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50 Innovative Companies to Watch 2021

Tête-a-Tête with Larry Nolan, Founder and CEO of Hardcore Fitness Boot Camp: ‘Our Patent-Pending I.L.I.F.T System Allows us to be the Only one in the World to Debunk the Age-Old Notion that Fitness Goals cannot be Achieved in a Group Setting’

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“We offer multiple boutique gym classes from our resistance training to our boxing-inspired fight camp class and our booty class programmed by bikini pros offered at locations across the country.”

Hardcore Fitness Boot Camp, a California-based fitness company, offers an innovative and technologically advanced approach to group resistance training classes, boxing style cardio classes, personal training, and nutritional services. Importantly, it owns and operates gyms and serves across the United States.

Hardcore Fitness was established in 2007 and is headquartered in Santa Clarita, California.

Larry Nolan spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Have you always been passionate about health and fitness? Tell us what inspired Hardcore Fitness.

During the teen years, my friends nicknamed me ‘blueberry Larry’ because my face turned blue when I would get cold. Upon realizing that this wasn’t normal, my mom convinced me to visit a doctor. Finally, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and Raynaud’s phenomena—a circulatory disorder. It was a severe type; therefore, I was advised not to play sports or do anything physical. I was prescribed a list of steroids and other serious medications. However, I decided not to take any medication as I had watched ‘Rocky 5’ and Jean-Claud van dam and wanted to be like them.

Long story short, I fell madly in love with what fitness did for me. I saw my body transforming, becoming stronger and healthier. I found myself reading more and more fitness books. Around this time, I used a counterfeit ID to get a job at a fitness establishment as a personal trainer. To this day, I have never looked back.

While I loved fitness, the commercial gym industry killed my passion over time. I kept fitness in my life but went on to pursue other careers to make a living. During this process, I met my now wife Nadia Nolan as a client, and she gave me the confidence and pushed me to start my own program. This is how Hardcore Fitness Boot Camp was set up.

Q. What are the greatest challenges your company has faced? How did you overcome them?

We started, and a month later, the recession hit, so we’ve been struggling (laughs). But on the brighter side, it has made us resilient and resourceful. We saved every penny to finally go from our outdoor boot camp at a park to a facility—a 1,800 sq. ft. establishment. I had never been more proud and excited in my life to have my own space. We had our first-ever vacation planned as a couple and had to cancel it because this panned out, and we got to sign the lease. We worked day and night to build this gym and put every penny into it.

However, we had been open for a short time, and a client in real estate alerted us that the building was foreclosed, and in a few weeks, a padlock would be on the door. At this point, we had no money left. Eventually, we sold what we had to get a little cash and met John and Lisa Woodward (our new landlords), who gave us space to restart.

We worked round the clock for a few weeks to ensure things are in the right place. Yet again, something terrible as a flood hit my new establishment. The whole place was inundated. Apparently, we had hit the water line running beneath the building. Things went haywire. It felt that I was defeated; therefore, broken.

On top of that, we lost our home that same year. But we made sure that our staff got paid on time, and the gym kept going as we had to struggle to launch the business so many times. With the never-give-up attitude, we have made it to the list of fastest-growing private companies in the US, with locations all over the country!

Q. What amenities does Hardcore Fitness offer, and what makes them unique?

Our model is unique because we don’t fit into a commercial gym model, private training studio, or boutique gym. We have created our model that offers all of the above in some sense. There are group fitness boutique gyms such as F45 or Orange Theory Fitness, commercial gyms such as La Fitness or 24 Hour Fitness, and private training studios only for personal training. With that said, we offer multiple boutique gym classes, from our resistance training to our boxing-inspired fight camp class or our booty class programmed by bikini pros. A huge way we are unique and these classes are so is the fact that I personally designed and had our resistance training equipment manufactured and patented, allowing us to do exercises, shape, and tone a body in a group setting unlike anyone else can. We combined 30,000 sq. ft. of commercial gym equipment into a handful of multi-use pieces of equipment we utilize in our classes to allow us a level of training others simply can’t offer.

We also offer personal training, nutrition services, our own supplement line, and much more at locations that span across the country now.

The nutrition app offers dietitian-designed meal plans that are calorie and goal-specific for each new member down to a grocery list, all included for free with each membership. Most gyms leave the key part of diet out with a gym membership, but we not only include it but at the highest level. We offer accountability coaching, small group training, 60-day challenges, and we even have our Hardcore live and on-demand to offer workouts at your home and a lot more, all under one roof and still for a lower price than most competitors providing a fraction of what we do. Put simply, Hardcore Fitness offers the most all-inclusive transformation program you will find.

Q. What are your focus areas?

While we offer unique personal training, small group training, coaching, at-home workouts, and more, what sets us apart is our ability to train in a group like nobody else on earth. My goal is to find ways to add value to my clients’ experience, and the group model is the only way to do that large scale.

With that said, years ago, I sketched out an idea for a display system called I.L.I.F.T (Instructor Lead Integrated Fitness Technology) even though I have no background in technology and can barely turn on a computer. The display system would show a video demo of exercises. The magic is that the screen has a color-coded area paired with colored wristbands clients wear in class. For example, a new client will get a green wristband; when they get to class, they will see the demo with a green ring illuminated around it for a few seconds, and they will know that’s for them to do. It can then go to a video with a blue ring for more seasoned members or a video with no ring for mid-experience members. They may also see a blue box with text telling the more seasoned clients advanced training protocol to implement like a drop set, slow negative, static holds, or many others. This patent-pending system allows us to be the only one in the world to scale to YOUR specific fitness level regardless of what we offer (a range of workouts) in a group setting!

In a similar fashion, this patent-pending system also allows a client to pick their preferred training style every class, be it cross-training (weights plus cardio) for a fast pace sweat-inducing workout or a traditional weight training workout to sculpt and tone your body again in a group setting that is now made truly personal to each member every single workout.

Q. How do you plan to combat your competition?

I never look at business as us vs. competition. I can honestly say that we already offer the best solution and that’s why we keep growing and in areas competition is not. We are taking time, effort, and utilizing the money to create new equipment, technology, and truly a whole new model for group fitness, and that will not only keep us leading but increase the gap between us and others by leaps and bounds.

Q. How are you adapting for the future?

As mentioned above, our tech, equipment, and model already put us into the future in many ways. We’ve got a new model in the works that combines different fitness sectors into one service unlike anyone has done, and we call it the hybrid model. About this, I can’t give away all the secrets (laughs).

"Put simply, Hardcore Fitness offers the most all-inclusive  transformation program you will find.”

"My goal is to find ways to add value to my clients’ experience, and the group model is the only way to do that large scale.”