Gym Of The Month: Hitch Fit!
Number of Members: 150-300 every 3 months
Square Feet: 2500 sq ft
Website: www.hitchfit.com, www.hitchfitgym.com
Hours of Operation: 5am - 9pm
Number of Trainers on Staff: 13
Founders/Owners: Micah LaCerte/Diana Chaloux
How did the gym start and why did you decide to begin (or work within) the gym business?
Combined we have over 20 years of experience within the fitness and personal training industry. We are both certified trainers as well as WBFF Pro athletes, we actually met for the first time in 2008 and found that we both had similar passions as far as wanting to aid others in transforming their bodies and their lives, and we also fell in love!
We decided that we not only wanted to be together for the rest of our lives in a romantic way, but we also knew we would make an amazing business team too. We initially started Hitch Fit as an online personal training program (which is thriving as well, we have clients in over 40 countries!), which launched in February 2009.
We were both training out of a private studio gym, and had been talking about opening up our location when the time was right. That time came a very short time later in August 2009. We had the opportunity to open our first 2000 square foot studio, and we jumped at it! We wanted to make Hitch Fit a place that literally reeked of positivity. A place that people loved to come to, and were excited about the transformations that they would see taking place.
We decided to work within the fitness industry, and ultimately the business of transformation, simply because it is what God called us to do. We both have a passion in our hearts so strong for this business, feel so blessed for the positive impact we are able to have in our clients lives. We get to wake up every day and love what we do, life doesn't get much better than that!
Can you give us a description on what went into opening your awesome establishment?
Funny story actually! As we mentioned above, when we first launched the online training system, we were both working out of a small training studio and paying rent there. The work environment was not the greatest and we talked constantly about how we would love to have our own place. Little did we know that our opportunity would come up much sooner than later.
We had gone out of town for a weekend at the end of July 2009, when we returned home late on a Sunday night, I received a text message from the woman who operated the gym we were in, saying that she was moving out and changing all the locks on the gym. We were in a bit of a panic as we had clients coming to train the next morning, and were now being left high and dry with no place to train them. We are both very solution oriented though.
We had no hesitation that we were going to take over the space and make it the first Hitch Fit. We touched base with the landlord that night, got to work on what the new lease would be, had to cancel our clients for the week and get to work on purchasing all the new equipment that we would need as soon as the keys were handed over to us. God knew exactly what we would need and when we would need it. We found everything that we would need to at least get the gym up and running in that week.
The keys to the now cleaned out space were handed to us on a Friday evening, and we were planning on beginning training clients on the following Monday. The former client had destroyed and torn up the flooring as soon as she found out that we were taking over, so we had a LOT of work to do over the weekend.
We rallied together a few of our amazing friends, and got down to business at 5 a.m. on Saturday morning, after two 16 hour days or painting, cleaning, moving, buying equipment, laying down flooring...you name it...we opened Hitch Fit Gym bright and early that Monday morning, and despite the fact that we didn't have tons of equipment yet, our clients still got killer workouts!
The best thing about flipping this gym and taking on this new challenge was the change in the atmosphere. People were honestly giddy coming in to train. We had, and still have, so much fun, so much laughter, so much positivity.
One of the first aspects of the gym that we started developing was our wall of transformations. It started out as only ½ a wall, and now in less than two years, we have three full walls and it just continues to grow. Soon we will run out of wall space!
Opening this gym was a dream come true. Even though the story of how it came to be was a little crazy, we wouldn't have it any other way.
We are doing this interview in April 2011, so it has been less than two years since we opened our doors. The gym is growing and thriving. We now have 13 trainers as part of our team and Hitch Fit has taken over the personal training department at the Gold's Gym Westport location in Kansas City.
We have more and more opportunities presented to us on a regular basis, it is so fun to see our "baby" Hitch Fit Gym, grow in this manner and see the ripple effect of change that is happening in people's lives as a result of that growth!
What makes your gym different?
The biggest difference at Hitch Fit is that our focus is on transformation. We want to get the clients in, give them the tools they need to transform their body and their life, get them to their goals, and then let them go out into the world and live their new fit and healthy lifestyle. We aren't interested in retaining clients for long periods of time, we aren't interested in trying to sell clients extra sessions that they don't need. We are 100% client focused.
If a client doesn't want to work hard and make the right choices, then we aren't interested in taking their money for training. We turn clients away who aren't willing and ready to really take control of their choices and make the change. Our goal is to transform. Period.
The other thing that sets us apart is the positive atmosphere. We teach our clients to eliminate any negatives from their lives, and so we feel we have to practice what we preach. We have so much fun and so does the client, we build friendships and teach a lifestyle that will help the people we are working with for the rest of their lives.
What sort of people do you attract into your gym?
We attract people that want transformation. That actually encompasses a very large group of people, and those from all walks of life.
We have worked with stay-at-home moms, business owners, overweight and obese clients who need to get their health and life back, as well as those who are in good shape and want to get to great shape, and even those who are ready to commit to competing in a fitness competition.
We have worked with hardgainers, those with physical handicaps, male, female, younger, older, you name it. Ultimately we work with people who are ready to take the necessary steps, make the right choices, in order to transform.
What inspires people to train at you facility?
Hands down, the infamous Hitch Fit "Wall of Transformation". Our before and after pictures and stories are so powerful! They are from people of all shapes and sizes and all walks of life.
No matter what your body type or shape is, there is a highly likely chance that we can point out to you someone on the Wall of Fame who has the same type, and has achieved awesome results.
People get inspired within seconds of walking through the door, and most people have been inspired before that by checking out our website or following us on the social networks.
Do you have any top trainers and why are they so good?
We have some rock star trainers as part of the Hitch Fit team! When we add trainers to our team, we are very selective to choose those who are truly passionate about changing people's lives, we teach them our system for transformation and then they take and run with it, this allows the amount of transformations that comes out of Hitch Fit to multiply by leaps and bounds.
Our trainers are all focused on getting clients from point A to point B. As we mentioned above we have 13 trainers who are now part of our team. Each and every one of them is amazing! We will fill you in on a couple of them here, but invite you to stop by www.hitchfitgym.com to read the bio's and see pix of all of them!
James Hanton joined Hitch Fit in November 2009, shortly after we first opened, he is an amazing, energetic trainer. His clients love him and he has produced some remarkable transformations. James is part of the core of Hitch Fit, he has been with us from the beginning and we love having him as part of the team!
Joel Salter became a part of team Hitch Fit in September 2010, he picked up our transformation model so quickly and implemented it immediately. In a short period of time he has already produced 10 of his own transformations, they are all remarkable. He has a great way of really motivating his clients and making them believe in themselves!
Stephanie Terry is one of our transformations turned trainer. She actually came to Diana back in June 2009 and went through the transformation process herself, and ended up competing in her first Figure competition. She loved the world of fitness so much after that experience that she decided she wanted to be a trainer herself!
She achieved her training certification and jumped right in as a Hitch Fit trainer. She already knew the system well having gone through it herself. Steph has also had an outstanding number of transformations, and she is also a marathon runner, so she is also able to work with that niche of client, she has aided many clients not just in transformation, but also in greatly improving their running times.
What special services do you provide?
We provide 12 and/or 16 week transformation programs. We do not charge gym memberships at Hitch Fit, so our clients do not have to worry about that added expense. For every client who commits to a minimum 12 or 16 week transformation with us, we provide them with all the tools they will need to achieve their goal, including complete nutrition program and cardio progression.
We typically train with clients 2-3 times weekly, and encourage them to get to the gym on their own so that they become comfortable working out in that environment, so that they will reach a point where they no longer need our assistance and can maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle on their own.
Who are your most notable present and past members?
We have worked with so many amazing people! Some of the most notable that come to mind are those with the most powerful stories, such as Brandi Wisdom, who is one of the most inspiring pictures we have on Hitch Fit website. She shed 40 pounds of fat initially, she is a busy mom who took charge of her life and now she is inspiring thousands of people to do the same!
Another stand out is Melinda Coleman, a mom of four who lost her husband in a tragic car accident 3 years ago, she found herself again through fitness and her work at Hitch Fit. She is a remarkable woman with an incredibly touching story.
Josh Sehorn is another stand out transformation. He lost 30 pounds of fat throughout his transformation time and was top ten in the Max Muscle nationwide transformation competition. He is also now a trainer at Hitch Fit!
Denise Fields is another amazing client. She shed 70 pounds and she is featured right here on Bodybuilding.com as a transformation of the week!
I really could go on and on, but see for yourself what happens at Hitch Fit by stopping by the website.
What was the hardest part about operating your gym?
I think the hardest part is keeping up with a business that is growing so quickly. We already need more space, and luckily the original Hitch Fit Gym is in a location where we will be able to expand and add on another 800 square feet.
What makes you competitive over the other gym chains?
Again, it comes down to the Wall of Transformations, the stories of these people are so incredibly powerful and inspiring and their pictures say 1000 words.
We don't have to try to sell training at Hitch Fit, people come to us when they are ready to change their lives and we help them do it.
How have you been able to remain so successful and how do you hope to remain so?
We are successful because our focus is not on money, it is on the client. We are successful because we are truthful and passionate about what we do. If someone isn't ready, we tell them so. And the main reason we are successful is because we believe without a shadow of a doubt that God placed us on this earth to do exactly what we are doing.
As long as we give the glory and thanks to Him, we know that He will continue to show us the steps that He would have us take.
Hitch Fit Is Changing Lives Worldwide
Even if you don't live in Kansas City you still have the opportunity to work with Micah and Diana via the Hitch Fit online personal training program. There are a variety of programs designed to meet your needs including the Lose Weight/Feel Great program, Fitness Model Program, Bikini Model Program, Post Pregnancy Get Your Body Back Program, Fitness Model, Figure & Bikini Model Competition Prep Program, Muscle Building Program and Couples Fitness Program. Hitch Fit was named the number one online personal training program in a blind study conducted by FunHappyLiving.com.
Hitch Fit Gym is also expanding and may have a physical location near you in the not too distant future! You can keep up with Micah and Diana via the Hitch Fit website www.hitchfit.com on Twitter www.twitter.com/hitchfit or www.twitter.com/DianaChaloux or on Facebook www.facebook.com/hitchfit.
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