HOBOKEN, N.J., Nov. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- CKO Kickboxing celebrates its 19th anniversary today as the pioneering health fitness franchise continues to help people get fit and develop confidence. It's all the more amazing considering how founder and CEO, Joseph Andreula views the fitness experience.
"I don't teach kickboxing classes geared towards fighting or traditional kickboxing. The punching bags are just a vehicle to help people improve their health and their self esteem," he said. "I drew my inspiration from Martha Graham, the dancer choreographer. She understood self expression through dance. What she did with dance, I do with kickboxing. I learned as much from reading books about her as I did from any kickboxing instructor I ever had. My background is in the Martial Arts, but my expression for self improvement comes from Martha Graham."
The fast-growing franchise, which recently opened its 75th gym across the nation, focuses on improving each client's self-esteem through kickboxing.
"Kickboxing is a metaphor," he says. "Everyone has their own heavy bag so they can go at their own pace. They don't have to compete against anyone and they don't have to compare themselves against anyone."
Since opening his first club in Hoboken, N.J. in 1997, his motto has always been the same:
"Fitting in is as important as getting fit," he said. "CKO Kickboxing is the vehicle we use to help people get fit in and fit in with a community where they feel cared about and united."
Starting his company was never about making a fortune. Rather, the goal was to improve people's lives.
"At first, I didn't have a set business plan. We learned as we went and we did it as a team. Together. I consider all of the members and staff a part of that team. We started with the passion to help people change their lives for the better and we used that as our guide. That's always been my first intention," he said.
His desire to help people in a unique way grew from his frustration with the typical gym experience.
"I worked in gyms. Most clubs, like today, were either extreme fitness boutiques or were places where people joined, never went, or never improved. I didn't see changes in them mentally, physically, or emotionally. My goal was and is always to make CKO Kickboxing completely different by showing the members what they are capable of. I wanted to create a gym where people felt like they belonged there - like they were part of it. There would be no competition so no one would feel out of place. We let people work at their own pace so they don't feel like they have to keep up with others," he said.
"I'm concerned about real, lasting improvement. After three months, I want a CKO Kickboxing member to say 'I look so much better. I feel so much better,'" he said.
"Gyms are exploding as business concepts, but people aren't changing. People need to see actual results and feel better about themselves," explained Joe.
CKO Kickboxing is not resting on its laurels as a leader in the health fitness field. They will participate next year in these events:
Spartan Races: CKO Kickboxing will be the last obstacle – with 50 heavy bags – at events at Fenway Park in Boston, Citizens Bank in Philadelphia, CitiField in New York, Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Cowboy Stadium in Dallas, AT&T Stadium in San Francisco and Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
- NBC Health Expo: CKO Kickboxing will offer classes at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey and at Mile High Stadium in Denver.
- Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas: CKO Kickboxing will host its third annual cruise with 100 heavy bags that will be the sole fitness event in the mediaplex.
- Marriott at Times Square: CKO Kickboxing will offer a special class in April.
CKO Kickboxing is one of America's fastest-growing franchises according to Entrepreneur Magazine, which included the kickboxing gym franchise in its Franchise 500 list of best franchises in 2015. The magazine rated CKO Kickboxing the Top Personal Service Franchise in the Fitness category in 2016.