"Wait! Where the hell is the Chinese Restaurant???!!!"
I must have not been paying attention. My favorite Chinese Restaurant is now GONE. Replaced by some form of personal training "gym" thingy. Great. Now where do I go for my ribs?
This is what I thought as I stared at the door. Just what the world needs, another fitness place. About four seconds before I was about to turn away and drive to a fast food joint....... my life changes.
I have known about weight training all my life. My father was a professional athlete. I played enough sports over the years. I was never a "gym rat" as they say (who says that!) but booked enough hours "working out" over the years. But that was many (many) years ago.
Chapter One: Jamie and Fran
OK, so now I am standing INSIDE The Body Shoppe in Boonton, NJ. But something is very different about this place. I see weights, and I see kettle bells, and I see exercise balls, and all the normal "gym" stuff. But I never expected to be greeted by....FRAN. She might be 5' nothing, and something like 100 lbs (I'm not good at guessing) but she can DEFINITELY kick my butt if she wanted to.
Then I meet Jamie. Immediate connection. I start asking questions, he starts telling me his life story. And I am........fascinated.
Jamie's words: "I worked in corporate most my life. In May of 2012 my brother committed suicide. Six months later, his wife took her own life. I adopted his children: Johnny Voit 15 now 21 - graduated from Salve Regina in the spring with a finance and economics degree, Stephen Voit 12 now 18 - graduates HS in the spring attends school for electric and HVAC and Christopher 5 now 11. I also have 2 children of my own Michela 13 and Nicholas 9. I left the corporate world in 2012, took some time off and then opened SWEAT Fitness Club. After 5 years I felt as though I was losing my focus on what I love (helping people) and "my identity" as the club just got too big and it required too much of my time each week to continue to strive (over 100 hrs per week). So I decided to take all that I learned over the years and downsize and I concentrated on what really matters: People and their Health. That pretty much sums it up."
90 minutes later: Jamie knows his stuff about health and fitness!
Chapter Two: "I'm not crying, you're crying!"
OK, so I am no longer craving ribs. Or any food. I am blown away. I listened to Jamie tell me his story. And then I told mine. It was like meeting my old college roommate who I did not see for years, and trying to tell 'em everything that happened since college.
Me. Jamie. Fran. Talking. And.....talking. And then more... talking. And no one wanted the conversation to end. Then I met Fran's son. She introduced me like it was...important for her son to meet me. Wow.
Then Jamie hits me with this: "Here is a little secret. No one knows what SWEAT actually stands for..."
Satisfied Workouts & Exercises Achieved Together
Cute. But over time, even days later, I keep thinking about Fran and Jamie's new business. About how they are in the hyper competitive world of fitness, and gyms, and personal training.
I've been in business since 1983. I have seen it all. And I am learning new things about business every day.
Had I not craved ribs, I would have not met Jamie and Fran. I would not have become their new client. And I would not have written this blog. But if Jamie and Fran were not WHO THEY WERE, my visit at The Body Shoppe in Boonton NJ would have lasted around 45 seconds. Not 90 minutes.
Here's what I think SWEAT stands for:
Successful Work Experiences Achieved Together.
I have never wanted a startup business to be successful more than my hopes for The Body Shoppe in Boonton, New Jersey.
I will tell everyone I know about Jamie and Fran. You cannot fake this stuff. If Fran and Jamie treat EVERYONE this way, they are going to CRUSH IT. If they ever want to franchise their business model, I'll be their first investor.
I am going to get physically fit and healthy, yes. But what I received during my first "session" with Jamie: priceless.
That will be my last "non-sweaty" session with Jamie and Fran.
You can only take your life to the next level when you take yourself to the next level. And the journey is best when you get yourself.....Sweaty.
Do it with friends.
Me. Around 90 days from now....DONE.