WHY I BOUGHT
New Franchisee Jedd Soto and Team Are Rolling With REGYMEN Fitness in Austin
Soto certainly knows a thing or two about fitness. He coached college baseball for 17 years before he decided to leave that field after the 2013 season. The recruiting trail, for one, kept him away from home a lot, and he wanted to focus on his family and raising his two sons.
The Soto family relocated from the San Francisco area to Austin, Texas, where Soto found a job working for Dell. His passion for coaching never stopped, though, and while he coached kids’ sports on the side, he wanted to find a new opportunity that would allow him to spend time with his family and also help make a difference in people’s lives.
When he saw one of his fellow former coaches post on social media about a new brand he was building out, he was intrigued.
“I reached out to REGYMEN Fitness co-founder and COO Edward Navan, and at the time it was just more of a concept, it wasn’t a franchise,” Soto said. “It was just an idea and that was intriguing to me, just the fact that it was brand new.”
Soto also loved REGYMEN’s concept of burn, box and build, and as someone who had multiple gym memberships to do these different things, he loved the idea that everything would be available under one roof. Plus, there would be heart rate monitors.
So he went through a weeklong session at REGYMEN , doing one class each morning and then another class each night and training as hard as he could for five days straight.
“After five days I never bonked,” Soto said. “I had tremendous change that week. I lost six pounds and wasn’t even trying to. It never got to the point where it was uncomfortable. I could see the potential.”
Soto was sold. He decided to franchise with the brand, and his Austin, Texas location opened in November 2018.
He has nothing but praise for REGYMEN ’s franchise corporate team.
“It’s been great,” he said of the relationship. “I think that our corporate team is exceptional. They go above and beyond to see it through. If they tell you they’re going to do something, they do it. They’re very true to their word. I have nothing but positive things to say.”
But Soto not only has the support of the corporate team, but he’s also built a franchise team of his own to get his studio off the ground.
Soto co-owns the Austin location with his wife, a data scientist, his sister, who is a physician, his brother-in-law, and a couple of coaches from the Austin area who had been in the fitness industry for a long time and were looking for other opportunities.
“They reached out and said ‘I heard you were going to open up something new and something special. Can we be involved?’” Soto said. “We certainly wanted to attract the best fitness instructors and studio managers, and so we asked them to join the ownership team. They’ll be co-owners as well as managers and instructors.”
Thanks to his past coaching experiences, plus the additional support from his fellow co-owners and the extensive research they all did before franchising, Soto feels more than prepared to run his REGYMEN studio.
“Being a college coach and coaching any college sports, essentially you’re the CEO of that team,” Soto said. “All of the policies and procedures, human resources, personnel and so forth - all of these components happen when you coach. Leading and being in charge of financial ongoings - those are all part of running a college program.”
It was important to Soto to be able to provide a high-quality workout for patrons, which is why he was so attracted to the REGYMEN brand. He is passionate about fitness and helping people reach their fitness goals.
“I’m very particular when it comes to coaches, coaching style and programming,” he said. “It’s really important to me that there’s a level of integrity.”
Soto wants his business to focus on helping members of the community. Two of the Austin co-owners, he noted, are actively involved in local organizations, including the Flatwater Foundation, which raises money to help cancer patients and their families, and Make a Vet Sweat, which works to provide free gym memberships to veterans who have PTSD.
“We really want to be as community-friendly and member-focused as we can possibly be,” Soto said. “We want to make sure each member feels appreciated when they come into the studio. That includes knowing their name, involving them outside of the studio, and going above and beyond to connect with them—that’s really important to all of the owners here.”
Soto also wants members to get help in all aspects of their fitness journey.
“Nutrition, hydration - whatever we can do to provide them with a better experience,” he said. “That’s what we are about.”
While Soto and his team are focused on their first location, they do plan to open a second REGYMEN studio. The last thing his team wants is for quality to drop, so they’re going to make sure they bring on and train the right people to represent the brand.
“For us, it’s important that we have a group of people who are passionate about what we’re delivering,” he said. “We’ll be developing leaders for REGYMEN No. 2 in Austin.”