Athletic Republic


Athletic Republic combines proprietary equipment, training protocols, education

and resources to improve athletes’ performance.

By Staci Davidson

Teens who participate in sports programs tend to do better in school, but they also are more likely to have high self-esteem, stronger relationships and improved physical health than non-athletes, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation. Athletic Republic understands the importance athletics plays in children’s, teens’ and adults’ lives, and this is why it remains dedicated to improving athletic performance. 

“There is always a season of sport going on,” CEO Charlie Graves explains. “We are a big part of that conversation because sports are such a big part of our lives.”

Athletic Republic is dedicated to combining its proprietary equipment, sport-specific and age-appropriate training protocols, trainer education and operating resources to help athletes improve their speed, power, agility and stamina. The company is the result of Acceleration Training programs developed by John Frappier, and has spent 28 years doing careful research, collecting and evaluating performance data, and getting input from sports medicine professionals, athletic trainers and elite coaches. The system has helped professional athletes, college athletes, teen athletes and youth athletes improve their performance, resulting in helping nearly over 1 million athletes who train in 120 centers located on three continents. 

Frappier founded the company in 1990, started franchising Athletic Republic in 2006 and Graves came on board in 2007, dedicated to helping AthleticRepublic fact boxFrappier grow the brand. “I was really impressed with the business and his thought process – he had built an evidence-based program that no one else had done,” Graves explains. “He had the idea that every athlete can get better, and was teaching both fundamental and functional movement skills.”

When Graves joined the company, he helped establish the four elements that come with a franchisee’s investment. “First, John started this with proprietary equipment and many elements of the business are patented and purpose-built for our system, so we are offering something that is unlike anything in a health club,” Graves says. “Next, we provide training protocols which are our recipes for improvement – we have 4,000 pages of protocols that may be customized for each athlete to help with speed, power and agility. The third element is the education we provide our owners and trainer on how to deliver the protocols, drive the customer experience, ensure we maintain our industry-best retention program and help every athlete gain a competitive advantage. Fourth, we have an owner program to help our franchisees turn their passion into profit.”

As a result, every location has access to the company’s best practices and there is a program to follow for every day so the company can continue training athletes of every age and help them achieve their goals. “It all comes back to our core mission – we are all about transforming potential into performance,” Graves explains. “And it’s not just about performance on the field, but helping people improve their lives.”

‘Test, Teach, Train’

Athletic Republic franchises require a good location and an appropriate level of capital investment, but the company also looks for owners with particular attributes. Those who are most likely to succeed, Graves explains, really reflect the company’s values. Athletic Republic looks for people who believe in the transformative power of sports, those who want to help athletes in their communities, and live the values of fair play, good judgement and respect. The company is focused on continuous improvement and so it looks for good teammates who will support each other just as they help athletes get better. 

“Most franchisees come to us because they have a passion for this business,” Graves says. “They may have not had a lot of business experience or maybe they were an athlete or they came from the corporate world, but regardless, our support is critical because it’s likely they’ve never done this before. We share our best practices so they can take their time and talent and turn it into success. Training camp starts the day they sign the agreement.”

The company’s corporate team helps with site selection, layout and floorplan, system education, the opening and ongoing marketing plans, and the operating system. As a result, franchisees are able to focus on developing the athletes who come to their centers. 

“There are two main differentiators when you compare us to other fitness concepts,” Graves says. “First, it’s our ability to deliver individualized plans in a small group experience. This isn’t boot camp – we follow a ‘one size fit one’ approach so every athlete gets the right work-out every time they train,. Second, we have a ‘test, teach, train’ philosophy. We test each athlete when they come in, assess their strengths and areas for improvement, teach them the movement skills they need and then train them in the right protocol, just like the million athletes before them.”

To ensure a high level of quality at its centers, Athletic Republic strives to hire trainers who have a degree in exercise science, or have been a coach or an athlete, and then they all go through a certification process where they learn the basics of physiology, customer service and sales. They learn the craft of training through the company’s second-level curriculum, and the third level of certification is done at the Athletic Republic headquarters where they learn to maximize the business’ and the athlete’s potential. Franchisees and trainers do also participate in continuing education every month to ensure they are offering their athletes the best service. 

“We have a lot of trainer talent in our operation,” Graves says. “It is all about finding people who are the right fit. Our people are responsible for developing a family’s most valuable asset, their children. When you think about it, children often play multiple sports, but their coaches may have never met. We think about the parents as the athletic director of the household, and we are part of the ecosystem that helps the athlete to get better during the course of the year. We work with them to understand why they are training with us, what their goals are and what their schedule is like.”

Graves stresses that Athletic Republic is driven by athletic results, and he notes that in the past five years, the company’s athletes have earned more than $315 million in college scholarships. From there, the company has seen its athletes go in to the Olympics and professional sports, and it’s great to see them achieve their goals. 

“Every time I see a young woman or young man walk in, and a couple of weeks later stand a little taller, be prouder and have more confidence in their abilities I smile – for I know the greatest gift we provide is confidence,” Graves says. “I’m really proud of our franchisees and the success they’ve had in their markets – they are making a difference in their communities while making an investment that is good for them and their families. We are really transforming potential into performance on all levels."


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