Guru Fitness: A champion business

Luke Hernandez, owner of The Guru Fitness Ltd, a finalist in the TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce Champions of Business 2021 awards. -
Luke Hernandez, owner of The Guru Fitness Ltd, a finalist in the TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce Champions of Business 2021 awards. -

Luke Hernandez really wanted to play professional football. And it was following his dream that one day disaster struck. In 2009, while on national duty, he sustained an impact which injured his ACL (anterior cruciat ligament). It was a sportsman’s worst nightmare; rehabilitation from his injury would extend over 10-12 months. After, though he returned to playing, he was not at the same level and he knew he would never be able to resume his goal of a football career.

But as fate would have it, those long painful hours in rehabilitation showed him a calling, for it was there that he fell in love with fitness training and was inspired to eventually venture into the field as a business.

At first he set up shop in his backyard. The earliest clients were friends and as word got around this continued to expand. Things kept improving over the next six-odd years, but when the pandemic struck in early 2020, like most other businesspeople, Hernandez was thrown into tailspin. He, and in fact, all members of his family were suddenly unemployed. He began offering online classes alongside his in-person sessions, but challenges with operating his business from home played a major role his decision to approach his bank with an idea.

He needed to move into new premises, and what better time than when gyms were closed? He had already identified a vacant lot of land, and with a start-up loan of $100,000 he – with somewhat more than a little help from his friends – began to design and outfit a 40-foot container as a gym on the new premises at 7 Ana Street in Woodbrook.

Guru Fitness TT Ltd opened in April, 2021, and so far the response is positive. Currently, he has over 150 clients, local and international. Guru offers its services 24/7, with seven styles of training, including strength, sport-specific, GVT, boot camp style, HIIT, functional and online. Other styles may be incorporated in customised programmes. The routines are developed by a team and so far, there are more than 600 saved workouts which are all available online.

This online service includes a youth-specific programme which has been particularly valuable during covid restrictions. Guru has tailored its service to meet the needs of young aspiring football players who are seeking overseas scholarships. Personalised online training has helped these youths to stay fit and keep them from being at a disadvantage as travel opens back fully.

Although the entrepreneurship award (sponsored by the Unit Trust Corporation) eventually went to Kyle Malone of Tech Beach Retreat, Hernandez is proud to have been a finalist. He lauds his team of approximately 20 people, friends and relatives, who have stood by him. “They literally helped me build the place, and I wish you had the space so I could name everyone. Whatever success I’ve achieved so far, it’s largely because of them, and I’m very grateful.” He does however identify his other executive team members: girlfriend Miko Landreth-Smith and Jonathan Cruickshank, a friend since his footballing days.

Guru relies on social media marketing to reach new (and existing) clients. They also promote by “giving back”. Each week they offer two free sessions to their social media followers, and once a month, a giveaway is done in collaboration with various sponsors.

In-person services have only recently been re-started following the easing of covid restrictions and Hernandez is eagerly looking forward to working with his clients face to face. Moreover, he is thinking big. His next step within a few years is to open another local branch and even go international.

The TT Chamber salutes Luke Hernandez, who is certainly “fit” to be called a champion entrepreneur!


"Guru Fitness: A champion business"

More in this section