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Entrepreneurs
Business Observer Friday, Oct. 12, 2012 5 years ago

Minute Gym

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You only need 20 minutes of exercise a week. Really. Jorgen Albrechtsen is so confident, he won't make you sign a contract.
by: Jean Gruss Contributing Writer

If you hate clanking your way through endless repetitions at your gym day after day, then welcome to Jorgen Albrechtsen's new concept.

A Danish entrepreneur, Albrechtsen's endeavors ranged from karate gyms in the 1970s to Nautilus fitness centers through the 1990s. So he knows why people quit their exercise programs so easily.

Albrechtsen's newest idea is Concept 10 10. The pitch is that you only need 20 minutes a week of one-on-one intense muscle training to be in great shape. “This is a place for people who don't like gyms,” Albrechtsen says.

Customers can book 30-minute sessions with a personal trainer that include body measurements and an anaerobic workout using weight machines from which it takes a week to recover.

Every workout session is private, so there's no waiting for a machine and no interruptions. “In order to get results, it has to be one-on-one,” Albrechtsen says.

But Albrechtsen is quick to acknowledge that prospective customers are skeptical because most believe you need to work out for hours to achieve results. “We are fighting against 30 years of myth and deceit,” says Albrechtsen, who earlier in his fitness career earned a fifth-degree black belt in full-contact Kyokushin style of karate.

To overcome the skepticism, Albrechtsen doesn't make customers sign a contract. Instead, you pay $75 per session, or $38 a session if you buy 50 sessions in advance. He stays away from the high-pressure sales that competitors use, but ensures that people show up for their appointments with a 24-hour cancellation policy.

And if you don't believe that 20 minutes of intense exercise is enough, Albrechtsen invites you to come back for more. But, he says with a smile, he's betting the once-a-week workout is so demanding that you'll be satisfied.

Besides the north Naples facility that Albrechtsen owns, two new franchises opened recently in downtown Naples and Estero. The new licensees are former satisfied customers, Albrechtsen says.

Albrechtsen sells licenses for $59,000 and charges a $950 monthly fee for support. It costs about $180,000 to set up the business in a 2,000-square-foot facility. The support for licensees includes a sophisticated booking system that tracks customers as they progress through the workouts.

Albrechtsen opened the first Concept 10 10 in his native Denmark two years ago and refined the idea. “You have nothing like it in the U.S.,” says the part-time Naples resident.

Ultimately, Albrechtsen says he'd like to see 10 to 20 new licensees open each year. In addition, he's looking for area managers who would earn half the fees in exchange for overseeing certain territories.

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