It may seem counterintuitive to heat up by cooling down, but that’s just business as usual for Brrrn in NYC.
As the innovators behind the world’s first cool-temperature-concept fitness location, Brrrn’s founders have spent plenty of time considering the merits of a chilly workout. Their research-driven concept disrupts the fitness landscape by pairing the benefits of routine cool temperature with exercise to optimize the fitness experience.
In other words, if you’re looking for a good workout, a 45°F setting might just do the trick.
To give our members the chance to experience this brand new gym in all its glory, we’re heading there Thursday, May 24 for one of Brrrn’s signature Battle Rope Infused High Intensity Training sessions followed by a conversation with the studio’s founders. For those who can’t make it but are interested in this unique space, we sat down with Brrrn’s co-founder Jimmy Martin to hear his story and learn about his gym.
Tell us about you. How did you become interested in fitness, and how did you get your start as an entrepreneur?
Fitness served as the backdrop to my upbringing. My father coached all of my sports teams growing up, which helped foster not just a passion for fitness but also the opportunity for me to receive an athletic scholarship to a Division I university.
When it comes to the entrepreneurial side of things, my mother was integral. She owns her own hair salon (which she continues to operate herself to this day) and being there firsthand to observe the difference she made in peoples’ lives as a business owner set me down the path I’m on today.
Explain the concept of Brrrn—the first cold gym of its kind. Why did you decide to create a gym that is cold? Could you elaborate on the science behind this choice?
It was very important for us to create a warm (no pun intended), inviting feeling the minute you walked through the door. And since we offer a cool temperature concept, our lodge aesthetic was the only logical design choice. As for the workout experience, I like to paint the picture of people walking through our fridge door to imagine that they are walking into a room that feels like a crisp, autumn morning—not a dark wintery night.
What classes, special equipment, and amenities does Brrrn offer?
Our three-tier workout program, which we’ve named 1st degree, 2nd degree, and 3rd degree, focuses on training methodologies that often get overlooked in the gym space—mainly the slide board. Because we encourage our patrons to “treat heat like dessert, not the main course,” we have included a communal infrared sauna experience that can fit up to 8 people.
At Brrrn we believe in inclusivity and social impact, and therefore strive to be a gender-neutral minded and environmentally conscious brand. Our male-identifying and female-identifying locker rooms include an innovative shower system by Nebia, which not only feels like a mist but is extremely sustainable because it uses 70% less water.
What challenges did you encounter along the way? (running out of money, people taking Brrrn seriously, cold puns)
I highly recommend those interested to read the “Origin Story” section of our website, which provides a comprehensive look at how we got to where we are today.
What myths or misconceptions have you had to dispel about your company? What do you want people to know about your brand?
I cannot explain how great of a feeling it is for someone to walk into our “fridge” reluctantly and to walk out sweaty and requesting it to be colder. To the skeptics I say, “don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.”
It’s been a challenge combatting the biases that come with colder temperatures. People are convinced that profuse sweating is a by-product of a great workout. Fun fact: it’s not. Research suggests that runners and cyclists perform better when competing in a cooler environment, not a heated one. That said, we too believe that as it pertains to the fitness experience, it’s the abundance of heat that’s the problem, not the absence of it. Sure, we have substantiated research that suggests that you can burn fat, more calories and acclimatize better to cooler temperatures, but to us, it’s all about being able to not look at the end of the workout in the beginning.
What advice would you give to others who are hoping to start a business, especially in the midst of skeptics and self-doubt? Any thoughts on approaching fundraising?
Aside from being patient about the process, I highly suggest to constantly affirm your “Why’s” and remind yourself why you are willing to sacrifice stability and sanity for an idea that keeps you up at night. Anyone can have a great idea, but few are willing to undertake the responsibility to bring it to fruition. Also, puns will get you business—not friends. But hopefully after your business becomes successful, those friends will come back to show their support—for your business, not your sense of humor.
The truth is, if the product you’re selling is good, than half the battle is already won. The other half is just plain old luck.