Fight fitness is kickboxing and martial arts-based gym operating in Markham, Ontario. Recently due to the ease of lockdown measures in the York Region, Joe Hsiung, CEO and Founder of Fight Fitness, has been able to open up his facilities for in-person training again. We had a call with Joe to discuss his business and just how the Pandemic has affected it.
What Is Fight Fitness and where Did the Idea come from?
We are a group fitness and personal training fitness studio that utilizes martial arts, fitness kickboxing, boxing combat sports, in general, to get people into shape. I used to be an amateur fighter myself, an amateur kickboxer. I fought at the Canadian amateur national level in just kickboxing. I ended up getting tired of getting kicked in the head, so I started to teach other people how to do it.
It turns out many people don’t like to get kicked in the head either. A large segment of the population wants to use kickboxing and MMA techniques to get in shape. We cater to a lot of those people; we had some people reach out to us to learn general tactics, but we don’t put them in the ring. We always say that we fight fat more than we fight people.
How has the Pandemic affected your business?
You can imagine we had to shut down. We had two locations, one in Markham and one in Stouffville. We had to, unfortunately, shut down our Stouffville location in August of last year. I made that tough decision because I knew the cost of reopening after losing a ton of customers would be very high, and the opportunity to build that customer base up would take much time. We would have to do it not in one studio but in two populations in two studios; doing it with one is hard enough. That’s the tough thing that the Pandemic has caused us.
How Have You Adapted To The Pandemic?
The great thing is that we’ve opened up a lot of online coaching; we have a huge client base that is remote that works out with us remotely, all across the GTA and even internationally. We have clients down in the Caribbean and Brazil. We also developed our own app that we use it’s called coach in your corner; every fighter has a coach in their corner.
So, people are out doing the exercises there, but they always come back to a coach to see how they can improve. The app programs your workouts and programs your macronutrients and plans all those things for you, and it has a ton of insights so we can make informed decisions on your fitness and health. So the online workouts and the coaching app are the two good things to come out of this.
What do you think about the possibility of a third lockdown?
It’s possible, and now we’re planning for that; when this first started, who knew how long it was going to last. If you’re asking me, do I think there’ll be a third lockdown? I don’t know. I think it’s a 50/50 chance right now, depending on where the numbers go. Even if it does, we go back to what we were doing before—serving our clients remotely, building online clients who work with us just remotely working with our clients one on one. The only difference is that we don’t have people coming in person.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope that people get vaccinated and start having a defense against this thing. I think the best defense against this whole thing is that people realize that this is something that people will have to deal with. It just feels like we’re kicking the can down the road and not getting past this and nobody’s adapting. I’m seeing many clients putting off what they want to do with their life because of this.
Businesswise, we’re looking to rebuild our location and in-person classes. We have numerous things in development. Personal training has become a big thing as people don’t want to come into classes which is fine. I think there will be a fitness boom in the next few years after this, given that it’s been shown that you need to be healthy to fight this disease.
Gyms have been hit hard by the Pandemic, mainly gyms that offer group classes like Fight Fitness. Recently people have been returning to gyms, but interest in group classes has fallen due to the Pandemic. This means that one on one personal training sessions are becoming more popular. The interest and normalization of online fitness training and classes have also grown during the Pandemic. From what Joe says, it seems like it will become a permanent part of his business’s operations in at least some kind of capacity. It won’t be surprising if other similar businesses take this approach.
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