Do What You Love
As a child, Todd Magazine dreamed of being an architect. He went to the University of Michigan with that career objective in mind, but ended up in the business world instead, working for venerable brands such as Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo.
After 20-plus years in the consumer products industry, Magazine craved a change. “I decided that I really wanted to work in a category in which I was passionate, and really wanted to build something from scratch,” he said.
In 2012, Magazine was given that opportunity when he was hired by Equinox to oversee all of its new businesses, including Soul Cycle, Pure Yoga and Blink Fitness. In particular, Magazine felt Blink Fitness had tremendous opportunity and asked to focus 100 percent of his time on the brand.
“It was really clear early on that there’s tremendous growth opportunity [for Blink Fitness],” said Magazine. “It was a great opportunity to take something from scratch and create something that had a chance to be really big in the market.”
In 2011, Blink Fitness was created by Equinox as a way to bring a highly differentiated proposition to the high-volume, low-priced (HVLP) segment. Blink Fitness has nearly 50 locations open or in development, and has a goal of reaching 400 locations by 2020.
Blink Fitness’ mantra, “Mood Above Muscle,” is part of what separates it from other HVLP brands. “‘Mood Above Muscle’ resonates with a much broader audience because it showcases the immediate benefits of exercise,” said Magazine. “The physical benefits take time and patience, which is why so many people give up on exercise.”
According to Magazine, Blink Fitness brings “Mood Above Muscle” to life with its “Feel Good Experience,” made up of five standards that every Blink Fitness club is held to. Those standards include, “We are mood lifters who greet and treat members with respect,” and “Our gyms are designed to inspire by being colorful, open and bright,” for example.
“We are really trying to deliver something that is a differentiator,” said Magazine. “‘Mood Above Muscle’ is really something that we believe.”
For Magazine, it has been rewarding to see the brand grow from one location to nearly 50 locations open or in development. “It’s kind of fun, in three-plus years, to go from anonymity to really being a part of the fabric of the New York metro community,” he said.
Like Magazine, Dos Condon, the vice president of operations for Blink Fitness, didn’t start out in the health and fitness industry. At the age of 40, after a career in textile sales, he also decided it was time for a change.
“I traveled for a few years,” said Condon. “When I returned home to New York City, the first Equinox had opened across the street from my apartment. I was not happy about that because the best butcher on the Upper West Side was in that space for years.”
Ironically, Condon began working for Equinox years later. “I got certified as a personal trainer, and as fate would have it, started my training career at Equinox.”
From there, Condon continually worked his way up the ladder, becoming a personal training manager and then general manager. In 2000, he opened the first Equinox outside of the New York City market in Southern California. “Equinox did extremely well in Los Angeles and continues to dominate the market,” he said.
Condon lived in Los Angeles for nine years, until the door to a new opportunity opened once again. “It wasn’t until 2009 that we began looking at the rapid growth of the affordable fitness sector and found tremendous opportunity to create a powerful, unique offering [in Blink Fitness].”
According to Magazine, Blink Fitness is unique from other HVLP brands in more than just its “Mood Over Muscle” philosophy. “We think, and the market results indicate, that we are providing a better product in the HVLP segment than what exists today, and that our future is extremely bright,” he said.
Part of that future involves a franchise program that will supplement Blink Fitness’ corporate owned and operated expansion plans, which will help the company reach its goal of 400 or more locations by 2020.
Blink Fitness aims to open clubs in a variety of locations, including underserved markets and neighborhoods lacking fitness options. Magazine cited Blink Fitness’ South Bronx club on Macombs Road, which opened on July 24 of this year, and its Coney Island location, which opened on July 31.
In fact, the first club opening Magazine attended was in the South Bronx, in 2012, which was Blink Fitness’ fifth location. He said it was a defining experience.
“It was clear that I worked for Blink, and this gentlemen walks up to me and says, ‘I’m 66 years old. I’ve never worked out a day in my life, and I want to start today. Can you help me?,’” recalled Magazine. “It was eye-opening to hear that from somebody, and the fact that we are bringing something to people that they want, but just haven’t necessarily had the opportunity to have … that’s something that sticks with me every day.”
Ultimately, both Magazine and Condon’s career moves later in life have led them to fulfilling roles working for a brand they can be proud to take ownership of.
“The saying is so true: Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life,” said Condon.