• 11 – 14 April 2024
  • Exhibition Centre Cologne

08. November 2022, by FORA

Your own fitness studio - but how?

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Having your own gym – a dream many athletes know. Andreas Pürzel, 37, former athlete and personal trainer, turned his dream into reality and opened “DAS GYM” in Vienna with his brother Alexander Pürzel in 2016. In the FIBO interview, Andreas Pürzel tells us how he went about opening a fitness studio, what stumbling blocks had to be overcome and what he particularly values today.

“DASGYM” is a bodybuilding studio where (aspiring) athletes should want for nothing: With 24 rack stations, six competition benches and more than 50 competition bars, it is particularly well-equipped for this target group. To create a holistic concept, there is “DASANABOL” in the same building – the restaurant to the gym, where visitors can put together bowls adapted to their diet, including all nutritional values.

FIBO: How do you develop a concept for your own studio?

Andreas Pürzel: First you have to deal with the target groups, i.e., people who are active in sports or want to become active. They are the focus of the concept. Other aspects are the age, the type of training and the answer to the questions: What do I want to offer? What should people be able to achieve with me?

It is important to me that training takes place often and with a lot of commitment. Only then it's a valuable training. The gym is only equipped with machines whose manufacturers I fully trust and which help to create the ideal atmosphere for building muscle. We offer both an endurance and strength area. If someone is put off by loud, aggressive music, “THE GYM” is less suitable. For everyone else, it is the perfect place. We want to retain those athletes whose focus is on getting stronger.

As a gym owner, it is also important to make decisions. And when I make decisions, I have to make sacrifices. For example: there has to be the option of using magnesium in a gym to give exercisers a better grip on the barbell, for example.

The sacrifice: the floor gets dirty because of the magnesium. I have to try to keep these sacrifices low. In my case, that means investing more money in hygiene staff. Competitive athletes from the strength sector train with us because we offer the equipment for them and they can work with magnesium. Such decisions have to be made consciously.

FIBO: What does the pricing look like?

Andreas Pürzel: It is important to me that my target group can afford the price and wants it. It is essential that the price is not too high. Our membership starts at 99 euros, or 89 euros for pupils, students and senior citizens. I reinvest the money earned in equipment.

FIBO: What do you need to set up a studio?

Andreas Pürzel: Start-up capital because equipment costs money and, of course, specialist knowledge. I have acquired this knowledge over years through research and my training. I am not a born entrepreneur. I trained and competed for years. From entrepreneurship came the business knowledge I have today. From training came the willingness to take risks and the desire to stick with it. This desire to open a gym only came from the fact that I already had previous experience in this field. Anyone who has worked in a gym knows how everything works. My background is that I was an employee in a gym, trained myself and worked my way up the hierarchy. It's like an apprenticeship.

FIBO: So you don't need any training?

Andreas Pürzel: Of course, training is helpful to bundle and filter expertise. But specialized knowledge can also be learned digitally. One's own further training is indispensable.

FIBO: What should you consider when choosing a location?

Andreas Pürzel: A gym is loud – by that I don't mean airborne sound, but mainly structure-borne sound and the vibrations that pass through the walls. There should be no flats above the studio, for example, and the rooms must be large and open. A special concept, like ours – a fitness studio and restaurant in one – also differentiates you from the competition and gives you a unique selling point.

FIBO: What is important when selecting staff?

Andreas Pürzel: Dedication. That's even more significant than expertise. If the applicant enters the room and there is a handkerchief on the floor, does he pick it up or not? That shows dedication.

Expertise is still needed. But: Commitment is the prerequisite for acquiring professional knowledge. Since this is more easily possible than ever in today's world, “only” the will to do so must be present. Technical knowledge – especially theory, not craft – can be learned quickly. But one does not work without the other.

FIBO: What has presented you with challenges?

Andreas Pürzel: Misunderstandings among colleagues. You have to make people feel comfortable and happy to create a good working atmosphere. You have to work on that constantly – with merciless honesty. That's why we encourage an open and honest approach to feedback. 

FIBO: What three tips can you give to people who want to open a gym?

Andreas Pürzel:

1. Be determined

2. Think long-term

3. Work towards it for years and stay consistent