Podcast GymNation on Breaking Barriers in Dubai

Loren Frank Ant


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GymNation made waves when it opened in the UAE in 2017.

In fact, people were skeptical of the marketed prices, as the membership cost was well below what most others charged in the area. The senior management team — Loren Holland, Frank Afeaki and Ant Martland — had to face criticism and accusations that they were scammers.

Three years later, GymNation is winning awards and growing exponentially despite a global pandemic.

On this episode of the Club Solutions Magazine podcast, host Rachel Zabonick-Chonko talks with Holland, Afeaki and Martland on how the market responded to their gyms, how they are revolutionizing the fitness market in the UAE and more. 

Podcast Summary:

  • All three team members were consumers and realized how expensive it was to have a gym membership in Dubai
  • Over a few casual beers between Holland and Afeaki, they discussed the concept of affordable gyms. 
  • How being jobless in 2017 led to GymNation. 
  • One of the biggest challenges to get the gym off the ground was people didn’t believe the membership price was true. 
  • There was one definite thing the team wasn’t willing to compromise on and it was this.  
  • GymNation did several things that were unheard of in Dubai at that time, which included size and opening times. 
  • Why group fitness was an important amenity for the gym to offer. 
  • What sales looked like during and after the lockdown — hint, it was far from a bleak picture. 
  • How using the Les Mills on-demand tool led GymNation to stand out. 
  • Using the pandemic, the senior management team did research and launched its own boutique concept. 
  • What is being a brand that’s breaking barriers like? 
  • Looking ahead, GymNation has set its sight on growth in these areas. 
  • The piece of advice each would give to other gym operators. 

 via Club Solutions Magazine