In 2008 I was an out of shape computer geek… the true definition of fat, dumb, and happy. I was smart in business and in my IT career, but could not figure out how to not be fat, so I just embraced it. That year my mother was dying of cancer. My 6 year old son and I would travel back to NJ monthly to spend time with her… and in May, I was laying next to her, she shared a moment with me that turned my life upside-down.
She woke up from sleeping for about 12-hours, she was in an out of a coma-state that entire week. She said… “Wayne, You are fat! Do not do to my grandson what I am about to do to you! Get your shit together, stop drinking, start eating right and for gods-sakes exercise”. I made a promise to her that night that I would do that for her… and that was the last thing I was able to say to her as she fell asleep that night and passed away the next morning.
Immediately after returning to Omaha from NJ that trip I joined a $10 a month gym and failed HORRIBLY at attempt #1 in keeping my promise. I then moved to Des Moines and found amazing success with a program called Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping. I went from 285 to 165 (way too skinny) in just over a year. I was running marathons, doing triathlons, and signing up for all sorts of crazy things…
I moved back to Omaha and found a few of the same franchise gyms that I attended in Des Moines, but they were very different and not doing so well financially. Long story short – I ended up buying 4 gyms in Omaha, all failing and turning them into the top performing locations in the 73-location franchise system. in 2016 I held the #1, #2, #6 and #9 locations so I set my sights on a bigger market, Overland Park Kansas and the KC Metro. We launched in January of 2019 and on opening day we had 70 members and we were seeing amazing success.
I was asked if I would sell my gyms and take a job at ‘corporate’ to help others create the same systems and processes to copy the success we have been seeing in the locations I owned. I did. I sold my gyms and moved back to Des Moines Iowa as Director of Operations for them… and boy was I shocked! It was not the same face-to-face member experience that drove my passion for helping people. I was not happy.
I left Farrell’s corporate in late 2020 and relocated back to KC to take a position at Lockton. Since then I have worked with Eric Charles Russell and his gym membership sales company speaking at events I also spent time working with Mike Arce and his gym marketing company as a guest speaker for some of his smaller events and consulting with other franchise gyms across multiple brands on how to attract, maintain, and grow memberships and build community.
Fitness is not a job for me – it is a passion. If there are people who *SHOULD* or have made promises to their loved ones like I made to my mother, I want to know there is a community out there that will accept them, nurture them, teach them the RIGHT and HEALTHY way to get in shape. I will be honest… I care far less about weight loss or muscle gains… while those are amazing… I care more about transforming the lives of our athletes. The physical life, the mental life, and overall health of each and every one of them… AND their families. I am confident that this is that community and we are the ones who can make the biggest impact on our athletes’ (and future athletes) lives!