1. Tell me a bit about your background. How did you become involved in the boutique fitness space?
I partnered up with my friend and martial arts instructor, Brayner Martinez, who owns BWARRIOR Martial Arts to found EPIC Hybrid Training in early 2012. We renovated the existing location so that both programs could be successful within the fitness studio. EPIC Hybrid Training now has 4 locations (Midtown-NYC, Bryant Park-NYC, Miami and Providence), which were determined by finding high traffic areas with a number of fitness studios in a close radius. My idea was that if there are already many options in one area concerning fitness, we have a built-in demographic. Once people take an Epic class, they are hooked!
2. How did you build the method and brand of EPIC? How do you continue to evolve it?
EPIC is all about conquering obstacles through fitness. Our workouts are renowned for not only getting people in the best shape of their lives, but preparing them for obstacle races like Spartan Race, ToughMudder and Warrior Dash. Our program is a high octane circuit training format that utilizes high intensity interval training with specialized functional fitness.
We schedule a different class for each day of the week that creates an all-encompassing fitness program. After 4-5 weeks we reprogram the exercises in each class, which gives our members at least 4 opportunities to learn, progress, and possibly master certain skills sets. For example, our members might start by learning the correct way to hold a plank. By week 2, they would start to walk their feet up the wall and get used to the idea of being inverted. In week 3, they practice donkey kicks. Then, by week 4 or 5, they can now kick up and hold a handstand. A handstand that might have seemed impossible in week 1 can become a reality by week 4 or 5.
3. How do you navigate teaching clients of different fitness levels/capabilities in the same class?
Let’s use a simple example like a push-up. We’ll have different levels and progressions for each movement. For example, level 1 would be a knee push-up. Level 2: Regular push-up. Level 3: clapping push-up.
Our members partner up and work side by side. There might be someone at level 1 next to an advanced member at level 3 working at the same pace. Each member pushes the other and provides positive energy which the entire class feeds off of throughout the duration of class.
4. What questions do you ask yourself while adding new classes/equipment/styles to the studio?
I ask myself if we are making the correct adjustments by utilizing three dynamics.
- Logistics: Do these changes make sense?
- Functional: Can we execute the changes properly to provide for the needs of all our members?
- Creative: Are we constantly innovating to provide an unbelievable and unique experience?
5. Tell me a bit about your most recent venture with Spike TV. How did the opportunity come about?
Oh boy, let the fireworks begin! I went head to head with Jillian Michaels to prove that EPIC is the next fitness phenomenon! Hollywood talent scouts sought me out for the show. I was skeptical at first because I’m not a huge fan of reality TV. Our personalities clashed as Michaels tried to claim EPIC classes are “too hard,” while I tried to convince her that her take on the program is inaccurate. EPIC is perfect for the masses and has scalability, modifications, a stellar reputation, and a very passionate fan base to back it up! In the end, I learned a lot from the experience and was able to showcase the EPIC program on national television.
6. I see you offer franchise opportunities. What has the experience of building out this program been like?
I never thought about opening multiple locations when I first started this journey. Once I realized how impactful the EPIC program was on members lives, I knew it was imperative to scale the program in a way that it could be replicated.
It has been so exciting to package the EPIC concept and make it accessible for others to follow their dreams and start their own business. Our franchise model is designed so that many other fitness professionals can experience the success and growth we have with our locations. We have already had an influx of inquiries which has made this experience even more exciting! (More info on EPIC franchise opportunities here.)
7. What do you wish your clients knew before coming to their first EPIC Hybrid Training class?
I wish they knew how much this program will impact them. The EPIC program is a serious confidence builder for people which positively infects other aspects of their everyday lives.