9Round is an American-based kickboxing fitness club that provides a 30-minute full-body work out. The company operates over 575 franchised locations in 14 different countries (United States, Canada, Mexico, New Zeland, Austrailia, United Kingdom, Japan, South Africa, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Costa Rica). Shannon Hudson (Founder and CEO) and Heather Hudson (Co-Founder and COO) started 9Round in 2008. 9Round is based in Greenville, South Carolina, where the World Headquarters is located. For four years in a row, Entrepreneur magazine ranked 9Round in its prestigious Franchise 500 (#190 in 2016). In 2016, INC. 5000 ranked 9Round Franchising #413 in its list of the 500 Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies.
ORIGIN: Shannon Hudson had an ordinary childhood. He was raised by his father and mother and he has an older brother. He watched his brother, Kevin Hudson, fight and train while he was growing up. Shannon followed in his brother’s footsteps at the age of seven and started taking Karate lessons. As time went on, Shannon became more and more serious about fighting and eventually traveled to where he could find professional-grade trainers to prepare him for world title fights. He fought in Canada, the United States, and Europe, and also fought on the Chuck Norris Circuit. At a young age, Shannon learned what it takes to run a successful business by partnering up with his brother to open a martial arts schools. Together, they grew the business to three independent locations. Shannon earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of South Carolina Upstate. Once Shannon equipped himself with the right tools, he set out on a mission to build the gym which he and his wife had envisioned. That vision grew into what 9Round is today.
Like most successful entrepreneurs, Shannon faced rejection many times. First, he traveled to local large-scale box gyms that had class rooms that he would be able to set up as a 9Round circuit class with different types of punching bags and a trainer included. From every gym, he was met with snickering, laughter, or excuses as to why his idea would not work. Shannon knew that failure was not an option and decided that he would rent a small space in Greenville, SC. In the small strip mall space, Shannon and his wife Heather transformed their vision into the very first 9Round club. Within a month, they had already signed 100 members and the club showed no signs of slowing growth. Shannon and Heather struck quickly, taking full advantage of the shift in America's demand for high intensity full-body workouts; 9Round gave Americans something that they had never seen or tried before. 9Round made it possible for any and everyone to train like professional fighters and get in the best shape of their lives without getting hit.
There are many other factors in play that have helped boost the 9Round brand’s popularity. Doctors are doing their part in informing the public of the benefits and dangers behind intense cardio workouts. Most research studies show how these workouts are proving to decrease heart disease, lower blood pressure, and increase overall everyday happiness. Contrary to what most might think, men are not the only target market, as women account for over 60 percent of all members.
Shannon (Founder and CEO) along with his wife Heather (Co-founder and COO) started 9Round in 2008. It is one of many gyms that have capitalized on the shift in public demand from traditional gyms to high intensity full-body workouts with a trainer. All 9Round clubs use the same programmed workouts, which change daily. Each club has nine stations at which each member trains for three minutes before moving on the next station which is signaled by a boxing bell. The first two stations focus on strength and endurance building. In the middle six stations, members use various types of boxing bags to perform different types of exercises. The last station focuses on core body training. No previous boxing or kickboxing experience is necessary, as a trainer is included in every session to teach and motivate members. 9Round encourages people to try the workout before jumping into membership, the first workout at 9Round is always free.
HISTORY: While working with his brother, Kevin, at his Karate school, Shannon Hudson had an idea of creating a kickboxing circuit training style gym. He leased a retail space that was available next to his brother’s karate school in Greenville, SC and built it to create the first 9Round club. Shannon developed the 30-minute kickboxing circuit and designed the gym to support this method of training. There were 100 members signed within the first month of operation at the location. From the beginning, the whole goal was to franchise the concept to move the brand forward.
In 2009, Hudson borrowed money to finish the franchise documents for 9Round. The first franchise was awarded to a member the same year in Greenville, SC.
In 2010, nine more franchises were opened in various locations in the United States and, in 2011, 17 more franchises were opened in the United States.
In 2012, 9Round opened 45 more locations throughout the United States. That same year Entrepreneur Magazine placed 9Round on their Top 500 Franchises list.
In 2013, 9Round reached the 100 club mark with stores operating in 31 states. 9Round also became registered in Canada, with a goal to open the first gym outside of the United States in 2014.
In 2016, 9Rounds has grown to over 400 clubs with 10 countries represented. A new World Headquarters was established as well in Simpsonville, SC as well.
Workouts: 9Round workouts are always 30 minutes. Each workout has been developed by professional trainers and world class competitors. Each member is pushed to improve themselves each time they step into a 9Round location. The 9Round environment fosters feelings of belonging, comradery, and accomplishment. 9Round supplies each member with gloves, wrist wraps, and other accessories needed to safely complete the workout stations. Trainers, provide guidance and accountability, which is a huge part of the success of the 9Round circuit. Fun is the final component that makes 9Round successful. Hitting all of the different types of bags and working hand pads directly with trainers is just plain fun and gives members something to try to improve on every time they enter the gym. With a try-before-you-buy philosophy, the first workout at 9Round is always free.
9Round Nutrition: 9Round Nutrition is a major key in seeing results. The nutrition plan is focused on eating the right combination of macronutrients to help burn fat while, at the same time, supplying the body with enough energy to work out and complete all physical duties of the average 9Round member each day. An online nutrition tool for monitoring food intake and recommended daily meals are also provided to members. 9Round introduced its own brand of Protein Powder in 2017, available in Vanilla and Chocolate Ice Cream flavors, to help members make healthy choices for snacks and meal replacement. As the 9Round brand grows, the company plans to continue to offer more nutritional products and supplements.
9Round Heart Rate Technology: Heart rate training is an important component to helping individuals get the results that they desire. 9Round’s PULSE® Heart Rate technology is designed to maximize workout results and keep the heart rate in the proper fat burning zone. The monitors in the clubs help individuals to see their heart rate zone in real time to determine whether to slow down or work harder. Personalized workout summary emails are sent after the completion of each workout indicating calories burned, total workout time, and average heart rate percentage.
Franchise: 9Round has established a simple business model, which keeps startup cost down. As of 2017, there are over 500 franchised locations in the United States as well as twelve other countries: Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, United Kingdom, Japan, Turkey, Lebanon, Costa Rica, and United Arab Emirates.There is a monthly franchise fee, which is a fixed amount, and a percentage added to every amount past the contracted monthly earnings. 9Round provides an initial training course in Greenville, SC, at its World Headquarters, for all franchisees.