Josh Cherry, the CEO of Delta Life Fitness, has done a lot in a short amount of time — and that may be putting it mildly.
In 2003, Cherry joined the Marine Corps. By 2010 moms with sons alongside his in Cub Scouts convinced him to share his robust fitness knowledge with them.
“They asked if I would do a similar program that I was doing for core cadets at Texas A&M, so we started doing boot camps in parks and school parking lots,” recalled Cherry.
Eventually, the workouts developed into Delta Life Bootcamp — a concept designed for both men and women. Cherry and his wife opened a location in Florida, while his sister-in-law and her husband opened one in Texas. Over time, the decision was made to turn the gym’s focus solely on women.
“It became a big mission to just empower women,” explained Cherry. “We also decided in order to have more success in business, instead of trying to help everyone, we needed to focus on one group of people.”
Cherry said he and his family began to use “Delta Dana” as their metaphorical stand-in and designed programs that would best serve her. Naturally, people responded to the focused plan.
“This empowering women mission and being created for women and by women is what really began to draw people to it,” explained Cherry, adding that his wife and sister-in-law played the biggest roles in developing programs for members at the facilities.
Cherry said Delta Life Bootcamp grew to seven gyms before rebranding to Delta Life Fitness. Soon after it caught the attention of the California-based Paradigm Investment Group, which invested in 30 locations under the Delta Life Fitness name and led to the franchising of the brand.
Though growth has been rapid for Delta Life Fitness, Cherry insists success is because of the company’s ability to provide women with a place to workout free from insecurity. “Whether women are lifting dumbbells or running on a treadmill, Delta Life exists to bring women together and it becomes their community, their tribe, their sisterhood,” he said. “As things may change with the programs, the fact that we’re creating a safe place for women to come and train, differentiates us.”
In addition to the sense of community, Delta Life, whose signature workout program lasts only 30 minutes, also boasts a personalized app that holds women accountable to their actions outside of the gym, as well as free childcare.
“We have created the best workouts to burn the most calories both during the 30 minutes you’re doing the workout, but also between for the 24 to 36 hours after the workout,” he explained. “The key workout is called Tone and Torch. Tone is more strength training, and the Torch movements are the ones that get you out of breath.”
Cherry said the Marine Corps taught him the lesson that, “a good lieutenant goes to the point of friction,” meaning he has always worked to improve the weakest links of his ventures first and foremost. “There are three facets of business in this industry — the program, operations, and sales and marketing,” he said. “What you have to do about once a quarter is assess where you’re at with each. It’s a constant evolution, but you have to pick which is the weakest and work on it for the next quarter.”
Cherry added that in business, risks are often necessary and growth sometimes does happen a little too fast, but every entrepreneur should remain confident in the flow of his or her own process.
“I think sometimes business owners get discouraged when they look at other people’s stories, but believe in yourself, and know that you cannot create anything great without a lot of risk,” he said. “Keep your vision in mind and keep working toward what you want to build.”