Dundee gym owner Frank Kameni has overcome many challenges in his life and is now forecasting a bright future for his growing business.
The impact of Covid was a major headache for Kameni Fitness, but the venture survived and is now expanding, with hopes for further sites across the city.
It was just five years ago when Frank opened his gym, but it was not long after when the pandemic reached Britain.
The entrepreneur said: “Covid hit us pretty hard in 2020. The business almost closed. However my passion and love for the industry gave me the strength and belief that I must keep going and do whatever possible to keep our doors open.
“We have gone from 30 members to 185 members which is great for a small, private gym – our target is 300.
“Covid allowed us to realise that you can never take anything for granted.
“The business, which has a team of seven staff, is now performing the best it has ever done.”
Football career cut short
Frank and his family fled from Cameroon to Scotland in search of a better life and education.
He later spent time on the books at Celtic as a youngster, but turned to the fitness world when his dream of making it as a professional was ended by a knee injury.
At Abertay University Frank was an undergraduate strength-and-conditioning student. This was followed by a master’s degree in strength and conditioning.
Throughout his time at university, he worked as a fitness instructor in various private gyms around Dundee becoming a personal trainer after gaining enough experience.
This was followed by the opening of Kameni Fitness in Balgowan Avenue in 2019.
Expansion of Kameni Fitness
More space at the gym premises was added last year, and Frank explained why: “We acquired another section of the building and expanded our facility, as we felt growth was needed if we were to have a chance of making it work.”
Nearly £200,000 has been invested in the gym to date, but the businessman said he has no fear of failing – or of risking his life savings.
He said: “I moved here from Africa when I was just seven.
“I had to adjust to a new culture, new language, new friends and also deal with racism. I grew up in a poor neighbourhood and my mother had next to nothing and managed to raise five kids.”
Frank said she gave him an attitude of never quitting.
“I am not afraid to go broke which inspires me to gamble and, as long as I believe I will give my best in whatever business journey I embark in, I am sure I will succeed.”
Mix of clients
Around three-quarters of the clients at the gym are women age between 32 and 65.
Frank added: “People are taking care of their health a lot more now, especially the older ones who are going through menopause, losing peers due to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.
“They are more aware and it makes them want to stay fit, strong and healthy.
“You also have more people going away on holiday now, and social media puts a lot of pressure on women to look a certain way.”
The entrepreneur said group coaching is what everyone talks about at Kameni Fitness.
He went on: “It allows individuals of all fitness levels, shapes, and sizes to come together as a fitness community, offer each other support, motivation and accountability throughout their fitness journey.
“The session is delivered by a coach to a group (maximum 12) which they thoroughly enjoy as members don’t have to think about their next workout – we structure it for them, and they just show up.
“We run workshops (nutrition, training, recovery, mindset, etc) throughout the year to enhance knowledge as well as hosting in-house fitness events to bring the community together, raise money for a charity and create a healthy competition around the gym.
“Being part of a fitness community allows people to have a much more sustainable, lengthy and enjoyable fitness journey.”
Frank said he would love to bring in more business clients so he could promote the benefits of health and well-being for staff.
“In five years’ time, I see Kameni Fitness being involved with various businesses, as well as having numerous other gyms around the outskirts of Dundee,” he added.