Bleeding Purple: The Journey to Anytime Fitness
I have to be real honest here. There are three words that drive me nuts in the health and fitness industry…
Some people cringe at words like moist. Not me. The words I cringe at are price or month-to-month.
I have been working for Anytime Fitness for two and half years in the office. Honestly, I don’t get too many ask if we have month-to-month. At least it doesn’t seem like it nearly as much as when I first started working at Anytime.
Part of why it probably feels that way is because I know how to change the conversation or change the game if you will.
When I first started working at Anytime Fitness, I valued being active, but not necessarily enough to convince other people.
For me personally, I didn’t always take my health seriously. I always remained active through sports. I played a lot of basketball and flag football to stay in decent enough shape.
I can tell you that most meals I ate was either fast food or frozen potato skins. While I did drink water throughout the day, most of my meals were had with coke or other soft drinks.
I wasn’t exactly eating clean. I wasn’t using all my muscles. I had no mass. No definition. No muscle endurance. I can run circles around most people on a basketball court or football field because I had stamina like you wouldn’t believe. But, I wouldn’t say I was a model of health.
Part of that is because I never took my health seriously. I have always had a fast metabolism. I could eat whatever I wanted and didn’t gain much weight. I was always called “skinny-fat” by a lot of my friends. I am not going to pretend like it bothered me. It didn’t because I am a pretty self-aware person. And I did fit in that category.
But, I can tell you I wasn’t confident to go to the beach and take my shirt off because I would see people with muscles and I’m thinking “what the fuck are these things I got?” I had tiny arms and a beer gut.
My first realization that I gained a lot of weight, although you would never guess, was the start of 2015. I was at a New Year’s party with some friends and they had a scale in their bathroom. I decided to hop on. I was shocked when I read 180. I was up 35 pounds from where I was when I began college. I’m drunk and it’s New Years, so I didn’t necessarily care. But, I did think to myself “where the hell did this come from?” Oh yeah, probably the beer I drank because I hated my job and I was eating potato skins every day.
Then, I got fired from the newspaper a week later. To my old boss, I hope you read this. That was the best decision you ever made for me. News sucked and so did you. Shots fired.
Thanks to one of my best friends, Andrew. I interviewed at Anytime Fitness with an amazing friend and boss, Jennifer…Andrew’s sister. I didn’t walk into that interview thinking it would be a career. Jen suspected that too. I know she did.
She offered me the job of H2i anyway. In Anytime lingo, that means Hired 2 Inspire. In other words, be the face that people see when they walk in the door so you better make them feel at home.
I will never forget what she told me when she offered me the job. She said she would love me on the team. She felt I would bring a lot of value to their club because of my background with video and marketing. She made me feel like I was appreciated. That was new.
When she told me that the ball was in my court and to think it over and talk to my wife (fiance’ at the time), that stayed with me. She was telling me make the best decision for me with no pressure. Instead of continuing to pursue another job opportunity with another newspaper, I cut that short and decided Anytime was the right decision.
I firmly believe in transparency. I hate the idea of talking to someone who you can’t be honest with where you stand with them. That was not the case with Jen.
Going back to what I was saying about how I didn’t take health very seriously. My friends and co-workers can tell you this. I walked into the gym on the first or second day working there with a bag of fucking Chinese food. I was used to grabbing bad food because I was on the go. If looks could kill, I would have died…twice.
They looked at me like I had just killed their dog.
As time went on, I was selling memberships and doing pretty well thanks to the great coaching I had and a team that was incredibly helpful.
Something was missing. I didn’t workout. I didn’t eat, sleep and breath fitness. I could tell you the basics, but it wasn’t my passion.
Then, I made it to my first conference. It is an annual meet up in different cities where all of the Anytime employees get coaching and do some partying on the side. I can say in full confidence that no one executes work hard play hard like the Anytime family.
My first conference took place in Nashville and we had a great time. I got to listen to some great speakers like Tim Gard and Keni Thomas. Some not so good things happened. Sorry Jen.
But, something amazing happened at that conference. I watched my friend and boss win the O2i of the year award which is given to the best owner each year. I have never been so excited for someone in my life. There isn’t a better person to work for.
A great quote by Nelson Mandela is “it is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”
That described Jen to a tee. Between her winning the award and seeing what a conference is all about, I knew I was part of something real special.
What Chuck Runyon and Dave Mortensen have built is incredible and like Jen, they are terrific leaders who give credit to their employees. I don’t vibe with corporate America, but this company is the red-headed step child causing trouble and in a good way. Especially when you consider that Anytime Fitness was voted number one Global Franchise by Entrepreneur Magazine two years in a row.
We came back from conference and my wedding was coming up. I decided it was time to get in shape. I began working out with Andrew and Siana, who I took over for in the office when she decided to jump to training full time.
It became a big part of my lifestyle. Working out wasn’t what I remembered. It wasn’t a chore or something I felt like I had to do. It was something I wanted. I enjoyed seeing the changes. I enjoyed feeling the changes. I enjoyed the feeling of it. It became a pleasure more than a burden.
My attitude toward fitness also changed. Something in me just clicked. I was now hungry to help people and change some lives. I want everyone who walks through those doors to feel the same things I feel when I workout. I want them feel excitement. I want them feel confident. I want them feel like they can be themselves.
In March of 2016, I decided to do a weight loss competition we called March Meltdown. I had a goal of getting my body fat percentage under 15%.
I joined Siana’s team. I met that goal. Along the way, I found something else. I had an itch to become a personal trainer.
After March Meltdown ended, I decided to go through the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) to receive my certification. I finished in December. New year, new me right? I got word that I passed my exam and I was officially a Personal Trainer.
We made it through January and I started training around March. I have been busy training and working the office and there is nothing better. I freaking love it. I have some of the most incredible clients. There is no better high for me than watching someone reach their goals and break their comfort zone. I can write an entire piece on personal training and spoiler alert, I will eventually.
I know I said I would talk about why month-to-month and how people asking cost makes me cringe on the inside. I know I went off on a tangent. That was to give you insight that I have been there. I didn’t see the value in a gym membership despite working in a gym.
I have now adopted a more healthy lifestyle. I would be lying to you if I said all of my meals were the most healthy thing I can eat. I have learned to monitor it enough and make smarter choices. It helps I have a wife who cooks for me every single day. My wife also happens to be a dietitian. Hey Mallisa, you will love this…
I would be lying if I told you that I workout hard every single week. I have my off weeks just like you. I may be a personal trainer, but like you, I am also human.
I take health and fitness seriously.
When someone asks about month-to-month and why we don’t have that or why our price isn’t $10, in the simplest terms, because I actually care about you and your goals.
Big box gyms where you are just a number want one thing and one thing only, your money. They don’t care about you and your goals. They hope you pay for that gym membership and they never want to see your face again.
To them, your membership is as valuable as a Netflix account. You will never get rid of it because it is only $10 per month. You have months where you will never use it either.
The problem with the month-to-month is that it feeds into the one idea I HATE! Quick fix crap.
If you want to be healthy, it is not something a magical pill or drink can do for you. I have seen people take these products and sure it works when they’re on it.
But what happens when the magic stops? Things get worse than they were before.
Losing weight and achieving your fitness goal is not supposed to be easy. It is one of the hardest things to do. That is why when it is done correctly, most people never let go of it or become huge advocates for healthier lifestyles.
And that is what it is…a lifestyle. The work never stops.
When people walk through our doors or call our phone and ask those two things, we can talk about the price later. Tell me about you. What is your name and let’s find out why you are calling or stopped by. What made you pick up that phone or driver here TODAY? How long have you been thinking about joining? What have you done in the past?
I can’t help you if I don’t know anything about you. This isn’t some ploy or sales pitch to get you in our gym. Can you really put a price on your health?
I want people to see everything we have to offer from our equipment to our atmosphere to our multitude of programs to help achieve a healthy lifestyle because I care.
I have had people cry in my office. I have had people laugh in my office. I have had people angrily vent to me about something that happened in their life. Those are the moments I live for in my work.
That shows me that our members and our Anytime family confide in me to help them. And damn it, that is what I will do. By being there for them no matter what the situation and being a trusted friend, I hope it inspires them and gives them a reason to keep going and keep shooting for the stars. I hope it helps them go after their goals.
Unfortunately, some people don’t always get there and they leave. There is nothing worse than hearing “I am here to cancel” from someone who hasn’t met their goals. That means we failed that person. We didn’t live up to our promise. But, a lot of times because of how we treat them, they find their way back.
It has happened countless times where someone cancels because they feel they are wasting their money. Then they come walking in six months later ready to join again. We hope we are more successful the next time.
Whether people are looking to lose 10 pounds or 100 pounds, we want to help them get there. It won’t happen in a month. The problem with the quick fix or month-to-month mentality, what is next? As soon as you achieve your goal, you think it’s over? What do you think will happen? You will regress. You owe it to yourself to keep going.
When you meet a goal, you have to find the next one. That is part of what I do. I help people define these goals and make them reasonable. This game never ends.
I love everything this brand stands for. I love everything our club stands for. I love working for the greatest company in the world. I love seeing the success stories every year of people reaching their goals and finding happiness with themselves.
We are just trying to make the world a healthier place one person at a time. So when I say or hashtag the phrase Bleed Purple, it isn’t just a catchphrase.
Bleed Purple is a lifestyle and I mean every single word of it. This company gave me the greatest gift of all time…an opportunity to make a difference in my community.
So to all my Anytime fam from Jen, Andrew, Ricky, Siana, Brit, Carla, Zach, Bryant, Alexis, Traci, Bionca and our group fit peeps…keep crushing it! Y’all give me a reason to enjoy what I do for a living.