5 Lessons Learned as the Gym Owners Wife

A message from the owner’s wife…MariahKrafftIndianapolisIndianaWeddingPortraitandProductPhotographer-38

It is no secret that owning your own CrossFit gym is a dream come true for many passionate athletes and coaches out there! For the past six years I have gone from being a timid, beginner athlete, to a coach, and now to being an affiliate owner’s wife. Just as any new challenge forces you to grow, the transformation over the past six years has been on steroids (am I allowed to use that word in a CrossFit blog, lol), for both my husband and I.

Now, for those of you out there saying “oh Becky, you are an owner, not just the owner’s wife,” that is kind of you. Thank you, however in the context of this post I will consider myself a side-kick to the main act. Seeing how I have a full-time job outside the gym that pulls me away often, and my contribution is merely nights and weekends, I will shape up my reflections here as an observer of the person in the trenches, my husband.

5 Lessons Learned: 

Multiple times now people have asked me in passing “what is it like to own a gym?” Usually I give a quick response, however no two sentence response does it justice. Below are the lessons I have learned getting a sneak peak behind the curtain of owning a gym.

  1. Showing you care, even when others don’t

    • A few weeks ago, I had a member (Zack), walk up to me and say “You and Tristan are the happiest people I know!” Zack doesn’t know it, but that meant so much to hear. As the owner AND for coaches of gyms, your job is to make that hour the BEST hour in each person’s day. Kicking off the class you’re focused on getting everyone engaged, asking how their day was, how are they feeling, and following up on how their vacation or last trip went. As the person on duty, you are pouring out encouragement, coaching and praise to your class members. It is a privilege to be the light in their day. However, what most people don’t realize is you are the one that never gets asked those questions. Nine times out of ten, no one will ask how you are feeling. No one will praise you for waking up at 4:30 a.m. and still being there at 6:30 p.m. It takes a strong, caring person to be constantly pouring and investing into others when they may not get that in return.
  2. Leaders aren’t always liked

    • As I mentioned above, my husband and I are just like anyone else. We started as new athletes to a gym, advanced to committed CrossFitters, and today have shifted into the role of coaching and ownership. There is an interesting transition as you go from a peer to others, to the owner. In this new role of “ownership” also comes being the leader of the gym. Making tough decisions with integrity, based on the broader community’s needs. One quote that has stood out to me as it relates to this lesson is: “I don’t know the secret to success, but I know the secret to failure and that is trying to please everyone.” Being a leader is hard. You don’t get to be “just friends” with everyone anymore.  You have to make tough decisions at times and know that it is impossible to please 100% of the population. Sometimes are harder than others, but at the end of the day all you can do is make your decision with integrity and your customers in mind to meet the most important need at that time.
  3. Know your “non-negotiables”

    • This might be the hardest of all the lessons learned being an owner! Your work never ends. People never stop texting you, Facebook messaging you, you needing to order more Kill Cliff, schedule that meeting with your staff…the list goes on and on. Your working hours are not 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with weekends off. No, you work every day of the week, early mornings, late nights, and the spaces in between for programming and catching up on operational items. It is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL to create a non-negotiables list for your personal health. That could be turning your phone on “do not disturb” starting at 9 p.m., or carving out Saturday afternoons and evenings for time with your family. This list of non-negotiables can also include what you know you will say “no” to as it relates to your business. That could be knowing that you will say no to the request for 24 hours access to the gym, someone being there without a certified coach present, or saying no to pushing a product you don’t fully believe in. For owners, and ANY HUMAN with a demanding job, make a list. What are your  non-negotiables for your work and for yourself.
  4. The only thing that is predictable, is the unpredictable

    • If you worked with numbers and spreadsheets, you would probably get pretty good at knowing what your results will be at the end of the day. When you work in an environment influenced heavily by people, the only thing you can predict is things will not go as planned. You can have the perfect workout written, and then five people who didn’t sign up jump into class and you are out of rowers. That competition you have been planning for five months with all your logistics in line ready to go, can be shaken up in an instance when a teams drops out the day of and messes up your heats, or your DJ is sick and can’t make it to the event.  The point is, you must be prepared for “putting out the fires” and adapting on the fly. This is extremely stressful at first, especially when you work so hard to prepare things perfectly. The benefit of this practice however is being ready for any curve-ball life may throw your way. The more you get used to your perfect plan having to change, the more you can take on those many un-knowns of life.
  5. People AMAZE you

    • The most rewarding part of being an owner, is getting to see people do amazing things. When you are coaching someone on how to become a healthier person and reach their goals, you get a glimpse at a side of them that the outside world usually never sees. People open up, are vulnerable and share with you their struggles, hardships, and desires. You then have that pressure of knowing they have asked YOU to help them on that journey to self-improvement. Despite the weight this brings emotionally, it always brings the highest reward. Watching someone gain 10 lbs of muscle in a matter of five weeks, or someone lose 20 lbs of fat after two months of dedicated, healthy eating, is an indescribable joy. People in the right place, at the right time, with the right support can do absolutely amazing feats.

Whew. Well there it is, the summary of the top lessons learned as the gym owner’s wife. The goal with sharing these reflections is two part: 1 – To give others a better picture of what it is like to walk in the shoes of a gym owner. – To share some key lessons many of us can apply to our own lives. While these lessons are in the context of owning a gym, I find they are transferrable skills or principles that many of us can benefit from implementing. So in summary….Key take-away’s: 

  1. There is power in caring deeply for others.
  2. Being a leader is hard, so do it with integrity and the broader group’s best interest in mind.
  3. Know your non-negotiables for your personal and work life. 
  4. Go in predicting that something unpredictable will arise, and be ready. 
  5. People are capable of amazing things when surrounded with the right support group. 

 

5 Ways to Prioritize your Health in 2019

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Over the past year, one of the  most popular phrases I’ve heard is: “I have on my list to get back into shape! I need to start working out with you guys.” While this is an exciting comment to hear, time and time again those who use these words seldom show up in the gym to “walk the talk.” So why is it so hard for many of us to take ACTION on what we know we want? How do we take a “dream” of becoming healthy and make it a reality?

5 ways to follow-through and make health a priority in 2019:

  1. Understand your WHY: If your desire to be healthy is based on trying to please others or meet a standard you feel is needed for your gender/age/role, then this is likely why you have NOT been successful in the past. Being healthy must be for yourself. It must be for a deeper purpose than a societal image or box you think you must fit. The first step in truly triggering you to take the steps needed to be a healthier person is understanding at a deep level your personal WHY.

For some, their why is connected to a role they play in life…such as mother, father, son, daughter, husband, wife. When one is healthy, you are enabling your future with those you love to be more rich and fulfilling. For others, your why may be to personally feel and perform better at work and at home. Brain scientist Richard Restak shares how physical exercise can actually change the physical structure of your brain…allowing you the ability to move blood, oxygen and glucose to your brain faster making you more mentally sharp and energized.

Whatever your reason is…think on it. Reflect and capture down in one sentence or less WHY it really matters to YOU to become a healthier person this next year.

  1. Be a creator, not a survivor: People can often be lumped into one of these two categories…a creator or a survivor. Survivors are constantly preparing for the worst case scenario…what could happen, or what if’s. Survivors worry a lot, have low expectations and take the victim mindset about those scenarios dealt them in life.

Creator dream big! They believe that the universe is on their side and set their intention on what they want…and then figure out the how to get there. There is no question that a creator will reach their goals, and as a matter of fact, creators often find those life miracles along the way they couldn’t have ever planned for. Creators take life into their own hands and let the purpose of their intention drive them to make it happen…whatever it takes.

If you want to transform your life…you MUST squash those survivor tendencies and decide to be the creator of your life. YOU create your future and it is up to the choices you make to prioritize health and happiness in the new year.

  1. Find your Fun: Working out should NOT be a punishment. If you haven’t worked out in a while, then no doubt stepping into a gym you may feel out of your comfort zone. However…this will change soon enough with the right place. Working out and a gym should be a place for FUN. A place where you leave it all on the floor, push yourself beyond your limits and feel absolutely GREAT afterwards. Consistency in working out comes when we enjoy what we do and who we do it with.

4. Have accountability: Greatness doesn’t happen in isolation. When we make that goal to move from our mediocre life to a great, health and happy life, we need a support group there to hold us accountable. This could be a coach, a friend, your spouse or someone you just met at the gym and clicked with. Find those people who will know if you are there or not, and care enough to reach out and see how you are doing. Accountability is not something that should scare us or make us feel guilty, it should help us and remind us that we are loved so much that someone else cares about our success.

  1. Set Short-term goals: When someone asks you what your health goals are…do you think about next month or a year from now? Often times we set goals that may not be obtainable in the timeframe we give ourselves, causing us to “throw in the hat” the moment we start to plateau on our journey. It is imperative that we set bite-size goals to meet along the way. If you have the goal to lose 50 lbs in a  year, great. Let’s put that in our back pocket and let’s focus one month at a time. What is reasonable based on your level of commitment for the next 30 – 90 days? Without milestones along the way to celebrate, it is easy to give up right as we are making the progress needed to get where we ultimately want to be.

These five ways to make health a priority can be applied in many different ways depending on who you are. If you are looking for a structured format to apply these five principles and set yourself up for a powerful 2019, then join our “Made 4 More” health challenge kicking off January 5th in Indianapolis. There will be three prizes, enrichment experiences for participants and awards given on March 9th for progress. Email bmfouard@gmail.com to learn more or sign up.

A New Home – Coaches Reflections

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We are two weeks in of M4G CrossFit opening its doors, founding members joining, and the first classes taking place in this new space. Weeks prior to December 1st, there was an empty building. An empty building, surrounded by big dreams and loving friends pitching in to build this home together.

Using the word home for a gym may sound bizarre, as a matter of fact, it probably sounds CRAZY to those outside of the CrossFit community.  Many people treat the gym as a place of shame…the location where they punish themselves for eating poorly the day before or serving their “sentence” from a doctor saying they need to drop those extra pounds. This is how I once felt prior to finding CrossFit. The gym was a place for alone time, observing my flaws and working to change what I saw in the mirror.

CrossFit has drastically shifted the paradigm of how people (myself included) view the gym.

FROM (before CrossFit):

  • A place of solitude, head buds in and people watching begins
  • A place for self-hate and comparison
  • Mirrors screaming out your flaws
  • A journey alone
  • A place of punishment
TO (CrossFit):

  • A place of friendship & fellowship
  • A place of self-worth and celebration of what is possible
  • A certified coach instructing to help improve your movement
  • Our journey is together
  • A place one calls home

CrossFit has evolved the traditional “gym” atmosphere to become a place that we CAN call home. A home is built by a family, a community of love and support. Over the past two weeks at M4G we have seen the family start to form. People eagerly arriving after work ready to see their friends and share in a workout together. People cheering others on, giving those exhausted fist-bumps to their classmates after completing the daily workout and hanging around after to chat and decompress after a long day.

Health is our priority. Happiness is our priority. Wherever you are, whether you are in Indianapolis or France, FIND YOUR GYM HOME! Find the place where you look forward to visiting and shifts your mindset from a workout because you have to…to a workout because you want to!

As we continue to build this home together at M4G, us coaches and staff want to make sure you know how grateful we are. Grateful for those friends who helped put the pieces of this gym together, those who sent encouraging notes and to those who have made the leap to pick M4G as the place they call home.

We’ll leave you with this quote:

Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home…it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it.”

Greatness Doesn’t Happen in Isolation

We all have a picture in the back of our minds of the life we want to live. Maybe you are a more optimistic person, or a more present parent, or perhaps it is simply you have more self-worth and confidence in who you are and how you feel in your own skin. Whatever that picture of the ideal life looks like to you…what are you doing today to get closer to that ideal state?

As humans, we are always desiring “more,” but are we walking towards that picture of success we desire?

When you answer this question, if your response sounds like…”I don’t have time,” or “I’ll start next week,” then you probably won’t get too far. To start and stay committed to the path of greatness you need to find the right people to surround yourself with.

“We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.”

What five people do you spend the most time with? 

Are they a positive influence or holding you back?

Today, more than ever, we have to be intentional about who we surround ourselves with in order to continue to take steps forward, and no backward, when it comes to reaching our goals. A recent study by the CDC reveled that 1 in 3 Americans eats fast food EVERY DAY? Another favorite past time of Americans today is, no surprise, watching TV. A study concluded in 2018 found that the average American watches 5 hours of TV EACH DAY. Not in a week, in one day.

As we look at these habits that have become common for much of our population, ask yourself, where do you fall? Are you investing your time in activities that help you reach your goals? Are those you surround yourself with negatively rubbing off on you or positively? As you answer these questions, the next step is now what? 

If your community doesn’t support getting you to that picture of a great life, then identify what changes you need to make. What characteristics do you want to grow? What habits do you need to start and what habits do you need to break? As you answer these questions, then go out and find those people. Find a community that exudes the areas you want to improve in, and submerge yourself. Go all in, without fearing failure or rejection. If you are genuine in your pursuit to become better and grow in a new community, then YOU WILL be accepted with open arms, kicking off your new path to greatness.

To join the M4G CrossFit community, click the “get started” tab.