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Meet Keith Diedrich of Prime Fitness Training in Hillcrest

Today we’d like to introduce you to Keith Diedrich.

Keith, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born and raised in a small town about 45 minutes south of Chicago, Illinois. 28 years of dealing with the cold and snow ultimately brought me to my breaking point and I packed all of my belongings into a 5’x7′ Uhaul trailer and drove out to San Diego, California without a job or place to stay and knew no one.

It was 2012 and the economy was still pretty stagnant at the time but nevertheless I decided to start my mobile personal training business from the ground up and would travel to client’s homes or train them at the park or beach. This was a very good setup that most people would have been content with but I was getting sick of driving to three or four different locations each day and knew that at some point I would hit a ceiling with my earnings. So after four years of having the in-home setup, I decided it was time to take the next step in the evolution of my business. This was when I made a true decision to open my first gym and over the course of the next 6 months I hand-picked all of the equipment and stored it in the parking garage of my apartment complex. I wasn’t in a big hurry and patiently waited for the perfect space to become available. It couldn’t have timed out better as I stumbled upon the Hillcrest space just as I collected my last piece of essential equipment that I would need for a full-service gym. It only made sense to put the gym in Hillcrest as 70% of my training clients lived in the area and I knew that nearly all of them would be on board with my transitioning business model and be my founding members of Prime Fitness, a training gym.

Has it been a smooth road?
Southern California is pretty much the polar opposite cultural experience as the Midwest so I had to adjust and adapt very quickly or I was going to be packing my bags real quick and heading back to the frozen tundra. Immediately I became more open-minded, less naïve, and less uptight and it amazed me at how I was starting to feel like I actually for once in my life, fit in. Surely far more than I ever did back in the Midwest.

Financial stress was certainly a big deal early on as I only had about 2 months of savings before I needed to start making a paycheck. This sense of urgency is what kept my entrepreneurial fire burning in the times where I didn’t know where or how I was going to recruit a client. So I pressed on with the 5am early bird client wake up calls and 9pm outdoor boot camps under street lights and after about a year of grinding, I finally felt good about the clientele that I had built. To this day, some of my very first clients still work with me.

The most challenging thing about opening the gym was the build out and the timing of when I opened. I went through contractors quicker than I change my sheets and I opened in November ’16 which is probably the second worst month of business in the fitness industry next to December. Things took off in January and in April ’17 I started to put myself in the black and haven’t looked back!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Prime Fitness Training story. Tell us more about the business.
I describe Prime Fitness Training as a setting that is warmly welcomed by folks who are not so keen on what the typical big-box corporate gym experience entails. Although I will say that on one hand I love the corporate gyms as they show me exactly what not to do in my business.

We are 24/7 accessible with a key fob and DO NOT lock you down with a contract or hit you with ANY KIND of extra fee. The joining fees, processing fees, annual maintenance fees that you would pay at the big-box gyms are just a way for them to nickel and dime members to offset their inefficiency and increase their bottom line.

The selection of equipment is what users will get the best results with and is strategically placed in the facility to optimize the workout experience. You will not have to wait in line for free weights, machines, or cardio equipment as overcrowding is a non-issue. Parking headaches are also negated as there is a free, designated lot for Prime Fitness Training.

The neatest part is that the loyal members who work out at my gym enable me to do what I love. It’s a privilege to know every single member by first name and to be able to have a conversation with them about how things are going for them in and outside of the gym.

I also have three other top-notch professional trainers that work out of my space and would not hesitate at all to refer a prospective training client to any one of them.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Regardless of how creative some of these fitness fads (Bootcamps, Spinning, Aerobics, Pilates, Pole classes) get I don’t think you can reinvent the wheel. With that said, free weights, machines, and cardio equipment will continue to largely represent the top forms of exercise that people will do and gym members will continue to seek out personalized guidance to ensure they’re exercising in a safe, optimal, manner.

My goal is to open a second location in either the North Park, South Park, or East Village area in early ’18 and once I have the two San Diego gyms solidified I’d like to expand across the country and finally give the fitness industry a respectable, franchised gym chain.

Pricing:

  • $49.95 per month gym membership.
  • 1-on-1, 60 minute personal training as low as $65 per session.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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