new technology coming into play and affordability becoming easier, Hudson said the fitness industry has seen significant changes.

“It’s more group training now—it’s not one-on-one,” he said. “It’s more affordable if it’s in groups, so that’s what our business model is. With the group atmosphere, it’s more energy, more exciting.”

Hudson said he looks forward to the future of his company and is excited to give advice and provide quality training, while advocating for consistency and high intensity during workouts.

“You don’t need more time, you need more intensity. Make it a habit, be consistent and don’t spend two hours. A short amount of time, high-intensity and you’ll rock and roll.”