Mike Prosnick will not be stopped!
In fact, it’s doubtful he’ll ever even slow down. Mike’s unwavering passion for his business and his clients was clear from the moment we began our conversation with the JAM. Fitness founder.
JUST ABOUT ME Fitness (JAM. Fitness) is an innovative gym in Alpharetta, Georgia that allows its members 24/7 access to digital personal trainers and custom workout programs. The company was founded in 2014 by Mike Prosnick and is now the home gym for over 400 members. Before founding JAM Fitness, Mike had already started and sold several successful software companies. Mike’s experience with fitness based technology is a major reason why JAM. Fitness has the potential to become the “Uber of fitness”. (Just one of the many bold declarations Mike made during our interview).
Our talk with Mike was inspiring. We were excited to run out of his office and share his passion for life and business with the world. We think you’ll also be inspired by the passionate words shared by Alpharetta’s industry disrupting entrepreneur.
Where did the inspiration for JAM Fitness come from?
I figured out the future of fitness. I knew that everything in the industry was moving toward small group training, but I could already see the challenges. As a personal trainer, I believed in the 1on1 PT model, but I also knew it was too expensive for most people. The answer was simple. People needed guidance, without the barriers of class times or expense. They needed to be empowered to act as their own trainers -24/7.
I went home to my beautiful wife and said ‘Hey, I found out what I want to be when I grow up.’ I showed her my business plan and she said go for it. Just About Me Fitness was born. Since I jumped off that cliff I’ve been evolving JAM.Fitness, and it has not stopped.
I connected with two partners that I knew from previous businesses, and they urged me to explore IT development. Together we created the software platform JAMWORKOUT TrainerOnDemand. They developed the techie stuff, and I put it into practice in the club, boots on the ground. This meant we could learn quickly what worked and what didn’t, right here where it really matters, in the club. When it breaks; we fix. It breaks; we fix. It breaks again; we fix again, instead of doing it like big corporate would and just shoving it down your throat until it breaks, and everyone is screwed. We are the essence of a lean start up. Before long, we grew tired of other companies not being able to fix so quickly. So, we built our own agnostic heart rate monitor. We’ve built our own programs for our bands. We decided to become comprehensive.
Our club is unlike anything currently out there. Ours is not a typical circuit. It’s not about just going in a circle. You can do whatever you want to in here: traditional, functional, HIIT. We’ve made workouts personalized within a group setting, the camaraderie without the competition.
"Fear is not a negative. It’s a driver if you look at it that way. I fear failure and I fear losing my members. That’s what drives me to make a better system every day."
What are some of the principles you always follow when building a business?
Progress, not perfection is the key. It’s the key to anything. So many people don’t launch or start things because they don’t think it’s perfected. I don’t give a sh** about perfection. I throw it out there so that people can beat it up. Then I get the answer and make it better. And ask for feedback- I’m here with my people every day, so I’m taking surveys every day. I put something new out there and I ask 10 people what they think of it. If six out of ten people have the same answer, BOOM, that’s my answer! Instead of doing a poll every month, I’m doing it every day. We pretty much have just continued to evolve for the last 3 years.
"Progress not perfection. Working the daily to get farther."
Make it fun and EASY. When we were in here originally, we had touchscreens on the wall. You would swipe your band, and it would ask you to enter your sets, your reps, and your weight. I thought, (because I’m a geek and I love training), that I should be building it from my perspective, but no one cared about that. 12 people would go by a machine and not hit the right buttons. They didn’t care about it! They just wanted to know what to do and move forward. And my database kept crashing! It did not work, time to evolve.
Every program on the market now is made by an exercise scientist or a programmer with all this logic behind it. Well, I say BS. What makes Zumba very successful? Move! Have fun! Sweat! Richard Simmons was the same way. Have fun and don’t make it too complicated.
How has marketing contributed to the business’s growth?
"I’m on social media. I’m not afraid to make a jacka** out of myself. I’m not afraid to show people basically everything I’m doing. Try to recreate it. You can’t."
I’ve had such a good run in the industry for over 20 years. There are a ton of people looking at me, but they’re not liking me online. I would talk to people and out of nowhere they’re telling me ‘I’ve been following you for three years.’ They just watched and observed. Gary Vee (Vaynerchuk) will tell you, it’s not about getting 5000 views, it’s about getting 1 view. If you get one view, who does that one view know? It could be a CEO. They could go and say,” ‘Those guys are onto something’. I know that what I’m saying now is better than what I was saying 1 year ago, or even 1 month ago. I keep improving my social media, and my message.
All gyms market two ways right now. Either they are low-cost gyms, like Planet Fitness or LA Fitness, going after the price shoppers. Or they are looking for the high demographic of losing weight or body transformation. 6 weeks until you get bikini ready. 6 weeks until you get into your dress. That’s just a lie! 6 weeks? I don’t believe in those ways of marketing!
I have to find a new way to market. I gotta find a way to educate the member and to educate the industry. Neither knows what I’m doing in here. I got gym owners and industry people coming in here that say, ‘I’ve been to 4,000 gyms and never seen a club like this!’
Our system is flexible. It can change with the trends. That’s why so many small businesses fail. They are too rigid.
Why are you licensing out your software?
Right now, I want to help the middle market of gyms. For the next 6 months the whole fitness industry is praying that small group training is going to fix their gyms. They put kettle bells in their gyms, battle ropes in their gyms, you name it. They think everyone wants to do this functional training because it’s the next big thing. LA Fitness, Gold’s Gym, places like that. They all put these turf areas in. They’re expecting people to pay extra for it. They have 5 classes a day. So that’s five hours a day probably. Do regular people know how to use battle ropes though? So now if it fails because people don’t want to pay extra for the classes, they have these beautiful areas that have made all these equipment companies rich- but the clubs are dying. My answer is our single lane TrainerOnDemand system.
"These gyms will have their own bracelets to offer members so that they can go to these areas when classes aren’t going, swipe in, and do their own trainer on demand. Now when that area isn't doing small group training, they’re utilizing it for the other 19 hours. It’s a no-brainer! I’m not taking away small group classes, I’m complementing them."
If you had to give words of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, what would you tell them?
Passion and persistence. If you don’t have a passion for what you do you’re not going to make it. Persistence means never hearing no. I hear “not yet”. If you’re afraid of the word no, you’re in big trouble. If I don’t hear the word no 9 times a day, I didn’t ask enough questions.
"Disruption! I believe I’m the next uber of fitness. I believe fitness centers are all set up wrong. Either somebody's gonna buy me out, or they’re gonna get knocked out."