BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: MEET ROB EARL OF ROB’S FITNESS
“I don’t need kids, because I already have 800 of them,” muses Rob Earl. He is the owner of Rob’s Fitness a Dallas, Texas area based personal training studio. Since starting the business, he has worked with hundreds of children, as well as teens and adults. For Earl it is more than a job, it is a mission to help others achieve healthier lifestyles, regardless of the size of their wallets.
Rob’s Fitness provides a variety of services from one-on-one personal training to group classes and even provides on-location services. Prior to opening his studio, Earl was working as personal trainer in a local gym. “I got tired of people coming to the gym to work out and they couldn’t afford the price,” he shares. For Earl, it is indeed about helping as many people as he can. So he keeps his prices low and readily offers free services, because he believes that access to quality health and wellness services should not be dictated by the size of someone’s wallet. While many balk at his willingness to provide free services, Earl contends that the return has definitely outweighed the cost and advises others, “Let them see your service. If they see that you are willing to give something for free, more than likely they will be back to pay for more services.”
For Earl, helping others with their own fitness goals holds a very personal meaning. Having played basketball while in college and in the Air Force, he had always been fit. As it goes for many athletes, the wear and tear on his body eventually took its toll. After surgery in 2009, Earl says that he did not make the same effort to stay in shape and eventually his physical health began to decline. At the time he admits that he was living a very good life. He was living in Florida at the time and enjoying the spoils of his first business. “I had celebrities for neighbors and partied with professional athletes,” he shares. Earl admits that partying and living in the limelight became his priority, instead of exercising.”The way I was raised was not the way I was acting,” he recalls. He gradually began to pick up weight, “but I didn’t realize it, because I was still getting the attention,” says Earl. Eventually, his lifestyle and poor health caught up with him–and in a big way. He soon began experiencing chest pains and sleep apnea, and was diagnosed with heart disease. Eventually, his declining health affected his mental well being and soon his business.
An Ohio native, Earl decided that it was time to return home in December 2010. While home he attempted to revamp his business, but his declining health prevented that. “I was hospitalized three times,” shares Earl. “I watched myself go downhill,” he continues. By 2012 he had a heart catheter and the doctors told him that he could die at any moment. That was the wakeup call that he needed to reclaim his health and his life.
“On April 9th of 2012 I set a 90-day goal for myself,” declares Earl, who by then topped the scale at 275 pounds with a 36 percent body fat measurement. Earl vowed to lose 50 pounds by his birthday. A feat that would take a lot of hard work, commitment and determination. “I changed my eating and created a cardio and strength training work out plan. I stayed focused and didn’t lose track of my goal,” and by July 7th of 2012 he was 218 pounds. He had not only reached his goal, but exceeded it–and exactly one week before his birthday. “I feel so much better and I am actually in better shape than when I was in college playing basketball,” exclaims Earl. As it turns out, he didn’t take the journey alone. He proudly shares, “I inspired others during the process and ended up helping others. This is why I am now a personal trainer and love doing it.”
While the business carries his name, Earl says it is actually named after his father. “He’s my best friend and I’ve always wanted to do something for him,” shares Earl. Throughout his journey, his whole family has supported him, but he says his dad has been his best friend, biggest fan and helper.
Earl admits that these days he is a much humbler version of himself. For him the journey to reclaiming his health has been a blessing and a learning experience. The success of Rob’s Fitness is a byproduct of what he learned not to do with his first business, while living in Florida. It seems that it has all been a lesson well learned. Since opening the first location in 2012, Earl has expanded to a neighboring area with the recent opening of Ové Fitness, a women only personal training studio, and is well on his way to expanding with more locations.
As a veteran of the United States Air Force, Earl takes the Air Force’s core values to heart–integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do. He prides his military experience with giving him the tools that he has needed to succeed in business. That and his positive outlook. Anyone who knows him will tell you that his signature phrase is “hakuna matata”. Made popular by Disney’s The Lion King, the Swahili phrase means “no worries”.
Earl cautions that starting a business is not for the faint of heart and that, “you have to believe in yourself when no one else will.” He adds, “Understand that things won’t happen like you want. Be able to adjust; have a plan A, B and C. As well, while many are concerned with the competition, Earl says that his biggest competitor is himself. Instead of worrying about what everyone else is doing, focus on providing great customer service. “Customers are going to do what they want anyway, but if you do that, then you won’t have to worry about anyone else.”
When it comes to Minding Your Black Business Earl defers to his military experience–lead by example. There is a scarcity of those who are willing to mentor and share their experiences. Unfortunately, the lack of knowing is what prevents many would be business owners from believing that it is possible–let alone succeeding. Says Earl, “I’m always looking for opportunities to share my story and that’s the key. Share your story and be the example that others need to see.”
To learn more about Rob Earl and Rob’s Fitness visit his website.
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IMAGE COURTESY OF ROB’S FITNESS