Senior August Hartzell is on her way to achieving the career goal she has had since she was 15 years old: Owning her own fitness studio.
Hartzell created her own fitness business, APHfitness, in March when Franklin College sent everyone home for virtual learning. Her mission was to create a system where women, specifically college women, could work out affordably with no equipment involved.
“It was very timely. It didn’t take up much time of the day,” Hartzell said. “The affordability was a key component as well.”
The fitness studio started out completely online but has since grown to holding some sessions in a local studio. For the online platform, she gave four recorded workouts per week, all under 30 minutes long to make them time efficient.
Because everyone was stuck at home and didn’t necessarily have equipment, these workouts only used body weight, no extra weights needed. The four weekly workouts would vary as well, with high-intensity circuit training, strengthening and Pilates or boxing.
Now she holds some personal training sessions with her clients at Sweat Shop, located at 229 S. Main St. in Franklin. She is an independent contractor through the studio, allowing her to use the space for APHfitness.
The subscription costs $10 per month or $3 per week. When Hartzell first began, only her friends and teammates were doing her fitness program.
To get more subscribers, she used a few of her friends as ambassadors, giving them free APHfitness merchandise in exchange for promoting the business on their social media accounts. One of these ambassadors was senior Savannah Howerton.
She was one of the first people to subscribe to AHPfitness when Hartzell first started. She enjoyed the various quick workouts Hartzell offered.
“I started liking working out more after taking her classes because she showed a variety of different work outs and she made it fun, too,” Howerton said. “She made me look forward to doing it.”
The tactic worked. By the middle of November, Hartzell had between 40 and 50 people doing her fitness programs every week.
When she was in the process of getting her business up and running, Hartzell consulted with her friend, Franklin College graduate Avery Smith, to help with the logo and branding.
Hartzell wanted wanted people to associate the business with her, so she named it after herself. And thus, August Paige Hartzell, or APHfitness, was created.
Aside from her business, Hartzell is a member of the college’s swim team and an intern for Leadership Johnson County. She said that she is able to juggle being a student, an athlete, an intern and running her own business by planning out the week and sticking to a strict schedule.
Hartzell doesn’t have any new programs currently coming out because it is swim season and she also wants to focus on school. She spends about two to three hours per week working on programs for the spring.
She plans on applying to make APHfitness an LLC — or a limited liability company — in the next couple of years, depending on the job she finds after she graduates and what she wants to pursue with the business at that time.
"I'm getting some money to start my own fitness business, and I want to have something to show,” Hartzell said. “And I wanted it to all be under the APHfitness name.”
When she goes to apply to make her business an LLC, her degree from Franklin College will help her out. She is majoring in exercise science with a minor in business, suited to supporting her goal of eventually owning a fitness studio.
Hartzell said one of the most challenging things she has had to deal with is when people aren’t willing to do what’s best for themselves. Since she wants the best for her clients, it’s hard for her to see that. She said she’s had to learn how to accept people’s expectations and not make expectations for them.
Howerton said over the summer, Hartzell texted all of her clients to follow up with them, making the experience very personal.
“She encourages modifications if needed, but she doesn’t push you to the highest level of an exercise,” she said. “She understands where everyone is at.”
On the other hand, she said that the most fun part of it is getting to encourage and motivate people to see what they’re capable of. She said her clients vary in their level of activity, so she likes being able to work with people in all different ranges and see their different health goals.
“In the fitness industry, you never know how long you have with a client,” Hartzell said. “I just want people to have a routine and have health and fitness be a part of their lives.”
More information on Hartzell’s program and classes can be found on her business Instagram, @aphfitness99.