Vitruvian: Social Fitness Startup Story

Posted on January 1, 2013 by Vivi in EXPAT

Vitruvian LogoVitruvian Man Max Rodman

CrossFit enthusiast Max Rodman first came to Buenos Aires in 2008 for a college internship with a local media group.  Fueled by a desire to break out of the bubble of his home town of New York, he elected to return to Buenos Aires after graduation, and moved to the city in February of 2011.  The location switch gave Max the chance for career arbitrage.  By leveraging his degree and American work ethic, in Argentina, he started a career above the normal level of access.  This ambitious move not only lead him to start his own business.

While Buenos Aires has plenty of gyms and a very fit and active population, there were no official CrossFit affiliates when he arrived in 2011.  Max missed his favorite workouts and sought out to open a CrossFit gym in the city.  He teamed up with his partner Percy and began offering classes in the park under the company name Vitruvian, while searching for a permanent space.  Vitruvian began building a clientele, which grew quickly through word of mouth referrals and social media.

After two months of these outdoor, group workouts, Max realized that renting a space to open a gym wasn’t necessary.  The outdoor workouts were a success and continued to grow organically.  Vitruvian now employs five trainers and offers multiple, daily, group sessions in English and Spanish in two locations in the city.  They also offer personal training services.

The Workout

Vitruvian’s workout is an outdoor group fitness class, where participants use their own body weight for strength building exercises.  The classes get creative and employ the natural park landscape, trees, benches, and curbs to create a full body workout using minimal equipment.

The first twenty minutes of the workout are dedicated to a social warm up activity or a game that the group can engage in together.  The next twenty minutes consist of a combination of various exercises aimed at creating a full-body workout. Vitruvian will use classics such as pushups, squats, burpees and pullups, as well as some original creations like “x-pushup burpee bench jumps” or backwards bearcrawls up hills. The workouts are different every single day, ensuring that participants (and their bodies) never get bored. Finally, every class finishes with a bit of ab work to make sure Vitruvian makes good on its promise to make you “look good naked.”

Vitruvian workouts are intense and challenging, and the group energy is contagious.  Beyond toned muscles, Vitruvian workouts strengthen the mind and the will by inspiring participates to go past their limits, and continue even when they think they cannot go on.  Vitruvian is not for mental wimps.

Doing Business in Buenos Aires:

According to Max, operating a business in Buenos Aires has equal parts opportunity and challenge for an expat entrepreneur.  The city is full of young, creative energy and offers tons of support from the community.  Vitruvian had a minimal start-up cost, an enormous market of potential customers, a great product, and a higher mission of helping people change their lives while establishing a community.  Argentina’s ‘work to live’ attitude inspires a new concept of business for fun and enjoyment.

To officially incorporate companies legally in Argentina, startups face a massive roadblock of bureaucracy, which many find insurmountable and chose to start businesses elsewhere.  While the community based culture makes it easy to share and become involved, there is also an equal culture of mistrust, making it very difficult to find reliable associates, partners and customers.

Look Good Naked

To live and work in Buenos Aires, you have got to be strong!  And nothing makes you stronger than a really good workout.

Sign up for Vitruvian today on their website, and attend any one of their park sessions on the schedule found here.  Classes are offered in single sessions or affordable monthly packages.  Workouts are conducted in beautiful Puerto Madero, and the grassy Palermo Parks.


One Comment

  1. Vitruvian Vitruvian is the workout you´ll love to hate. I´m serious. I think up excuses to not go to the daily 8pm workout Every. Single. Day. But I usually (I wish I could say “always”, but that would just be a lie) drag my body to class because the trainers and other campers are so much fun. There is truly a tangible camaraderie in the group, which is made up mostly of expats from all over the world, but also some Porteños. Max and Percy lead each workout with just the right combination of tough love and joviality, and I really like that they focus on form at the beginning of EVERY class. I´ve seen a lot of injuries occur in intense workouts like this and having correct form goes along way in injury prevention.


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