For some, December signifies the arrival of the holiday season, or the final hurrah of the current year — but for Blink Fitness, this December signifies reaching a major milestone, and looking forward to more, as the franchise prepares to open its 50th gym this month.
This achievement comes only five years after the company, now home to nearly 300,000 members, opened the doors to its first location in 2011.
Todd Magazine, president of Blink Fitness, said that the gym’s ability to stand alone in their approach in the industry is a large part of the reason they have catapulted to success so quickly.
Magazine said rhetoric surrounding the fitness industry focuses heavily on the physical benefits of exercise, but Blink’s philosophy centers on the emotional ones.
“We’ve really been the only brand in the world of fitness that’s been talking about the emotional benefits,” he said. “When all you sell is physical benefits, people who are not fit feel that they don’t belong. But when you talk about emotional benefits, everybody can connect to that.”
Blink’s ideals certainly pass the numbers test.
According to Magazine, membership at the current 49 locations has more than tripled since the end of 2013, and revenue has more than doubled over the last two years.
The company has deemed their effort, “Mood Above Muscle,” and in 2016 also launched their “Every Body Happy” campaign, which challenges the fitness industry’s norms and advocates for body positivity.
Magazine insists, though, that Blink’s direction in the fitness world is not meant to ignore the obvious.
“It’s not about being dismissive about the physical benefits — obviously there are a lot of very good reasons physically that people want to exercise, but if all you do is talk about the physical, you’re just like everybody else, and we wanted to be different,” he said.
Though Blink continues to grow with no signs of slowing down, Magazine acknowledged that success is inevitably accompanied by challenges.
“I would say that the most challenging part is that as you get bigger, it gets harder and harder to touch all of the locations as frequently as we did when we had 10 clubs, or five clubs,” he said.
The president added that maintaining the culture of the clubs, including high-energy, outgoing staff members he refers to as “Blinkers,” remains a priority, though admittedly harder to do with so many locations.
Magazine said that in the next five years Blink plans to have expanded to around 300 clubs, and they will expand outside of the New York and New Jersey areas where most of the current gyms are presently situated.
“All of our first 50 locations are company owned, but over the past year we got a franchise program that we are rolling out as we speak, and that is really going to accelerate our growth,” he explained.
Blink’s 50th gym is set to open in the Bedford Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, New York on December 21st.