CEO Corner: Nik Kish of Row House on Rowing and the Future of Fitness
Kish believes rowing has distinct benefits that are hard to match, including offering an intense full-body workout while being low impact
Nik Kish, the president of Row House, has more than 21 years of experience in the fitness industry, with over 11 of them in boutique fitness. Prior to his current role, he was a senior vice president at Xponential Fitness, supporting sales and operations across all brands.
Row House, an Xponential-owned boutique fitness brand offering full-body rowing classes, has over 97 studios open and has sold 330 territories.
Kish spoke with Athletech News about his background, the brand and the future of the fitness industry.
ATN: What was your journey like to get to this point?
Nik Kish: My journey has been filled with numerous opportunities, challenges and moves while having the chance to work with and for some very talented people that helped me become the leader I am today. My first job was entry-level, selling memberships at a gym. I succeeded by sharing my passion for fitness and telling my story of how fitness empowered me, teaching me that I could take action and have better confidence and self-esteem. That experience and my ability to share my personal journey have been the foundation for my career in fitness.
My passion has always been people – hiring, developing and promoting others. After some time I started to notice the amount of people that I had the opportunity to impact. I then started to realize that I have something that brings not only my organization, but people, significant value and growth.
ATN: What motivates you?
NK: Time and experiences with my family are what motivates me, specifically my wife and daughter. I gladly do my best and give my all so that I can not only provide for them but also be able to be present to enjoy their company. It also motivates me to help and empower others so they can have the same experiences with their own families.
ATN: What are some of your daily habits?
NK: I usually start my day with a workout, spend some time listening to an audiobook or podcast about business or personal development, be as impactful as I can in whatever opportunities present themselves for the day, and I end my day connecting with my daughter and wife.
ATN: Where do you see the future of fitness going?
NK: I see the future of fitness being a more comprehensive approach to overall health, wellness and performance. A mix of what makes us feel and move better, what makes us healthy in all aspects and also what helps us recover and recharge. People’s definition of “wellness” has expanded and the role of fitness now is more important than ever for people because of it.
ATN: Why did you decide to join Xponential/Row House?
NK: I joined Xponential in May of 2020, right after the pandemic really impacted the fitness industry. At a time where most companies in the fitness industry were closing down, laying off or waiting for things to get better before taking action, Xponential was doing the opposite.
Xponential kept the entire team in place and even added people like myself in order to best support franchisees, studios and members during a time when everyone needed it most. The rallying cry was instead of focusing on what we couldn’t do, focus on whatever way we could reach people and help them stay as connected and healthy as possible and do that the best way we could. That mindset and resolve are what let me know that Xponential and Row House was the place for me!
ATN: Why has Row House been successful? What is about rowing that resonates with members?
NK: First off, Row House is so much more than rowing, but let’s start with rowing to answer the question. Rowing has been around for so long as a mode of transportation and then as a sport, even if you only look at its Olympic history, you have to go back to 1900. Then as a fitness modality it has distinct benefits that are hard to match. Just to name a few: full body workout, cardio health, caloric burn and it improves posture and mobility, all while being low impact with low risk of injury.
In each Row House class, we get off the rower and do even more with floor work. Whether you’re beginning a fitness routine or are an advanced athlete, you can take the class and get the exact workout you need while working with others in class, not against them. But don’t take my word for it, come experience it for yourself!