AKT President Melissa Chordock was once in search of finding somewhere to belong. That place of belonging became SoulCycle, but was also the catalyst for helping others through health and wellness.
Twenty-two years of combined boutique fitness franchising and retail management experience of Melissa Chordock have served the seasoned executive very well. The president of AKT has led the charge for significantly altering the state of dance-based cardio fitness. Chordock’s passion for health and wellness together with her zeal for “growing and developing strong and supportive teams” is evidence of AKT’s success since the company’s birth in 2013.
Once finding solace in SoulCycle classes, Chordock embarked on her own accord to create a sense of belonging for others in the fitness industry. After honing her talents and corporate knowledge with Pure Barre as the Director of Corporate Operations and as Senior Director of Studio Operations for Xtend Barre, she soon moved to becoming AKT Franchise’s President in 2018. The power of movement and mindfulness wrapped up in AKT’s mission to provide cardio and strength training in a fun, positive manner compels Chordock to keep the spirit of resilience alive in both herself and the clients who love what AKT has to offer.
Here is Chordock’s story on how she became the president of AKT, why she calls resilience as her greatest strength and what she would name the title of her biography.
Athletech News (ATN): Please tell us about your current company and how either your role or the company (if you are a founder) came to fruition
Melissa Chordock: AKT is a one-of-a-kind, premier fitness franchise that combines the very best of fitness – integrating interval, strength, and toning for the most effective fitness program around! Rooted in movement, AKT is fun and effective and nourishes the mind and the body. The ever changing programming calls for both mental and physical focus and affords our clients an opportunity to truly leave the rest of their day at the door and be completely present for an hour.
ATN: What was your journey like to get to this point?
Melissa Chordock: I began my career in retail at Bloomingdale’s in NYC and fell in love with the all encompassing energy that you feel the second you walk into that flagship on 59th Street! When I left Bloomingdale’s,after more than 12 years, I felt a bit lost- it had become such a part of who I was and I was struggling to find a place I belonged. Around that time, I discovered SoulCycle which only had a small handful of locations in NYC and it felt like my secret oasis where I was part of a secret community. I felt like I belonged in that dark room with blasting music and that is where I realized I needed to be part of a community, but I also wanted to focus my career on building communities and giving that sense of belonging to others.
I spent 2 more years in retail learning business and relationship development in specialty businesses and was fortunate enough to find a role with Pure Barre Corporate as they were ramping up for massive expansion. At Pure Barre, I got to open and oversee corporate owned locations in the NYC/metro area and eventually throughout the country.
ATN: What is your greatest strength?
Melissa Chordock: Resilience.
To me resilience is not just the willingness, but the ability to get back up after getting kicked in the gut- every. single. day.
When you believe in something so wholeheartedly that you know you’ll find a yes in a sea of no. Sometimes it’s a cause or a business, but truly resilient people believe in themselves and understand that every setback ultimately makes them stronger.
ATN: What motivates you?
Melissa Chordock: Winning. Setting a goal and achieving it!
ATN: What are some of your daily habits?
Melissa Chordock: I believe routine can be powerful so I start most days with a 20 minute meditation and a 60-90 minute treadmill workout. I love knowing that I have already done something for myself before the day even starts!
When I get to my desk, the first thing I do is write out my daily calendar/appointments on the right side of a 5×8 notecard, and follow ups and to dos on the right side as I comb through my inbox. I find that writing down my schedule each morning helps me visualize the day and better prioritize my ‘free time’. I also find satisfaction in crossing things off as they are completed AND throwing out the note card at the end of the day.
ATN: What is your greatest accomplishment?
Melissa Chordock: 2020 & 2021 – In March 2020, AKT had 4 open locations. There are now 27. An overwhelming majority of our studios have had to launch, open, and operate during unprecedented times. Leading an emerging brand during the past 2 years has required extreme focus and commitment from my team and our Franchise Partners. We have all had to be extraordinarily scrappy, patient, resourceful, and driven and I am incredibly optimistic about what 2022 has in store for us.
ATN: Where do you accomplish your best work?
Melissa Chordock: Depends on the work – I am most creative and forward thinking in an energy infused group environment, whether it be a brainstorming session with my team or peers, or just the buzzing Xponential offices on any given week day. However, when working through strategy and details, I am far more productive in a quiet space with limited distractions.
ATN: What would be the title of your biography?
Melissa Chordock: One More Time.
I consider myself an unassuming fighter. I am resilient and persistent and will ALWAYS find a way to pull myself back up and keep on going – both personally and professionally. But, I do not believe this is how I outwardly present myself or am necessarily perceived by others. I am not aggressive or cut throat, I am methodical and logical. I need to understand the how and why behind most things, especially failures! I try to view every set back, every roadblock as chapter 1 of a great comeback story, and all I need to do is try one more time.
ATN: How much sleep do you get?
Melissa Chordock: How much do I get, need, or want? To this day, my mother likes to say that I have always been a ‘good sleeper’; like that wins us both some kind of award…I can sleep most anywhere, under most conditions, and ideally need at least 8 hours a night. But over the years, my mind and body have been conditioned to fully function with a minimum of 4 hours, which is useful for running a business operating across 3 different time zones.
ATN: Who is your mentor? Role model?
Melissa Chordock: All the amazing people I get to work with every single day! The Xponential Fitness leadership is incredibly diverse in experience and strengths, affording me the opportunity to learn something new every day. I admire each president in a different way, and of course CEO Anthony Geisler, and COO Ryan Junk.
Candace Cordelia is a Pennsylvania-based journalist and on-camera broadcaster/host, with a reporting background in wrestling, entertainment, and lifestyle. Her reporting work has been featured on websites and in publications such as Bustle, Pro Wrestling Illustrated, New York Daily News, am New York, ABC News, Yahoo!, Good Morning America, Madame Noire, Sister 2 Sister, etonline.com, Diva Dirt and The Everyday Fan. Her favorite workout influencers include Chloe Ting, Cassey Ho, Pamela Reif and Mary Braun. She still can’t stand burpees and Rebbl Dark Chocolate Immunity Elixir is one of her favorite post-workout protein sips. You can follow Candace on Twitter @CandaceCordelia and on Instagram @thatgirlcandace16.