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Fitness program muscles up with licensing

Rob Sabo
Northern Nevada Business Weekly
Published Caption: Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal
NEVADA APPEAL | NEVADA APPEAL

A women’s-only fitness program founded in Carson City is catching on with licensees who now operate locations in northern Nevada and neighboring states.

Kaia F.I.T., run by founder Nikki Warren and business partners Kristen Loos and Sharon Kassity, has grown from its roots in Carson City and Minden to include locations in Fallon, Sacramento, San Diego, Corona, Calif., and Parker, Colo.

Warren, owner of Tumbleweeds Gymnastics in Carson City for 10 years, says she came up the idea for Kaia F.I.T. after striving for years to get youths in shape and to eat healthy, all the while ignoring the health of the mothers who brought their kids in for lessons.

“It was like, ‘Hey, where did we lose that drive to work out and to be fit,'” Warren says. “You can’t ever fight against obesity if you don’t get to the moms.”

Loos, who has a background in international business and marketing, did the Kaia F.I.T. program for several years with Kassity before approaching Warren about turning the program into a growing business.

So far, they say, the rapid success of Kaia F.I.T. has come as a slight surprise.

“Things have taken off more than we expected,” Loos says. “It has required us to get our wheels turning a little faster than we thought.”

Adds Kassity: “Our goal is to be a type of fitness organization that is in every community across American helping women get fit and feel good about themselves.”

Kaia F.I.T. offers personal training in a group atmosphere. Participants pay $99 a month for fitness sessions led by any of Kaia F.I.T.’s 20 trainers in Minden and Carson City, and there are three annual six-week boot-camp-style programs that cost an additional $250 each. There are about 200 women enrolled in the fitness program between the Carson and Minden facilities, and the boot-camp programs, which include a meal plan, typically sell out with about 35 participants.

The Carson City facility operates in 6,000 square feet, while the Minden and Reno sites are 12,000 square feet.

Loos, Warren and Kassity own Kaia F.I.T. Corp. and handle office duties. They outsource help with social networking and other ancillary business functions. The idea has caught hold as participants spread the word to friends in other areas, Warren says.

“It spreads grassroots,” she says. “That has been the push of people coming to us.”

Overhead for licensees is low because the program focuses on using body weight for exercises and rents space during slow times at other facilities, such as off-hours at gymnastics studios or karate dojos. The Carson City Kaia F.I.T. operates out of Tumbleweeds gymnastics, while the Reno Kaia Fit operates at Starz Gymnastics.

Kaia F.I.T. licensees pay a $250 monthly fee to the corporation for Kaia F.I.T.’s workout programs, food plans and other support.

“It is a very lucrative business model, but the licensee has to understand that it has to be organized, they have to work hard, and they can’t be afraid to go out there and promote their business,” Kassity says. “You can make a really good living part time, and raise your kids, but you have got to be a businesswoman.”

Adds Loos: “A lot of women struggle with the balance of being a mother and an entrepreneur. Our goal is to help women have it all.”