The Founder’s Story | How I Found My Passion

I’m the CEO and Founder of the fastest growing fitness franchise, Burn Boot Camp, along with my wife, Morgan Kline. My true passion lies in personal training – and I love what I do for a living. Along the way in building Burn Boot Camp, I’ve had to pick up and become quite fond of being an entrepreneur and leading the charge in terms of the impact I want to have on this world.

So, why am I here? How can people like me come from nothing, or worse than nothing, and make something out of themselves?

I’ve found my passion in fitness, nutrition, leadership and entrepreneurship. I’m here to help you integrate your life and help you stop trying to figure out how to balance work, family and yourself by giving you the tools, the resources and the skills for maximizing your quality of life and living on your own terms.

How It All Began

I was raised in a low-end neighborhood in Battle Creek, Michigan. My house was generally filled with violence, drugs and alcohol abuse. My father was in and out of jail, and my mother left me when I was 13 years old.

My journey really starts at age 12. Two things happened when I was 12 that would forever change my life. First, I was a pretty good athlete, and second I met the woman of my dreams.

During my second year on varsity, we played against Benton Harbor Michigan in basketball. We lost miserably, and it was the only game where I had ever made less than double digits in scoring. When I got home that evening, my father had been drinking. Immediately, the verbal and physical abuse began. He kicked me out in the snow, made me shovel off the basketball court and made me shoot 100 consecutive shots.

After that, I decided I never wanted to go through something like that again, so sports became an escape. I knew I would never get a proper mentorship from my father; I never had any mentors, but I was always hungry for more. I knew there was more out there, but didn’t know what to do or how to get there.

Hard work in college paid off. My efforts in baseball and school earned me the spot to play for the San Francisco Giants. This had been my plan all along – and I didn’t have a Plan B. Having a Plan B to me means knowing Plan A will fail.

In my mind, I was going to the big leagues, but after three years, I was released. I experienced what I felt was the ultimate failure. I sat hopeless in my hotel room, crying like a baby, wondering what I would do next. Luckily, baseball was a game of managing your failures appropriately so I knew I had to keep moving forward. I told myself in that moment that I needed to keep moving, which led me to finding my passion.

While I never anticipated have a 9-5 job, I found myself in a sales position, which I quickly learned I didn’t like. I always thought that having money meant happiness, but after realizing how miserable I was, I had to ask myself “What’s my life’s purpose and why am I here?”

I kept coming back to fitness, nutrition, and mindset. I wasn’t always the best athlete, but I always practiced the hardest and the longest, which created a work ethic that people admired. The ability to train my body into peak condition was a secret weapon of mine.

I reflected on my time traveling with the Giants when I stayed with host families. During this time, it became evident how many Americans were oblivious to their fitness and nutrition. It was upsetting because growing up I thought everyone had the same problems as I had in my family. But looking back, I was put in college and Major League Baseball to discover the normal problems of American families and ultimately, to find my purpose so I could ignite a global health transformation.

I made a decision that day when I quit my sales job at DirectV to have unstoppable intensity and unquestionable commitment every single day of my life in pursuit of what fulfills me the most.

How We Built Our Empire

I got my CPT certification and in four weeks created a boot camp designed towards women. It was called Lightening 900 and was my first real shot at business. As I became the most popular trainer in Naples, Florida, I was presented with the opportunity to move to Charlotte, North Carolina with Morgan as she was promoted within her company.

I trained clients for 12 hours a day and the other 5 I learned business modeling, leadership, operations, coding and so much more to build Burn Boot Camp. My unique strategy was to find the best personal trainers and teach them the business model. When I moved to Charlotte, I made it my goal to become the best personal trainer. In my first two days, I had no clients, which was a gut-check for me. But, I remembered the phrase “keep moving.” I went out to fine-tune the programs, market, and gain clients. In eight months I grew Burn Boot Camp from 0 clients to 800 clients.

We began by using existing buildings and quickly grew to 1500 clients. Soon enough, other entrepreneurs wanted to bring Burn to other areas of North Carolina. In February 2014, Morgan and I decided to start franchising. By February 2015, we were legal to sell franchises. Now, we have over 300 locations awarded.

Fitness saved my life and my biggest happiness is that our gyms, our trainers, our clients stands for something. A global health transformation starting with family.

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