Ironman Triathlete runs the show at her Manayunk fitness center

ALI JACKSON, 27, of Bala Cynwyd, is owner and head personal trainer of Never Give Up Training, a total-body fitness center in Manayunk that offers a variety of group fitness classes and personalized training. Jackson, an Ironman triathlete, opened her studio in March 2013.

Q: How'd you come up with the idea?

A: I'm a personal trainer and had taught fitness classes around Philadelphia. I realized there was a void for a studio that offered both personalized training and group activities.

Q: Startup money?

A: I saved money earned from personal training plus support from family and friends. The fit-out and equipment was $10,000 to $15,000.

Q: What's unique about your place?

A: In Manayunk there's cycling, rowing, boxing, and they offer one specific activity. We offer everything in between: boot camp, full-body workout, cross-training. Classes are 10 people max, so you're paying a reasonable price for more-personalized fitness instead of being in a group of 50 people. We also customize classes: Someone with a torn ACL can take a class.

Q: What's an Ironman triathlete?

A: You swim 3 miles, bike 112 miles and run a marathon, which is 26.2 miles, all in one day. When you complete that, you're considered an Ironman. I've done numerous Ironmans the past three years. I started because I almost lost a leg at 17 when I was a show-jumping equestrian and my doctor said I would never walk again. I wanted to prove him wrong.

Q: How much do services cost?

A: Personal training starts at $65 per session, but it's less if you buy packages, so two per week is $400 monthly. Classes start at $18 but are less if you buy a package. The most popular package is the unlimited, which is $120 per month ($105 for students), and that's all the classes you can take monthly. We currently offer 12 different classes.

Q: Your customers?

A: College kids and young professionals, especially for classes. We get a lot of young moms for personal training, everyone from somebody training for a first marathon to somebody who wants to lose 90 pounds. The age range is 18 to 25 for classes and 25 to 40 for personal training. More women than men take classes, but it's about equal for personal training. We have about 40 personal-training clients, 275 monthly members for unlimited classes, and other packages.

Q: How big a biz?

A: We had $110,000 in gross revenue in 2014 and we have six employees.

Q: What's next?

A: We're looking for a second location or a bigger location. Our financial goal this year is to double revenue.


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