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Athletes and Franchisors: The Winning Team Behind Fitness Premier

With a robust support system and a culture that values grit and collaboration, Fitness Premier stands as a shining example of how former athletes can make excellent franchisors.

The parallels between the playing field and the boardroom are many, but perhaps nowhere are they more vividly brought to life than at Fitness Premier 24/7 Clubs, the 19-location, group-workout gym concept. Under the leadership of CEO Jason Markowicz and Vice President Rick King, both of whom have deep roots in athletics, Fitness Premier 24/7 Clubs has become a top choice for former athletes looking to throw their hat into the franchising ring. 

“There is a lot to be said about athletics in general and how that correlates to business,” said King, who played college football. “The desire to win and the willingness to put in the time necessary to do so is part of the journey. And you are doing it with your team, inspiring each other, winning together, losing together. That is how we developed the whole landscape around this franchise — we all have the same desired outcome and are willing to put in the hours to succeed.”

As a leader, this transition from the sports field to the business world has been seamless for King, thanks to his passion for the fitness industry, nurtured by countless hours spent in training and gym environments.

“I never lost that desire to win and lead from the front, I just transferred it to a different place,” said King. “Sure, I miss being on the field, but this is a very close second.”

The culture and identity of Fitness Premier 24/7 Clubs are profoundly influenced by the ethos of sportsmanship. With core values like "All Grit, No Quit" and "Win as a Team, Lose as a Team," the brand draws heavily on the language and mentality of athletics to foster a winning environment. This resonates strongly with individuals accustomed to the competitive, yet collaborative nature of sports, making the franchise particularly appealing to former athletes. 

Keegan Mraz, who is a franchisee, Alexis Knake and Mike Orwig who are multi-unit operators, are all prime examples of athletes who were drawn to Fitness Premier 24/7 Clubs at the club level and quickly showed potential to grow into ownership roles.

“In athletics, you start to learn what it means to have teammates. As you grow up, those teammates just become co-workers,” said Knake. “It’s really hard to try to do everything by yourself in this industry, so you have to rely on the people that are around you. That’s one of the biggest benefits of having a background in athletics; you learn those basic people skills at a really young age, and you’re able to quickly understand what it looks like to have good teamwork and be a leader. Those skills stick with you and can be applied in adult life.”

When it comes to franchisee support, King highlights the invaluable role of coaching in both sports and business, reflecting on how Fitness Premier positions itself as a mentor and guide to franchisees.

“Athletes are accustomed to having good coaches their entire career, and that is where we position ourselves as a franchisor,” said King. “We teach you how to build a profitable business, teach you to run the systems and guide you along the way.”

In 2022, for example, the brand introduced a new entrepreneur operating system that gives franchisees more tools to plan and run their business, simplifying everything from meeting scheduling to the creation and measurement of annual goals. In addition to resources that support team members in leveling up their skills and expanding their horizons, the system also leverages a culture index to support owners in properly selecting team members who will play an important role in the ongoing success of the business.

As the Fitness Premier brand continues to grow, these foundational principles serve as a beacon for aspiring entrepreneurs, proving that the spirit of athleticism can indeed pave the way for business success.

“Whether it's my role as a franchisor or the franchisee’s role, we share a similar mindset as former athletes,” said King. “Before anything starts — before we get into the process and start down this road — athletes understand that if we agree on a desired goal, we can all win the game together.”

To find out more information on costs to buy this franchise, please visit .