Edgard Corona: A Fitness Visionary Paving the Way for Smart Fit’s Success

Edgard Corona, the brilliant mind behind Smart Fit, has emerged as a key player in the fitness industry, redefining the concept of health and well-being across Latin America. As the CEO and founder of Bio Ritmo, one of Brazil’s leading sports activity companies, Corona has also earned recognition as a trailblazer in sports business management.

In 1996, Corona established the first Bio Ritmo gym in Santo Amaro, a neighborhood in São Paulo, with a single unit and minimal knowledge of the fitness sector. Since then, he has held the reins as the CEO, steering the group towards unprecedented success. While Corona initially pursued a degree in Chemical Engineering at FAAP, his life took an unexpected turn when he faced challenges in his family’s sugar and alcohol mill. It was then that he decided to chase a long-cherished dream—to create a swimming academy. Over the years, the academy expanded and evolved into a full-fledged fitness center, setting the stage for the group’s future expansion.

However, it was the introduction of the “low-cost” concept that truly catapulted Corona to greater heights. In 2009, the visionary entrepreneur launched Smart Fit, which quickly gained widespread popularity, boasting over 360 branches across Latin America and establishing itself as the largest gym network in the region. BM&C has carefully analyzed key milestones in Edgard Corona’s journey to becoming the newest Brazilian billionaire after the IPO.

His Journey in the Industry:

Edgard Corona inherited a nearly bankrupt sugar cane mill in the mid-1990s. Employing sound business management practices, he transformed the company into the 13th largest producer in Brazil. However, a shareholder issue forced him to step away from the company, marking the end of his career as a sugar mill owner. Undeterred by the setbacks, Corona shifted his focus to a small family-owned swimming academy—an area closely connected to his passion for swimming. He aimed to turn the academy into a thriving business. Listening to business experts’ advice, he incorporated swimming pools and circuit training spaces into the academy’s offerings. During a trip to the United States, he encountered a consultant who introduced him to the concept of “metanoia,” a hierarchical management approach that encourages employee participation for more significant results. Embracing the idea, Corona tested and applied it to his business.

Absorbing insights from various market experts, Corona attended a congress of fitness academies in the US in 2003. The event exposed him to different perspectives on the industry, including concerns about the potential dominance of large players over smaller businesses. This wealth of knowledge, to varying degrees, contributed to the foundation of Smart Fit—a democratic gym model that standardized its facilities, offering two or three layout patterns with motivational lighting. Affordable pricing (R$49) allowed both employers and employees to utilize the same space, revolutionizing fitness in Brazil.

Fortune Surges in IPO Debut:

On Tuesday, Smart Fit’s shares (SMFT3) soared by 34.78% during its debut on the B3 (Brazilian stock exchange), closing at R$ 31.00 per share. The IPO raised a staggering R$ 2.3 billion, boosting Edgard Corona’s fortune to approximately R$ 1.6 billion, according to Forbes’ estimates. Considering the Corona family’s other shareholdings, their combined stake is valued at R$ 2 billion. Though not selling any shares in the IPO, the family’s stake will be diluted due to the issuance of new shares. After the offer, their ownership in SmartFit may decrease to 14.85% if an additional lot of R$ 345 million in shares is sold.

The IPO has been a part of Smart Fit’s plans since December 2018 when the company expressed interest in listing on the Novo Mercado, a segment with the strictest corporate governance rules on the B3. In the same year, the company deferred the offering to seek a better valuation in the future. The billions raised from the offering will be utilized to fuel organic growth and acquisitions, according to documents submitted to the Brazilian Securities Commission (CVM).

Edgard Corona: concept is to provide the highest quality clubs in both the elite and low-cost categories

Dono da Smart Fit, Edgard Corona, stated that if he loses customers to low-cost clubs, he would prefer to do so to one of his low-cost clubs rather than one of his rivals. In 2009 he introduced low-cost Smart Fit in the sector alongside the high-end business, BioRitmo, which he had started in Brazil in 1995.

Corona’s concept is to provide the highest quality clubs in both the elite and low-cost categories on the market to ensure that his facilities are people’s top and secondary options. They can then choose between BioRitmo and Smart Fit. They committed every error, according to Edgard Corona. The club was in the red for multiple years before we increased the size and parking options.

Everything changed when the following BioRitmo in Paulista opened its doors in 1997. When Edgard Corona visited London, the architecture and dining experiences there inspired him. He decided he didn’t want his establishments to feel like fitness clubs; instead, he envisioned them like restaurants. Their Paulista club revolutionized the industry; it was spotless, had a fantastic color scheme, and emphasized lighting.

However, even then, costs made it difficult for them to expand. Brazilians had to adjust their prices every month due to high interest and inflation rates, and a two-and-a-half times higher import tax on items than US gym owners meant they had to pay for gym equipment. They didn’t have much equipment because treadmills cost them $25,000. That is more than a car.

It’s still one of their biggest concerns because the cost of workout equipment is so high. After visiting his first IHRSA conference in 2001, Corona realized his sales process required more optimization and hired one of the knowledgeable presenters to improve it. Corona kept on exploring this, though. For instance, to overcome the difficulty of an internal placement in a shopping center, he built theater-style lighting at the Higenopolis facility in So Paolo, which debuted in 2005.

Career while attending classes in college: Edgard Corona

Smart Fit is one of the largest companies dedicated to fitness in the South American market, with CEO Edgard Corona pushing forward in making it a very prominent business wherever he goes. It’s his contributions that led to his role as one of the central figures in the country’s stock exchange. Edgard is often considered one of the most adaptable individuals in the market, given his history of changing how he works as well as his own methods of tackling a post-pandemic market.

Edgard Corona began his career while attending classes in college. In his five years of attending college, he took advantage of kickstarting his future by creating clothes before creating his own company with its own dedicated stores. Up until the mid-1990s, he ran a family business that he later retired from as he shifted focus to a new series of gyms in Santo Amaro with the Bio Ritmo brand. Edgard Corona used his new gym company as a way to help him understand how to run a business of his own while learning from his past mistakes as he continued growing.

With growing influence in the market, it led to his new gym model in the form of Smart Fit; founded in 2008, it served as a spiritual successor to Bio Ritmo. It included a modern mindset of balancing high quality with low cost as well as keeping the environment simple yet clean with employee engagement to boot. Even today, Edgard Corona is commended for how he adapts to change, as he chose to stop any plans of expansion while handling both revenue issues and restrictions for nearly a year. Edgard would later focus on cash management with initial struggles before succeeding in obtaining an extension for his financial liability after cutting expenses down.

Edgard Corona’s Success In The Fitness Industry

Edgard Corona is the president of Smart Fit, one of Brazil’s most successful health and fitness companies. His leadership and vision helped shape the Brazilian fitness industry, creating an environment that promotes an active lifestyle and encourages people to get fit. He has been at the forefront of implementing innovative methods to bring the gym experience to more people in Brazil and Latin America. Corona has achieved tremendous success in the fitness industry, growing his firm from a small start-up in Brazil to a company with clubs in Brazil, Mexico, Chile, and Colombia.

Corona is highly respected in the fitness industry for its commitment to providing quality services and products. Corona strongly advocates the importance of physical activity and healthy living. He strongly supports a program that encourages healthy lifestyle changes and the adoption of healthier habits. Edgard Corona has also been involved in numerous charity initiatives, such as the Smart Fit School Project, which provides free physical education in public schools in Brazil. Thanks to Corona’s dedication and leadership, Smart Fit has become one of the leading fitness companies in Latin America. His reputation in the fitness industry is one of excellence and innovation.

Edgard Corona has helped to revolutionize the fitness industry by introducing innovative concepts that have changed how people exercise. He was one of the first to introduce small-format fitness centers, offering users a higher-quality experience without the need for large facilities and equipment. These centers have become popular throughout Latin America, offering more affordable options to those who don’t have access to the more traditional gym facilities. Edgard Corona has also been instrumental in developing technology that allows users to track their progress at the centers and accurately measure their progress. This technology has made it easier for users to stay motivated and keep track of their goals. In addition to his impact on the fitness industry, Corona has also been a major innovator in corporate social responsibility. He has played a major role in helping to reduce poverty in Latin America by creating job opportunities and providing financial assistance to those in need.