Ryan Fischer’s entire life has always been about fitness. At the age of 12 he was a world ranked BMX racer. In high-school he ran track, played lacrosse, and football. Then, he got into skeleton and bobsled, and even qualified for the US Olympic Team Trials for both sports.
Fischer is also a big time crossfitter, who finished top 5 in the CrossFit Regionals for the past 3 years. He went from being homeless, couch surfing, stealing food at Whole Foods, and a stint as a male stripper, to becoming owner of the most successful gym in Orange County, CrossFit Chalk. He also created Chalk Online, a groundbreaking corporate wellness program.
Fischer always had a belief that life would work itself out if he kept working hard on his passions. In this episode, we look into look how hard everything has to be if you’re going to dream big and try to be your best everyday. Enjoy!
Fun fact: Fischer used to train under co-host Anders Varner, who was a teacher and big inspiration to Fischer opening his own gym, CrossFit Chalk.
Using sports to optimize performance
Ryan Fischer was continually knocked down in life, but always kept fighting. He was homeless for months, staying on a friend’s couch with only $200 in his pocket. He even stole food from Whole Foods and almost took a job as a male stripper to make money.
CrossFit also suspended Fischer for a year as a result of a heated argument when he got no repped at CrossFit Regionals. Fischer felt like he was doing clean reps and was on the way to the CrossFit Games, which was all he cared about at the time. He told a judge: “I’m gonna fucking kill you if you don’t start counting this reps.” And didn’t even sign the workout judging paper, which ended up as a big deal. Fischer’s reputation got hurt and he was banned from the CrossFit Games for one year.
A year or two later, Fischer felt like CrossFit was intentionally pulling a fast one on him. The guy who was supposed to conduct his drug test avoided meeting him, which ended up as getting a failed drug test for no reason.
Fortunately, Fischer’s hard work, strong mindset, and passion for health and fitness opened the right doors for him. He landed an opportunity to open his own gym and he’s now owner of the most successful gym in Orange County, CrossFit Chalk.
- When you coach, keep in mind it’s probably your client’s favorite part of the day — Even if you don’t own the gym, where you are coaching, act like you own that gym. When you work hard and bring your passion, people notice it and appreciate it. Eventually some doors will open for you good things will happen.
- Want to build the best gym possible? Imagine that you have an unlimited budget from an investor, but you need to pay it back — Fischer’s investor gave him told him to think about the best gym he’d like to create, but keep told him to keep in mind he needs to pay back the investment over time. It helped him think big, but realistically. He created his dream gym, CrossFit Chalk, with a business model that makes sense financially.
- Treat your gym like your favorite restaurant — Fischer wants his gym to be your his clients’ favorite restaurant. The experience to be on point all the time. Every time a client walks in, it needs to look good, it needs to be vibing, and the client should walk out feeling he had a blast.
“CrossFit Chalk is the cleanest place you’d walk into.” — Anders Varner
- Gym financial stats — Fischer’s investors put $260K into CrossFit Chalk. The space is 5,500 sq ft total, with 3,500 sq ft training area, and rents for $10K per month. CrossFit Chalk charges members $199 per month, which is the price of the competition in town, but they offer a premium product. Thanks to Fischer’s hard work, CrossFit Chalk opened their doors getting 100 members fairly quickly, and now they have 330 members.
- The good money in fitness is in the corporate space — Jason Khalipa, who owns NC Fit, which has 7 locations in the Bay Area, is known to make the most of his money from corporate gigs. Running a gym is very competitive and usually doesn’t end up making big bucks for gym owners.
- Be picky about who you work with — Fischer is very picky about the people he works with. For the first 2 months running CrossFit Chalk, he taught all 10 classes from 5am to 745pm. He was very picky about choosing what coaches he wanted to work with, and it took about 4–5 months until he had enough coaches to help him out. Fischer is very strict with his coaches to carry his vision, but he also shows a lot of appreciation for their hard work.
“I’m going to do the same thing I’ve done my entire life, I’m going to stay calm and I’m gonna work my ass off. I know that being passionate and showing everybody how passionate I am will turn into something else.” — Ryan Fischer
Connect with Ryan Fischer
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