HIIT brand 1Rebel has entered the Middle Eastern market for the first time, with the launch of two clubs in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The clubs will be operated in partnership with Saudi-based Armah Sports, which has the 1Rebel rights to seven markets across the Middle East – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait.
The Riyadh sites are the first two studios to open as part of the collaboration, with four additional locations secured that have been slated to open in late 2021/2022.
Armah Sports is currently working with 1Rebel to develop a new functional training concept, REFLEX, to introduce throughout the network.
Established in 2019, Armah Sports was set up to grow the boutique fitness segment in Saudi Arabia and across the Middle East.
The company was founded by Fahad Alhagbani and Nathan Clute, both fitness industry veterans, with Alhagbani having previously founded BodyMasters and Fitness Time, the largest chain of fitness centres in the Middle East with over 150 locations.
The collaboration between 1Rebel and Armah offers future potential to also expand Armah's own boutique fitness brand, MAVERX, outside of the Middle East.
Speaking to HCM
about the partnership, Fahad Alhagbani said: "For us, the number one boutique – in terms of quality, branding and image – was 1Rebel.
"We discovered that 1Rebel wanted to come to Saudi Arabia, and they had been advised to speak to me. At that point, though, we were determined to bring our own concepts to life.
“I made that position clear, but James Balfour and Giles Dean – the co-founders of 1Rebel – got on a plane and came out to see us anyway.
"It became clear that James and Giles shared the same core values as us, and that they were committed to the spirit of fun, friendship and flexibility.
"James urged me not to let past experiences prevent me from exploring new opportunities for partnerships. So we shook hands and from then on – it’s been one year now – the relationship has been great. There is no interference and they give us whatever support we need."
• To read an interview with Fahad Alhagbani regarding Armah Sports' plans – including the partnership between 1Rebel – click here for HCM Issue 10/2020.