A leap of faith has carried Kanon Burt, and the Irontribe Fitness brand along with him, from an Alabama farm to the Triangle.

Burt, a former Samford University football player with a heart and mind for social entrepreneurship, is part of a three-man partnership that’s taking an Alabama institution to new frontiers across the southeast.  Irontribe is a labor of love for Kanon, a businessman who is making positive development of others his life’s work

As with many entrepreneurs, Kanon Burt has an interesting story that’s led up to his opportunity here in Raleigh.  He grew up on a family farm, thinking that someday he might go to college and return to help his dad run their 2,500 acres and the adjacent sawmill.  Kanon describes growing up in a close-knit, rural community, where the farm, the sawmill, his church, and school were all in close proximity. People knew each other and took care of each other, working, playing, and worshipping together.

At Samford, Kanon says that he got to know an influential group of people, people who challenged him to commit to his Christian faith and leverage his adventurous spirit.  Majoring in business with an emphasis in social entrepreneurship, he found an outlet that would unify this vision—Irontribe Fitness—a far cry from what he had always thought he would do in returning to the family farm and sawmill as so many generations had before him.

“I could tell it was different from the first Irontribe 101 orientation I attended,” Burt explained. “There are no machines—everything we do uses free weights and movements.  But the key factor that’s different is that each gym is structured as a tribe.”

Kanon says that the tribe concept is a way to bring community and its many benefits to the fitness space.  “We cap each location’s membership at 300.  The team works individually with each member, benchmarking where they’ve been, fitness-wise, and where they want to go. We set goals for each member, and the team holds them accountable. For example, if I have a member that’s missed a week of training, I’ll give her a call and see what’s going on—while this sounds harsh, it’s really not.  It all comes from a place of love for people, helping them develop to reach their goals. It’s proven over and over again that when we have accountability partners in life, we tend to live up to what we seek for ourselves. The tribe is about bringing people together, welcoming all, and helping people improve in life through fitness and friendships.”

In addition to working out together, Irontribe hosts multiple events throughout the year, including specialized fitness sessions, community meals, and more.

After working with Irontribe’s founders in their franchise program for a few months, Kanon set his sights on the Triangle. “I had lived in Alabama my whole life, till just a few months ago, but I always loved North Carolina.  My grandparents used to take me and my siblings on their travels up and down the east coast, and I fell in love with the mountains, beaches, and everything in between.”

Kanon and his partners have big plans for Irontribe. While they are building out their first location in a former Blockbuster Video store at the intersection of Six Forks and Strickland, market research has shown the partnership group that RDU is ripe for the Irontribe concept.  The group believes that they can build the first location’s 300-member tribe quickly, and that the market will ultimately support up to 15 locations.

The first location will open in late April 2013, and Kanon is moving quickly to realize his dream.  “I feel really blessed to have this opportunity, and have it with a great company and in a great place like Raleigh.  I was looking for something like Irontribe, where I could really commit myself to helping people be the best they can be.  Being a part of a team—whether it’s in sports, a fraternity, a church group, or family—really brings out the best in people.  And thankfully, Irontribe was looking for somebody like me as they sought to expand out of Alabama—somebody that’s committed for the long haul and passionate about fitness.”

We have enjoyed working with Kanon and his partners here at the Forrest Firm and welcome them to our wonderful area, wishing them great success in the months and years to come. To learn more, visit the North Raleigh location website at  or find them on Facebook at .