No, I'm not MAD at you. It's the name of the gym, silly.
Now you're wondering, what is this gym phenomenon and why haven't I heard of it or tried it?
MADabolic stands for:
Simply put: each daily workout is designed around one of those three driving concepts and you are never completing the same workout twice.
Last week while back in DC visiting our clients, I had the pleasure of not only squeezing in five MAD classes but also getting to know the owner of the Arlington/DC location, Corbin Jennings.
Corbin began his career, like many, in corporate America. He studied economics in college, worked in banking for a minute, then logistics for Lowe's and Under Armour.
It was during his time at Under Armour when he realized he needed a life change and could no longer sit at a desk for 60+ hours a week, staring at excel sheets. He was bored to death.
After doing the MAD workouts in Charlotte, North Carolina, Corbin decided to throw caution to the wind and began looking into opening a MADabolic of his own in the DC metro.
Two years later, at age 28, Corbin successfully became the owner of the MADabolic franchise in Arlington, Virginia. Pretty impressive...
How did you go from a corporate minion to business owner and what were the challenges you faced?
"I was always willing to take risks. The really challenging part has been not knowing the 99% of the operational side - taxes, licenses, etc. I am constantly in unfamiliar area. Prior to becoming a MADabolic owner, I was in roles where I could become really proficient at something and master it. Entrepreneurship is not like that.
What led you to pick MADabolic out of all the fitness franchises out there?
"I was a member in North Carolina for six months before deciding to franchise. I fell in love with the workout - genuine strength and athletic training. It was far superior to everything else I'd come across."
What was your fitness background prior?
"I was an athlete growing up and played soccer competitively but I was not a personal trainer or coach."
So how did you become one?
"There is a four to twelve week intensive onboarding program for trainers that takes place at the HQ in Charlotte. I completed that and I am also ACE certified.
WOW! That is a long training program, why so tedious? Explain the hiring process.
"There is a 25% fail rate for the onboarding program, it is designed to challenge. Before sending people to Charlotte, we have our own hiring process. We want people who can move REALLY well. At first, I was hiring a lot of former crossfitters, but as I've gotten further along, I've realized they aren't very dedicated. Now I am looking for passion and dedication to the program, attention to detail, and the ability to move REALLY well.
What has your turnover rate been like?
"We have only lost two trainers since opening. We had two potentials we sent to Charlotte but they didn't end up moving forward. In the gym industry there is a notoriously high turn over rate."
Let's dig into the workout...
What makes MADabolic so special and different than crossfit?
"The programming. The co-owners both played hockey professionally. They then owned a crossfit gym WAY before crossfit really took off...being professional hockey players, they were exposed to a ton of different training and trainers. They took this knowledge and background in crossfit and created MADabolic. They understood that to be a really effective athletic trainer, you absolutely have to produce results. That is your ONLY job."
Has the program changed since it's inception?
"It has evolved a lot overtime. They continue to create a more effective program - it is an ever evolving product that is tailored to the consumer.
So why MAD > Crossfit?
Crossfit focuses on all out intensity where as we focus on varying intensities. They use barbells, we do not. We are a more genuine, functional fitness regiment to help the everyday person where as crossfit is more geared towards becoming a better "crossfitter."
We do a lot of lateral and stability work, we are not competitive, you are not rushing through reps, our workouts are 30-35 minutes, and we have a massive emphasis on form. We have not had a single injury that has led to surgery in the 1.5 years we have been open."
What are the top three reasons why someone should choose MADabolic?
1. Benefits of genuine athletic training without taking on more risk than the everyday person should
2. The attention to form. This is huge and completely underestimated. Mitigating risk and performance - we prefer 10 good squats versus 20 bad ones.
3. The color system. This is underrated but genius. Each colored plate (there are four) represent a heavier weight class. Guess work doesn't work. The color system loosely lets you track your progression with heavier weights.
Can I convince you to open a MADabolic in Scottsdale/Phoenix?
"I am always willing to help potential franchisees and I am open to investing in other locations myself. So you never know!"
Lastly, what are your tips for someone who wants to leave corporate America behind and get into the fitness industry?
"Focus on your demographics and location. Do not underestimate how important it is to build your brand, and have a REALLY strong program. If you have no idea what you're doing, you will likely fail. Majority of folks who open gyms fail.
Corbin is also not afraid to put in the time to make his business succeed. Recently, MADabolic hit their max capacity of memberships and had to stop accepting new members which is INSANE after only 1.5 years. He works 60-80 hours a week, in at 6am, out around 7pm and works every weekend. We both can relate that owning your own business is a rewarding rollercoaster ride but it's not for everyone.
So to anyone interested in opening another MADabolic location, I suggest getting in touch with Corbin ASAP before there are no locations left. He is currently working on a few new locations in DC proper.
For ALL of the DC folks reading, go give MAD a try! It's $10 for 10 days - an incredible deal that will surely leave you hooked. (I speak from firsthand experience)
Thank you to Corbin and all of the MADfam, I am thrilled to be a part of such a great fitness community.
Follow them on Instagram, @madarlington