Danny and Joel Woodhead: Creating a Place for Every Athlete

Author: D1 Training

Danny and Joel Woodhead: Creating a Place for Every Athlete


We love walking with each member on their journey, whether it’s a student just beginning our Rookie program, a new mom who is just venturing back into the gym, or a professional athlete who is seeking out the highest quality training and facility. One of the most amazing things about D1 gyms are the franchisees; folks who have invested a great deal of time and energy in the health and athleticism of their communities. In this post series, we are going to speak with several different D1 owners and managers to learn more about their individual story.

We recently sat down to talk with Danny and Joel Woodhead, Owner and General Manager of D1 Omaha.

Tell us a little about yourself. What did you do before joining D1?

Joel: I was born and raised in Nebraska, and attended Peru State College majoring in Exercise Science. I also played running back during my time there. My brother Danny is in the NFL, and our ultimate goal was to partner together in the sports performance industry. We wanted to come together, build or rent a facility, and go from there. After college I worked in Orthopedic Sales for three years.

What prompted your interest in D1 Training?

Danny: D1 reached out to me for an opportunity in Omaha, and it seemed like the perfect fit. I have always been interested in the fitness aspect of my sport, and my brother had a strong interest as well.

Joel: My brother knew of D1 since he had been looking at the private sector fitness industry, sports performance and strength and conditioning. Eventually Danny was approached by D1 to become an investor, and it was a perfect fit. D1 had the foundation laid already, and it took the headache out to not have to start our own LLC. He asked me to become a manager, and we have loved partnering together in this venture.

Why did you decide to join the D1 family, and what do you enjoy the most about it?

Danny: I’ve always wanted to be part of a gym and starting a D1 gym seemed like a great opportunity since I live in Omaha and train here. The best part about it is getting to know the people in the gym- the members who come on a daily basis. These people have become my friends.

Joel: I am passionate about this, plain and simple. My brother and I are also best friends outside of the business, so being able to have a working relationship with him means a great deal to me. Waking up going to work in athletic apparel every day is pretty great. The state of the art facility, the environments and working with the clients is great.

What do you think makes D1 different than other gyms?

Danny: The environment, hands down. It’s a community. People are building relationships with others through the classes. When you work hard together, you build friendships, and when you have people cheering you on, it’s easier to go harder in every workout.

Joel: I don’t know any other gyms that develop the athlete from age seven up to an adult. Over half of the athletes in the scholastic division don’t get exposed to weight lifting or the mechanics of speed and agility in any other place, and setting the standard at that age is important. Not many gyms or facilities have forty to eighty yards of field turf either. Most importantly, the energy, the positivity, and the true community we have at D1 sets us apart.

The perception of D1 is that everyone is an aspiring Division 1 athlete. Tell us the real story about your members.

Joel: The biggest misconception I get from people is that only sports athletes can work out here. But that’s not the case. We hope everyone participates in sports, but it’s the place for people who want to train like an athlete. Of course we have a target market we want to hit, but everyone is welcome. There is a place for them. Defeating that misconception of only sport athletes is important. We have people in the scholastic division who aren’t even involved in sports, they just want to be active.

Some people think that membership dues are the only way for facilities to make money. What other things have you done to grow top line?

Joel: The more creative you are, the more avenues of revenue you can open up. We offer personal training, small group, sports specific, and team training. We recently developed a really strong team training partnership with a volleyball club. The partnership is roughly ninety athletes divided into eight teams. We tailored a program specifically to their goals and needs, and it helps the team increase unity and cohesiveness. We also just opened football position training, with current and former NFL athletes leading those sessions.

What advice would you offer for someone considering opening their very own D1 facility?

Danny: Just make sure it’s a great fit for you. I’ve really enjoyed it, especially getting to know the people. You will always get a good workout, but it’s such a great opportunity to be a part of other people’s lives. It’s been a lot of fun.

Joel: I think it’s important to look back and ask yourself- what form of training did you have to help develop you and grow you as an athlete when you were younger? Making this available to young and up-and-coming athletes makes such a huge difference. In my opinion, if you want to become a better athlete, you have to work on your athleticism- speed, agility, power, and strength. It’s not just about sports-specific skills. It’s about creating a place for people to reach their goals and become a better athlete