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Changing people’s lives — together

9Round started with the desire to change people's lives. Shannon “The Cannon” Hudson, an IKF Light Middleweight Kickboxing World Champion, and his wife, Heather, had a vision. As busy parents running a karate school, they wanted to create a place where people pulled in a million directions 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 passion for fitness became the foundation that the 9Round Franchising empire would be built upon.

Making kickboxing fitness accessible to anyone

After more than 70 bouts inside the ring, Shannon 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’s HIIT workout began. He knew that if he could take the grueling workouts he did in the ring, and create a non-intimidating, flexible circuit training workout format, the average person could enjoy the benefits of boxing and kickboxing without getting hit.

Taking a leap of faith for fitness

In 2008, the economy had taken a turn for the worse. With two young children and a karate school, the Hudsons were taking a risk to launch a new business. But they had big ideas and even bigger dreams to help people transform their lives. They knew that keeping the kickboxing 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. The Hudsons believed that through fitness, anyone could find their inner hero and show up in life ready to fight their personal battles with resilience.

The journey begins

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 training workout. As the only two team members, 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.

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 studio. 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 on your schedule.

Continuous improvement

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 accessible world-championship-quality training was the driving force behind the continued growth of the brand.

The Hudsons 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. They built a strong Home Office with a growing team that innovates and supports franchisees.

After its humble beginning, with that single location in Greenville, SC, the 9Round brand has grown all over the world with nearly 700 locations in 17 countries, plus many more in various stages of development. In 2020, 9Round expanded its offerings to provide on-demand workouts that can be done anytime, anywhere. With new workouts launching every week, members can supplement the time they spend in the studio without needing equipment at home. It’s just one more way 9Round is evolving to help people transform their lives without disrupting their routines.

At 9Round, every boutique fitness studio delivers on the promise of giving people the physical and mental strength they need to live better lives and tackle everyday challenges.

about the founders

Shannon Hudson

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 Hudson

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 studio. 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

Hudson family at 9Round's 10 Year Anniversary Celebration workout.