Today marks three months since we opened the doors to Vital Fitness. We have officially ended our “Founder’s” phase, where we have been blessed with an amazing group of members to build our community. In honor of this short, yet exciting, turning point we thought it was a good idea to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of running a small business and share with our readers the “why” behind our opening. As owners, we are not seasoned businesspersons, entrepreneurs, or marketers looking to make a quick buck. We are simply three men who view fitness as a tool to bring about improvement in all aspects of the lives of those around us. The following are some of the top reasons why we began this endeavor. We hope this provides some insight as to where our motivations lie.
1. We have a heart for our community
Like a lot freshman entering college, I had some pretty big, yet idealistic dreams. I sat in my political science classes with the slightly prideful “I am going to change the world” mentality. Thankfully, I had a humbling experience while taking a general education class in my first year. The professor required us to read a book that challenged my thinking on what it really meant to “change the world.” In the book, the author argued that many people are too focused on their extravagant, world changing goals that they often overlook the change that is necessary in the people right next to them. According to the author, the world needs less people thinking about global issues and more people concerned about local ones.
Through different twists, turns and long stories, Andy, Josh and I have all found our way to Lakeland, Florida. We consider Lakeland our home and our community. Therefore, this city is the place where we have a calling to bring about change before anywhere else. Vital Fitness never started as an idea for a cool place to work out. It has always been viewed as an instrument to serve our community through physical fitness. Our goal may still secretly be to change the world, but that change starts in the community of Lakeland.
2. We are passionate about physical fitness
There are many ways to bring about positive change in a community. Our preferred method is through fitness. No one will debate the life altering benefits that exercise has on an individual’s mind and body. However, its’ greatest asset is not necessarily what it can do for an individual, but how it can bond together a community through shared suffering.
This is where the wisecrack, “misery loves company”, carries a lot of truth in a gym. In order to achieve increased fitness, it will inevitably require some level of physical discomfort. Like most things in life, in order to get fit, you have to suffer a little. The beauty of suffering at our gym is that it is shared with a community. No one comes into our facility to suffer in silence. We do it with each other. Not only does this promote greater success through accountability, it creates fellowship and unity in a world that is severely lacking in solidarity.
3. We believe in holistic health
The term “holistic health” has gotten a bad rap. It is often viewed as some pseudo-science or voodoo medicine. In order to simplify things, we prefer WebMD’s straightforward definition: “holistic health is a form of healing that considers the whole person -- body, mind, spirit, and emotions -- in the quest for optimal health and wellness.” In other words, holistic health is the quest for vitality.
Physical fitness is not produced in a vacuum. You cannot create it by solely focusing on prescribing some exercises in a gym. Vitality is achieved through the culmination of lifestyle, emotional, dietary and exercise changes. Therefore, when we first started discussing opening our gym, we knew we needed to offer a holistic approach to fitness. It is the only way make someone’s life more vital.
Our greatest strength at Vital Fitness is not that we think have the secret formula to vitality. We most certainly do not. Our strength is in our awareness of the fact that the only way to help our community come closer to reaching vitality is by helping them improve in all aspects of their life.