Fitness firm without studios moves to outdoor spaces around the community

While COVID-19 meant at least a temporary setback for many fitness businesses, OutFit Training—conceived almost a decade earlier—found it a perfect time to expand nationwide. “In what might otherwise have taken years, OutFit’s Dream Team…coalesced to launch the most path-breaking fitness venture in decades,” states the website of the company that after years of research and development in Pennsylvania, launched in Florida and sold its first franchise to North DeKalb resident Lauren Adam.

What made a difference was the business model that calls for outside exercise classes that were safer during the pandemic than classes inside fitness studios. OutFit Training is a mobile fitness service that comes to such spaces as parks and parking lots.

“It’s a great idea even without the virus to consider; exercising in the open air just feels great,” said Adam, who recalled first seeing OutFit in Florida and said she found the idea of a vehicle that turns an existing outdoor space into an exercise studio innovative and exciting. What the website describes as “a tricked-out van” carries what is needed for the class. “Everything is right there in the black and yellow van,” Adam said. “You don’t need a hookup to water or power—it’s all there.”

The space needed for a session, Adam said, is the equivalent of four to six parking spaces. “And when we’re done, we pack up and drive away. There’s no sign that we were ever there.” The business model, she said, is far less expensive than maintaining a traditional bricks-and-mortar facility.

Lauren Adam says she is proud to open the first OutFit Training operation in Georgia.

Adam said she will travel anyplace that’s within 10 or 15 minutes of her 30345 Zip code. “I think more in terms of time than miles. With Atlanta’s traffic patterns, a place may be only 10 to 12 miles away but take more than an hour to get there. It doesn’t make good business sense to spend two hours coming and going in traffic for a one-hour session,” she said.

Clients have the option of open classes in which people join what the website describes as “flash mob” style training that “blends strength, cardio, flexibility and fun.” They also can get a group of friends or neighbors together and exercise with people they already know, Adam explained, adding that private one-on-one sessions also are available. “Another possibility is corporate training with groups of co-workers exercising together. We haven’t really broken into that yet, but it’s something we’re looking at for the future.”

A stipulation that’s part of her franchise contract and that every OutFit franchise owner must agree to is that all community first responders such as police officers and firefighters must be given free memberships. “I’m glad to do that,” Adam said. “I believe in a business being part of the community and giving back to the community.”

OutFit Atlanta also does special events, Adam said, citing a recent event at which Adam’s business partnered with the Tucker Brewing Co., hosting a free open workout with a free beer after the class.

The business opened in October and Adam called the weeks that followed “the perfect warmup season,” saying, “Starting out during the cooler days of fall and winter has given us time to make adjustments before the warmer days when more people will be attracted to outdoor exercise.” Adam said she is training two additional exercise instructors, who should be ready to work with clients by the end of February and she plans to acquire two more vans by the end of the year.

Adam described OutFit Training as a “one-of-a-kind workout experience.” She added, “It truly is for everyone. I have a client who recently gave birth to triplets. She said, ‘I have no core strength; I have no back strength.’ But we were able to design a fitness regimen for her. I had a client who had never worked out before and hadn’t even played high school sports. We were able to get her started and she loves it. I have an 83-year-old grandma who works out with us.”

At the other end of the spectrum, she said is a client who is a stunt double on a local television show. “As you can imagine, he’s very fit and can exercise at a high level, but we are able to meet his needs, too. We really are changing people’s lives.”

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