I met Chase about six years ago at a gay bar, which is odd and worth noting since he isn't gay and he doesn't drink [gay bars are where it's at, folks]. Since that time, Chase and I have become dear friends, so when he asked me to dinner to discuss the opening of his gym, my support, brainstorming, and daydreaming came easily. Vitality has been around for a few years now, and I think it's high time I offer a little public gratitude.
This guy was around just after I broke my back, which took me from gym buff [oh, word play] to not-so-buff Jim. He also happened to make a much-needed appearance when I broke my foot a short time after back recovery; it was embarrassing to have a cast and crutches in class, so Chase came early each time to let me keep my dignity. People [I] like it when others commit to them...it makes us [me] feel good. My good friend's dedication to my emotional well-being is just as solid as the one to my weak-ass bones. It's important to be around folks that lift and encourage, and inspire us to work on our rock-hard, sweet-ass glutes [nailed it]. Even better, however, to find those that simply remind us to slow down, check in and show up for ourselves. Chase is just that person. Below is a bit of his highly digestible health advice. Read on for some good ol' fashioned well-being...
Vitality is not your typical gym. What is it? Vitality is a small strength and conditioning gym located in South Salt Lake City. Our main focus is to harbor a space for growth, to teach our clients proper lifting technique, to teach several different facets of health/wellness, and to create longevity -- we believe that
exercise, healthy eating habits, proper sleeping patterns, and positivity will bring anyone to a place of growth for a long time. We believe in progress -- as coaches we pay attention to the client's needs and focus our efforts in the gym accordingly. Some clients never truly desire to be a fit "gym athlete" but are professional athletes, and because of that we want to create a space for them to grow in their sport. Some clients use the gym as a vessel to get stronger for their job as a wild land fire fighter. Some clients simply come to the gym in order to get stronger and to stay healthy as a parent. Regardless of the client, or the desire, we as coaches understand the need to always move forward. This need requires us to stay in
touch with our clientele and to pay attention while they are in the gym in order to stagnation.
Any simple advice you could give our readers on nutrition, overall health and exercise? I believe that health and wellness is truly "simple" -- unfortunately, implementing simplicity is quite difficult. The true test of any individual in respect to health and wellness is finding a balance between time spent exercising, time spent resting, time spent recovering, time spent stretching, time spent preparing foods for your lack of time, and time spent on mental health. Most of what I hear is that time is really at fault for a clients' inability to stretch, or to prepare food for the week, or to get to sleep at a reasonable hour. It's understandable; I, too, have times in my life where my time and energy are out of balance. The important thing to recognize is just how simple it is to correct some of these issues. Creating a habit to go to the gym and exercise, or make time to go to a park and run, or hike, or simply be active is as easy as creating the habit of watching your favorite television show on a certain night -- and, quite simply, will be substantially more beneficial. Time spent stretching each evening will take up 5:00-10:00 minutes of your day, which could easily be done while watching that favorite television show. Time spent preparing food for a week might be daunting...the task will certainly eat up a few hours of your time. But that time is well spent, it allows for free time during the week, and it creates good eating patterns. Going to bed on time is a tough one, but can also be simple -- spend two weeks of your life making it a priority to fall asleep an hour earlier than you are used to. Wake up earlier, feel more accomplished, and by the end of the two weeks you will have created a new habit. In short, being aware of your needs and wants, your idiosyncrasies, and your deficiencies will allow you to understand just what you need to do in order to find a happy balance. Just tune into yourself for 90 minutes a day, and see what happens.
Any major don'ts on your list? The major one for me is to not allow myself to get off task physically and emotionally. This will mean something different to everyone, but for me, I make it a priority to exercise 8-12 hours a week [much of this is recovery-time walking or stretching], and I make the time to meditate each morning, about either my sport or my mental state. I really enjoy being active, watching myself grow physically and emotionally [i.e. how I handle a hard workout, how I prepare for a race, how I grow when something during the week does not go my way]. I like staying in tune with myself in order to continually grow as a physical and emotional being. The major DON'TS that I have for the general population: DO NOT allow yourself to lose track of what is important to you. DO NOT allow yourself to have the mentality that you will start tomorrow - in reality you could have started yesterday, and there really is no time like the present. DO NOT exercise less than 3 hours per week. Even exercising 30 minutes a day, in the long run will, will be very beneficial for your muscles, your heart, your lungs, and your brain. DO NOT allow yourself to only eat processed foods - moderation is critical. DO NOT drink alcohol in excess - here again, moderation is critical.
Do you have a favorite type of client? My favorite clients all look alike in that they all have a clear understanding of what they want out of the gym. Regardless of ability or experience, the commitment made to the trainer and the gym is the same. I enjoy training those people that want to make the necessary changes in order to develop themselves and become well-rounded individuals. I enjoy training people that have a lack of experience in a gym setting. This lack of experience really allows me to grow and learn as
a coach/trainer. The less people know, the more I have to learn about body mechanics and the development of someone without any fitness. The best part of that type of relationship is that the two of us get to witness substantial fitness gains on a weekly/daily basis for typically up to six months. That excitement is what really makes me happy as a coach/trainer.
What works about your current space? The gym itself is only 1,000 square feet; as you can imagine, floor space is limited, but we have designed the space to accommodate. What I appreciate about having so little floorspace is that my relationships with my clients are truly intimate. Unless you are privately trained, you can't escape being seen in a vulnerable setting when you're physically broken down or emotionally weak. The walls are painted with vibrant graffiti. I found the space that way, and it meshed really well with the vision of what I wanted, so we kept it. We have stationary machines tucked back in a corner, olympic and powerlifting bars tucked in another corner, pull-up bars line one wall, and bumper plate trees line another. There's a rack for client's 'things' and a bathroom...no other amenities. We're pretty proud to have such a small space that allows for up to 10 people to exercise comfortably at a time [a cap we have set for our classes], and that allows for such strong individuals to succeed with us.
Any advice you would give other small business owners in Salt Lake? I totally sound cliche by saying this, but do what you enjoy. Own your business with passion and people will support you.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I see myself owning another business. I have really enjoyed creating this gym, and I love the atmosphere it harbors. I feel like in five years time, Vitality will still be moving forward, and I'll be involved in starting another business of some sort.
Tell us something we don't know about you. My growth as a fitness coach/trainer has been a long time coming. A huge part of growth, in my opinion, is humility. I embrace the mistakes that I have made over the years as an individual who exercises frequently. If I weren't able to think about my mistakes and learn from them, I would never progress.
** I want to give a huge 'thank you' to Cody for supporting me and Vitality over the last three years. He and I have had a great time learning from one another. Contact me [Chase Evans] at 801.699.9615 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for information about the gym. Let me know if you are a part of the COLLECTIVE and we'll welcome you just like we do Cody.