Yoga has been one of the popular fitness regimes followed across the world for many years now. While yoga is still a very popular exercise in India, western fitness models and services have also become increasingly prominent across age groups.
New players, aided by the latest technology, are entering the fitness market and targeting urban consumers. We are also coming across stories where we read about how fitness tech can be leveraged in our extremely cost-conscious market.
However, this is not the case for entrepreneur Prabodh Davkhare and his luxury fitness brand Nitrro Wellness and Fitness Hub. Set up in 2008 in Mumbai, Nittro’s brand today features swanky gyms with premium facilities such as dedicated strength areas with crystal ball DJ consoles, in-demand functional training equipment, group activity studios, swimming pools, aqua aerobics and aqua zumba, professional MMA and kickboxing rings, and spinning studios.
Prabodh, who set up Nitrro’s first gym using his own money, launched the upgraded facility in 2015, which now features India’s first oxygenated gym. He says, the business’ turnover today has crossed the eight-figure mark.
The name ‘Nitrro,’ Prabodh explains, is derived from nitrogen. “This element helps boost weight and performance training and is found in all living tissues,” he says.
“The number of upscale fitness centres are growing at a pace similar to the rapid rise in disposable income among consumers between the ages of 20 and 45,” explains 37-year-old Prabodh. “Spending money on gym memberships, which was earlier perceived to be a luxury, is now becoming a way of life for several people,” he adds.
After securing a postgraduate degree in hospitality management from the International Management Institute, Switzerland, and a brief stint at Michelin Star restaurant there, Prabodh found his true calling in the business of bespoke wellness.
“I was a gym enthusiast myself, and my time at the Swiss fitness chain Silhouette drew me towards the fitness industry,” he recalls. “When I returned to India, I conceptualised Nitrro. I wanted to redefine the way India works out,” he says.
Prabodh also saw huge opportunities in the market, which could help his idea succeed. “The growth in the segment is expected to be at a CAGR of 9.3 percent between 2018 and 2022, and is expected to take the total market value to a whopping $1,296 million in 2022,” he says.
“A major portion of these revenues will be driven by the consumption of fitness wearables. Simultaneously, there is a rise in luxury fitness centers and a much-needed revolution triggered by the increasing number of cases of obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases,” says Prabodh.
According to him, these are the key reasons behind the surge in the number of weight loss products available in the market, as well as the spike in health club and gym memberships. Presently, Nitrro has two more branches in Mumbai and another one in Pune. “We generated money on our own with the help of our marketing and sales team. I believe that money comes from intelligent ideas and persistent efforts towards the goal,” he adds.
Prabodh says, over the course of time, he has also won several accolades for his contribution. He was awarded the ‘Times Retail Icon’ by the Times of India Group in the ‘Eminent Young Entrepreneur’ category, and was also recognised by Destination Luxury under its ‘10 Iconic Fitness Hubs Worldwide’ feature. Nitrro Wellness is also very popular among Bollywood celebrities, he says.
Prabodh says, his long-term vision is to spread awareness on international fitness standards and try to make India a healthy nation. “An important motive I give myself is to eliminate deadly lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOD) through scientific training and natural food diets,” he says.
He is sold to the idea that digital presence will help his business reach more people and build the awareness required to achieve his goals. “Going digital is a very important deal today to reach the masses in less time, and it is very important to be up-to-date with the digital market,” he says. “We have a strong social digital media team, which reaches out to a larger audience through continuous feeds about everyday happenings of our fitness hubs from different locations and cities.”
However, like most businesses, Nitrro faces challenges in terms of recruiting people. “Recruiting skilled staff for our company is a big challenge. So, we focus a lot on training our recruits,” he explains. “As long as we provide quality service and result-oriented training, we shall sustain growth. It is a continuous process, which comes about from reinventing yourself from time to time.”
He maintains that extensive market research, out-of-the-box ideas, and systematic plans to avoid errors also contribute to success in the sector.
Armed with his experiences, Prabodh wants to expand his business operations across the world. “I have some plans to expand my horizons in the same industry. I want to own more franchisees all across the world, and not just in India,” he explains. “This is because we don’t just sell memberships. We sell a result-oriented training programme with a fun element attached to it, which can be successful anywhere in the world.”
Nitrro is currently headquartered in Breach Candy near Mahalaxmi temple in Mumbai.