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Innsbrook gets a helping of hoo yah

Michael Thompson December 19, 2013 0
SEAL Team PT founder John McGuire spent 10 year in the Navy. (Photos by Michael Thompson)

SEAL Team PT founder John McGuire spent 10 year in the Navy. (Photos by Michael Thompson)

A local fitness company has moved its base camp to Innsbrook.

SEAL Team Physical Training signed a two-year lease in November for 1,627 square feet in Parkside Marketplace at 10865 W. Broad St., across from Innsbrook. The space will serve as the company’s new headquarters.

SEAL Team PT offers hour-long outdoor fitness classes based on founder John McGuire’s Navy SEAL training experience. Classes can include kayaking, running, swimming and cycling.

“We’re expanding the business and looking for more exposure,” McGuire said of the move. “Most of our business comes from word of mouth. People tell me all the time, ‘Man, if I would have known about you four years ago, I would have signed up.’”

SEAL Team PT’s headquarters had previously been at 2111 Dabney Road. Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer brokers Richard Thalhimer and Pam Strieffler handled the lease negotiations for the new location.

The company will have plenty of competition nearby. A slew of niche fitness gyms have opened near Innsbrook and Short Pump in recent months, including a second location for West End CrossFit on Patterson Avenue.

McGuire’s format, however, doesn’t involve a traditional gym setting.

The company car.

The company car.

Each class is held at a different location and features a different workout. West End members might be kayaking around Lake Innsbrook one day and running through Deep Run Park the next day.

The two-week basic training program required of every member costs $250, but it’s free to try out a single class. After that, members can sign up for six months at $80 a month or a year at $70 a month. SEAL Team’s members range in age from 15 to 82. Class sizes can be as big as 225 but vary depending on the time of day and year.

McGuire, 45, launched SEAL Team PT in 1998 after 10 years as a Navy SEAL. A temp agency in Richmond got him a job with Nextel Communications when he got out of the Navy. He said the boredom of the corporate world outweighed any apprehension he had had about starting a business.

“I thought, ‘Man, I could fix this. I could get people in shape and teach them how to lead,’” McGuire said.

Five people showed up to his first class and didn’t come back. McGuire said it took about four years to gain the traction to make the business what it is today.

The company expanded in 2009 to Charlottesville and Washington and in 2012 added a Philadelphia branch. This year, the company launched a program for the West End. SEAL Team PT has about 1,000 members and about 50 employees to keep them in shape.

McGuire’s company has also found a niche in training sports teams. SEAL Team PT trains nine Division I men’s basketball teams, including the squad at VCU for the past three years. The starting price for sports teams to train is $10,000 a week.

It draws business from corporate teams, as well. McGuire said that companies fly their employees from as far away as China to train with him. He also goes into elementary schools in the area to hold classes and talk to students about self-respect.

McGuire said he is laying the groundwork to have SEAL Team PT locations next year in New York, Florida, California and Virginia Beach.

“I know it’s a bit ambitious, but I want to change America’s opinion about age and about what men and women can do,” he said.

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