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Zone Health and Fitness Puts People First, Success Follows


April 2021 Club of the Month, presented by ABC Fitness Solutions:

Zone Health and Fitness, est. 2014

Zone Health and Fitness has earned a reputation in Ocala, Florida, as a gym that truly thinks fitness-forward — putting its members first by caring about and giving back to the community. This is because the owner, Ben Marciano, defines success not by revenue, but by the positive impact being made on employees and members. 

Here, learn how Marciano has created such a positive sense of community and human connection at Zone Health and Fitness, his keys to propelling his business forward, and more.

Your gym was nominated for Club of the Month because of the positive community you’ve created in Ocala, Florida. What has been key to crafting such a positive, uplifting gym community?

BM: It always starts with the vision and the staff. When we started Zone, we said we would be a gym that makes our community better. My wife and I have always had a heart to serve and we love Ocala, so we knew we wanted to use our gym to not only make people healthier but also make Ocala a better place to live. When we hire, we hire staff for their hearts. We can train anyone to do a job, but passion is not something that can be taught. We explain to them that not only will they be changing people’s lives inside the facility, but throughout our community, too. Each employee is encouraged to participate in at least two community events a year and we want the events to line up with what they are passionate about. We find this not only inspires staff to become better people, but it also helps keep quality employees committed to the company.

As owner, why is it important for you to give back to the community? What are some examples of things you’ve done to give back?

BM: Honestly, it feels good to help others and it is the right thing to do. Over the years we have done fundraisers for employees in need of transportation and we were able to give them a car, as well as raised money to remodel the Boys and Girls Club gymnasium. We have partnered in community events like the Heart Walk and breast cancer awareness, just to name a few. Most recently we partnered with a group of community leaders to host an event on site to remember our former police chief who died in a plane crash. For this event, we dedicated the treadmill he always walked on for a walkathon to raise money for charities he supported. We raised $150,000 that day. It was awesome to see how we brought the community together in tough times for such a great cause.

Now that’s something that home equipment can’t do. What are things — big or small — gyms can do to take care of their staff and members?

BM: The biggest, which is also the smallest thing gyms can do to take care of their staff and members, is to simply listen. It is very easy to get caught up in the grind of daily activities, but truly connecting with people is the key to lasting relationships for both employees and members.

Do you think altruism/giving back is a key to your gym’s success? 

BM: I would say it is a huge part of our success. It is amazing how the community has relied on us especially during COVID knowing just how altruistic we are as individuals and as a business.

Beyond this, what else is key to your gym’s success?  

BM: Our team. We believe we have the best staff. When you hire right, train for success and line people up with their passion in their daily jobs, amazing things happen. We love watching employees develop and grow not only in their career but personally. Most of our leadership staff have moved up in the ranks from entry-level positions. Our vision is to truly help people become the best version of themselves.

What’s the best piece of leadership advice you could give to other operators? 

BM: Lead with the heart to serve and help others. Early on in my career I measured success by the numbers and outcomes. Today we define success by the lives we are changing. It’s about the human connection. Since we have made that switch, everything seems to have fallen into place. People first and success follows.

Created in partnership with ABC Fitness Solutions. Visit abcfitness.com for more information on how they can help your fitness business.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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1 Comment

  1. Chris Sapp April 4, 2021

    Great work from a great leader! Keep it going Ben!


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