Meet entrepreneur, fitness pro and energizer bunny Lindsey Duggan - Owner and Trainer of aerial fitness studio AIR Fit Los Angeles.
After Instagram stalking AIR Fit Los Angeles for several months, I finally decided to attend a class and see if I missed my true calling as an aerial circus performer. Needless to say, after a full hour on the struggle bus known as the silks, I realized I'm better suited with my feet on the ground and I was going to be unbelievably sore the next day. Those pretty little silks are no joke...Deceptively hard workout!
AIR Fit has become a fan favorite in Los Angeles and a lot of its success can be attributed to Lindsey's energy and enthusiasm. She has an infectious smile that can make you temporarily forget that you feel like you're taking the express train to an early death as you're flailing around on the silks during class.
This Los Angeles transplant is sharing her BEHIND the BRAND story of how a simple aerial class became an obsession that led the student to become the entrepreneurial leader of Air Fit Los Angeles!
Name & role
Owner and Trainer at AIR- Aerial Ftiness Los Angeles
What inspired you to become a fitness pro?
My transition into the fitness scene started with plain old running. I gained some weight at the end of college, but didn't have finances to join a gym, so I hit the pavement. As I ran more and more consistently, the results became rewarding and somewhat addicting. The next step became road races. The 5ks turned into 10ks which became half marathons and culminated with the Boston Marathon in 2014.
Most marathon training guides suggest cross training as a supplement to all of the running so I cross-trained a lot with yoga which ignited a new passion -- teaching yoga . I earned my 200-hour training certification from Corepower Yoga and began teaching at a boutique studio in Chicago. It was incredible to teach there because I got to experience the wide array of classes they offered for free! I was now hooked on group fitness classes and sampled spinning, and barre and, of course, you know what happened next ;-) By now I was teaching all these classes, running marathons, and confident I was in peak shape. So when I heard about the AIR studio opening up I was curious, but not intimated. AIR- aerial fitness is a full body workout incorporating barre, cardio, strength training, ballet, and aerial tricks. I knew as soon as class started that I wasn't truly in shape. I couldn't do anything my first class but that is what I loved about it!!! I had never experienced anything like it in my life! I was consumed--you know how the story goes now- student to teacher now to owner!!!
Why did you decide to open Air Los Angeles? What's the process for opening a franchise?
I decided to open AIR - Los Angeles because I saw first-hand in Chicago how amazing the workout was. I was seeing results that I had never seen before. The AIR classes were also so much fun because we constantly learned new silk tricks and lived out our inner circus dreams! LA seemed like a no brainer—people here want to find the newest latest and greatest workout. Everyone wants a beach body in LA, but they also want to be empowered so it's a perfect fit.
The process for opening a franchise is different for each company, but since we were the first ones to break off and worked closely with AIR founder, Shama Patel, we got to be hands on and really involved with the decisions made for the studio. Being a trainer first is/was very beneficial as I understood the culture and environment of the brand.
What's been you biggest success(es) thus far?
Biggest successes so far are celebrating our first birthday :-), building a community with regular studio goers who have become wonderful friends, and of course, making it into PEOPLE magazine (Thank you Sarah Hyland)!!!
Conversely, biggest failure(s)?
The biggest failure -- there are a lot of failures in your first year owning a business, but then again, I am a trained yogi so I’d rather consider them "learning experiences" :-). I was pretty bummed about a workshop I planned with an incredible guest teacher that only a couple of people showed up to. The class was still amazing though, so it’s hard to really call it a failure.
Top three things you wish you knew when you first started
1. Don’t be consumed with what other people are doing.
2. Don't be afraid to negotiate.
3. GO with your GUT
Top three tools/apps/technology you can't live without
1. Instagram-- It has brought me SO many clients. A client posts a pic there - their friends see it, they're jealous and want to do it as well!!
2. A timer app on my phone so when we are doing tabatas in our bootcamp class I know it's time to switch. It’s the little things in life for me.
3. The Silks!! I love them!! I can’t imagine my life without them now. Strength, Stretch, Swinging, and sleeping whatever you want to do with them -- So awesome.
What advice would you give other fitness pros considering a franchise option?
It’s cliché but LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION, considering both fixed costs and access to customer base. If possible, teach for the franchise and become engrained in its culture.
With a franchise, the brand is first and foremost so make sure you are passionate about it and can work with the other members of the company.
Who's your professional crush & why?
The Tone It Up girls, Kat and Katerina. Talk about making something from nothing! I feel like they blew up overnight and I love it. They just seem like so much fun to workout with as well and they've created such an awesome healthy environment for women online and off-line. Workouts, health tips, meal plans - it’s a one stop shop for wellness. I like how everyone can be a "tone it up" girl and be part of the community. Girl Power!!!
You've created quite an active and engaged community - what's been your keys to success?
AIR is an active and engaged community because our clients have a lot of similar interests. They want to get together to take class then get a juice after to talk about their day. AIR is that place that you look forward to coming to!
I also love to do special events so clients can interact with new people while learning new tricks and techniques. I personally love going to other studio’s events as well. Birds of a feather flock together. I love working out and supporting other businesses as well. It’s fun to me...Call me crazy!
2015 has been busy for Air LA, so what's next for you?
Lots of fun stuff coming up --- Reebok scavenger hunt, fun workshops, television tapings, maybe a new location... stay tunneeeddd...
You find Lindsey swinging on the silks at her Air FIt LA studio or at the links below:
Website – www.airfitnow.com
Facebook – AIR – Aerial Fitness Los Angeles
Have you tried an AIr Fit class? Please tell me I'm not the only one who felt like an awkwardly uncoordinated pre-teen with bad acne and braces…a total mess!
Share in the comments below!