When and how was Kindle Fitness founded?
“We opened in March of 2013 but first, we started working out in a friend’s garage and then moved to hosting workouts in the park. We would promote it any way we could– word of mouth, texting and getting them to show up early in the morning. It was all of our friends and family members at first. We weren’t really scared of the challenge of opening a new business because we also owned a Nutrishop franchise at the time, so we were already small-business owners. So, it became a natural transition and after we opened the gym, we loved it so much that we sold the Nutrishop and put full attention into the gym.”
How has your business grown from then to now?
“We started out with 30 athletes and we worked up to 50 for a while. It took a few years to get to 100 and now we float around 100 members each year! I honestly can’t believe people trusted us to come at first. We didn’t have nearly as much equipment as we do now. We didn’t have a nice floor. It was so nice that people trusted us early on in the business. They knew we offered a sense of community and that we were helping people live better lives. They didn’t mind that we were a little rough at first.
We’re in our second location now, the first was 2,000 square feet and we moved into a 5,000 square-foot warehouse space. It has to be a warehouse because we need to have certain parameters for the gym. You have to have a certain ceiling height for rope climbs for example.”
What’s the story behind the name ‘Kindle?’
“That was such a challenge at first, to find a word that wasn’t already taken. ‘Kindle’ means starting a fire and we thought of our gym as a place where we’re starting a fire in people, inspiring them to work out and live a healthier lifestyle. Nolan and I are Christians, too, so that word symbolizes a lot of what we believe. It just goes!”
What do you love most about your role as owner and coach?
“I love being able to see that we’re really making a difference in peoples’ lives. We’ve been with our athletes through the deaths of close friends and family, through divorce, loss of jobs and so many struggles they’re going through. It’s so cool to see them need us since we’re like a second home to a lot of people. I don’t know anywhere else we could provide that same community to people. It’s so special.”
Do you see mostly men or women athletes?
“It’s mostly women! I know, it’s so funny how when people think of weightlifting in general they think of guys doing the exercises, but we have mostly women here. We mainly have adults coming in as athletes, not really many young adults. Young adults aren’t typically looking for community in the same way people in their late 20s and early 30s are looking for it.”
How do athletes and coaches maintain safety awareness in their practice?
“The coach in charge is always watching throughout the whole class. Safety is our top priority more than the amount of weight athletes are lifting. A lot of people appreciate that. We’ve been told before that they’ve been to other gyms that cared only about how much weight they were lifting. But here, their form is actually getting better because we care more about safety.”
Does Kindle have a mantra that everyone knows at the gym, something that helps inspire athletes?
“We have, ‘work hard stay humble’ painted on our wall and it’s on a lot of our shirts, too. That suits our vibe the most because we’re not the flashiest. When we used to go to competitions, we didn’t want to be the craziest or the loudest type of athletes. We want to do our best, keep our heads down and keep our good form. Others are more about, ‘whatever it takes to win,’ and that’s not us.”
How is Kindle Fitness unique compared to other gyms?
“Everyone is welcome and that’s not always the case in other gyms. In a lot of places, you might feel like you’re being treated differently based on the talent you have. We would never do that. Our athletes represent a diversity of races, lifestyles and athletic levels and that’s the feedback they’ve given– that they feel so welcome. I wouldn’t want anyone to feel differently. Truly everyone is welcome here.”
If you weren’t doing this for work, is there something else you would do?
“We actually do have other jobs! I’m a freelance ghostwriter and a marketing coordinator for an accounting firm. It started because I worked on the marketing for our business and then I found those other jobs for additional income. Nolan is also a business professor and we serve as volunteers when we have spare time. We actually have a lot of other things going on the side.”
What do you love most about Riverside?
“I love how Riverside is near anything you would want to visit. We’re close to the beach, the mountains and Disneyland. What more could you want? It’s the best location for sure.”