Tech-first gym promises a "smarter" workout

One local fitness center is taking a new approach to remove some of the stumbling blocks to personal fitness — as well as cutting a large portion of the training time.

“We were created to be a perfect fit for people who the standard workout doesn’t quite fit; people who are super busy and tired of the traditional gym scene,” said Luke Eickmeier, owner of the Exercise Coach of Germantown, located at 1941 Germantown Road, suite 102.

The Exercise Coach program calls for two twenty-minute workouts per week. How do clients get a full workout in that timeframe? Technology is the key. Each fitness machine that a customer uses has a computer that tracks their session. During the first workout, the best three attempts at a particular exercise are recorded and averaged, becoming the benchmark to meet during the next workout.

In the following session, a full routine of exercises are added, for example leg presses, chest pulls, shoulder exercises and a brief session on an exercise bike, but are done in less time. 

“Every person that comes in gets their own personalized pin number. We set up their workouts specifically to their fitness levels. We have them do a test to start out. That establishes their strength level; their specific fitness level. Then we start building them up from there,” said Eickmeier.

Unlike most gyms and workout centers, which typically try to pack as many customers as they can, The Exercise Coach is semi-private. Only two or three clients workout at a time. The sessions are led by a personal trainer, who can focus on the individual’s needs. Three trainers are on staff, along with Eickmeier. They can run from $30 to $50 per session.

Eickmeier recently finished eight years active duty in the Navy. His last duty station was at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. While teaching ROTC, he earned his MBA and also managed to set aside seed money for a future business endeavor.

“I always kind of thought about entrepreneurship. I liked the idea of franchises because you have a pre-built package and a lot of the PR and marketing is set up for you. I liked the idea of that structure,” said Eickmeier, who worked with franchise consultant FranChoice to open the Germantown location of ExerciseCoach. FranChoice matches potential entrepreneurs with franchise opportunities across almost every industry.

"The more we learned about those opportunities, the clearer it became for both of us that Exercise Coach was a really close match to what he was looking for,” said Chris Cynkar, consultant with FranChoice.

An advocate of physical fitness as a result of his time in the military, Eickmeier was naturally drawn to the Exercise Coach model.

“The biggest question for Luke [Eickmeir] was, ‘How quickly can we get this thing going?’” said Cyankar. 

FranChoice advisors are also on hand to provide structure and mentorship for franchisees, as many are first-time business owners. The model facilitates partnerships with local and national companies that provide services like financing, accounting, payroll and marketing.

“One of the reasons I have been successful so far is because of the marketing company we have partnered with who are doing amazing work. They bring me potential client leads, and it is my job to give them a call and try to get them to come in,” said Eickmeier.

Two weeks after choosing his startup, Eickmeier was looking through a list of potential spaces in Germantown.

So far, the Exercise Coach has seen success in its short time in the Memphis area marketplace with a reliable core of customers built since opening in early January.

“Here he is opening at the beginning of 2019. He’s got the business up and running, and honestly it is thriving. He just hit the ground running,” said Cyankar.

Read more articles by Kim and Jim Coleman.

Kim Coleman is a journalist with over 20 years of experience in newsrooms as a reporter, editor and graphic designer, including ten years with The Commercial Appeal as Design Director/Senior Editor and Print Planning Editor. 


Jim Coleman is a freelance writer, covering a variety of topics from high school sports, community news and small business. He has written for different news organizations over the past 20 years, including The Commercial Appeal, Community Weeklies, Lexington Herald-Leader and The Albuquerque Journal.

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