From classes on defending against knife attacks to dodges and jabs, Richmond’s fitness marketplace keeps adding new players with new ways to break a sweat.
Walter Cardwell recently moved his Alpha Krav Maga RVA into a 2,100-square-foot space at 10805 Midlothian Turnpike. Krav Maga is Hebrew for “contact combat” and is a self-defense system developed for the Israeli military.
“Krav Maga takes all the rules out,” Cardwell said. “It’s based off the street and making sure you get home every night.”
Cardwell first opened Alpha Krav Maga in 2013 at 9401 Midlothian Turnpike in a space about half the size of his new storefront.
He charges $110 a month for unlimited classes at Alpha Krav Maga. Cardwell said about 20 students are enrolled. In May, he plans to offer classes for children.
Cardwell said the emphasis at his school is more about protecting oneself than it is about one’s waistline.
“I just believe they have the best system you can find out there for self-defense,” Cardwell said.
Another gym inspired by hand-to-hand confrontation opened this month in Petersburg, though with more of an emphasis on fitness.
Augusto Domingo, a former civilian contractor for the Army, opened a 9Round Fitness at 3330 S. Crater Road on April 3. Domingo is leasing the 1,200-square-foot space.
9Round is a fitness franchise that offers boxing and kickboxing classes. The area’s first 9Round opened last year in Midlothian under a different franchise owner. The Petersburg 9Round is the brand’s ninth location in Virginia.
“It’s a different model,” Domingo said. “I don’t really see myself in competition with people who go to the YMCA or who go to Gold’s Gym.”
There are no class times for 9Round workouts. Members show up and start their workouts on their own schedule. Memberships cost $49 a month.
9round’s website estimates initial startup costs for their gyms to be between $53,000 and $93,000. Domingo said he is financing his efforts with personal savings. A grand opening is being held April 25 in Petersburg. Domingo said Petersburg mayor Brian Moore plans to attend to cut the ribbon and do a 9Round workout.
Over in eastern Henrico, the CrossFit brand continues its rise in Richmond with another gym in the works.
Ben Donovan is bringing CrossFit Krijger to a 4,880-square-foot space at 5760 Charles City Circle in the Byrd Center industrial park just off South Laburnum Avenue.
Donovan hasn’t moved in yet, but he’s worked out a deal with the landlord to let him open temporarily nearby at 5604 Charles City Circle on May 1.
A former Army Ranger, Donovan said he originally wanted to open his CrossFit gym in Midlothian.
“It was getting kind of congested,” Donovan said of the rise in area CrossFit gyms. “I wanted to distance myself from the other CrossFits out there.”
There are now about 16 CrossFit gyms in the Richmond market, including a handful around Chesterfield County.
Donovan said he’s using personal savings to get up and running. He said the gym’s five rowing machines each cost $1,000, and the two gluteus and hamstring developers each cost $800.
Monthly memberships will cost $145 at Krijger. (The name is Dutch for “warrior.”)
“I’m fascinated by Viking history,” Donovan said of the name choice.
Though the CrossFit trend may have pushed Donovan farther east than he planned, he doesn’t feel the trend has maxed out just yet.
“I’m always going to plan on expanding,” Donovan said. “It’s doing nothing but growing.”