Making the Leap: One Woman’s Story of Starting Her Fitness Business Journey

2018-12-06T18:47:25+00:00November 28th, 2018|Business Operations, Gym owner|0 Comments

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When I onboard a client at Zen Planner I LOVE to get their story! Why are they opening a fitness business? What events made them jump into a potentially rewarding (yet extremely stressful) career? I feel it helps me know more of what my client stands for, so I can help them set their business up for success.

I found one of my clients’ story’s so compelling that I asked her if she would mind if I shared it with the world. She was more than happy to let me talk about her experience and what made her start her own fitness business.

Meet Shanae

Meet Shanae Smith. Shanae owns Max-40 Fitness and Personal Training.  She worked in a corporate and very political career for the water industry. It was a field where you are treated as a number rather than a person. She had always watched her nutrition but was admittedly very lazy. That laziness combined with the stress of her job made her put on some extra weight, gaining 30 pounds in what seemed like overnight.

This perplexed Shanae because she hadn’t changed anything in her daily life, so she scheduled an appointment with her doctor to get to the bottom of the issue. Her doctor advised her to start exercising and to think about looking at a different career path that would be less stressful.

The First Change Starts with You

In life, we naturally make changes one at a time in order not to disrupt our entire routine. For Shanae, working out was the first change she knew she needed to make.  She joined a Fit Body Boot Camp and started her journey, not knowing this would be the first of many steps which would completely turn her life around.

This happens often, where we take a first step not realizing it is a step to a really big lifestyle change. For Shanae, she had to get used to sweating because this was something she would normally avoid at all costs. However, as she kept training and started to embrace the sweat and grind people started to take notice. Colleagues started coming up to her and saying how amazing she looked. So good in fact that they wanted her to train them! This was a real lightbulb moment for Shanae.

She thought to herself, “What if I opened up my own gym, worked for myself and helped people change their lives?” It turned out this is exactly what the doctor ordered.

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Changing Careers

This is where Max – 40 Fitness and Personal Training (a 40-minute class with 30 minutes of cardio and 10 minutes of spot training) was born. Shanae opened up the business in her home. Her mission was simple: To inspire each and every client to reach their fitness goals through high quality service and training. Shanae was steadfast in her commitment to ensure MAX – 40 Fitness would be uncompromising in its commitment to provide the highest quality personal training, group training and metabolic testing.

“There is one simple thing that can change the life of every single person in America—-Exercise. I want to help you change your body, to change your life” – Shanae Smith

Big Next Steps

A home-based business is a great place to start, but eventually you need to grow and expand and move into a leased space.  As a former business owner, I can tell you this is a huge and intimidating step. All the “what ifs?” haunt your thoughts.  What if this doesn’t work? What if I can’t afford it? What if my clients don’t like my classes?

When I was lucky enough to be Shanae’s onboarding coach at Zen Planner, she was still operating out of her home. As many fitness business owners can relate to, when you are first starting out as an owner it can be an emotional and overwhelming journey.  We got to work through these emotions together by putting one foot in front of the other until you could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Before we were done with our onboarding sessions Shanae had found a wonderful location, signed the lease, ordered equipment and started marketing.

Fast forward a few months and Max–40 Fitness and Personal Training is now open running 12 classes a week, personal training, 3DBody Scans and three different Metabolic Assessments.

Her husband, recently retired, is helping Shanae run the gym.  He has always been athletic and had tried for years to get Shanae to join him in his workouts. Who knew eventually his wife who hates to sweat would open up her own gym!


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MAX-40 Fitness and Personal Training is a workout facility intended to provide high-intensity interval training (H.I.I.T) to its members, utilizing specialized state of the art gym equipment. It serves both male and female clients in an environment conducive to bodybuilding and strength training with ease. MAX-40 Fitness believes the health and wellness of our society can be significantly improved. Our efforts to stem the tide of poor health and physical decline are multiplied exponentially as we disseminate the Ultimate MAX-40 (UM40) Principles and methods to our clients.

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