bannerFranchisee Stories

Health-Focused Couple Ventures into Entrepreneurship with Fitness Premier Franchise

After embracing a healthier lifestyle, Jeff and Cristi DiCianni wanted to work with a brand that matched their values. This led them to take over the Fitness Premier in Manhattan, Illinois.

By Victoria CampisiStaff Writer
SPONSORED 8:08AM 05/29/24

Cristi and Jeff DiCianni are the couple bringing Fitness Premier 24/7 Clubs back to life in Manhattan, Illinois, this June. They're all about fitness, community and working together as partners.

Before going into franchising, Jeff built his career while Cristi took time as a stay-at-home mom to care for their son. In recent years, the DiCiannis embraced a healthier lifestyle and they wanted a business that matched their values, which led them to discover Fitness Premier 24/7 Clubs, the 19-location, training-focused gym concept. 

Their choice of franchise went beyond the business model. For the DiCiannis, it was the people that sealed the deal — the team at Fitness Premier 24/7 Clubs felt like family. Now, they want to make Fitness Premier Manhattan a spot where everyone feels welcome. They plan to spruce up the club, add new equipment and amenities, and eventually expand to more locations. New amenities include a sauna, cold plunge, massage chairs and Normatec recovery boots, which are all within the Fitness Premier Relax & Restore Suite. The franchisees are also adding FP Kids Club services for kids under 12 who cannot join the club yet. 

1851 Franchise spoke to the Diciannis to learn more about their franchise journey with Fitness Premier 24/7 Clubs and their plans for the future. 

1851 Franchise: Frame your personal story for us. What did you do before franchising, and how did you decide franchising made sense for you?

Jeff: Cristi and I met through work many years ago. Cristi’s been taking care of our son for the last nine years as a stay-at-home mom and I’ve continued to work in my industry. I'm going to continue to stay in my industry and Cristi's going to be managing the day-to-day here and engaging with customers and the community. Our son is a little older now and [Cristi] has a little more free time on her hands, so we're gonna utilize every ounce of it. 

We've been looking at business opportunities for a number of years and, at the same time, some of our lifestyle has changed. We're more fitness focused, a little more health focused — we’re trying to be around as long as possible. We looked at many different options and we honed in on the fitness and wellness space. We came across Fitness Premier and started to learn a little bit about them. Ultimately, when we met the team, understood their processes — their goals, their visions — they really aligned with what we wanted to do. We're looking at this as a long term [investment]; we want multiple locations and really want to help be an ambassador for the brand and grow the brand. We're in a good stage where we can grow with the brand. We really love the back-office team and the whole support structure. It really came down to the people that we interacted with, more than anything.

1851: What was your perception of franchising prior to becoming a franchisee?

Jeff: It was a little scary. When you hear they take this much money off the top, my original perception was, ‘What’s left for us? Are we doing all the work and reaping the benefits?’ I wondered if I could do it myself, at first. 

Cristi: I wondered about support. For me, especially if I’m going to be here full time, I wondered who was going to support me. So that was an aspect I really liked about Fitness Premier. 

1851: What made you pick this brand? What excites you most about this company?

Jeff: I'd say 100% it was their vision and the support. And again, it was the people. Anybody could have vision. Anybody can have a support structure. At the end of the day, we had to feel comfortable with who we're going to partner with for life. That's how we're looking at it. We're not looking at this as being a short-term relationship; this is a long-term investment, financially and emotionally. So, we had to feel good about the people, and we did. 

1851: What do you hope to achieve with your business? What are your plans for growth? 

Cristi: We really want to be a part of this community. We're floored by how nice everybody is. They're excited about what we're doing. They're excited that somebody's here. So we really like that response so far. We were looking for a small community to be a part of and we looked at how invested the employees were in all the clients that are coming in. They know them thoroughly — they know everybody's background, they know who knows who works out with them — and that is a family-oriented community that we want to be a part of. So that really made us happy.

Jeff: I echo what Cristi says here as well: We wanted to be a part of a nice community. We're going to be very active in the community, promoting different things. That's one of the things we're passionate about. She mentioned the employees that were already here and existing. You know, there are some really key players here that are crucial to the success of this business. But more importantly, they're crucial because they care. One of the short-term goals with this one club would be to refresh it a little bit — bring in some services, bring in some new ideas, maybe something the small community hasn't had before. The smaller communities are typically skipped over. We want to make sure that this small community feels that they're just as important as a big city, but keeping that hometown feel. Our long-term plans would be to make this successful — make this a great place to be — but then take our success here and roll that into the next one and replicate that success. 

1851: What is the one thing about your story you want us to know?

Cristi: Jeff and I, as partners and everything, we like being around each other. We enjoy being around each other. We've been married for 11 years this year, and we like working together, so this gives us another opportunity to work together in a different way — growth in our marriage, in our family, in our life. We want to leave a legacy for our son and this is going to give us that opportunity. He's just as excited as we are, so it's fun to watch him be excited. 

1851: What advice do you have for other people thinking about becoming a franchise owner?

Jeff: Make sure that you believe in the product and the service. Don't do it just because it sounds like a good idea. You need to be passionate about what you do and need to believe in what you do because when you believe in what you do, you're not selling anything. You're just being organic. It's natural. The sales come easily when you believe in the product or service that you're representing.

About Fit For You Franchising: 

Franchise Fit For You is a franchisee-first franchisor and franchisee consultancy. It is the franchisor behind low-cost group-fitness franchise fitWAVE as well as Fitness Premier 24/7 Clubs, a fitness brand. As a franchisee consultancy, Fit For You offers guidance for future franchisees on finding the best fit for their personal and financial goals. Fit For You is run by Jason Markowicz, a former multi-unit franchise owner of Massage Envy. For more information, visit

About Fitness Premier 24/7 Clubs: 

Fitness Premier 24/7 Clubs is a fast-growing, 18-location, fitness concept that creates a community with its staff and guests.  At Fitness Premier 24/7 clubs, some of the amenities include 24/7 Access, Hydromassage, Group exercise classes, supervised kids club, and training & nutrition programs. Backed by franchise executive, Jason Markowicz and his franchisee-focused corporate team, Fitness Premier differentiates itself with great people, culture, and systems compounded by a growth focus in strategic markets . To learn more about franchise opportunities, visit