The ever surging interest in fitness around the world might seem to be at its peak currently. People are increasingly becoming concerned about their health and fitness in the wake of weight-related diseases that are claiming lives every wake of dawn in different parts of the world. Whether it’s out of passion or out of fear, the fact is, the fitness industry is proving to be a hot cake right now.
Prospecting entrepreneurs have spotted an opportunity in this emerging trend and have introduced new innovative business models to turn the passion for exercise into thriving brands. They have pioneered a massive lifestyle migration from the traditional home-made gym exercising to private commercial gym enrolment.
They have customized and packaged commercial gyms to seem very attractive. Even the super-rich are nowadays dumping their home gyms to attend these commercial ones. Young innovative entrepreneurs have created a business niche within gyms to establish their own not easily noticed yet lucrative gym empires.
The wave has also hit hard at home and young Kenyan fitness enthusiasts are slowly creating their own empires as well. They are pushing the fitness culture within Nairobi and its environs really hard while commercializing the culture at the same time. Such is the story of one of the most vibrant, young and enthusiastic fitness coaches and founder of the Just Gym It brand.
Frankie Kiarie, aka ‘Frankie just gym it’ is one of the few Kenyan pioneers of fitness entrepreneurship who has established a renowned brand when it comes to offering fitness training and consultation. Frankie, a fitness enthusiast, recalls his fitness journey as one full of hurdles and inspiration at the same time.
He started working out way back in high school when he used to be in the school rugby team. With the physique demands that the game requires, he found a new love for the gym as he pushed to improve his game and slowly by slowly he fell in love with it.
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His passion for fitness was born and the flame has never gone off ever since. Initially, it was a matter of getting in shape for the sport he loved and he never thought it would one day evolve to become a business venture for him.
The journey began 10 years ago when Frankie began working out professionally. He did it out of passion and the love for the gym. Come 2014, he saw an opportunity to commercialize his hobby. Having had the experience of training some of his friends, the thought of starting his own fitness brand crossed his mind.
However, at that time personal training was not common in the country and most people were not open to the idea. It was an alien idea to the Kenyan fitness enthusiasts, leave alone the ordinary Kenyans who weren’t too exposed to the idea of pursuing fitness as a way of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Not many people really believed that one could make money off of offering personal training classes and lifestyle nutrition advice locally.
However, Frankie’s determination was at its optimum and he couldn’t hold back. This gave birth to Just Gym It, a fitness brand that focuses on personal training services, online coaching, customized meal plans and customized workout plans.
It was tough at the beginning since he didn’t have the resources he needed to start his fitness brand but he had a vision and that motivated him to go on despite the challenges. He started his fitness classes at Uhuru Park. “I started my brand at Uhuru Park. I recall vividly training my first client with nothing but only a towel. It was tough, but I had a vision and a goal and I clung on to it.”
Just Gym It has grown to become one of the most sought after brands within the city when it comes to fitness consultation and personal training. Frankie says that there are four things that have made his brand thrive, ‘Knowledge, perseverance, adaptability and patience.’
He took his time to learn what it takes to become a fitness coach so that he would give the best guidance to his clients. He also had the perseverance to endure the tough times he had to face in building the brand and also the patience that was required. He stresses that to give clients the best experience, a fitness coach has to constantly adapt to new innovative ideas that are trending around the world and shaping our future.
As a coach, he also has his own fitness journey that he has to maintain apart from training others. Even though he has spent the last ten years working on his physique, he still maintains that he hasn’t reached his goals yet. He still has to keep on pushing and setting new body goals on a daily basis.
‘I really believe in natural growth. I don’t really use products to enhance my muscle growth, I try as much as possible to just maintain a good diet and constant training. Once in a while, I use protein shake,’ says Frankie concerning his body workout experience. ‘When it comes to my clients, as a workout nutrition consultant, I often try as much as possible to advise my clients not to change their lifestyle too much.
Don’t get too serious about it. Just stick to your normal diet but portion it out and add one or two things to make it better. Fitness is supposed to be fun, not stressful.’
Frankie’s flexible nature has also given him the opportunity to adapt to new trends and exploit every chance at his disposal.
He has aligned his workout sessions with his content creation venture on social platforms like Youtube and Instagram to constantly engage his fans/clients and at the same time market his brand. This has opened various doors for him including corporates who come seeking potential advertising partnerships with his brand. This has boosted his brand and grown his client base, especially for online coaching.
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Having grown to become a celebrity fitness coach has also brought his private life into the limelight, leaving the public thirsting for every piece of gossip they can gather from his life.
Frankie who is a proud family man has been flooding blogs concerning his relationship with Maureen Waititu, the mother of his kids. Even though the trainer did not comment on this, it is quite clear that his popularity has left him a target of much criticism.
Frankie Kiarie is looking into nurturing more young personal trainers in the country as he dreams of making the gym industry a key commercial pillar in the country. Having pioneered the wave, he isn’t ready to stop until the industry grows.
As more and more gyms are being established in the country, more and more youth are venturing into this field either as a full-time job or a part-time venture. But the fact is this – fitness entrepreneurship is the future!
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