The ISI® Elite Training Franchise Story
How ISI® Elite Training became the most exciting franchise opportunity in boutique fitness
When we’re faced with adversity, there’s two scenarios that can happen: we can give up, or we can dig in our heels and give it our all.
The people that inspire us, the people who are worthy of looking up to, and the people that change the world, are all people who overcame great obstacles to reach a greater goal. In the world of athletics, there is no shortage of examples.
From Michael Jordan getting cut from his high school basketball team, to Serena and Venus Williams growing up in an impoverished, gang-riddled neighborhood, to Bethany Hamilton losing an arm surfing. In each of these cases, we know the outcome. Michael Jordan became the greatest basketball player in history, Serena and Venus Williams are the most celebrated tennis players in the world, and Bethany Hamilton is widely regarded as one of the top surfers today.
But for every famous example, there’s millions of examples of ordinary people who overcome the challenges in their daily lives to become extraordinary versions of themselves.
This is the ISI® Elite Training franchise story.
“I decided to prove him wrong,” Adam Rice, Founder & CEO
Adam Rice grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and like many American kids, he loved sports even though he was overweight. Adam had a natural talent for baseball, and he had a dream of playing NCAA Division 1 baseball, and nothing was going to get in the way of that dream coming true.
“I was leading the state in batting averages in high school, and even though I was overweight, I was always a naturally gifted athlete,” Adam says. “However, when I was 16, a coach told me that wasn’t going to be able to compete at the NCAA level because I was a liability on the base paths – which was a nice way of saying you’re overweight and too slow. That was the moment my life changed forever. I decided to prove him wrong. That night I went straight to Google and Youtube and researched how to lose weight and become faster. After six months of working out two times per day, I ended up losing 70 pounds. I never stopped showing up.”
Adam went on to play NCAA Division 1 baseball at Coastal Carolina University, one of the top 20 programs in the country.
ISI® Elite Training Was Born from a Pivotal Moment
When he graduated, Adam knew he wanted to keep other people from giving up, to inspire people to become their best. So he decided to open a fitness studio in the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina.
This was in 2011, and Adam was 21 years old. It turns out that he had a big business lesson to learn.
“I started a small studio that I named Beach Body Fitness directly out of college. At that time, I was 21 years old and had no experience with starting a business. Unfortunately, Beach Body Fitness was trademarked and I learned an important lesson on intellectual property. I received a cease and desist letter from their legal team, and was forced to change our name.”
A few weeks later, Adam was in church with his wife, and the sermon was on proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, as one man sharpens another.”
That’s when the lightbulb went off, and the name ISI® Elite Training was born.
“ISI® stands for Iron Sharpens Iron, and is the core of who we are as a brand,’ Adam says. “Success and progress is typically rooted in being around like-minded people who will hold us accountable and make us better. Additionally, there is no progress without friction and you can not sharpen iron without friction.”
“We opened several locations in the Myrtle Beach area, and we were incredibly successful,” he continues. “We knew we were onto something that could be scaled across the country, so we decided to build a prototype that we could franchise and take to market in 2019.”
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Every so often a brand comes along that changes everything, that raises the bar, and becomes a part of the fabric of American culture. In the $22 billion boutique fitness industry, that brand is ISI® Elite Training.
ISI® Elite Training Franchise is Taking Off
Adam decided that in order to franchise ISI® Elite Training, he needed to prove that the model could work away from his home base in Myrtle Beach.
“If we were going to go to market as a franchise, we needed to prove the concept,” Adam says. “We saw all of the gaps, and we put a model together that worked without us being there. We opened a corporate location in Charlotte, North Carolina, and took the franchise to market in 2019.”
In the three years that ISI® Elite Training has offered franchises, it has grown rapidly across the country. Currently, there are more than 70 territories awarded across 12 states. And there’s far more growth to come.
The industry agrees. Entrepreneur magazine recently named ISI® Elite Training to their prestigious annual “Franchise 500,” list of the Top New & Emerging Franchise opportunities. This is strong praise, as the magazine reviews hundreds of franchise opportunities based on growth potential, support, and more to determine who makes the cut.
“We’re so excited about how fast we’re growing,” Adam says. “The majority of our growth has come from our existing members who were impacted by ISI® and saw the viability in the model. Now, the majority of our owners are expanding into multi-unit ownership. We’re actively focused on franchise development, and the level of interest that we’re experiencing is unprecedented.”