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In southeast Jacksonville, Florida, Pulse Fitness is changing lives on a personal level. At 6,500 square feet, the gym has a slim capacity compared to big-box gyms in the area.
Its intimate setting, however, doesn’t keep it from having a big impact. “Because we’re a small gym, I literally know everybody,” said Ramak Safi, the general manager of Pulse Fitness. “I know what they’re trying to achieve in the gym. We value individuals, and I think that’s the key to our success.”
Pulse Fitness was born from this principle: valuing individuals and working with them closely to reach their fitness goals.
According to Safi, the club’s members and staff are tight knit, which further helps create such a supportive atmosphere. “I think the environment we create is very friendly and people know us, so they continue to talk positively about the experience they have here with a trainer, with the facility,” he said.
In fact, the club’s heartbeat is its staff members, some of whom have been with Pulse Fitness since its inception seven years ago and become the faces of the brand. “We’re here from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m to engage our clients,” said Safi.
But the venture didn’t get off the ground smoothly. Pulse Fitness experienced the same growing pains most individually owned clubs struggle with.
“In the beginning, we had some equipment get damaged after we bought it — we used it and it [quickly] broke,” recalled Safi. “We also struggled with running certain classes because instructors weren’t as committed and it was hard to keep them around. It also doesn’t help you in the long run if you get a quick fix with a good instructor who’s going to leave.”
Through all the bumps in the road, Pulse Fitness persevered and emerged as one of the premier clubs in Jacksonville, despite its smaller size. “We’re lucky to have a really good training squad and that’s been the key to our success — our trainers and friendly atmosphere, and close relationship with our members,” said Safi.
This advice, to build close relationships with members, is what Safi wished to share with other club operators.
“Start valuing the individuals as they are,” said Rafi. “It all depends on how your club defines success. If your success is defined by helping people achieve their goals, helping people stay fit, and getting them from being overweight to somebody who is on the right path toward losing some weight and being happy, then your bank account will reflect your success. Don’t worry so much about pricing and money, but focus on helping individuals.”