Our Roots Run Deep in Peach Country
In 1993, a small martial arts school called Rick Drew American Karate Academy came to life on Peachtree Road in the heart of Buckhead.
Rick Drew was a passionate force in the Atlanta martial arts community.
As chief instructor and head of the academy, he taught Martial Arts and Conditioning classes. There were only about 15 members when fresh-faced students Jeff Thompson and Heidi Ziegele joined.
Those students became instructors, and in 1997 Jeff and Heidi bought the school from Rick. They changed the name to Atlanta Kick and started Atlanta’s first Kickboxing fitness program. It took off alongside Billy Blanks’ Tae Bo workouts.
The school grew fast and started adding new programs to get members into fighting shape. One of those programs – first called “Bikini Boot Camp” – was a huge success.
Operation Boot Camp
In 2000, an AK instructor mentioned he’d been in great shape during military basic training. This idea was the seed for Jeff and Heidi to create a fitness boot camp for the general public. The program was simple: 30-days of accountability and HIIT workouts with the usual flair for fun and friendships.
After helping thousands of Atlantans get in the best shape of their lives, Jeff and Heidi turned the program into a franchise system. The first Operation Boot Camp franchise was sold in Knoxville, TN, and the system has been growing ever since.
With locations coast-to-coast, Operation Boot Camp grew to be the largest fitness boot camp franchise in the nation, helping members make lasting positive changes in their fitness and eating habits.
Finding a New Home
In 2005, a broken water main damaged the old building and forced the studio to relocate to Miami Circle in Buckhead – a bittersweet blessing in disguise as Atlanta Kick became the largest martial arts school in the city.
Soon after the relocation, Ali Massa became part owner of Atlanta Kick, and Lauren Lorenzo became part owner of Operation Boot Camp. Lauren was named Director of Training, and Ali helped implement a new rotating curriculum for all karate students. She created age-specific programs including a karate program for 3-year-olds.
AK Picks Up Barbells
In November 2009, the crew opened a CrossFit affiliate. The community needed more functional fitness workouts, and CrossFit was an excellent complement to Atlanta Kick’s martial arts programs. CrossFit methods train speed, agility, coordination, strength, and stamina – everything needed to become lean, toned, and strong for any purpose.
With some added personal style and a healthy dose of competition, AK CrossFit helps members improve their strength. AKCF instructors love nothing more than watching beginners level-up.
Our Values Make Us Different
We’ve poured our hearts and souls into AK over the years, and our dedication shows. We’ve got a whole fan club of members who tell us class is their favorite part of the day. We’ve watched children from our programs grow into healthy young adults and even become instructors.
Helping people get fit is important to us, so we made sure our space has everything you need.
Our High Standards Encourage
- A safe, judgment-free, family-friendly environment
- Radical honesty and integrity in everything we do
- Sensitivity to your needs
- A humble commitment to growth and development
- The celebration of diversity
- Treating all people with empathy and respect
- Comfortable, clean, and spacious facilities
- Professionally trained coaches & friendly staff
- Age-specific and experience-based curriculum for all programs