The pandemic validated Richard Decker’s vision for AWATfit mobile fitness franchise

Franchise industry, franchisors, franchisees

Richard Decker had no idea a pandemic was on the horizon when he launched AWATfit in January 2019 and franchised the concept exactly one year later, but his timing couldn’t have been better. 

An acronym for All Weather All Terrain, AWATfit is a mobile fitness franchise that’s immune to COVID by design. Workouts are conducted outside, in any kind of weather, rain or shine. In fact, Decker says that a little rain or some snow makes for a better workout. “Training in nature adds an organic feel to the workout. Fresh air is good for the mind, body and spirit,” Decker says. “It increases energy and lifts mood.”

Offering both group classes and personal training, the workout looks hardcore, but it caters to people of all fitness levels. “We modify each exercise to the individual so people of varying abilities can work out together in the same class without it being too challenging or too easy.” AWATfit also offers personalized sessions for private groups, such as teams and families. “We’ve had three generations of families working out together,” says Decker.  

Simple and effective

The group classes offer strength,  flexibility, core, agility, and cardio vascular workouts set up in stations using gravity and plyometric fitness components.   They feature simple, inexpensive but effective equipment such as battle ropes, bungee runs, sandbags and agility ladders. Classes accommodate up to 25 people who can sign up on line. Classes can be purchased in 20 or 10 packs, as unlimited weekly memberships, or as drop-ins. 

Disrupting an industry 

Although he has the persona of a drill sergeant, behind Decker’s commanding voice, tattooed arms and gym-rat physique is a true entrepreneur with more than 30 years’ experience running fitness and restaurant businesses. He set out to disrupt brick-and-mortar fitness with a simple business model that offers a unique product—and that’s exactly what he did with AWATfit. 

After designing, planning and perfecting his custom-fitted pickup with an arsenal of workout gear, Decker was on the road to changing the way people work out. “A lot went into the prototype,” he says. He fine-tuned his operating procedures to create a one-of-a-kind, low cost franchise opportunity.  

With AWATfit, Decker removed the typical challenges of owning a brick-and-mortar gym including the ongoing cost of leases and maintaining expensive equipment. “There’s a lot to like about this business model,” says Decker. “We’re attracting all types of investors, including ones who lost their brick-and-mortar gyms as a result of COVID.”

Pandemic proof

When the pandemic hit, Decker felt validated for his vision. “The timing couldn’t have been better,” he says. In launching AWATfit, he created a franchise opportunity that is COVID-proof and gives customers a fun, effective and safe workout. “People have been going stir crazy this past year. Our customers are grateful for this workout.”  

“With AWATfit’s model, we’ve removed
the most expensive parts of running a business:
landlords, municipalities and utilities.”

—Richard Decker

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Jill Abrahamsen’s career spans more than 20 years in editorial, design, and marketing roles. She serves as editor-in-chief of Franchise Consultant Magazine and FranchiseWire. Through both platforms, Jill reports on industry news and helps Franchisors spread the word about their brands.
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