CRUNCH Time with Chad Waetzig
A pioneer of the group fitness trend and creating a no judgment space, CRUNCH is in the business of helping make people’s lives better. Drawn to the values and goals of the brand, Chad Waetzig joined the team as the Executive Vice President, Marketing and Branding in 2016. He spoke with MiND on all things CRUNCH- past, present and future.
Picture it 1989, the East Village in Manhattan, Doug Levine’s team of instructors leading a zany aerobics class in a basement studio on St. Marks Place. This was the beginning of CRUNCH Fitness. Chad explained that CRUNCH founder, Doug Levine, sought to address two main flaws in the fitness industry- gyms are intimidating places and working out can be extremely hard and extremely boring.
Through the years, CRUNCH has created a lifestyle that combines inclusivity, positivity, and fun all in one. The CRUNCH life is all about a ‘no judgment’ philosophy and is for anyone no matter what their gym/fitness experience level is. “We focus on the positives and our brand voice is very positive. We really do want to attract people who want to make a positive impact on their fitness lifestyle and want to do it in a way that they don’t feel intimidated about it.”
The core of CRUNCH’s DNA comes down to four main ideas that were established in 1995. “We tell people that we are a diverse, open-minded community and that we have a culture of fun. There is room for everyone. We seek to only encourage, empower, and entertain. We ask that our members come reach their goals with us.”
It was all these aspects that really drew Chad to come aboard the CRUNCH team. “It’s really strong team here, a really great culture and really collaborative. I knew this was a place I could contribute and learn a lot.” CRUNCH also offered Chad the opportunity to bring all his experiences together into one place.
Chad started his career in the beauty care industry working with brands such as Cover Girl and Max Factor Cosmetics. He then worked for several years in hospitality working for Marriott International. His next move brought his to Disney where he did work in hospitality and entertainment. Chad’s most recent experience was back in beauty and wellness as Chief Marketing Officer for The Red Door by Elizabeth Arden. His last career move to CRUNCH was perfect to channel his array of expertise under one company name.
Retail has been a part of the brand on and off since its conception. When it comes to retail, CRUNCH is focused on creating their lifestyle brand and giving the CRUNCH community the opportunity to express that lifestyle wherever they are. “We felt it would be natural for people who really identify with our brand to be willing and want to have that brand represented on them.” CRUNCH apparel embodies the uniqueness of the brand and the environment its studios provide through the display of the brand logo and its witty ‘crunchisms’.
CRUNCH has two types of clubs- CRUNCH Fitness and CRUNCH Signature. CRUNCH Fitness is gearing up for a new initiative called CRUNCH 2.0 which is focused on creating the CRUNCH experience for the next decade. This initiative includes a design makeover, new technology, CRUNCH community engagement and a new advanced training program, HIITZone. CRUNCH Signature will also be adding the HIITZone program to its offerings. As always, CRUNCH will continue to combine fitness and fun and stay true to its proprietary roots.
“Crunchism # 4: Goals are made to be crushed.”
Chad revealed CRUNCH’s growth goals with us. “Our growth trajectory is really strong and we want to make sure we can introduce the brand to more people and more markets across the US, Canada and international markets. We will really be doing it with that CRUNCH 2.0 brand experience.” Over the next five to seven years, Crunch is anticipating to add 700 CRUNCH Fitnesss locations to the 256 they already have!
Excited about all of the new innovations and changes coming for the brand, Chad shared that he feels fortunate to work in organizations where innovation and change are expected and welcomed. The words of Martin Luther King Jr come to mind when he thinks back on his career and the future of CRUNCH- “The soft-minded man always fears change. He feels security in the status quo, and he has an almost morbid fear of the new. For him, the greatest pain is the pain of a new idea.” Chad enjoys the satisfaction and reward that comes from driving change, taking risks and doing these with excellence.