First timers to Afterburn Studio can be forgiven if they have difficulty telling the proprietors apart.
Satish Brian JP Anandan, 33, and Subash Adrian (“I’m older than one minute”) are twins who are also business partners.
The Selangor-born duo founded the gym (with Vijay Bala, 28) in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur in November 2014.
Afterburn is suitable for those who prefer a more private exercise environment; here, the customer is treated on a one-to-one basis. “We also monitor and advice clients on their daily calorie intake to ensure that they are on the right track with their daily nutrition,” says Subash.
Besides Satish and Subash, there is a third trainer, Pavithran Patmanathan, 24. Altogether, the trio boast a combined 21 years of experience in the fitness industry.
It’s interesting to note that at Afterburn, the changing room for women is larger than the men’s. “That’s because 90% of our clients are women,” explains Satish, who adds that a majority of them are in their 30s.
Are females more inclined to work out at Afterburn due to the trainers’ good looks? “I don’t know about that,” says Subash with a chuckle.
The brothers attended the same schools: Bukit Bintang Boys’ Secondary School, followed by Binary College.
“Everything’s the same. I try to get rid of him but I can’t,” jokes Subash; they have a younger brother who’s an air steward.
“We even have mutual sets of friends,” adds Satish. “It was the same for my dad, who has a twin brother.”
They acknowledge that they are friendly competitors; at one point, it was to see who could grow a longer beard. (Presently, Satish scores a win; he proudly sports a fully-grown bushy beard.)
Being twins, do people find it difficult to tell you apart?
Subash: In school, some teachers were confused. They had to separate us.
Satish: Actually, we didn’t look alike then. Subash was kinda fat while I was smaller in size. He got into fitness as he was not getting the girls (laughs).
Growing up, have you always had an interest in fitness?
Satish: At the age of 16, I bought a pair of dumbbells to train at home. Subash saw them and started working out as well.
Subash: We admired personal trainers as they looked good, and wanted to follow in their footsteps.
Satish: Both of us entered the fitness industry in 2005. I started first, and he joined a few months later.
As founders of Afterburn, what are the different roles you take on?
Satish: Subash does most of the planning and marketing. I run the operations in terms of scheduling, and prepare payments. Pavithran oversees social media.
What makes Afterburn stand apart from its competitors?
Subash: We are different from other studios as not many fitness business owners are their own products. A lot of them start the business but hire trainers. As the face of Afterburn, we are the owners as well as the trainers. We don’t just simply hire. As you can see, there are only three of us; we want to maintain a certain standard.
Satish: We have a very good relationship with our clients; we have had longtime clients who follow us to Afterburn.
Why are women more inclined to hire personal trainers?
Satish: From when I first started, 90% of my clients are women. They are more conscious of how they look, so they are willing to invest in personal training.
Subash: Women are willing to spend money on anything (laughs)!
As twins, how are you guys similar and different?
Subash: We have similar interests; besides fitness, we like music. Growing up, we listened to all sorts of genre but in school, we liked R&B and hip-hop the most. As we got older, we got into EDM.
Satish: How we are different is in the way we express ourselves.
Subash: I am more loud compared to Satish, who can be reserved....
Satish: And I handle stress better.
How do you settle differences when they arise?
Subash: We do get into misunderstandings, while growing up and even now at work.
Satish: We always start off with our arguments, and weight whose points are stronger. Sometimes, it could take days to reach an understanding.
In running a gym, do you walk the talk i.e. maintain a certain lifestyle and diet?
Satish: We have a kitchen at the back, where we cook brown rice and healthy meals.
Subash: We used to have guilty pleasures when it comes to food. But now we have good willpower; when we’re on a diet, we really watch what we eat.
What has been the best feedback you received from clients?
Satish: The feedback from clients is that they feel comfortable working out here. It’s personalised service in a smaller space, and there’s less distraction. They don’t have to worry about monthly memberships and unwanted stares.
Subash: For a majority of our clients, they say that exercising makes them less lethargic. The feel good factor and confidence plays a very big role.
What are your plans for Afterburn?
Subash: We do want to expand our business but we have to find partners with the right experience and the same passion. After opening Afterburn, we don’t go on holidays much.
I have worked six to eight weeks with no rest but I don’t regret the joys and pains.