Bonnie Micheli and I met as young moms in the hustle and bustle city of Chicago. We met as neighbors with similarly aged children and became fast friends. Sharing a love for fitness, we were seeking opportunities to get back into tip-top shape post-children.
At the time, there was a glaring lack of experiential boutique fitness concepts in the Chicagoland area. Who knew our frustration with a lack of sweat-worthy boutique fitness options would lead to a multi-million-dollar HIIT fitness studio – Shred415?
Our love for fitness ran deep. Bonnie began teaching group exercise in 2008 and is certified in personal training by the American Council of Exercise. After extensive training in college, she began experimenting with workout programming and alternating between cardiovascular work and strength training – something still new in the space. She quickly saw results in herself and began teaching small group exercise classes for several years.
I've dedicated my entire career to becoming a top-tier fitness expert and have worked as Managing Director of a club with five fitness centers in San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles, as Director of Weight Loss and Nutrition for a large national gym, and as a General Manager of a boutique gym in Chicago best-known for personal training.
While we lacked entrepreneurial experience, we knew we had something special with our combined 25 plus years of fitness experience and we were ready for a challenge.
Shredding our way to success
We continued to crave a more intense, personalized workout experience, and it all came together one day when we were sitting in our neighborhood alley watching our children play. We looked at each other and said, "Let's do this!" Right then and there, we began making plans for our very own studio. We had the extensive fitness knowledge and were willing to risk it all and organically fund our first location.
We combined our knowledge of high intensity interval training, cardio and strength training, and began creating a concept that combined all elements of a dynamic, effective workout for an unmatched experience. We landed on Shred415 – a 60-minute HIIT class that alternates between treadmill, floor, and strength training in four 15-minute intervals for an effective all-body workout.
While the first few months of business were slow, word of mouth quickly spread and grassroots efforts to drive traffic proved effective. Before long, our first location did not have the capacity to meet demand and our brand began to grow.
As we expanded, it was our goal to create a concept that catered to busy parents and professionals searching for an energizing and efficient workout experience. Our studios offer on-site child care in the "Kids Corner," and are equipped with full locker rooms that have showers, premium skincare products and a free towel service. It was our vision to create a concept that was more than a workout - a family-friendly, all-inclusive athletic environment that delivers a sense of belonging and accomplishment.
The photo captures the essence of Shred415 – built from the ground up, and designed for parents with busy lives, active lifestyles who want to see results with a sweat-worthy workout. With nine locations currently open throughout the Chicagoland area, St. Louis, and Indianapolis, we just announced our franchise opportunity and aim to sign more than 30 agreements before year-end. We never expected in our wildest dreams that our early conversations in the alley would lead to Shred415 and a growing "Shredder" community.
About the author: Tracy Roemer is the co-founder of Chicago-based Shred415. She and her co-founder Bonnie Micheli have nine locations currently open in urban and suburban metro markets throughout the Midwest, and aim to have over 150 locations open by 2020.
Edited for brevity and clarity by Nicole Fallon.