1. How did you get into the industry?
JN: This was almost 15 years ago now. I had an awful injury — just an awful injury with a large mirror. It was a mess. I severed my main artery, four tendons, and I needed multiple blood transfusions. I started doing physical therapy and really enjoyed the resistance bands that had been prescribed to me. Because I knew that weight training had a much greater likelihood of causing re-injury, I was really intrigued by the sense of safety I felt with the bands. I felt like I could incorporate them into my workout routine and figure out how to keep gaining my strength, without having further setbacks. Then I took that confidence and I started using them with clients at Gold’s Gym. It felt good to know that I was teaching them something that would help them in the long run.
TN: And I had several injuries, too — not quite life-threatening like Justin’s, but just recurring and frustrating. We met in a gym and I started to take a great interest in the power and performance that was possible with resistance bands. We began personal training together — specializing in low-impact exercises that focused on longevity and rehabilitation. A lot of doctors and physical therapists would refer their patients to us because they saw that our method, our Low Impact Training (LIT™) Method, was making a real difference in how people navigated pre and post-operative obstacles.
JN: Yeah, we started gaining this cult following in LA and we couldn’t really do everything we wanted to do — which was to make this method more accessible — in only one-on-one sessions.
TN: We opened our flagship studio in West Hollywood, bringing Low Impact Training to the group fitness setting and it just took off from there. I have a background in product design and he has a physical therapy background — we fused the two to prototype the LIT Strength Machine and grow the brand even more. Now it’s a method, a machine, and a movement growing around the world.
2. Where do you see opportunities or challenges for the franchise/business moving forward?
JN: Well, look. We’re still in a pandemic, right? This is a collective challenge that everyone in the world is battling together — and I think each of us and each business sector has a unique set of obstacles when it comes to navigating this. We’re fortunate because we run a business wholly focused on making people feel better from the inside out. We design products and experiences wholly focused on improving people’s quality of life. It doesn’t get much better than that. But we’re not naive. These are difficult times. People have turned inward — and with our machine and our on-demand platform, we’ve tried to make those circumstances as community-oriented as possible.
TN: Justin’s right. These are difficult times — these are tremendous obstacles. But if you’re running a business with customer experience at the forefront of everything you do, then you have to think, “How do I turn this obstacle into an opportunity?” And I think that’s where we’re at now. People miss each other. People long for that human connection of the in-person setting. There was a certain electricity, a magic in our studio setting that we’ve missed during the pandemic. I think this opportunity will help us bring that feeling back for franchisees — and that’s huge.
JN: Exactly, exactly. As we prepare for a post-pandemic future, we want to be a part of the solution. We want people to have a safe, sustainable way to work out. And if the last year and a half has taught us anything, it’s that making this low impact lifestyle available is something that could change a person’s life — change a lot of people’s lives.
3. What is your goal for the business moving forward?
JN: We always describe it as a long-term path to living LIT — and I think what that means is how can we help you find your personal strength? How can we help you cultivate that strength and longevity throughout the course of your life? Because you shouldn’t feel like you have to give up the things you love as you get older. You should feel like you have the tools to take care of yourself and to feel good while doing it. And you should feel like what you get out of LIT is a mindset and confidence that you can take into other parts of your life. It’s so much more than working out.
TN: Yes. And to scale that kind of collective, lasting change Justin is talking about is going to be one of the most challenging things we’ve ever done — but also the most rewarding. Because for us, scaling should mean accessibility for all and that’s what we’re after. If you want to help people and have that help lead to actual differences in the way they live and more importantly thrive, then you want to help as many people do that as possible, right? The experience we’re building and evolving might be elite — but it’s not elitist. You don’t need to be a professional athlete to appreciate what we do, but you could be. You don’t need to be a person who works out every day to really learn and benefit from the power of LIT. The people this method and machine are for runs the full spectrum and that’s how it should be. For us, that’s the legacy of this brand.
4. Talk to us about training and support. How do you deliver?
JN: Our training and support system for LIT Method franchisees will be broken down into phases. For the first phase, we’re going to provide initial assistance and training. This will involve a designated LIT Method support team working with the franchisee to select an ideal location for their LIT studio. From there, we’ll start with the initial training — which is eight to twelve weeks before opening and includes administrative, operational, and sales and marketing matters. It will also include on-the-job training with the franchisee spending time at the location and working inside of the business itself. This part of the process is critical because this is where the franchisees will bring in up to five instructors, three staff members, and a manager for this onsite training. Instructors will go through three days of intense training on the LIT Strength Machine and our products to become a certified LIT instructor. In addition, we’re also going to host virtual training to make the process more efficient.
TN: And then for phase two training, when the franchisee begins operations of their LIT Method model, we’re going to conduct this onsite at their studio location. A LIT Master Trainer and Director of Operations will provide onsite training for five days before opening the LIT studio. This will include community test classes and founding member classes to ensure the business can operate efficiently and effectively. And then a LIT Master Trainer will run the first class inside the new LIT studio during the opening day. The whole system is designed to ensure a successful opening in every possible way.
JN: Yep. And the same way our method is about maintenance and longevity — we want to equip and empower our franchisees to be able to meet LIT standards of operation for the long run. Franchisees will be required to attend a two-day annual virtual workshop to update training policies and procedures. And LIT Method field support staff will visit locations once per quarter to ensure all guidelines are followed and provide the support needed for franchisees.
5. What is the most difficult moment in your business journey?
TN: Our first round of funding.
JN: Oh, for sure.
TN: Securing the first round of funding from Marcy Venture Partners was the most difficult part of our journey so far. It’s not easy getting yourself on the radar of a prestigious VC firm, let alone MVP. We really wanted to put ourselves out there and show exactly how Low Impact Training is a game-changer — not just in the fitness community, but in creating a whole lifestyle that cultivates longevity. And I think it’s about much more than the money. Just like this whole brand is about more than the workout. It’s about getting these people — who are unbelievably savvy when it comes to predicting the future of business — to believe in what we’re doing. That’s hard. When they don’t know you upfront and they don’t know your passion and your history — you really have to make a great impression and then you have to live up to every single thing.
JN: That’s a great way to describe it. That’s why we say it’s the most difficult moment. It is difficult. It’s demanding. But it’s also necessary and it’s the difference between taking this to the next level.
6. Who is the ideal franchise candidate for your company?
TN: That’s a loaded question right there.
JN: It is, isn’t it? The ideal candidate shares those principles and I think shares our vision of a world where people shouldn’t have to worry about getting reinjured every time they set foot in a fitness setting. We want franchisees who take a vested interest in their clients’ progress and who are committed to delivering results without injuries.
TN: Absolutely. I think it’s someone who really believes in our mission and our values. We want to change the way people approach fitness. We want people to know that strength training doesn’t have to mean weight training. And we want people who are interested in educating, motivating, and inspiring others about the benefits of Low Impact Training.
7. What goals do you have for the franchise model in the future?
JN: Our goal is to create a new fitness franchise category, combining a digital and retail experience. And one of the ways we’re going to do that is by making the tech piece a seamless experience that can be applied in both the home and studio setting.
TN: Our upcoming product launches — which will also be accessible at franchise locations — really tell the story of how we’re going to ensure LIT community members can take advantage of and benefit from our hybrid model for Low Impact Training.
JN: That’s so true — and what we’re really aiming to do here is change the fitness franchise landscape. The goal is 400 locations in the next five years.
For more information, please visit our website at: litmethod.com