Adam Sedlack, the CEO of UFC GYM, recently down with Rachel Zabonick-Chonko to discuss fitness business trends and strategy, from AI and recovery to mental health and staffing challenges. Below is a partial transcript of the conversation, edited for clarity.
Rachel Zabonick-Chonko: Could just give me an update on how things are going? Are there any exciting initiatives going on at UFC GYM?
Adam Sedlack: I think the most exciting initiatives are through how we’ve been able to gamify the brand with Myzone and Forte and again, the continued success of the localized communities and all of our gyms. International has really been taking off in an amazing way. We’re about to open our first gym in Morocco, which we’re excited about, among other countries. Germany is getting to their third location, and all these other countries are starting to mature. So it’s taking it one day at a time. I think the industry in general as as we’ve got through COVID, we’re on the other side of it. Things are very much normalized. We’re excited about the future and where it takes us.
RZ: Speaking of the future, I want to get your thoughts on industry trends for this year. What do you think are the biggest things operators should be thinking of?
AS: I think AI is becoming a big piece of where the industry is going. I think we don’t know what we don’t know yet and all the different opportunities we have in front of us to take advantage of it. Whether it’s through member communication, team member communication, the ability to retain members longer, to diversify revenue opportunities, I think AI is going to be a huge piece for the operators. I think operators need to figure out how to continue to diversify revenue streams to increase dollar per member. There’s a lot of gyms in our industry now. And that’s a good thing, because as we all know and we all agree on — penetration percentage is the biggest opportunity to continue to grow member segments. We have got to take this industry and get 50% of the people moving throughout the U.S., and adding competition creates innovation.
I also think as an operator, all of us have to figure out how to connect the dots between home workouts and brick and mortar gyms. I think although things have somewhat normalized and people are back in the gyms. I do think people like the convenience of having things at home and connecting those dots is going to be critically important.
I think the last thing, really from an owner perspective, is to consider how we attract talent, improve our talent, without losing control of labor. Everybody’s been impacted by minimum wage increases both at state and federal levels. It makes it incredibly complicated to improve margins when non-controllable expenses are increasing.
Watch the full Q&A with Adam Sedlack on fitness business trends and strategy above.