If someone signs up to become a member at Iron Tribe Fitness, he or she not only receives an excellent opportunity to lose weight and tone up, but also a chance to enhance their lifestyle.

“Life changed is a promise everyone can expect after signing up at Iron Tribe Fitness,” Iron Tribe Fitness Chief Marketing Officer Jamie Warren said during his Wednesday keynote titled, “Loyalty as a Side Effect: Impacting Your Customers’ Lives First,” at the 3rd Annual Engagement & Experience Expo, presented by Loyalty 360 – The Loyalty Marketer’s Association.

“We have raving fans from the culture we created,” Warren explained of the Birmingham, AL-based Iron Tribe Fitness.

What is Iron Tribe Fitness and how did it begin?

Four years ago, Iron Tribe Fitness founder/CEO Forrest Walden invited a group of close friends to work out in his small detached garage, including Warren. The first workout Warren did was an amwrap (as many reps as possible) for 12 minutes.

Warren couldn’t finish the workout.

“I was humbled, but hooked,” Warren explained. “Something else was happening. People were becoming sold on it. My wife brought our infant to the garage. Fitness is the deliverable, but it sells transformation.”

“It’s about that raving fan, and our passionate genuine care,” Warren said. “We also have an 8-step process for hiring.”

While outsiders began to refer to the group as a “fight club” or a “cult,” Walden knew those words didn't accurately describe what was happening.

Warren said Iron Tribe has conducted customer modeling, and can have 50-150 data points for each member. What’s more, members can check and see the next day’s workout on a custom app.

Fast forward to the present and Iron Tribe Fitness has sold 57 franchise locations, in addition to six corporate gyms. Walden opened the first Iron Tribe gym in 2010. Memberships cost $250 per month -- $271 including products and fees. Each gym has five full-time employees who lead scheduled group workouts.

Where did the name come from?

Iron Tribe Fitness was founded in the ‘Iron’ or ‘Steel City of the South’ – Birmingham, AL – so, as Warren said, the name worked.’’’

Iron Tribe focuses on the Generation Y (those born between 1981-2000).

“What separates us is a passion and genuine care for clients, along with transparency,” Warren says.

Tracks workouts (3-5 times per week for most clients) It’s not just about physical transformation. It’s also emotional and physical.”

It’s about real people, Warren says.

“We focus on changing their lives,” “We set out to have people transformed and loyalty has driven this. We focus on changing their lives.”

New members must complete a class called Iron Tribe 101 – which teaches all of the basic movements involved in the programming as well as the diet that will elicit the fastest and most efficient fitness gains. This is a three-times-a-week class for four weeks, and is a requirement for all beginners.

Iron Tribe’s website says its “sole purpose for being is to live a life of action by actively serving God, our families, our members and our community at large.”

Warren explains what differentiates Iron Tribe Fitness.

“Many fitness clubs and gyms are built on volume business models that assume that a small percentage of the members will participate regularly,” he says. “In contrast, Iron Tribe limits its membership to only 300 people per location -- not 301. It’s often said around Iron Tribe that anyone can do it, but not everyone will. Commitment is required because so few spots exist.  All training is delivered in a group format with a 10:1 client-to-athlete ratio. Everyone performs the same workout each day and scales it for his or her own ability. Teaching and promoting healthy lifestyles and leading the industry with results-based fitness is a mission for Iron Tribe. But, the members really are buying transformation. That change in their physical bodies echoes in several other areas of their lives. The community formed in an Iron Tribe gym is the major contributor to the loyalty of our members.”

Each member has their own online profile dashboard on Iron Tribe’s site. Here, the athlete can register for classes, watch videos, read social sharing streams, track their performance and personal records, and much more. The same online dashboard has an iOS application used by over 50% of members.

Iron Tribe defines loyalty as clients’ behavioral choices that consistently keep them engaged with the brand and product in the face of competing, less expensive -- and seemingly similar -- options.

Iron Tribe’s referral rate is an astounding 75% while its monthly attrition rate is less than 3%.

One of Iron Tribe’s main objectives is to serve clients with a personalized group fitness experience at every Iron Tribe gym.

“This means that they have the benefits of their communal tribe of fellow athletes, which provides them with everything from irreplaceable fellowship to motivating accountability,” Warren explained. “However, the personalized aspect comes from their first-class Iron Tribe gym coach, who provides each client with the expert status of fitness, nutrition, and life coaching needed to reach their goal of a total life transformation.”

While outsiders began to refer to the group as a “fight club” or a “cult,” Walden knew those words didn't accurately describe what was happening, Warren adds.

“It was more like a tribe -- a small, socially tied community with a common culture, dialect, and a recognized leader,” Warren says. “They were lifting heavy metal weights -- iron. But the group aspect of the workouts brought a heightened level of accountability, competition, and performance. The members of the group pushed each other.”

Iron is unique in that heat is created when struck by another piece of iron — it changes. Iron sharpening iron. And, considering that Iron Tribe Fitness was founded in the ‘Iron’ or ‘Steel City of the South’ – Birmingham, AL – the name worked.’’’

Fast forward to the present and Iron Tribe Fitness has sold 53 franchise locations, in addition to six corporate gyms. Walden opened the first Iron Tribe gym in 2010. Memberships cost $250 per month -- $271 including products and fees. Each gym has five full-time employees who lead scheduled group workouts.

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