THE HISTORY OF NEWELL STRENGTH
I, Kyle Newell, started Newell Strength because I had an obsessive need to know everything possible about training and nutrition. This lead me to compete in multiple bodybuilding shows as you can read in the ‘About Kyle’ page and from there, it led to many friends and acquaintances asking me to write them programs.
Big Beyond Belief
It all started with a book I read when I was still in high school, Big Beyond Belief. It was actually a mail order product.
I was lured into the wonderful world of weight lifting by a couple high school buddies. From that point of my life on, I was fascinated with the human body and all the various systems within it. I NEEDED to know how the body worked, how to make it stronger, how to make a person’s body more youthful and energetic and down the rabbit hole I went.
Photo: John Carlton, the creator of the ad that brought me to BBB
Becoming a Teacher
After graduating college, I got to work with Rutgers Football Strength and Conditioning, where I would meet a life-long mentor in Jay Butler. When the time came to stay on staff at Rutgers, I made the decision to instead go back for a teaching degree. It was a tough decision and one that I thought about in terms of ‘what if’ many times over. I found my calling, that of being an elementary school physical education teacher. I taught grades K-4 to be exact.
I was still obsessive about physical fitness, by that point already having competed in a few bodybuilding shows. Within two weeks of taking my first teaching job in Bridgewater, NJ, I was also running their high school weight room. I was now a full time teacher but that burning desire to learn more and more about the human body just wouldn’t leave.
I would study, study, study on every prep and lunch break that I had. Throughout the first year, people would always approach me at the gym and ask me to write them programs for diet and training; even the teachers I taught with would hire me to write diets for them. And while I was an educator, I acquired teachers and coaches of my own to continue to help me grow into a master of the body, mind and spirit.
All during this time, Jay asked me if I would come back to help train the football team, which I did one or two mornings before school and then again for their post game day lift on Sundays.
I continued to refine my nutritional knowledge, my exercise training philosophy and my coaching ability, which to be fair, I had a ‘lab’ with which to grow my voice, organizational skills and group teaching style that I still have, to this day. I’ll tell you, teaching a room full of 20 third-graders in a chaotic environment makes you improve rapidly at being a teacher.
Champions Choice Personal Training, LLC
I actually started a form of Newell Strength in 2007 while I was 2 years into my teaching career as an elementary physical education teacher. And truth be told, I was very close to starting a landscaping business, but I went with my heart and wound up creating Champions Choice Personal Training, LLC.
Newell Strength started as a mobile service, in which I would drive around in my little Hyundai Elantra to clients’ homes and train them on their premises. This means that I often had to get very creative in my program design and I had to be able to adapt on the fly. Combine that with my unique experience of being a PE teacher for the little kids and it was the perfect combination for developing as a Coach.
From the Elantra, I then built the first phase of the PIT: a 200-square-foot gym in my parents’ basement. The walls were black and it had a brutal feel to it. Before I knew it, clients were asking if they could bring a friend over to experience what we had going on in the PIT and the business continued to expand. With the help of my brother’s father-in-law, I expanded the PIT into other areas of the basement which meant we then had 600 square feet. At that time, I started with the semi-private coaching model and started training 4 clients at once, all on different plans designed by me.
2011 — 2012
Fast-forward to 2011 and I talking to a childhood friend that had played football at UPenn. He was asking me about the business and I told him I was just about ready to move on, my schedule was getting the best of me and I thought I’d had enough. Instead, he said, ‘No, you can’t stop yet, you are just getting started.’
He then went on to tell me about Joe DeFranco’s up in Wyckoff, NJ and I knew instantly I was going to do it. I started making plans for the facility, found a spot in the industrial park nearby and I was off and running.
The current version was strictly for athletes and alpha males. Not that we had a bias, but it was important to have the right environment laid down from the get go. I cut loose any clients that did not fit that criteria because I believed in my mission so much by that point.
That first facility only had about 750 square feet of floor space, but we rocked it in there. Athletes were coming from all over the place as well as top level executives, business owners and former athletes.
Newell Strength quickly outgrew that first facility and we upgraded to an older building that had even more character and double the floor space at 1500 square feet. We had some legendary workouts there in the summer of 2012 with many college athletes home for the summer and many new fitness clients in the fold. At this point, we started allowing non-athlete females in the door as long as they had the proper mindset. This went for the athletes and men too, a good number of which we ‘let go’ because of negative and pessimistic mindsets.
Unfortunately, we only made it in facility number two until October of 2012 when Hurricane Sandy literally ripped the roof off the building. However, we only closed for one day, the day of the Hurricane. Members continued to come and train during that difficult time, as Newell Strength remained a symbol for all things strength. At this time, I started looking at a larger unit to move into since we would have to move anyway.
Interestingly, I had sent my letter of resignation in to the Bridgewater Raritan School District the Friday before Sandy, which meant I was going all in with Newell Strength. I had wanted to move into a larger facility but conventional wisdom would have said to wait and be conservative now that I would no longer have my ‘day job’ of physical education teacher. But during a conversation with my father in law, he said “Go big or go home,” and that was it, the contract was signed the next day.
That encompasses what Newell Strength is all about, fast and furious action with the right attitude. A little-known fact about Newell Strength is that during the interim between facilities, we moved into the ‘ice box’ for a month as a temporary unit. There was a hole in the ceiling and we didn’t even lay the flooring down properly. It was damn near freezing in there, but clients continued to enroll and athletes poured in from their colleges, home on their winter breaks.
In January, we moved into the current location minus the 3,000 square foot turf side. All in all, we now have 6,000 square feet with areas set up for large group training and small group training.
Grand Opening in Flemington, NJ
The decision was made, once again with speed, to open our second facility in 2018. The second location will be in Flemington, NJ and will start out at 1,900 square feet, expanding to 3,800 square feet in September of 2018.
The story will continue to be written. And it just so happens that we are looking to add a few more colorful characters, how about it?
Connect with us
2 Ilene Court
Building 1, Units 17-22
Hillsborough, NJ 08844
M-Th: 5:30-11AM, 3-9PM
Fri: 5:30-11AM, 3-6PM