I’m writing this blog from 15,000 feet above the earth. I’m on my way back to Springfield, MO from a business trip to SoCal, and I can’t help but think of this as a microcosm of my entire life the past few months. Transition has been a daily part of my family’s life since November, both in the air and on the ground. The support of our loved ones has been overwhelming during this time, and we are ferociously eager for the next phase of our life.
In November, I became aware that one of my business partners was increasingly unhappy with our partnership. He wanted to have complete authoritarian and sovereign control of our gym, STRONG Gym, and we began the painful step of negotiating a buyout for myself and William McNeely, (my other co-owner and the only other founding member of the gym). All of the typical business negotiations, strategies, leverages, and tactics were used, and in the end (and not entirely on our terms) William and I sold our baby – the business that had been such a huge part of our lives for nearly a decade.
…And I was exhausted.
For those of you that know my story, I have been through some incredibly rough times in my past (usually of my own doing), but the two months that we negotiated through the buy-out of our gym was one of the hardest periods of my life. I spent the majority of two months trying not to have a stroke every single day. My family suffered. My church LifeGroup suffered. My fitness suffered.
Thankful to have it over, I took Rachel (my wife) and our girls on vacation for the holidays and sought rest and solace. Those three weeks were exactly what we needed, and we came home ready to take our next step.
Many of you have asked if I would be starting another gym, and the short answer is, no. I loved owning STRONG. It grew at just a time when we desperately needed it and I will look back on last few years as one of the best times of my life. We grew a gym and community like no one has ever seen in the strength world, and I’m incredibly proud for what we were able to build. Hundreds and hundreds of members, all working together to make each other better and stronger than they were before. It was really an incredible thing to be a part of.
However, as the gym grew, it became more difficult to do the things I really loved, like spending quality time with my family and traveling & speaking about the incredible impact strength training can make on ordinary people. As my net of influence grew in the strength community, I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to travel all over the world and teach people how to get strong. I’ve been able to travel to Miami, New York City, Southern California, Seattle, Toronto, Seoul, Korea and many cities in-between, all because I love to teach people how to properly get strong. These opportunities are something I never want to take for granted, since I grew up as a poor preacher’s kid in the Midwest with no chance to see the world. Who would have thought that teaching people how to squat would provide that opportunity to me?
Owning the gym, training and shepherding employees, and a full schedule of coaching clients constantly tied me back to Springfield, and made traveling difficult for everyone. Furthermore, the first year that STRONG was open in its new location was a year FULL of seventy, eighty, and even ninety-hour work weeks.
I’ve spent countless hours talking with my wife, family, pastor, and friends that I trust, and have prayed intensely about what the future holds for me; and I am confident that opening another gym or private training studio is not what I’m called to do. At 36 years old, I don’t believe I can go through the stress of working those 70+ hour weeks again trying to rebuild a brick-and-mortar location, and I’m not sure I want to miss another year or two of the formative years of my two little girl’s lives.
What I AM confident about is that I love teaching people how to get strong. I have been an online strength coach since the late 1990’s. I’ve never marketed this or pushed it in any way, and it has steadily grown into a very viable business over the last several years, and has especially exploded with my interviews on The Art of Manliness and Barbell Business Podcasts. I also have accumulated an enormous amount of knowledge over the past two decades on how to get strong, how to train simply and effectively, and how to grow a gym into one of the largest and strongest gyms in the world.
So I’m ecstatic to announce that I will be focusing exclusively on putting out high quality content (via Youtube, articles, podcasts, & blog posts) for FREE and really investing into my online coaching business. I think, generally, that information should be free and that there isn’t enough quality content out there in the fitness industry. So I’m going to do everything I can to put out the best content on the internet, in a format and language that’s easy to understand for even the most rank beginner. I have faith that if I do that, then it will drive people to my online coaching.
As an online coach I have tried to separate myself from the hundreds of other online programmers in that I actually COACH my clients. Every online client I have sends me video of their last working set of all major lifts, and then I fully break down their form for them, giving them cues on fixing and tweaking imperfections in their lifting. I really think that is where the value is in my online coaching. Every morning I wake up at 5am and watch, on average, right around 100 videos – breaking them down and providing valuable form coaching for my clients. I also do the vast majority of my communication with my clients via a private online forum, that only they can see, so that we don’t constantly clutter up our email inbox, and everything is in one nice, tight, clean thread.
I’m also in the process of finishing up my first book, Strong-For-Life, which is an all-inclusive strength, conditioning and nutrition program for novice and intermediate lifters to develop overall strength, health, and performance. The book will be available by June, and I’m already beta testing the program with many of my online clients.
So be on the look out for new, high quality content from me via ReynoldsStrong.com (my website just had a massive overhaul from Josh and Quinn at Tension Group with more to come), new Youtube videos nearly every day, articles for www.StartingStrength.com and www.artofmanliness.com, more podcast interviews, and Fight Strong and Strong-For-Life seminars throughout 2016.
“Don’t call it a comeback. I’ve been here for years.”