Founders & fitness

How to stay fit as a founder...even if you have no money or time

When a New York City bank offered Jay a job, he nearly moved Northeast. Then the owner of a Charleston gym spoke up. Jay was coaching part-time. The owner wanted him to come on as the GM and head coach. 

Jay didn’t move Northeast.

For three years, he ran Crossfit Discovery. Then he built a 20x20 concrete pad in his backyard, bought $2,500 of equipment on Black Friday, and started seeing his own customers. 

Less than a year later, Jay opened the doors to Locomotion Fitness. It’s been two years since opening day and business is going well. 

Tell me about your training methodology. 

I have two big missions for our clients. Number one is: I want to turn you into a kick-ass 90-year-old. I want you to be the great-grandpa that's able to go play 18 holes of golf and then run around with your great-grandkids.

Mission number two is, I want you to be able to enjoy your life now. To go and hike Machu Picchu, or go skiing for a week, or run a 5K for a cause you want to support. So you can enjoy your life and not have to worry about being fit enough to do that. You’re just ready to go and have fun anytime.

Any trends in fitness driving you nuts?

The idea you can work out as a punishment for eating crappy food. As opposed to using food to fuel your body so that you can work out.

So, you can't work out and then eat pizza every day? 

Exactly.

And while we're on the entrepreneur front, you also can't get zero sleep and be stressed out all the time, and work out every day. I tell our people, "I need a one-to-one ratio of working out vs. active recovery time. If you're going to spend an hour in the gym, I need you to spend an hour doing this other stuff as well." 

Do you have to lift weights to get the benefits of working out?

No, you don't have to. Now, that being said, it definitely helps. It will make the results come more quickly. You need a baseline level of strength.

But, I'd rather you do something than say you don't work out because you don't want to lift weights.

What about time in the gym? Do you have to go for an hour?

This is a huge thing we talk about all the time. No. No, no, no. If you have five minutes, there's a workout called a Tabata. It takes four minutes, literally. It's 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest. A 30-second cycle. You do that eight times. 

I'm telling you, if you do Tabata squats, that’s a good workout.

It's not an all or nothing thing?

Far from it. If you've got five minutes, take five minutes. If you've got 10, take 10. 

If you have no time whatsoever, a great way to accumulate reps is every time you go to the bathroom, knock out a set of 10 of something. Do 10 pushups before you go to the bathroom or after you get out. If you've got a door hanger pull-up bar, do five or 10 pull-ups. Over the course of the day, you've got 50-60 push-ups or pull-ups, and that starts to add up. It makes a big difference.

Gyms cost money. What if you're currently broke?

There is so much you can do just with bodyweight. 

Maybe you could do an interval run using telephone poles. Go two telephone poles walking, and then run as fast as you can for the next two telephone poles. If you do that for 20 or 30 minutes, trust me, your butt's going to be kicked pretty good. 

Or maybe it's: drop down, do 10 pushups, come up, do 20 air squats, and then sprint a hundred meters down a field. Then do the same thing on that side: 10, 20, sprint back.

We're in Charleston, and there is so much you can go and do outdoors like stand-up paddleboarding, going for a bike ride, or skateboarding. The options are endless and if you hop on and do a quick Google search for bodyweight workouts, you'll get a never-ending list.

Besides heart health and stuff, why work out? 

People come to our gym because they get to hang out with their friends for an hour and they can shut their brains off and have fun. 

We hear it all the time. It's the one hour where somebody's telling them they are doing a good job, and they don't have to think about the million other things that they have to do.

Harvard followed a pretty large group of people that lived fairly long lives. They were searching for causes. Everyone assumed it was going to be not smoking or drinking, working out a few times a week, and having a healthy diet. Those were all semi-connected, but the number one correlate had nothing to do with any of those. It had to do with the number of meaningful relationships you had in your life. 

At Locomotion, we preach what we call, “The Five Pillars”: training, nutrition, recovery, mindset, and relationships. Those are the big five things we think makes a healthy person. So those are what we try and give the people that come to our gym.

As you come up on your two-year anniversary as an entrepreneur, what’s the biggest lesson you've learned about running a business?

I’ll give you two. The first one is find a really good mentor. Somebody that's done it before you and can help guide you along the path. I was fortunate enough to have some people before we opened, and I'm still with them now. When we opened, we had 30 members and did about $5,000 a month in revenue. Right now, we're at 159 and do about $35,000 a month in revenue. Just get with somebody who knows what the hell they're doing, so you don't have to reinvent the wheel.

Number two is Parkinson’s Law: work expands to the time you allot for it. If you don't give yourself start and stop times for things you need to get done...as entrepreneurs we could all work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When you do that, you are going to get burnout, right? This comes back to making sure you're taking time to take care of yourself. To get in workouts, to meditate, to have a really solid morning routine in place. We have to do this, so that we can take our business to the next level. Or you're going to be stuck where you are forever.

We’ve edited this interview for readability and clarity. Keep an eye on the blog for the full conversation where we tackle growth mindset, what to do if you hate exercise, and the keto diet.  

In the meantime, if you’re in Charleston, check out what Jay is up to at Locomotion Fitness. If you’re somewhere else in the world, their Facebook page has loads of recipes and wellness tips. 

Other ways you can take care of you and your business: