4 years ago this October, TrueFN opened its doors. I remember it well. It was 6:30 in the morning and still dark out. I fumbled with the lock, creaked open the door and paused for a second before entering. “Here we go”, I thought. I took a big stride in, and got to work.
It seems like a world ago, as TrueFN is so different now than it was that day. I remember I still had equipment to move and the whole place smelled like paint. It’s better now after years of hard training. It’s more mature. It’s happier. This is because of all the people and trainers who have crossed that same threshold, and gotten to work. Our clients work hard in training, and our trainers work hard every day to get better. We’ve been able to survive 4 years in a challenging business where most businesses fail. 95% of businesses fail before their 5th year, with Health and Education scoring among the worst. I once knew a banker who repeated often how he only refused to finance two businesses: restaurants and gyms. So with the cards stacked against us why have we survived?
In the last 4 years we’ve changed quite a bit. We’ve added some of the best trainers and coaches in the industry, without which I’d still be sitting in a closet by myself with nothing but my dreams to keep me company. We’ve doubled our space and taken over two other suites that now occasionally get cozy once again. Dylan Smith has almost single handedly built a Powerlifting coaching army and now coaches elite athletes around the world. We’ve added an area-leading Physical Therapist in Dr. Paxton who keeps us healthy and feeling good. We’ve massively expanded our Nutrition services and advise people across the country. I was lucky enough to have graduated from the Emerging Leaders program, a government initiative of 20 local businesses selected to grow the economy in the DC area. And yet none of these reasons are the ones I would give for our success. None of these things is the reason why we’ve survived and others have failed. These are merely symptoms of our willingness to stay true to what we believe in, and in everything that we do.
What really makes us special, is that we are not a business at all, but a message and its people. We spread that message everywhere we go and wear it on our shirtsleeves. People are willing to take up that message and share it with others because it is a message that matters. What message you ask? I’d love to tell you.
We believe that everyone in the world should resistance train 3X a week. That’s me, grandparents, and grandkids. Anyone with muscles and bones needs to train, and therefore needs to learn how to do it properly. We teach people how to train for the rest of their lives. Not just a workout, not just putting on some sweat, but learning the basic principles of how to improve the human body. We teach how to work hard and work smart in the gym, and how to carry that into all aspects of life. We want to change how the ‘average’ person views lifting weights. Lifting weights is not scary, it’s not something to ‘try’ in between cycle classes and yoga; it is a basic necessity of all people. It is the most effective means of body transformation and performance improvement. When someone thinks, “I want to lose weight or get in shape or be healthier”, they need to think “I should lift weights.” Training yourself is a skill that never goes away, helping you create the manual for your own body for as long as you plan to occupy it. Adherence to these basic principles removes the magic from exercise and you stop falling for all the magic pills, gadgets and gizmos. You realize that hard effort, and attention to detail is the key to the progress you’ve always wanted. You learn that training relieves the tension and stress of an uncontrollable world. You realize that no matter the stressors of life, you can always have training as your bedrock. You know that training hard and often improves the experience of life every day the sun rises.
But this message alone is not enough. This message means nothing without the muscle behind it to make it a reality (muscle…get it :)). Our staff is willing to go above and beyond when other trainers aren’t because we believe so strongly in our mission. That’s why we wake up at 4 am for early clients, that’s why we burn the midnight oil writing programs, and that’s why we talk about training all day every day, because we love it. Our clients can see it too and they work just as hard as we do. We believe in our message so much that we are willing to work hard at it, even when times are tough, and even when no one is looking. Our staff crosses the threshold of TrueFN every morning while the world sleeps ready to get down to business, and so do our clients.
We believe in our mission, and our clients do to. This is what makes us special. A lot has changed in 4 years, but this message will never change. This is who we are, and who we will always be. Thank you for sharing it with us, and thank you for the last 4 years. Cheers to many more!