The MAX Challenge
A fitness franchise owner sees his empire expand and prepares for growth.
By Kat Zeman, Knighthouse Media
Bryan Klein always wanted to be the king of his own castle.
A born entrepreneur, he opened his first business at the age of 16 – operating a martial arts school out of his parent’s garage.
By the time he turned 18, the ambitious young man converted a chicken coup into a storefront for his karate school. “That was my first dive into entrepreneurship,” Klein remembers. “But I was always interested in franchising.”
In fact, Klein was known to stalk the franchise owner of a McDonald’s restaurant in New Jersey to pepper him with questions about the business of franchising. “The McDonald’s owner couldn’t get enough of me,” Klein says, chuckling. “I was a franchise nut.”
His passion, determination and hard work paid off. Today, Klein sits on top of a fitness franchise empire that’s growing by leaps and bounds each year. He’s the founder and CEO of The MAX Challenge, a 10-week fitness program that combines structured group fitness classes with motivation and nutritional counseling.
Klein launched the program in 2011 after securing a workout facility near his martial arts studio in Manalapan Township, N.J. He enrolled 32 people. Six months later, membership grew to roughly 500. That’s when his inner franchise nut resurfaced again.
“I realized that I had something incredible that is 100 percent scalable and franchisable,” Klein says. His instincts proved to be accurate. In 2013, he started franchising The MAX Challenge. A year later, about 50 franchise locations opened.
To date, The MAX Challenge has more than 100 franchise locations open or in development with 18 locations scheduled to open by the end of this year. “We are practically sold out in New Jersey and Staten Island, but the rest of the world is wide open,” Klein says.
The climb to the top wasn’t always easy. Before launching The MAX Challenge, Klein owned and operated the United Taekwondo Academy in New Jersey. But when his wife became pregnant and experienced complications that required her to be hospitalized for six months, Klein gained about 100 pounds as a result of the stress.
The weight gain did not bode well for his business. It wasn’t in line with the fitness lifestyle expected of a martial arts studio owner. As a result, Klein joined a gym and hired personal trainers to get back in shape. It cost him thousands of dollars per month.
That’s when the idea for The MAX Challenge was born. There had to be a less expensive option for people wishing to get into shape. His 10-week body transformation system is designed to make fast and lasting changes to appearance and overall well-being.
“We do this by combining fitness classes with nutritional counseling and motivation,” Klein says. “It’s like having a personal trainer, nutritional counselor and a life coach at the same time.”
The program incorporates cardio training and strength training into classes designed for people of all fitness levels. The MAX instructors are trained to provide modifications for each individual to challenge them and propel them to workout to their own highest potential. Classes are available Monday through Friday. Monthly membership is $99 in most markets.
The nutritional plan is based around three keys to nutritional success: eating the right foods at the right time and in the right portions. “We are teaching them new habits,” Klein says. “It’s about introducing them to a healthy lifestyle that incorporates exercise five days a week with proper nutrition. So at the end, they don’t want to go back.”
Joining The Team
Entrepreneurs wishing to open THE MAX Challenge franchise must have at least $50,000 in liquid assets and a net worth of $250,000. The company charges a franchise fee of $40,000 per location. It also collects an ongoing royalty fee of 6 percent and a 2 percent ad fund charge.
The total investment, including build-out cost and franchising fee, ranges between $146,800 and $295,600 depending on location. An average THE MAX building is roughly 2,500 square feet.
“For the person who has a high level of drive and ambition, this is a fantastic opportunity to make a great return on their investment,” Klein says. “It’s for people looking for an opportunity to do something important, to give back and make a difference in people’s lives.”
The company offers its franchisees assistance in choosing a location and with store design, ?facility construction and feasibility studies. “We work with them side by side from the second they sign all the way to the grand opening and beyond,” Klein adds.
New franchisees receive seven days of training at the company’s corporate headquarters in Morganville, N.J. Five days are spent on various aspects of operations that include marketing, sales and customer service. Two days are spent in a MAX Challenge center and focus on management. “And they are all assigned a coach that they meet with on a weekly basis,” Klein says. “The coach will help them through the process. We’re aggressively hiring to support our infrastructure.”