Fusion Fitness is similar to many locally-owned clubs, in that it’s driven by engaging programming and instructors who create a strong sense of belonging as members strive to reach their goals.
“It’s really a community-driven atmosphere,” said Darby Brender, the founder of Fusion Fitness. “I’ve had so many people tell me stories about how they made a whole new circle of friends and support group just by meeting people at the studio.”
And although the club isn’t exclusively a women’s-only gym, this tight-knit community is predominately female. “We didn’t intend for it to be that way, but I think the exercises [are] a little bit more feminine in their approach,” said Brender.
In addition to the engaging workouts and sense of community, one of the most significant draws of Fusion Fitness is a feeling of comfort. “Women want to workout where they feel comfortable,” said Brender. “So it’s OK if you have toothpaste on your shirt or your pants are on inside-out. When it’s an all-female atmosphere, it tends to kind of be a little more casual.”
Although the club has developed into a comfortable place to exercise, a different workout style helped Fusion Fitness first carve out its niche over 10 years ago.
“What made our classes unique was we created our own method of working out: high reps, low weights, a quick pace and combining disciplines from yoga, Pilates and calisthenics all into one workout,” explained Brender. “We wanted the classes to be results-driven, and for people to really feel and know they did the workout.”
According to Brender, timing was critical to the success of this workout style. “Ten years ago, there weren’t all these other studios,” she explained. “We were one of the first group fitness studios to come about, other than yoga studios.”
Just two years into opening the club, however, Brender reached a fork in the road with the club’s operation. Her business partner at the time decided to move on and she was forced to choose between taking on all the responsibilities herself, or taking a chance on new staff members to help carry the load.
This decision led to bigger and better things for Fusion Fitness. “I decided that was my time to grow and expand it into more studios, take more risks and delegate a lot more,” shared Brender.
The addition of new trainers and locations allowed Brender to expand her club’s offerings, while maintaining the same sense of community combined with engaging workouts.
Two of these workouts, the Sweat Lab and Fusion Focus, extend beyond the fitness floor in respective ways. “We have a class called Fusion Focus, and in that class, we really work through mental, emotional stuff while they’re physically moving,” said Brender. “And we’ve had so many people move away, we created an online format called the Sweat Lab, where they can act like they’re in the classes anywhere.”
This sense of community, comfortable environment and devotion to overall wellness have fueled Fusion’s success for over a decade — and will continue to do so.