A local business owner and Issaquah native recently celebrated a year of entrepreneurship after he decided to give back to his community with fitness and healthy living.
Truong Luu wrestled at Issaquah High School, served in the military and continued to focus on fitness when he settled down on the Eastside. After a lifetime and career of fitness and helping others, Luu combined his two passions on Dec. 28, 2017, when he opened his own branch of 9Round, an international kickboxing fitness franchise.
“I couldn’t think of a better place to replant my roots [than] where I grew up in Issaquah,” Luu said. “It’s been a really fun, wild ride and bringing in a lot more fulfillment than [just] bringing home a paycheck.”
Luu is originally from west Seattle, but his family moved to Issaquah where he attended middle and high school. After training in the Army, Luu enrolled at the University of Washington and eventually graduated with a degree in business management and finance before settling down with an office job and starting a family.
“I’ve always helped people, but often times in my previous career I would sometimes still feel empty or unsatisfied with the work done,” Luu said. “Initially, I saw an opportunity with 9Round to make an impact and do something for myself in this area that was new and different.”
Luu’s 9Round location focuses on accommodating locals who have busy schedules. There are no set class times, and trainers are always available to help members plan their workouts. To further help those with busy schedules, the workouts are typically intense and full-body, lasting 30 minutes.
“I knew for me, fitness was always an outlet and it certainly helped improve things mentally and of course physically which ultimately helped in other parts of my life,” Luu said. “I’ve seen and felt that kind of impact and want to do that for as many people as I can all the while having lots of fun doing it.”
While the workouts and gym itself is based around kickboxing, 9Round doesn’t host sparring, so members learn the fundamentals and fitness around the sport without getting hit themselves.
“It’s obviously a lot nicer for having a bigger membership base and more people to help,” Luu said. “Fitness, if it’s fun for you it actually becomes easier and, of course, it just has to be something you like.”
Luu added that he was nervous when his business first opened in the Issaquah Highlands, but the support he found in the community and with the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce helped him feel stable.
“When you start a business you’re always taking a leap of faith either way — it’s going to be fun, it’s going to be a wild ride — but the support has been amazing,” Luu said. “I wish I could have this start every time. It’s been amazing.”
Currently, Luu’s 9Round location is going strong during what’s usually the busiest time of year for gyms. Luu said he plans to keep adapting his business, keeping it competitive and always serving its members and the community.
“I don’t think this is ever one of those things you sit back and relax on,” Luu said. “At the end of the day there’s always another gym that wants to pop open with a new concept, so we’re always thinking of things we can do to better our community, our members, but also we need to continue to stay out there.”