MUVFit Celebrates 8 Years of Personal Training in Nashville
As you may not know I was lucky enough to go on a nice vacation a couple weeks ago to beautiful St. John in the Virgin Islands with some great friends. If you’ve never been, it’s a beautiful place. It’s very close to St. Thomas but without all the commercialism and busyness. It’s a bit more quaint, is mostly National Park, and has some outstanding beaches. It’s also very close to the British Virgin Islands which are gorgeous. The entire area is spectacular and I highly recommend it. I thought you might enjoy a few pics from the trip to entice you!
Today I was going to talk about how important taking a “break” is – both in your personal life and even with your fitness, but it hit me last week that we are creeping up on our 8 year anniversary as a business!
Now I’m not usually one that spends a lot of time patting myself on the back or drawing attention to things like this (I don’t usually ever tell anyone when my birthday is as I’m uncomfortable with the attention), but I thought this was noteworthy. 8 years…that’s pretty impressive – and that’s not a brag…it’s just true. I’m very proud of having this business for 8 years. And it’s been through a lot over 8 years to get here. But the interesting thing is – it never crossed my mind from day 1 that this might fail. I was determined to create something different.
Being that we’re coming up on that achievement (March 9), I thought I’d give you a brief history of myself and MUVFit, how it came to be, and how we’ve gotten to where we are now. Some of you may have heard this story, but others may not have. So for those that have, please indulge me while I reminisce. I hope you don’t mind my transparency.
I began in the personal training industry over 16 years ago – and that was after a 4 year college baseball career. I actually graduated with degrees in Business Management and Marketing – and went into sales with my uncles’ pizza business – but found that my heart wasn’t in it. I wanted something else.
Stepping back a bit, my pitching career was derailed after my junior year due to an elbow injury in which I had to have surgery. I knew I couldn’t pitch anymore after trying to come back, so I had a decision to make. I could quit, or I could put my head down and go to work to play a position. I knew it was a long shot and that I would have to transform myself to make it happen. I did it, and in addition to having a stellar senior year as the right fielder, I realized that I really loved fitness.
So when I moved to Nashville to work for Hunt Brothers’ Pizza, I would help my brother on occasion with his fitness and weight loss goals. I was noticed at the gym we worked out at, and one of the trainer’s approached me asking if I’d ever thought of becoming a trainer myself – that he thought I’d be good. I knew nothing about it and frankly didn’t have much interest. But as my initial career was not fulfilling me, I began to think of it more and more.
Long story short, I made the leap in February of 2001. I began working for the trainer that had approached me and stayed with him for 5 years. In that span of time, I met and began training country music star Kenny Chesney. I traveled for the better part of 3 years on tour with Kenny right when he began exploding. I was lucky enough to appear in some magazines and even a couple TV spots documenting Kenny’s transformation. (I even have a cameo in KC’s music video – The Good Stuff!)
In July of 2006 I decided to set off on my own to see what I could create. I freelanced at a few private studios while continuing to travel some with Kenny. Finally, in 2009 when the studio I was training at decided to close last minute, I had a decision – I could either find space to rent at another gym, or bite the bullet and do what I wanted to do – open my own facility.
I did just that on March 9, 2009. At the time, I only had 1200 square feet, but it was only me so it was plenty of room for what I was doing – mainly 1-on-1 training. It was a meager beginning but it was perfect for me at the time. I named my business Muv Fitness Coaching – because I always prodded my clients to keep moving. Movement is the key to staying fit. I still say that to this day. Because MOVEFit wasn’t available, I shortened it to MUVFit. Hey – I had to make a quick decision…
Once here for about 6 months I began to dabble in having trainers come in and rent space from me. This was my experience in the fitness business – it’s how I grew up in it – so it only made sense to supplement what I was doing with a couple trainers renting space and training clients. It helped cover some of the overhead, but it really wasn’t a business at that time. To me it was a job, and I had a cute little space to do it in. Some of you only trained with us back then and that’s all you know of us. Boy have things changed!
In 2013 when I realized that I could not have the business I wanted without establishing true systems that could be replicated, I switched my hiring practices to an employment arrangement. For many outside the fitness industry, this is standard, but personal training is one field in which a lot of independent contractors still exist. For whatever reason the PT industry gets away with it although many gym owners abuse the system. It’s complicated. I also changed my business name to MUVFit Personal Training – there’s a story behind that but it’s not exciting enough to share here. 😉
But this is when things began to shift a bit. The salon next door closed so I decided to take over their space, essentially doubling our space to 2400 square feet. We were able to introduce group fitness classes at this time. Being able to control more aspects of the business pushed us in the right direction. I hired a friend to take over some of the management duties, and we changed some of our staff after the employment transition.
Things were moving along pretty good at that point, and in 2015 we took over the final space in our building – growing to 3600 square feet. We were establishing a good name around town, but I felt something was missing. Those of you who are business owners will understand, but sometimes you can feel that your business owns you. I knew in my mind what I had as my vision for MUVFit, but it became clear that I did not have the right people in place to get us there. We were doing well, but I could see a ceiling approaching fast. It was my fault, and I had to rectify it if I ever wanted MUVFit to become what I built up in my mind.
In early 2016 I made some tough decisions – decisions that at the time were painful and extremely stressful. I changed our business model to better adhere to my philosophy of helping more people through a system that allows for a less expensive service. In addition, I had to bring on a team that better mirrored my personal values. I had a culture I wanted at MUVFit and we were far from it. This was my toughest year in business but also the BEST year in our history (once we got through the muck and mud of the transition).
Of the staff I had in 2015, I only kept one and promoted her to our Team Leader position. For those of you that know Vanessa Edwards, it was a no-brainer. She best exemplified what I wanted the staff and culture to be known for and I knew she could help me mold and shape our new staff. Her energy and passion show through everything we do.
Now it’s 2017 and we’re about to celebrate 8 years! I’ve never been happier with MUVFit or what it’s become. For those of you that are current members, I know you can feel the positive vibe and FUN atmosphere we have created. One reason we’ve created that is due to YOU. You have allowed us to create the culture we now have.
For those of you that haven’t trained at MUVFit, you might be interested to know how we did that. First, I hired coaches that are humble, fun, passionate, have servant’s hearts, and act with integrity and honesty in everything they do. They are our lifeblood and they helped create the most amazingly welcoming environment. Second, we actually have our clients sign a culture agreement ensuring we have the right people training here. We want positive, encouraging and supportive people working out here. One bad egg…one person that is an energy TAKER rather than an energy GIVER… can drain the life out of a training session. I’ve done this long enough where I didn’t want that anymore. We expect the right fit here and won’t accept just anyone.
Sometimes it takes time to see a vision through. And I’m not done. There’s much more work to be done. We want to become the BEST fitness option in Nashville. Our clients feel we are – now it’s time to spread the word and continue to prove that over and over.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any questions about MUVFit and would like to know more about what we do, reply back as I’m happy to answer any questions.
Have a great week!