Gym brand warms up to Libbie Mill

libbie mill storefront

National kickboxing franchise 9round is set to open a location in Libbie Mill. (Mike Platania)

A former ecology professor and Mary Washington alum is bringing a brand of kickboxing-rooted fitness centers to Libbie Mill.

Franchisee Jessica Braswell signed a lease for a 9Round location at 4900 Libbie Mill East Blvd., in Gumenick Properties’ Libbie Mill-Midtown development. It will be the national chain’s fourth location in the region.

Divaris Real Estate’s Harrison Hall and Peter Vick represented 9Round in lease negotiations for the 1,100-square-foot space. Braswell said she aims to open the gym within about a month.

9Round offers 30-minute, high-intensity interval workouts with roots in kickboxing training. Braswell said the name refers to the nine rounds that make up the gym’s daily workouts.

“You spend 3 minutes doing each round, with 30 seconds of rest in between,” Braswell said. “The idea is time is of the essence. When people say why they don’t work out, the No. 1 answer is always time.”

Workouts are customizable mixes of cardio, bodyweight exercise, kettlebells and kickboxing drills. Members have the option of using a heart rate monitor, similar to fellow gym brands Orangetheory Fitness and Sweet Spot Cycling.

9Round has nearly 650 locations globally, and Braswell said each is built to feel like a boutique studio. She aims to have 300 to 400 members at the Libbie Mill location.

A Richmond native, Braswell went to the University of Mary Washington and received a doctorate in ecology from the University of California, Davis. She spent the last 11 years as a college professor and said she was turned on to the idea of being a 9Round franchisee after being a member.

9Round has three other area locations: in Henrico at The Shops at Wellesley, Midlothian at Raised Antler Circle, and Petersburg at 3330 South Crater Road.

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Barb Upchurch

When do they plan to open?