A new brand wants to fight its way into the crowded Richmond fitness market.
Mark Wood and Phil Evans secured the Richmond franchise rights for 9Round, a 30-minute kickboxing workout. The first of three planned local locations – at 13965 Raised Antler Circle in Midlothian – is about a month away from opening, Wood said.
The program emphasizes kickboxing technique, but Wood said members don’t actually duke it out. Instead, they move among nine stations that include punching bags, dumbbells and medicine balls.
“You don’t have to be a mixed martial artist to do this,” Wood said. “Our focus is to help people meet their goals, whether it’s to lose weight or maintain.”
The partners haven’t finalized the other locations yet, Wood said, but they’re exploring options in the West End, downtown and in Mechanicsville.
“We don’t want to open all three at one time,” Wood said. “We’d like to get a foundation under us and grow from there. It’s about keeping those overhead costs down, so we don’t have to pass it on to the consumer.”
Wood declined to discuss startup costs.
Wood previously spent 16 years with American Family Fitness, most recently as a general manager. Evans was previously president of the NBA D-League and had been president of SportsQuest.
Their Midlothian gym, which occupies 1,200 square feet in the Deer Run Shopping Center, will employ three trainers.
The 9Round enrollment fee will be $1 for the first 100 members and will increase to $100 after the promotion ends.
Shannon Hudson, a former professional kickboxer, launched 9Round in 2010 in South Carolina. The workout has spread to 18 other states, including a location in Hampton Roads.
It’s the latest in a line of specialty fitness companies to enter the Richmond market.
At last count, 10 CrossFit gyms were operating in the area. An Orangetheory Fitness franchise launched in the West End, and gyms offering everything from Pilates to pole dancing have popped up in the past several years.
Evans, who lives in South Carolina and trains at 9Round, introduced Wood to the concept.
Wood said the program’s flexible training schedule would help it stand out from the competition. There aren’t any set classes, and members can work through the rotation at their pace with the help of a trainer.
“You’ll never have to wait around for a class to start. You can just jump in,” Wood said. “I think people are going to realize this is a fair price for a fantastic workout.”