Taking no days off is the way this entrepreneur and former athlete built his brand in business and in life. Manning Sumner subscribes to the theory that “consistency is the key to success,” – and he is living proof.
Starting at 4:15 a.m. each day, he gets up, and quickly jumps into his standard morning routine. But once he’s at work, no two days are alike for Sumner who runs a fast-growing fitness business that is expanding to six locations by early 2018.
Sumner is the founder and owner of Legacy Fit, a bootcamp-style fitness studio that teaches participants how to reach their personal best through physical training – and its proprietary “No Days Off®” philosophy.
“A lot of people think that No Days Off® means you have to workout every single day. That could be part of it, but doesn’t have to be,” Sumner said. “It’s simple guidance for life.”
Born and raised in Birmingham, Ala., in a family of athletes, Sumner, 40, caught the sports bug early in life. Following in his father’s footsteps, he went on to play college football for the Auburn University Tigers in 1996. But his dream of going “pro” was quickly diverted – from playing to coaching – when he broke his back for the second time while playing linebacker in his redshirt junior year.
“It was one of the toughest, yet most motivating times in my life. I developed the drive to overcome, which made me realize that performance is less about what’s possible and more about what you believe is possible.
“It’s your mind-set more than your talent,” he adds.
Soon after, Sumner was led to a career in coaching. He worked in college athletics and fitness facilities with a focus on strength and conditioning. By 2001, Sumner brought his experience to Miami at the suggestion of an old friend in the entertainment business.
Sumner recounts the story with a chuckle. “A model friend of mine called me and said, ‘Bad Boys II is looking for a body double. If you shave your head right now and move to Miami, the role is yours.’ I figured I had nothing to lose, so I did it.
“I got the role, had my cameo on the ‘big screen,’ and quickly adjusted to life in Miami.”
Once in Miami, Sumner started a weekly beach workout with some old football friends and their friends including Sidney Rice, Trey Sanford, Stephen Tulloch, Charles Johnson, Shaun Livingston, and Joe Johnson. Year after year, they kept coming back. And, Sumner realized he could turn the workouts into a business.
“In 2009, I opened a 2,500 sq. ft. facility on NE 24th and 2nd – before it was the trendy area of Midtown/Wynwood. People thought I was crazy,” Sumner said.
But, the pro-athletes loved it and that’s what mattered. NFL, NBA, and MLB started coming to Miami to train with Sumner. As his profile grew, he was brought in to train A-list actors and celebrity artists from around the country.
It wasn’t long after the facility opened that Sumner saw an opportunity to offer bootcamp-style training among non-athletes. He began offering a customizable bootcamp class twice weekly in 2011, using the same space and the same equipment he used for his pros.
Sumner designed a proprietary Partner Interval Training (PIT®) program, based on high-intensity training and push-pull techniques that maximize fat burning and strength building at the same time. The workout was designed around moveable stations, so members never get the same experience twice.
“The day I partnered Marion Barber with an older woman who didn’t have much experience in a gym, I knew it was risky. By the end of the 60-min workout, they were high fiving each other. I knew the concept would work,” Sumner recalls.
Since then, he’s been refining the model to make sure that people both get a good, sweaty workout, along with an experience that makes them want to keep coming back.
“It took me a while to get the model just right. I had to figure out a way to make sure people at all different levels could do the workout, and that they didn’t get bored,” Sumner noted. “The partner match-ups and the class flow are key,” he says. “There are dozens of workout gyms, but few workout communities. We are a place for people who want to do life together.”
Sumner did indeed get it right. Legacy Fit’s first location in Wynwood has quadrupled in size, and they will open two more in Miami this fall.
Legacy Fit Coral Gables opens on Sept. 11 (at 22 Merrick Way), and in Doral at City Place (3470 NW 82 Ave.) in October. For schedules and information, visit www.legacyfit.com.