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Flywheel Sports to Open First Denver Studio

The new Union Station fitness studio encourages "sweat-working," rather than boring networking


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Flywheel Sports, an international fitness brand that provides a full-body workouts in state-of-the-art indoor cycling stadiums, will spin out its next new studio in Denver at 1900 17th St, Denver, CO 80202, set to open this summer. Flywheel uses customized technology and fitness-focused metrics to help riders gauge their effort and track their performance.

We spoke with Flywheel’s CEO Sarah Robb O’Hagan, the former president of Equinox and Gatorade to talk about all things Denver fitness, the new studio and the best way to convince your HR department to invest in a spin-bike.

CB: HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH FLYWHEEL, SARAH?

SRO: “I’ve been in sports and fitness for the vast majority of my career. I got into it via Nike in marketing, then was president of Gatorade after that, so went from sports apparel to nutrition and beverages … I’m super passionate about an active healthy lifestyle. Why I joined Flywheel? I really believe in working out so we can have a more active lifestyle.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE COMPANY?

We just hit our 8-year anniversary. The history of Flywheel starts at the very beginning of the boutique fitness boom. The original proposition was that nobody had taken indoor spinning to the next level, and added accountability and competition to the bike. We added that experience and created an actually scientifically-backed ride. People ride next to one another and push their own performance to the next level.

DESCRIBE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE?

We attract a very athletic crowd. Nearly 70 percent of our riders are doing marathons, Tough Mudders, climbing 14ers, they practice goal-based fitness. We’ve landed ourselves a pretty committed crowd and fitness is deeply entrenched in their lives.

THE BOUTIQUE FITNESS BOOM YOU MENTIONED, HOW HAS THAT GROWN AND CHANGED IN THE 8 YEARS SINCE FLYWHEEL GOT ITS START?

Boutique fitness has changed significantly. Back in the day, for me, I was on the gym side of fitness. At the time when it all got started initially, nobody had even thought about the fact that you didn’t have to go to a gym and pay all this money for amenities you weren’t using. Boutique fitness has built entire businesses around a single modality.

Early brands included Barry’s Bootcamp. Now, boutique fitness as a segment has grown at a 400 percent clip, while gyms have flattened. That being said, there’s a lot of players in it right now. It’s changed from those few creating a category to a lot of followers who have jumped in.

HOW DOES YOUR BRAND REMAIN COMPETITIVE?

We just focus so squarely on our very tight psychographic consumer. We don’t chase trends.

WHY IS NOW THE RIGHT TIME TO MOVE INTO DENVER?

We’ve been looking at Denver for a long time. The landlord of our Denver location is involved with us in a location in a different market, so it presented a nice opportunity. We got ot know the downtown location real estate team, and are excited and confident in the area. As you know there’s a Whole Foods now open right across from us. It’s really incredible.

We typically, as a brand, have done very well in markets that have people who have a high propensity for an outdoor activity lifestyle. People in Denver are purposeful in fitness. Indoor fitness is an important route to getting to their outdoor active lifestyle goals.

WHAT DO YOU ANTICIPATE FOR THE DENVER OPENING?

We hope Denver is more than just a single-location market.

Flywheel Denver will open with Flywheel's signature stadium cycling offering, including tiered seating so every rider has a great view of the instructor. Instructors will lead a variety of cycling classes including Method, Power and its newest offering Tempo. There is also a second studio which will be home to Flywheel's Precision Training offerings including FlyFIT (Functional Intensive Training) and FlyRecover. Denver will be one of the first Flywheel studios to offer FlyFIT.

DO YOU HAVE ANY COMPANY OUTINGS OR TEAM-BUILDING PROGRAMS AT FLYWHEEL?

We do private rides quite a bit. They’re really popular, especially for the conference and convention business. People look to us as an add-on benefit. We call it sweat-working instead of networking.

WHEN DOES THIS DOWNTOWN FITNESS STUDIO OPEN?

We are tracking toward the end of July.

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Gigi Sukin

Gigi Sukin is digital editor at ColoradoBiz. She can be reached at gsukin@cobizmag.com.

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