9Round started from a place that many businesses do, a desire to change people's lives. Busy parents, owning and running a karate school, Shannon “The Cannon” Hudson, an IKF Light Middleweight Kickboxing World Champion, and his wife, Heather, had a vision. They wanted to create a place where busy people, not unlike themselves, could go to get a killer workout without planning their whole lives around making a class time, or spending hours at the gym. Shannon's martial arts and kickboxing training, and Heather's own passion for fitness were the foundation that the 9Round Franchising empire would be built upon.
After more than 70 bouts inside the ring, Hudson found there was not a place where the average person could be exposed to the "top secret" training of some of the best fighters in the world. That is where the vision for 9Round began. He knew that if he could take the grueling workouts he did in the ring, and create a non-intimidating, convenient circuit workout format, the average person could enjoy the benefits of boxing and kickboxing without getting hit.
The year was 2008, the economy had taken a turn for the worse, and with two young children, and a karate school, it seemed like the most unlikely time to launch a new business, but the Hudsons had big ideas and even bigger dreams. They knew that keeping the workout short, but still effective, was key when creating the 9Round concept. The company was founded on the idea that people do not need to spend more time in a gym, they just need more focus and intensity.
In July 2008, the first 9Round location opened on Butler Road, in Greenville, SC. This location was both the testing and proving ground for the concept of the 30-minute, kickboxing circuit workout. As the only two employees, Shannon and Heather personally implemented, tested, and revised every process and piece of equipment, from the gloves and heavy bags that would be used, to pad drills and the music that was played. And, after only one year in that first location - albeit a very grueling and unpredictable one - the first 9Round franchise was sold to a member of the gym, and by 2012, the company had grown to 100 locations. As the brand grew, it became known as a place where you could get a high-intensity workout at an affordable price, on your schedule.
As the company grew, Shannon and Heather continued to focus on improving, refining, and scaling processes to pass on to franchisees. Their belief that each and every person deserves world-championship-quality training, in the most convenient way, was the driving force behind the continued growth of the brand. They were not only changing the lives of thousands of members with the 9Round workout, but of each and every franchisee that joined the 9Round system, by helping them own their own businesses.
After its humble beginnings, with that single location in Greenville, SC, there are now over 800 9Round clubs open and operating throughout 7 states and 20 countries, with over 500 more in various stages of development. All of them delivering on the promise of making members stronger in 30 minutes, physically and mentally!
about the founders
Shannon "The Cannon" Hudson, founder and CEO of 9Round Franchising LLC, won the Light Middleweight Kickboxing Championship of the World on October 1, 2011 with a 6th round TKO victory. He trained under legendary boxing trainer Xavier Biggs, brother of 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist Tyrell Biggs. Shannon began martial arts at the age of seven and has continued training throughout adulthood. He has a 5th degree Black Belt in Japanese Shotokan Karate, a 4th Degree Black Belt under Joe Lewis's Fighting System, and a 3rd degree Black Belt under the Bill Wallace Superfoot System.
Shannon is fully involved in the day-to-day operations of the business and constantly works to bring the best support to 9Round franchisees and the best workout experience to 9Round members. He released a business book entitled Zero to 100 in early 2016, which is a candid memoir of the journey from one 9Round location to the first 100 locations being opened. This book made Shannon a best-selling author on Amazon. Shannon enjoys building the 9Round brand, public speaking and motivating others by thinking outside the box.
Heather “The Hero” Hudson has been with 9Round since inception in 2008 and is the COO and Co-Founder. She is a black belt in Shotokan Karate and grew up with a passion for fitness and overall wellness. She has always been active and enjoyed fitness, but she found herself needing more results out of her exercise program after having two children. After falling in love with kickboxing for fitness, 9Round has been the avenue Heather used to take her fitness to a new level. Her passion is now helping others realize that their fitness goals are never too high. Her favorite part of the 9Round Fitness program is the ability to assist both beginners and advanced fitness levels, in a motivating, uplifting group fitness environment.
Her fondness for helping others doesn't stop in the gym. Heather is also extremely dedicated to helping the 9Round franchisees reach their financial goals. Heather supports the franchising company with a strong focus on communications to owners, marketing, and the development of scalable systems for the 9Round owners. She sets high standards for herself and the 9Round company, and she offers support to the franchisees at every level. Heather especially enjoys supporting women through their fitness and business journeys and plans to author a book that delves into her philosophies on these topics in the near future.
Hudson family at 9Round's 10 Year Anniversary Celebration workout.