Every January, millions of Americans resolve to live healthier lives by joining a gym or starting a new fitness routine. “New Year, new me,” as the saying goes. And those who stick with their resolutions will indeed feel renewed by the physical and mental health benefits of exercise.
Beyond the physical and mental, the fitness industry also offers incredible professional and financial benefits for entrepreneurs seeking a new business venture. Just ask Prashanthi Musapet, Raquel Hernandez and Ashley Allen. These women made a resolution to be their own bosses by opening different boutique fitness franchises. In turn, they have made an undeniable impact on their local communities and found empowerment, joy and financial freedom.
Musapet is the owner of Rumble Boxing in Livingston, NJ. Her path to fitness franchising is a winding one, as she worked in broadcast media for 15 years before discovering Rumble. Originally from Oklahoma, Musapet found a job at the NBC affiliate station in Tulsa after graduating college. She worked her way up from assignment desk editor, answering phones and uncovering breaking news to web producer. From Tulsa, Musapet moved to New Jersey, where she became a TV producer for a small South Asian TV station and eventually News12 New Jersey in 2010.
Musapet had always been interested in fitness, but her passion was ignited in 2015 when she joined a local boxing gym as a member. In fact, she enjoyed the workout so much that she ended up producing a News12 segment featuring the kickboxing gym. She continued to showcase the gym in later fitness segments and became an instructor, eventually finding her way to Rumble in 2019 and immediately falling in love with the brand’s workout.
In 2020, Musapet found herself at a crossroads as she had recently gotten engaged and the pandemic was emerging. She no longer wanted to be a journalist due to the erratic work schedule and frequent travel, so she started looking for a new career opportunity. While looking for a new role, she thought about Rumble as a potential career shift and soon realized that Xponential Brands had recently acquired the boxing concept and were franchising. After discussions with her family and husband, everybody thought franchising with Rumble would be a great opportunity, and she signed on as a franchisee in the summer of 2021.
Since opening the doors of Rumble Livingston in August 2022, Musapet and her team have grown the studio to around 370 members, making it one of the brand’s best-performing locations. While Musapet follows the franchise blueprint laid out by the Rumble Corporate Team and Xponential, she leans into her journalism experience to allow her studio to shine. With a talent for editing video content, she helps craft fun and engaging videos for social media, some of which are even being used by Rumble studios in Australia. She was also the first Rumble franchisee to partner with an animal shelter and hosted a pet adoption event to celebrate the Livingston studio’s first anniversary.
“Do not let anyone tell you that you can’t do it,” said Musapet. “There is always a way around the word ‘no’. If one door closes and another closes, go through the window! Go through the doggy door! There are many ways to reach your goals. Never take no for an answer or accept it as final.”
Hernandez went from running a 4th-grade classroom of 30+ children to running five small businesses in Southern California.
“I couldn’t have predicted where I’d be now, even if you showed me in a crystal ball ten years ago,” said Hernandez. “Franchising was my ticket to professional and financial freedom.”
After nearly ten years of teaching grade school in San Bernardino, CA, Hernandez became a technology coach in the classroom and discovered a passion for the business side of education. That’s when she started seeking out business opportunities that would allow her to keep helping others while tapping into her experience as an educator, which led her to the beauty and fitness industry.
Hernandez’s initial foray into franchising was with Amazing Lash Studios, and she has since opened three locations of that brand. To diversify her portfolio, she signed on to open a pair of CycleBar studios in the Inland Empire in Southern California. CycleBar Redlands opened in 2021, followed by CycleBar Cucamonga in 2022 and both studios have quickly become standout locations.
Notably, her studios are celebrating a milestone of $1 million in revenue in 2023. Hernandez credits her success in fitness franchising to her unique experience as a teacher and technology aid.
“In a classroom setting, you must juggle the needs of 30+ students, which is a lot like running a business where multiple tasks, employees, and members require your attention every day,” she said. “As a teacher, I also had to have a lot of compassion and empathy for my students, which has translated really well to CycleBar, where we pride ourselves on building community and providing excellent hospitality.”
Allen’s journey to fitness, and eventually franchising, started back in college at Temple University when she was looking for a workout beyond weightlifting. During her junior year, she found Pure Barre through a Craigslist ad seeking teachers and jumped on the opportunity to try a class.
She was instantly hooked, and quickly entered teacher training. Being an instructor became a joyous side hustle for the rest of her time at Temple, and when it came time to graduate, Allen looked for ways to take her love of barre to the next level.
She had always been interested in opening her own business, as her father owned a clothing store for many years and now operates a boutique hotel in Jamaica. After researching Pure Barre’s franchise opportunity and consulting with her father, she took a leap and signed on to open a studio shortly following graduation.
In 2012, she opened the first Pure Barre studio in Connecticut – Pure Barre Greenwich, and swiftly discovered that she had a knack for business ownership, learning to manage a team of employees and instructors and leveraging her boots-on-the-ground experience as an instructor to make her team even stronger. For six years, she successfully ran the Greenwich location and felt it was time to open a second studio as she approached 30 years old.
In 2019, she opened Pure Barre White Plains in the suburbs of New York City, and despite the challenges that pandemic threw her way in 2020, both studios are still thriving to this day. Even as she juggles the demands of multi-unit franchise ownership, she still manages to teach 10+ classes a week.
“Teaching is my first love, and 13 years later, I still enjoy teaching just as much as I did on day one,” said Allen. “When you’re running a fitness studio, you have to be truly passionate about every aspect of the business. Most definitely the workout, but also your staff, the members, and even the retail. That’s what leads to success.”
To learn more about Xponential’s family of brands, visit www.xponential.com/franchising