Will Shytle and Brandon Fotopoulos both come from athletic backgrounds and had an itch from early on in life to someday open their own business. When the two met on the MADabolic training floor in Charlotte, they became fast friends, eventually diving into business together as owners of MADabolic Nashville, the brand’s first studio in Tennessee.
Will grew up in a small town near Pinehurst, North Carolina, playing soccer, tennis, golf, and baseball. His grandfather had started a textile manufacturing company in the 60s, where several of his family members worked as he grew up. “My grandfather mentored me through high school and college, and while the family business wasn’t for me, I always knew I wanted to run my own business someday,” shared Will. His grandfather's entrepreneurial spirit influenced Will to study Business Management at NC State. After college, Will moved around the region for his job in insurance sales, eventually landing in Charlotte.
Brandon grew up in New Jersey, playing basketball and baseball from a young age. Growing up, his father had a good job, but Brandon remembers the long hours and heavy demands of his father’s career and knew he wanted to build a different future for himself. “I never wanted to have a standard nine-to-five job,” he recalled. “I had an entrepreneurial spirit from early on and dreamed of building a life where I could control my own schedule and do something I felt passionate about.” After visiting Charlotte and falling in love with the city, Brandon enrolled at Johnson & Wales University, where he studied Business Administration with a focus on Marketing and a minor in Entrepreneurship. He stayed in the city after school, working his way up in management roles in the bar and restaurant scene.
Will and Brandon stayed active as adults and occasionally attended group fitness classes with friends. Neither very much enjoyed the group fitness scene and didn’t feel they gained much from the classes they tried. However, they eventually found their way through the doors of MADabolic, where they met and quickly became friends.
Unlike other group exercise classes, they were both drawn to the discipline of MADabolic’s training program and the like-minded culture the studio attracted. “MADabolic stood out from other gyms I’d tried for how thoughtful the trainers were about moving safely,” shared Will. “The emphasis on quality over quantity allows you to build significant strength in an approachable and sustainable manner, and the structure played to our athletic backgrounds.”
“We met within my first week at the studio and instantly became friends,” added Brandon. “Will invited me to attend the MADabolic Charlotte holiday social with him, and I was hooked on the program and the culture of the people.”
Fast forward, and the pandemic struck. While the gym doors remained closed, Brandon and Will would work out with a small group of friends in each other’s garages. When the studio was able to operate, Brandon and Will found the gym to serve as a bright spot in their days. “While everyone was working from home, MADabolic was a break from the solitude,” explained Will. “MAD quickly became my favorite place in Charlotte, and I felt inspired to pick up this experience and recreate it somewhere else.”
The friends began to discuss joining forces as business partners. After a trip to survey the fitness scene in Nashville, they agreed to open their own MADabolic location to fill the void of strength-focused training in the local market.
“We might have chosen one of the hardest years ever to try to open a business,” admitted Will, citing challenges like supply chain shortages, shipping delays, and slowed municipal permitting processes. “I’m proud that we were able to push through the obstacles to open our doors and deliver on our dream of cultivating the MAD lifestyle in Nashville.”
“We are both very relationship-focused and love adding value to others’ lives with something that’s added so much value to our lives, personally,” shared Brandon. “I love seeing our clients light up about something that I’ve felt lit up about over the last three years, and I’m proud to offer something so refreshingly balanced to the Nashville fitness scene – we get to encourage rest and proper nutrition to complement strength training four days per week. We get to encourage rest and recovery and cultivate an awesome gym community, where health and fitness are an important element of life without being the only thing in life.”
In their first six months of operations, Will and Brandon have developed a strong presence in Nashville with no signs of slowing down.
Congratulations, Will and Brandon, on a successful start to spreading the MADness in Nashville!
MADabolic has over 80 studios operating or in development across the country. As the industry’s first and only strength-driven interval training franchise, MADabolic offers a results-driven strength training program, structured resources to ensure the success of studio owners, and a team of experts behind the brand. For more information about the MADabolic franchise opportunity, please visit www.madabolic.com/own-a-madabolic.