Home » Episode #461: Creating Community Through Fitness-Dane McCarthy Discusses Squad-Based Training

Dane McCarthy is a former rugby player who pursued a career in finance before joining salesforce.com. After several years in financial services, he was transferred to New York. During the pandemic, he quickly realized the different workout culture in the US compared to Australia, where people often train in groups. That eventually led him to start Village Athletic . . . which helped unite people in their fitness journeys and filling the absence of the social training element that he missed back home.

He discusses the unique concept of squads, the importance of consistency in training, and the strong sense of community it fosters. Join us as we delve into Dane's entrepreneurial journey of building a fitness brand centered around building strong relationships and driving results.

Regarding getting the venture off the ground, McCarthy states, "This was completely self-funded from initial Venmo payments. And given where we were in COVID, we had no equipment. When we first started, we just had square boxes basically drawn on the floor . . .  and at that moment I thought, 'Hell, this could work because people are joining a squad. They're not joining a modality. They're not joining facilities, and they're certainly not joining for amenities!'"

Some key moments: 

  • Played rugby, worked in finance, missed camaraderie, creates social hub for Manhattan professionals.
  • 30% member return, 5-6% turnover monthly.
  • Self-funded fitness group overcame COVID limitations.
  • Started squad, winter, gym, lease negotiation, business.
  • Hiring fitness professionals for diverse training approach.
  • Annual fundraising event brings together diverse interests.
  • Spread the message, attract more people, get results.

A few key takeaways:

1. Specialized Squad Training: Dean's model focuses on creating specialized training squads within the HALO sector, emphasizing team-based workouts over traditional transactional gym experiences.

2. Emphasis on Relationships and Community: The approach prioritizes building a sense of community and camaraderie among members, addressing the loneliness and mental health challenges that tend to be prevalent in urban environments.

3. Holistic Experience: The focus on creating a consistent and sustainable workout routine, combining interval strength training with steady-state training, and promoting accountability and socialization beyond the gym sessions.

4. Non-Traditional Marketing Approach: Unlike conventional fitness facilities, the emphasis is placed on the squad experience rather than the facilities, with a deliberate focus on transparency and self-selection for individuals seeking comprehensive community-oriented fitness programs.

Click here to download transcript


Dane McCarthy: https://www.instagram.com/mccarthydane/ 
Village Athletic: https://villageathletic.com/ 
The Athletic Clubs: https://www.instagram.com/the.athleticclubs/ 
Prospect Wizard: http://www.theprospectwizard.com
Promotion Vault: http://www.promotionvault.com
HigherDose: http://www.higherdose.com 

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