Birthday Special: How running a business has taught me about fitness

Today is October 1st, 2014 and it is the 1 year anniversary of the opening of CrossFit Catonsville!

Before we get going … Are you coming to the birthday party tonight?

From 4:30 to 8:30 PM we are hosting a free WOD for members, friends, family, kids, and whoever wants to come join us!

Raffles for other local businesses, a great workout for adults and kids, and of course refreshments! Members sign up in MindBodyOnline, non-members can RSVP to our Facebook Event or send me an email!

On to the blog!


Running a business and maintaining good health actually have a lot in common. Today I’m going to share the top 5 things that owning CrossFit Catonsville has taught me over the last year that are directly related to achieving your fitness and health goals.

1. Getting started is actually pretty easy.

In business all it really takes to start is some paperwork with your state and local government, an idea for something that may or may not make money, and the willingness to say. “I now own a business!” After you’ve done that, you are technically a business owner.

In fitness, it’s much the same. All you need to do to get started is say, “today I will get in better shape” and then do something to move towards that goal. Walk up the stairs at work, eat less during a meal, or maybe do some push-ups. Bam! You just got started towards being more fit!

Not so hard right? So why do so many businesses fail and why are so many people unhealthy?

2. Not giving up is hard!

Making the decision and going through with those first few easy steps is…well…easy! It’s sticking with it that becomes the hard part.

When you open a business it’s not always clear how you’ll make money, where you’ll be located, who your customers will be, how you’ll advertise, how much start-up costs will be, and so many other factors. From Day 1 until you stop running your business there is always something else that seems like it needs to be fixed, decided, figured out, or created. It can be overwhelming very often.

When it comes to fitness, your starting point is obvious because it’s wherever you are now coupled with a desire to be healthier. But where do you go from here? Should you be lifting weights, running outside,¬†counting calories, riding the exercise bike, starting Pilates, eating Paleo, doing Yoga every morning, CrossFitting, sweating through P90X, eating Vegan…? Just like business, the fitness options seem limitless, like there is always something else/different/better that you should be doing to be healthy.

In either case, here are three hints for success:

  • Research your options, so that you understand the difference between LLC’s and S-Corps or between Weight Lifting and Cardio
  • Be willing to make mistakes, because you are not going to always make the right choice. Learn from it, and move on.
  • Take it one thing at a time, and don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Break things down into small, related tasks to stay productive.

3. Mistakes are going to happen.

If you open a business, you are going to make mistakes. Some of them will be simple (“I got the wrong printer ink again!”) and some of them will be pretty huge (“That marketing company we paid $2000 didn’t deliver anything!”). Since you’re probably not a business expert – and even if you are! – you need to learn to roll with every mistake and find a way to come out better for it. The small mistakes might help you refine an office process, like who does the supply buying and where, while the big mistakes teach you where investments are sound and where they fail.

Pursuing your fitness goals is going to include many small mistakes and probably some bigger ones too. Day by day you may eat sweets or other diet faux pas‘s or you just might forget to do that last set of push-ups during your workout. On the larger scale, maybe you wasted a bunch of money on a “juice cleanse” that made you sick, or maybe you took some questionable supplements without researching them, only to find out you’re allergic to them. Use these mistakes to teach you about health as a whole, as well as about what you need as a person to succeed. If you forget your workouts, take a gym To Do list when you go! If you can’t seem to improve on your lifts, keep track of how much you’re training everything, so you can see what you need to work on. And if you make yourself sick, figure out how and then don’t do it again!

4. You can’t plan for every contingency.

Even the most experienced business people will make mistakes and fail to foresee complications when they start a new venture. The trick is to apply the experience you have to solve the problems you are facing. Make plans for the things you know could go wrong, and include ways of avoiding those things where possible. For things you don’t know about, have a system in place that lets you figure out and deal with issues as they arise. Whether this is a steering committee or just staff meetings to talk everything through, having a process in place where you address problems is critical to success.

There may come a time in your quest for fitness that things just don’t line up. Your work schedule overlaps your gym time so much that you effectively can’t go. Vacation comes in the middle of a Cut Phase so your diet suffers from bad food (and maybe beer). Family issues arise that force you to move, stop going to the gym, or stop exercising in general. There are many things that can go wrong to derail you, but handling these things requires a good support network (even if that’s just one person) and the willingness to look at every problem as though it can be solved.

All problems have solutions; your task is to find that solution, and the first step is being willing to admit there is one!

5. The juice is worth the squeeze.

Owning a business is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done, and I don’t mean financially. The feeling of creating something from nothing, of providing benefit to the community, an of being your own guiding star are almost indescribable. It has never been easy, and it never will be, but at the end of the day you can step back and look at what you’ve made for yourself, your family, and your future and say, “Damn, this is awesome!”

Getting healthier is exactly the same journey: you make sacrifices today so that tomorrow you are better than you were yesterday. Your life becomes longer, fuller, and happier because you start taking your own self-worth seriously. Every time you get done a workout, every rep you complete, every set you finish, every mile you run, every pound you pick up off the ground…all of that moves you one step closer to being the most awesome you that you can be. One day – not so far away as you may think – you will look in the mirror and go, “Damn, I am pretty awesome!”

Don’t ever quit. No matter how hard you have to try, the juice is worth the squeeze.


CFC would never have made it without the support and belief of so many people in our community. We plan to be around, serving up kick a** workouts and fun events, for years to come.

Thank you all and I hope to see you all tonight at our 1 Year Anniversary WOD and Party!