One year ago, on December 1, 2016, I became the new owner of TruFit Personal Training Studios. And, holy cow, what a year it has been! We’ve added five new trainers, redecorated a bit, held six different charity events, held a ribbon cutting with our alderman… The list goes on (and will be filled with photos below!).
Now, in case you don’t know how TruFit works, let me give you a quick run-down before I dive deep into more highlights of 2017:
TruFit wouldn’t be TruFit if it weren’t for the incredibly smart and talented trainers and their awesome, hard-working clients. Our culture is everything to us and I firmly believe that THIS is why our clients get results: Because we do everything we can to make our little Evanston gym a place where people look forward to coming (both to work and to work out). AND, now I’m tearing up. Sigh…
So, as I look back over these last 12 months, here are the biggest lessons I've learned:
I’ve learned it takes a village... to create a village! There are a lot of gyms out there where clients feel anonymous (and for some that’s perfectly OK) or where they’ve felt completely misunderstood or made to feel stupid. Even way before I took over, TruFit has always been a little bit like Cheers: A place where everyone knows your name and they’re always glad you came. But that’s not something that just *happens*. At TruFit, clients and trainers take the time to get to know each others' names! Clients talk to other clients and some become friends! Trainers aren’t afraid of other trainers stealing clients from them! Taking the time to say hi, to listen to each other and to cultivate a place where everyone’s input is important helps people feel like they have ownership in the place. They become, for lack of a better word, villagers!
I’ve learned turf is really heavy to get up to the second floor of your gym. Thor is really strong.
I’ve learned our clients and trainers are really, really generous. This year we’ve donated clothing to the Evanston School Children’s Clothing Association; we’ve raised close to $2500 for local Evanston organizations such as the Evanston/North Shore YWCA, the Ted Fund and the Center for Independent Futures (blowing our initial $1500 annual goal out fo the water) and we’ve donated food to the Evanston Food Pantry. We’re already getting ready for some awesome charity events for 2018! (Sign up here if you want to be kept in the loop!)
I’ve learned our trainers are super talented outside of being great trainers. For example, Symphony is a podcast starlet; Christina, Gabori and Kathryn are great photographers; Tony is a fantastic writer and happens to also be really good with Photoshop and burning paper (as evidenced in this wanted poster):
I’ve learned white boards are really fun:
I’ve learned that when you ask for your trainers’ expertise on a topic, you’ll be blown away by what they have to say. Primo example: This blog post we put together about how to find the right trainer when you want to get fit after 50.
I’ve learned how to lay down a new floor (and that I truly have great friends and loved ones who helped put it together):
I’ve learned TruFit is a great place to throw a shindig, from client appreciation parties to ribbon cuttings to pop-up shops. It feels really good to show off our space :)
But above all I’ve learned that, in order to have a gym that runs well, where personal trainers can do their best work and clients can get the best results, my biggest duty is to provide a space where everyone can feel confident and competent in their abilities; where trainers feel like they’re part of a community of like-minded people (even if they have different training modalities) and where their authority isn’t being questioned or micro-managed; and where every client is met where they are at any stage in their fitness journey. TruFit as a business and fitness facility are certainly not perfect and I love that because that means is it’s only going to keep getting better.