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Interview: Jimmy T Martin & Johnny Adamic

It’s often thought that a proper workout will make you sweat. Jimmy T. Martin and Johnny Adamic have turned this idea on its head with Brrrn, a fitness studio that uses the cold to enhance your workout. Kath Hudson spoke to the founders to find out more

By Kath Hudson | Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 9
The Brrrn Founders
The Brrrn Founders
Our first trial was in a beer fridge, the second was in an ice factory in Pennsylvania. And after seeing first hand the impact that cooler temperatures made on the fitness experience, we both realized that we were truly onto something much bigger than what we had anticipated - Johnny Adamic, co-founder of Brrrn

What is Brrrn?
MARTIN: We’re the world’s first and only cool temperature fitness experience. Our group exercise classes take place inside a patent-pending ‘fridge’ that’s set to 50°F (10°C). We offer three classes throughout the week: HIIT (battle ropes and dumbbell circuit series); Slide (a low-impact core, cardio and sculpting class with resistance bands, SandBells and our signature slide board); and HIIT + Slide (a total body strength and conditioning series with battle ropes, dumbbells and slide boards).

Why is working out in the cold a good thing?
ADAMIC: The biggest myth we’re debunking is the relationship between excessive sweating and the quality of your workout experience. The concept is rooted in science – cooler temperatures help you to move better and optimize the fitness experience. Working out in the heat withholds you from working out efficiently, as your body is faced with two competing demands all at once: trying to exercise and trying to cool off (aka sweating). Aside from being able to work out harder for longer and triggering physiologies and releasing hormones to be more alert, burn fat and more calories, we are changing the narrative of how we perceive cold: as an ally, not an enemy.

How did the idea of Brrrn come about?
MARTIN:: I’ve spent the last 10 years working as a writer and performer in NYC, and had gotten to work in a variety of capacities (e.g. Saturday Night Live, greeting card writer, copywriter) while maintaining my side hustle as a private trainer. But everything changed in 2013 when one of my former clients remarked on how she always felt leaner and more athletic during the Fall/Winter months versus the summertime. So later that night, I went home and endlessly searched the internet to see if there was such a thing as a cool temperature fitness studio and after hours of searching and finding nothing, slowly I began to realise that I may have found the next big movement in fitness. A few months later, shortly after my 29th birthday, I met Johnny in the midst of grieving the loss of my wife to cancer. I had let him know that I was working on this crazy idea and that one of the last conversations that I had with my late wife was that she felt Brrrn was going to be the biggest accomplishment that she wouldn’t get to celebrate with me. So to honor her life, I felt it was my mission to do whatever I had to do in order to bring this to fruition and that Johnny was the person that could help make this pipe dream a full fledged reality.

ADAMIC: : As a former public health official who worked for NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg’s Obesity Task Force, I understood the role your environment plays in nudging behaviour. I also have a Master’s degree in food studies and public health and had concluded that we’re addicted to food the same way that we’re addicted to heat. So the day after Jimmy pitched me this idea in a coffee shop, I looked up the health literature and found evidence suggesting that cold exposure can burn more fat and calories, and boosts longevity genes and activates brown adipose tissue (see Why Cold Works below). But the fact that really spoke to me was learning that out of the 36,000 fitness concepts in the US, zero operated their facilities below 72°F (22.2°C). The next day I emailed Jimmy in all caps saying, “WE NEED TO DO THIS NOW!”

How did you make the concept a reality?
ADAMIC: Shortly after the CAPS LOCK email that I wrote Jimmy, both him and I decided to put the wheels in motion and form this business together. I led the trials to test out our concept on ourselves as well as other people. Our first trial was in a beer fridge, the second was in an ice factory in Pennsylvania. And after seeing first hand the impact that cooler temperatures made on the fitness experience, we both realised that we were truly onto something much bigger than what we had anticipated.

MARTIN: We spent all of 2014 and 2015 gestating the concept: looking for sites, scouting the best instructors in the city, devising unique workouts that were appropriate for the temperature of our workout environment, as well as raising the capital—which was the biggest challenge.

ADAMIC: It took around 300 pitches to get the capital that we needed in order to design and construct our studio properly. Funny story: prior to one of our pitches, we found out that the one investor we were presenting to was going to invest in yet another cycling concept. So prior to the pitch, Jimmy had the brilliant idea to put the logos of all of the current cycling brands in and around NYC onto a piece of paper and we handed it to the investor at the end of our presentation. Then we handed a blank piece of paper and referenced that this was the current number of cool fitness concepts in the world and how we would like the investor to help us fill that page. A day later he wrote us a cheque.

What do people like about Brrrn?
MARTIN: Aside from them enjoying our workouts and our communal infrared sauna experience—which is also the first of its kind— the most recurring remark is about how much the brand means to them. The nuances of great business come from the DNA of the founders, so from the very beginning, we wanted to create a brand that didn’t feel like it fell in love with it’s own reflection. So it’s been incredible to see men and women of all capabilities walk into our space and contribute to a coldture™ that is ultimately changing the conversation in the fitness industry.

What are your future plans?
ADAMIC: Aside from expanding nationally and internationally and working on an at-home workout concept, our biggest goal is to continue to be the sole purveyors of this inimitable cool temp fitness experience.

WHY COLD WORKS

Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a cell with more mitochondria in it and is involved in energy expenditure when we’re cold. It uses fat to produce heat. It represents an attractive target to combat both obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Cold exposure has been found to be an effective mechanism to stimulate BAT activity and increase glucose and lipid uptake, resulting in metabolic benefits including elevated energy expenditure and increased insulin sensitivity.

A study showed that BAT is important in the regulation of body weight, with 96 per cent of men observed showing BAT activity when exposed to cold, but not thermoneutral conditions. However, BAT is reduced in men who are overweight or obese.

Brrrn offers group exercise classes in a refrigerated environment set at 10°C
Brrrn offers group exercise classes in a refrigerated environment set at 10°C
Martin and Adamic say the colder temperature allows customers to work out harder for longer
Martin and Adamic say the colder temperature allows customers to work out harder for longer
Community is an important aspect of the brand, with each person contributing to the ‘coldture’
Community is an important aspect of the brand, with each person contributing to the ‘coldture’
Cold exposure has been shown to activate brown adipose tissue, which results in metabolic benefits
Cold exposure has been shown to activate brown adipose tissue, which results in metabolic benefits
The founders plan to expand the brand nationally and internationally
The founders plan to expand the brand nationally and internationally
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/imagesX/603682_199178.jpg
Meet the minds behind Brrrn, Jimmy T Martin and Johnny Adamic- the US based company who are improving and extending workouts through cold temperature based workouts. Martin and Adamic say they are 'changing the conversation in the fitness industry' and claim to be pioneering the cool fitness concept.
Jimmy T Martin, Johnny Adamic, Brrrn, Co-founders,Jimmy T Martin, Johnny Adamic, Brrrn,
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features

Interview: Jimmy T Martin & Johnny Adamic

It’s often thought that a proper workout will make you sweat. Jimmy T. Martin and Johnny Adamic have turned this idea on its head with Brrrn, a fitness studio that uses the cold to enhance your workout. Kath Hudson spoke to the founders to find out more

By Kath Hudson | Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 9
The Brrrn Founders
The Brrrn Founders
Our first trial was in a beer fridge, the second was in an ice factory in Pennsylvania. And after seeing first hand the impact that cooler temperatures made on the fitness experience, we both realized that we were truly onto something much bigger than what we had anticipated - Johnny Adamic, co-founder of Brrrn

What is Brrrn?
MARTIN: We’re the world’s first and only cool temperature fitness experience. Our group exercise classes take place inside a patent-pending ‘fridge’ that’s set to 50°F (10°C). We offer three classes throughout the week: HIIT (battle ropes and dumbbell circuit series); Slide (a low-impact core, cardio and sculpting class with resistance bands, SandBells and our signature slide board); and HIIT + Slide (a total body strength and conditioning series with battle ropes, dumbbells and slide boards).

Why is working out in the cold a good thing?
ADAMIC: The biggest myth we’re debunking is the relationship between excessive sweating and the quality of your workout experience. The concept is rooted in science – cooler temperatures help you to move better and optimize the fitness experience. Working out in the heat withholds you from working out efficiently, as your body is faced with two competing demands all at once: trying to exercise and trying to cool off (aka sweating). Aside from being able to work out harder for longer and triggering physiologies and releasing hormones to be more alert, burn fat and more calories, we are changing the narrative of how we perceive cold: as an ally, not an enemy.

How did the idea of Brrrn come about?
MARTIN:: I’ve spent the last 10 years working as a writer and performer in NYC, and had gotten to work in a variety of capacities (e.g. Saturday Night Live, greeting card writer, copywriter) while maintaining my side hustle as a private trainer. But everything changed in 2013 when one of my former clients remarked on how she always felt leaner and more athletic during the Fall/Winter months versus the summertime. So later that night, I went home and endlessly searched the internet to see if there was such a thing as a cool temperature fitness studio and after hours of searching and finding nothing, slowly I began to realise that I may have found the next big movement in fitness. A few months later, shortly after my 29th birthday, I met Johnny in the midst of grieving the loss of my wife to cancer. I had let him know that I was working on this crazy idea and that one of the last conversations that I had with my late wife was that she felt Brrrn was going to be the biggest accomplishment that she wouldn’t get to celebrate with me. So to honor her life, I felt it was my mission to do whatever I had to do in order to bring this to fruition and that Johnny was the person that could help make this pipe dream a full fledged reality.

ADAMIC: : As a former public health official who worked for NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg’s Obesity Task Force, I understood the role your environment plays in nudging behaviour. I also have a Master’s degree in food studies and public health and had concluded that we’re addicted to food the same way that we’re addicted to heat. So the day after Jimmy pitched me this idea in a coffee shop, I looked up the health literature and found evidence suggesting that cold exposure can burn more fat and calories, and boosts longevity genes and activates brown adipose tissue (see Why Cold Works below). But the fact that really spoke to me was learning that out of the 36,000 fitness concepts in the US, zero operated their facilities below 72°F (22.2°C). The next day I emailed Jimmy in all caps saying, “WE NEED TO DO THIS NOW!”

How did you make the concept a reality?
ADAMIC: Shortly after the CAPS LOCK email that I wrote Jimmy, both him and I decided to put the wheels in motion and form this business together. I led the trials to test out our concept on ourselves as well as other people. Our first trial was in a beer fridge, the second was in an ice factory in Pennsylvania. And after seeing first hand the impact that cooler temperatures made on the fitness experience, we both realised that we were truly onto something much bigger than what we had anticipated.

MARTIN: We spent all of 2014 and 2015 gestating the concept: looking for sites, scouting the best instructors in the city, devising unique workouts that were appropriate for the temperature of our workout environment, as well as raising the capital—which was the biggest challenge.

ADAMIC: It took around 300 pitches to get the capital that we needed in order to design and construct our studio properly. Funny story: prior to one of our pitches, we found out that the one investor we were presenting to was going to invest in yet another cycling concept. So prior to the pitch, Jimmy had the brilliant idea to put the logos of all of the current cycling brands in and around NYC onto a piece of paper and we handed it to the investor at the end of our presentation. Then we handed a blank piece of paper and referenced that this was the current number of cool fitness concepts in the world and how we would like the investor to help us fill that page. A day later he wrote us a cheque.

What do people like about Brrrn?
MARTIN: Aside from them enjoying our workouts and our communal infrared sauna experience—which is also the first of its kind— the most recurring remark is about how much the brand means to them. The nuances of great business come from the DNA of the founders, so from the very beginning, we wanted to create a brand that didn’t feel like it fell in love with it’s own reflection. So it’s been incredible to see men and women of all capabilities walk into our space and contribute to a coldture™ that is ultimately changing the conversation in the fitness industry.

What are your future plans?
ADAMIC: Aside from expanding nationally and internationally and working on an at-home workout concept, our biggest goal is to continue to be the sole purveyors of this inimitable cool temp fitness experience.

WHY COLD WORKS

Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a cell with more mitochondria in it and is involved in energy expenditure when we’re cold. It uses fat to produce heat. It represents an attractive target to combat both obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Cold exposure has been found to be an effective mechanism to stimulate BAT activity and increase glucose and lipid uptake, resulting in metabolic benefits including elevated energy expenditure and increased insulin sensitivity.

A study showed that BAT is important in the regulation of body weight, with 96 per cent of men observed showing BAT activity when exposed to cold, but not thermoneutral conditions. However, BAT is reduced in men who are overweight or obese.

Brrrn offers group exercise classes in a refrigerated environment set at 10°C
Brrrn offers group exercise classes in a refrigerated environment set at 10°C
Martin and Adamic say the colder temperature allows customers to work out harder for longer
Martin and Adamic say the colder temperature allows customers to work out harder for longer
Community is an important aspect of the brand, with each person contributing to the ‘coldture’
Community is an important aspect of the brand, with each person contributing to the ‘coldture’
Cold exposure has been shown to activate brown adipose tissue, which results in metabolic benefits
Cold exposure has been shown to activate brown adipose tissue, which results in metabolic benefits
The founders plan to expand the brand nationally and internationally
The founders plan to expand the brand nationally and internationally
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/imagesX/603682_199178.jpg
Meet the minds behind Brrrn, Jimmy T Martin and Johnny Adamic- the US based company who are improving and extending workouts through cold temperature based workouts. Martin and Adamic say they are 'changing the conversation in the fitness industry' and claim to be pioneering the cool fitness concept.
Jimmy T Martin, Johnny Adamic, Brrrn, Co-founders,Jimmy T Martin, Johnny Adamic, Brrrn,
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Disability sports charity Activity Alliance has called on political parties to commit to giving disabled ...
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Beachbody – the global fitness brand behind Insanity and P90X – has announced that it ...
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Boutique fitness operator 1Rebel has partnered with Technogym to develop an at-home indoor cycling platform ...
Latest News
Sport England has published an update on its digital strategy, in which the grassroots organisation ...
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Job search
POST YOUR JOB
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Not all functional training areas are created equal
In the last few years, the rise in popularity of functional training has been significant and operators are providing more space for functional training, both on the gym floor and in group training and studio settings.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Does your fitness studio contain the cure to 21st-century living?
What’s the secret ingredient that makes a live group fitness experience so powerful? And how can clubs unlock it?
Opinion
promotion
An ever-increasing number of Brits are engaging in sporting events, setting themselves goals and looking to increase their fitness levels....
Opinion: Dr Crionna Tobin on nutritional training for PTs and fitness experts
Company profiles
Company profile: Merrithew™ - Leaders in Mindful Movement™
Merrithew™ enriches the lives of others with responsible exercise modalities and innovative, multidisciplinary fitness offerings ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Power Plate
Power Plate is a vibrating platform that enhances any movement to help you prepare faster, ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Fitness equipment
Physical Company Ltd: Fitness equipment
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Member access schemes
Move GB: Member access schemes
Exercise equipment
EXF Fitness Equipment: Exercise equipment
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Management software
GymSales: Management software
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Professional services
Deloitte UK: Professional services
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
21-22 Nov 2019
JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort, Aventura,
Diary dates
29 Nov 2019
The King’s Fund, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
10-12 Dec 2019
tbc, Fort Lauderdale, United States
Diary dates
29-30 Jan 2020
Holiday Inn San Francisco-Golden Gateway, San Francisco, United States
Diary dates
23-25 Mar 2020
Hilton, Barcelona, Spain
Diary dates
10-27 Jun 2020
tbc, Pinggu, China
Diary dates
17-18 Jun 2020
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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