On this week's podcast, Marcus sat down with John Soutullo of JH Crossfit. We love hearing stories like John of their passion becoming their job and their job becoming their home… and in his case, this is very literal! From baseball to Crossfit, listen to John’s story of how he opened a successful gym and how he is making an impact in other’s lives.
John: I'm John Soutullo, and I own JH CrossFit.
Marcus: Awesome. Well, it is nice to have you on the podcast today.
John: Pleasure to be here.
Marcus: Yeah. I will say that I've talked to a number of other guys that own boxes, and I haven't been able to get anybody to come on. I love CrossFit. I love the workouts, I love the mentality, I love the community, and so I'm really excited about having you on because I want more people to understand what CrossFit really is and how boxes operate and all that other stuff, so thank you for being here today.
John: Thank you for having me.
Marcus: Yeah. To get started, though, we always get some back story on who the person is and where they're from, what high school you went to, did you go to college, what's your day job, because I'm betting that CrossFit is a passion project, not your day job, and obviously you're married, but why don't you tell us a little bit about whether you're married and all that other good stuff?
John: Okay, I will. I was born here in Mobile. Moved to Pace, Florida, when I was three with my family, obviously, because I couldn't move at that time.
Marcus: Yeah, that would be really weird.
John: "I'm outta here." I grew up in Pace, Florida, and I went to Pace High School, from there, I played baseball throughout college. I went to Alabama Southern, which is now Coastal Community College. I played there for two years and I got transferred to University of Mobile on a baseball scholarship as well. From there, I graduated with a degree in theology and a minor in communications and started coaching CrossFit, fell in love with it, knew that I wanted to own my own gym one day. Finally in 2016 I had the opportunity to do so, and purchased the gym that I was head coach at and took over from there.
John: Now I own a business, have been married for a year. It's been a year, and so we have a baby on the way in August.
Marcus: Nice. I didn't want to say anything. It's like, "Man, she really needs to get to CrossFit."
John: Yeah. We're just a few short months away from having a little baby boy.
Marcus: Nice. Congratulations.
John: Thank you very much. The world's about to be all changed again.
Marcus: Day job?
John: Uh-huh, day job. I'm full-time [crosstalk 00:02:27].
Marcus: You are? The box is ...
John: That is what I do. I am there from ...
Marcus: That is so awesome, because a lot of times you find that people are doing something else and the box kind of is ...
John: Just this side project, yeah. I've put everything I have into this gym, so I'm there from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 at night. It's long hours, but it's a growing business, so it's all worth it right now.
Marcus: You studied theology and communications, so there wasn't any kinesiology or anything along those lines in there. It's just really kind of been through your experience with CrossFit that has taught you all the things?
Marcus: Well, we'll get into that in just a second. You are the owner of JH CrossFit. Why don't you tell us what JH stands for?
John: Yeah, so JH CrossFit, JH stands for John's House. When I was looking to purchase my gym and coming up with it, I wanted it to be very personal. To me, something that I can get behind, something that when people see JH or see my logo, see my business, that they know that it's quality and that I can stand behind it. When we were looking for names, I actually used to live at the gym. There was a room there. I actually just moved into the gym, and for a solid ...
Marcus: Can I just pause you for a second? That is an absolutely amazing story. Like, "You want to talk about hustle and dedication?"
Marcus: "I'm just going to move into the back of my gym."
John: Right. I would always tell people. I'd say, "Yeah, I live at the gym." They're like, "Oh, that's cool, you're here all the time." Yeah, it's like, "No, physically. I live here. This is what I do." I lived there for a good chunk of time, and so people started to have the hashtag #johnshouse. We had moved to a new place, and the people who had bought the building built me a little apartment, because I was like, "Well, I'm getting kicked out of my house, where do I go?" They built me a little apartment. When I was looking for a name, you have to submit your name to the CrossFit HQ to get it approved, and so I was like, "I'm just going to call it CrossFit at John's House." I sent that name in and they said, "Sorry, you can't have that, you can't have a personal name in your CrossFit gym." You just can't have a personal name tied to it. I said, "Oh, man, how am I going to get around this?" I was thinking, okay, "Why don't I just call it JH? Why don't we just send that in and see if they have it?" They approved it, but they said, "We see what you're doing. You can't call it John's House, you can't say CrossFit at John's House. Anytime you use the word `CrossFit' legally, it has to be JH CrossFit," and that's the story behind JH.
Marcus: No, that's really cool.
John: It's literally where I lived.
Marcus: Let's hope you guys are no longer living there.
John: Oh, yeah. We're no longer there. We are no longer there.
Marcus: Well, do you remember your first job?
John: I do remember my first job.
Marcus: What was your first job, and what were any lessons that you remember from it?
John: My first job was working in the warehouse at my father's business. His boss had brought me on. I think I was maybe 13, 14. I was literally sleeping, just a warehouse. If I saw a screw on the ground, I had to go pick it up, find the box that it came from and put it up. I learned to be content doing boring things, learning even though it's mundane, I can't just up and leave. It taught me like life's going to be boring sometimes, and there are things that you have to do and you have to do them. It doesn't matter if you want to or not, you have to keep moving along.
Marcus: Well, they're still important.
John: Right, they're important jobs. Mundane, but still important.
Marcus: Yeah. I can imagine. What kind of business was it?
John: It was hardware. Pipes, valves, gaskets, nuts, bolts, screws.
Marcus: Did they have vehicles in the warehouse?
John: They did have vehicles in the warehouse?
Marcus: I'm guessing like a screw going into a ... I mean, just drawing on that.
John: Yeah, you're right.
Marcus: Even picking up that screw saved somebody from a punctured tire, which costs money and delays and all that other stuff. Even in the mundane ...
John: Finding importance.
Marcus: There is importance. I get what you're saying, though, because oftentimes people only see the lights. I don't know, if you've been listening to this podcast, you know it's not all lights and cameras as far as owning a business goes, but oftentimes people think that there's this excitement about owning a business, but there's also just a lot of like really you've just got to grind it out.
John: Absolutely. There's a lot of things people don't see. People sometimes just think, oh, it's a CrossFit gym, it's just a place to work out, it's where you come to work out, but there's so many things behind the scenes that nobody sees for a day-to-day operation to make it happen.
Marcus: Right. You still have to put together a schedule, and you still have to communicate with people and you still have to do the books and all that other stuff.
Marcus: Now, starting a CrossFit gym, can you describe that process to me? I know that it's a little bit different in that it is kind of a franchise but it's not a franchise. I mean, it is a box, you have to be approved, but go ahead and tell us a little bit about that.
John: Yeah. There is some beauty in the CrossFit franchise and then there's also some destructive qualities about it as well, being the fact that ... take McDonald's, for example. If you go to McDonald's and you order a Big Mac, it doesn't matter if you're in China or if you're in Los Angeles or if you're here in Mobile. If you order a Big Mac, it's going to be a Big Mac because of that quality control. As far as the CrossFit goes, there's not one gym that's the same as the other. They all have their unique individual personalities, their own individual communities. I'm not necessarily confined to the constraints of CrossFit. Through their HQ, through their franchise, I'm able to use the word "CrossFit" without being sued, and so the beauty in it is that I have free rein to do whatever I want. If I see something that's a problem or if I see something that's designed or something that's affecting my community personally, I can go in and I can fix it. The way I program workouts, the way that I run classes, the way that I treat people through our locker rooms and our amenities.
Marcus: I was going to say, most boxes don't have any of that.
John: Oh, absolutely. We can talk about that, because I love little things. On the opposite end, because there is no quality control, you have these people who have side projects, who can't put time and effort into the boxes, where it gives CrossFit a bad name. Because as soon as somebody has a bad experience with CrossFit, because of that mentality of, well, a Big Mac's a Big Mac, they think that all CrossFits are the same. It'll leave a bad taste in somebody's mouth just because somebody, one, didn't have the quality control, one, doesn't know how to teach or coach, one, doesn't have a passion for making somebody better or seeing somebody improve their life, they're just in it for the money, and so people start to get hurt. People start to blow their knees out and pull muscles and have back problems and stuff, because they've been moving poorly at a CrossFit gym that they thought was supposed to make them better. They didn't know that, hey, there's other things out there. It's not just this way. It's not something that's dangerous for you.
Marcus: Yeah. When you buy into a box, you're buying into the people that run the box just as much as the actual box?
Marcus: I have a number of friends that are involved in CrossFit over on the Eastern Shore, Spanish Fort CrossFit in particular, and one of the things that I love or that I've always kind of admired is the community that surrounds that particular box, and I would imagine that yours has that as well, where it's not just going and grinding out a grueling workout and leaving sweat angels on the floor. It is going and working out and pushing each other as a community, but tell us a little bit about community in the CrossFit world.
John: Yeah. It's one of the most I would say passionate communities out there.
Marcus: It's the butt of jokes at times too.
John: Absolutely, absolutely. It has infiltrated just social media, you see it on sitcoms, just people mentioning the word "CrossFit." Like you said, it's the butt of jokes a lot of the times, but it is some of the most passionate people that are living right now. The joke about it, you know if you've met a CrossFitter or not because that's all they talk about.
Marcus: Yeah, like a crossfitter and a vegan. You know, there are jokes. I think there's something valuable to that. For years, I worked out with the same three-ish guys, and occasionally somebody would come in and they'd either be able to hang or not. We were consistent, and there was something very cool about having that group of guys to go and work out with. I know my neighbors go and do CrossFit, and it's cool to see the community that surrounds it. It encourages you to go, first of all.
John: Right, absolutely.
Marcus: There is an accountability that's built into that, but also when you're there, you enjoy it more and people cheering you on and stuff like that.
John: Yeah, it's a fantastic just sense of family. When you have those like you said, those three guys or three-ish guys that you would always work out with, it was a bond because you share experiences, and that's what it's about, is that shared experience. I mean, if there was one person doing CrossFit, it wouldn't have lasted, because it's terrible at times, the workouts, I mean. You get out of breath, you feel like you're going to die, and you have to find something within yourself to keep moving. We build bonds through that shared struggle, that shared experience of like, "Oh, my gosh, that was crazy hard, but how'd you do? I did it in 20 minutes." "OH, I did it in 21," and then you have this little rivalry going on. I mean, it's just an incredible experience, because it helps you, it motivates you, to know that you're not alone. You're taking steps to better your life with other people who are struggling with the same things.
Marcus: It's really a competition against yourself, not against ...
John: Absolutely. Absolutely, so that's one of our things that we really try to focus on, is saying it's not you against somebody, it's you against you. Sometimes we get in that competition mindset where it's like, "Well, this person keeps beating me, I keep losing, I keep losing," and you forget.
Marcus: Yeah, but you just improved your time two minutes or something along those lines?
John: Yeah, right, and you've lost 40 pounds in the last three months. You can't compare yourself to somebody who's been doing it for three years and you just feel inadequate. I mean, look at where you've come, right? That's one thing we really try to instill, is hey, let's see what you are doing right now. Let's see if we can go one step farther, let's see if we can get one more rep, let's see if we can get 20 seconds faster. Let's give everything we have to make you better for you, not for the glory or the high fives or anything like that.
Marcus: Just for the audience that may not be familiar with CrossFit, and correct me if I'm wrong, but there are two types of workouts within CrossFit. There are those that are as many reps as possible for a set duration of time, or there are a prescribed workout and those are timed, and how long it takes you, that is how long it will take you.
John: Yeah. That was a loaded question there. It was a loaded question in the sense that there are multiple different workouts. For the gist of it, yes, it would be along the same lines. Just to have an idea, our workouts are designed in a way that we can repeat them. If I said a bench press, I don't have to explain what a bench press to somebody is. You understand that you lay down flat on a bench and you press weight off your chest. You know that if you bench press 100 pounds today and three months from now you bench press 125 pounds, you're 25 pounds stronger. That's progress, so we take that same concept with working out. Whether it be, let's say I want to see how many pushups you can do in two minutes, or I want to see how fast you can run a mile and then do those pushups, something like that. Then later on, we'll do that same thing where we run a mile and do pushups.
Marcus: You might add a weighted vest or something along those lines?
John: Yes, and it's all relative to where we can measure your fitness, and that same concept of the test-and-retest type mentality, if that makes sense.
Marcus: Right, and also important to note that this isn't just for meatheads.
John: Oh, absolutely.
Marcus: That these workouts scale.
John: My oldest athlete is 74 years old. She just had a birthday actually yesterday. My youngest is eight years old, and I have 300 athletes in between that. My wife's pregnant, she does it. I have the 18-year-old stud who does CrossFit five times a week. I have moms and granddads who do it two times a week, three times a week, just because they love the challenge. I have women who have just given birth three months ago who've come in and are tackling the workouts, and so I have anything and everything. It's not just for somebody who looks like they do CrossFit, it's for anybody.
Marcus: Yeah, anybody. Do you remember the first time that you went to a CrossFit workout, where you thought, "Wow, this is really ... this is it"? At some point in time you made the decision like, "I'm going down this path and there is nothing else for me."
John: Oh, yeah.
Marcus: What was that?
John: I actually was introduced to CrossFit in I want to say maybe 2014. I was in Savannah, Georgia, and I was living there for a summer doing some insurance work, working for an insurance agency. A friend of mine said, "Hey, I found this CrossFit thing." At the time I was going to the ... they had a nice, fancy neighborhood that had a neighborhood gym, I guess you'd say, at the pool house and stuff, and I was going there and doing my own thing and stuff like that. I was like, "No, I ain't doing that. I don't like group classes. I don't do that thing. That's just not for me." He said, "No, just come on. I think you'll like it. I did it yesterday. It's not like what you think," and so I went. I think it was called CrossFit Goose or something like Geese CrossFit, something like that. It was something weird. It was literally on the side of a roller-skating rink, an old, run-down ... like they had maybe three roller-skate hockey competitions a week, something like that, but it was on literally the side of a roller-skating rink, and so they had just a very small, limited space. I remember the first workout I did, and I ended up ... it was like maybe seven minutes long, something like that, but I had run out of the building as soon as it was done, just hit my knees and threw up right next to the door.
Marcus: It's time to encourage the audience to try [crosstalk 00:18:33].
John: That was my first experience. My friend was telling the owner like, "Oh, we tried this new pre-workout. He doesn't ever do this," because I went in there thinking like, oh, this CrossFit thing, I'm just going to crush it. I'll come in there and show them what a real ...
Marcus: Then seven minutes later?
John: Yeah, show them what a real man looks like when he works out, and then I come in and it just smokes me. My heart feels like it's beating out of my chest, my stomach's grumbling. About three minutes in, I knew. "Oh, man, I'm about to keel over right here." As soon as I got done, I picked myself up, brushed myself off and said, "Okay, this is the real deal. This is no joke." From that moment on, it was just kind of like, "Let's go, let's do this thing and figure it out." That was my first experience, and never looked back.
Marcus: Never looked back. Now, if you were talking to someone who wanted to get starting running their own business, what's the one bit of wisdom that you would impart to them?
John: Somebody starting their business, the one piece of advice?
John: Man. It's going to be hard. It's not a cakewalk. It's going to be a lot of long mornings, dark mornings. You're probably never going to see the sunrise. You're just going to see the sunset, and you're going to get up before it rises again. It's going to be a hard road. It's going to be some times where it's going to be you don't see any light at the end of the tunnel, like you don't see success. You see just a lot of ... I'm getting passionate about this, just because it's bringing up so many different things, but just all you see is just you start to focus on other people, and you see ...
Marcus: Lives changed?
John: ... lives changed. Well, even in the midst of the darkness, you see other people succeeding, and you just start to question like, "Man, I'm never going to do that. I'm never going to be that person or I'm never going to have that kind of success," but you just keep moving. Like I said, talking about my first job, when you don't see things and you don't understand why they're important, you just keep grinding. You keep waking up. You don't press the snooze button. Gosh.
Marcus: This is a change, because usually it's me crying on this. He's not crying, he's just getting a little bit choked up, but usually I'm the one that's breaking down into tears on this podcast.
John: Yeah. It's just going to be a grind.
Marcus: I told somebody the other day. They asked me some question in relationship to Blue Fish and the business, and they're looking from the outside, noticing some of the success that we've had recently and just saying ... you know, they were giving me kudos and I was like, "Well, you know I've been at this for ten years, right?" This didn't just happen overnight. This was me in a single office running a business for a good probably six years, because Tad I think has been with me for four. It was a long, lonely road. You just have to keep going and knowing that there's no other place that you'd rather be than to see this thing that you've formed succeed. Then out of that success, I would imagine what I'm hearing and what you're saying is you enjoy also seeing not just the success of people outside of your organization but from within the organization, seeing the lives that are changed.
Marcus: You know, that you're having an impact on. I mean, it's no secret. The people that work for me, I want to see all of them succeed in their various roles. I want to see them come to new understandings and learn new things about who they are as a creative and stuff like that. It's good stuff, man.
Marcus: What does a typical day look like for you?
John: Oh, a typical day. It starts at 4:20, pretty much every day.
Marcus: Yeah. No, that would immediately eliminate me.
John: It's not easy. I mean, I wake up. I set my phone in the bathroom for my alarm, so that way I have to get up because I don't want to disturb her. As soon as I hear that, my ears are just like listening for it. As soon as I hear it, I spring up, sprint to the bathroom, turn it off.
Marcus: Yeah, the first wind sprint of the day?
John: Yeah, yeah. Man, I have everything down. I'm very OCD, so I have my clothes laid out. I know in what order I'm going to put them on, so I lay them down in that order, and then I head over to work. I live over in West Mobile. The gym's over here in midtown, and I get there around 4:55. I open the doors, because my first class is at 5:30, and so I know that I have clients coming in who want to warm up and just kind of get their day started too. A lot of what I do is just sacrifice for other people. We have ten classes a day. I'm coaching 80 percent.
Marcus: Ten classes?
John: Yeah, ten classes a day. I coach 75, 80 percent of them. I have a coaching staff of five people.
Marcus: Why are you so fat, then?
John: Yeah, right.
Marcus: It's a joke, people. Look at the picture.
John: Yeah, so I have four classes in the morning at 5:30, 6:00, 7:00, 8:00, then I have a small two-hour break. Then at 11:00, 11:30, then I have a 3:30, 4:30, 5:30, 6:30 class Monday through Friday, open. I have a Saturday class that starts at 8:00 a.m. The first class is 8:30, and then I'm open Sunday 1:00 to 3:00. I'm literally just doing things to ...
Marcus: You still live at the gym?
John: Pretty much. Pretty much. There's a lot of sacrifice but a lot of grace from my wife too, understanding that this is just where we're at right now in life.
Marcus: That is the life of a business owner, so there's nothing abnormal there. Today my day started at ... I got here a little after 8:00 and I won't be home until 9:00. I mean, that just goes with it.
John: The territory.
Marcus: Are there any books, podcasts, people or organizations that have been helpful in moving you forward?
John: In making me ...
Marcus: Yeah, in just helping. You know, either information that you've gotten from them. I mean, obviously CrossFit HQ has been instrumental in helping you, so don't take the easy road. I mean, do you listen to podcasts?
John: It's one of those things that I try to do.
Marcus: You may not have time, yeah.
John: I could if I made time for it.
Marcus: Any books that you've read recently? Any websites that you go to often, for information about workouts or nutrition or anything along those lines?
John: Yeah. I'm a big fan of YouTube. That's one of the reasons I watch Matt and Jake and Lance Peavey. When I saw that, I'm a visual learner, so YouTube has just an insane amount of information out there. There's a lot of people that I follow for warmups, for mobility, for cooldowns, for workouts themselves. YouTube has just a boatload of information, which is fantastic.
Marcus: Who's your go-to channel on YouTube?
John: My go-to channel? Oh, man.
Marcus: Come on, now. You've got to give me something. I'm not going to let him go. No, just one.
John: Just one?
Marcus: Kelly Starrett or somebody.
John: Oh, that's good. This has nothing to do with fitness here. Because of my hours and stuff like that, sometimes I just want to just get away, so my one go-to channel on YouTube is called Good Mythical Morning.
Marcus: Jared's nodding his head too.
John: Good Mythical Morning. She actually has bought me two different things, a poster from them and she also bought me tickets to go see them live.
Marcus: What is Good Mythical Morning?
John: It is a talk show about absolutely nothing.
Marcus: No, Jared. You've been holding back. He's mouthing, "You didn't know about them?" He's been holding back on me. I thought we were friends, man.
John: That is part of my morning routine, is watching them. They actually release their videos at 5:00 a.m., so I'm like one of the first ones to watch their videos. They have like billions of views, millions of followers. It's just a talk show, two guys doing silly things. Just a family show, just doing silly things that make you laugh, that make you feel good.
Marcus: I'll have to check that out.
John: Yeah. It's just fantastic.
Marcus: What else? Any books? Nutrition is an area that oftentimes I think people struggle with. If there was one resource that you were to give them as far as nutrition goes, what would you suggest?
John: The nutrition side of things, it can be very overwhelming, and so what I do for people who ask about nutrition, I can't recall exactly where I found this, but I call it my seven rules to dieting or just basically nutrition.
Marcus: Yeah, don't call it dieting.
John: Yeah. It's seven rules of nutrition. It's, one, no fried food, literally. If you stay away from fried food, you'll lose weight instantly. Then two, no artificial sugar. Those two things right there are just dynamic.
Marcus: Yeah. That eliminates also sweet tea, most of the time.
John: Right, and so those two rules. Eating lean meats, a lot of just chicken, fish. Eat a boatload of vegetables, just meat, vegetables. From there you have a little grain, just not bags. Just a little grain, and then from there fruit. Some fruit, some grain, and then only water. Those seven rules are vital.
Marcus: [Inaudible 00:29:13]
John: Right, you're good. That's kind of like just the starting point. The more you dive into fitness and nutrition ...
Marcus: It's confusing.
John: It's confusing, but it's all about experimentation.
Marcus: Right. You have to find out what ...
John: Yes, what works for you.
Marcus: I'm listening to Joe Rogan's podcast on a regular basis, and I thought I was familiar with most of the new ways of eating out there. I mean, you have Paleo, and Mark's Daily Apple has his take on that. You've got the Atkins Diet and you've got obviously vegetarianism and veganism and all these other things. Then he had Mark Bell on the other day and they were talking about the Carnivore Diet, and I was like, "What in the world?" It's basically just all meat all the time. No vegetables, no fruits, no nothing, and I'm just like, "I don't think I could do that."
John: It would be very hard.
Marcus: Yeah. I mean, I guess the thing is most of the time when people are saying Paleo, they're saying Paleo because there are some things in our diet that may be causing you strive with your body, like you may have an immune response to that, and that's where the grains thing comes into play, right? Mark's Daily Apple is all about eliminating all those things and then adding back in, to see whether they are really the cause.
John: If that's the cause of what's causing your weight gain or whatever, and that's just a good starting point. There was one time, for eight weeks, two months great, I drank a gallon of milk a day, every single day. I had a half gallon of milk in the morning, a half gallon of water, half gallon of milk, half gallon of water.
Marcus: Just for fun, or why?
John: You know, I'd watched a YouTube video.
Marcus: You just thought that was good?
John: On strength-gaining. There was something about just the whole milk. I think it was like IGF-1, some kind of hormone.
Marcus: I remember that, yeah.
John: I wanted to get strong, and so I went on this squat program that was eight weeks long, and every day. I was like religious. I bought half gallons of Fairlife milk. I was religious with which brand I had, with the timing that I drank it, the timing of my squats, what I was doing.
Marcus: Just a side note, people, don't do that.
John: Yeah, don't do this.
Marcus: I know, yeah. That's an example of what not to do. If somebody's prescribing that you drink a gallon of milk a day, don't do that.
John: Speaking from experience, it was pretty bad. It was pretty tough, but yeah. Like I say, the more you get into it, the more you find new things. It's about once you get to that place of understanding and you start to develop your own unique spin on it. Are all grains bad? No, I eat quite a bit of rice and I love bread, but I found a way that works for me. Eating solid food, whole food that's going to make me feel good, but in a way that I enjoy it. Nutrition doesn't have to be boring, and it doesn't have to be one specific cookie-cutter way, because it's not. Once somebody can understand that and understand the freedom you have with your nutrition, as long as you stay within these guidelines where you don't eat fried food and you don't eat McDonald's every day, there's just a whole world of experimentation out there. Hey, this might work, this might not work, but at least I tried it, right?
Marcus: Yeah, and try not to get militant about it too, right? I mean, I think that's the one big thing, is that you find these people that are just so locked in that they just can't think of any other way of eating. What's the most important thing that you have learned about running a business?
John: Oh, man, that goes back to the grind, but the most important thing is that you're going to have to sacrifice. It's not a matter of ... if you want to succeed, you're going to have to sacrifice. It's not something that's just going to be handed to you. That might be time, that might be friends, as far as just being able to ...
Marcus: A social life?
John: A social life. Not necessarily that those are the things that you have to sacrifice, but you're going to have to sacrifice in areas that you might not want to, but if you're serious about what you want to do, if you're serious and passionate about your business and making it and seeing it succeed, then those are things that you're going to have to understand, that there are going to be times when you're going to have to make a choice. It's either going to be a self choice or it's going to be a selfless choice, and that's going to be very hard. It's going to be hard to do.
Marcus: There's some interesting things there. One of the things that I've realized more and more about my workout regimen is that the dedication and discipline that I show in working out ... and for me it's really just about showing up and doing the work, even on those days when I don't feel like doing it, because it's over the consistency. No one workout is going to make you strong or make you lean, but it's the consistency of years of dedication to that that helps grow your health and your strength and all that other stuff. It's the discipline that I show there translates into discipline in other areas of my life, whether it's the intentionality that I show with my family or the discipline that I show in my business and how I operate there. I have a tendency to think that people that don't have discipline in any of those areas, that ... I don't know. Maybe the fact that they're a disciplined person shows in one of those areas, but if it's undisciplined, then it's going to show in all of them. I don't know where I was going with that. What do you like to do to unwind?
John: I am around people all the time, and so to unwind, I just like to really just be by myself.
Marcus: Yeah, a closet introvert?
John: Yeah. I mean, there's just times. I love coming home to my wife, because I know it's just her and I. It's going to be just that night. I've been around people all day, from sunup to sundown, and I just like to be by myself. I like to hang out with my wife. I like to spend time with her, just kind of take a deep breath. It's not always go, go, go, go. It's just a time to unwind. I just get by myself.
Marcus: All right, so tell people where they can find you.
John: Yeah. We are in between Old Shell and Spring Hill Avenue, right behind Dreamland Barbecue. If you can smell the barbecue, you're probably right next to our building.
John: We're right off Interstate I-65, Exit 5A, I believe. I'm not sure of the exit. I just know because of muscle memory which exit it is. I don't pay attention to the number.
Marcus: What about website, Facebook?
Marcus: Understand that if you're listening to this in the future, that things change, but what does membership look like? If somebody wants to start working out at CrossFit, how do they get started? What do the fees normally look like?
John: Yeah. The first class is always free. I don't let anybody sign up until they have tried out a class, so that they understand what they're getting themselves into. We always set up our first class. If you want to set up that class, email us at JH CrossFit through our website. You can email us on Facebook and Instagram as well. Fees, it comes down to, basically because I'm open every day, what it costs per day. If you just want to do one month at a time, it's $150 per month, no contract. If you want to do a three-month contract, it's $140.
Marcus: Sure, so you give them a break.
John: You get a break. The longer you want to stay, the more of a break you get. Six months, $130 per month. A year-long commitment is $120 per month. Then I know that people don't want to come all the time, so we have three-day and two-day-a-week programs for $90 and $60. Then it comes out to be, I think, if you do the just month-to-month, it comes out to I think $6 a day, something like that, and we encourage people to come every day. We program to where people can come every single day and take steps towards a better life.
Marcus: Well, then I want to get on one final thing and then we'll wrap up. You mentioned amenities, and I'll say that most boxes don't have jack when it comes to amenities. You mentioned locker rooms or showers or something like that. One of my big beefs is we've got two or three boxes within walking distance of the office here, and none of them have amenities. For almost a decade now I've worked out at the Y over on the Eastern Shore, but if there was a box down here that had stuff where I could go during the day and get a workout in and then shower or get cleaned up or something and come back to work, I'd probably do that, but there's not one that I'm familiar with. Tell people what you have available.
John: Yeah, we have a lot. We have guys' and girls' locker rooms. Both have two showers. We have full towel service. We have shampoo, body wash, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, razors, shaving cream, deodorant, after shave, mouthwash. Did I say toothbrush, toothpaste?
Marcus: Come on. This really is John's house.
John: We have a full-time masseuse in our house as well.
John: They have a studio upstairs. We have full towel service downstairs as well, to wipe off your sweat and pick up things there. I tell people that you can stay all day at the gym. I have everything you need. The only thing I don't have is your bed. You just can't spend the night. That's my right.
Marcus: It's been a long time since I've been to any gym, let alone heard of a CrossFit because I haven't done CrossFit, but any gym that has that kind of service, so kudos to you for setting yourself apart. Well, to wrap up, I want to thank you for coming on the podcast. Any final thoughts or comments?
John: No. I mean, that's good. There was a thought that I had, if we have time.
Marcus: Yeah, go for it.
John: When you said ... I was thinking about this the other day, actually ... when you said, talking about nutrition, how some people have that single-minded focus on what nutrition should be, where they have that lack of openness to other things. Whether it be good for them or not, they don't know. They're just close-minded and stuff, and so I was thinking about that idea with CrossFit and what we do at JH, as far as I believe personally that CrossFit is the best thing somebody can do, because of what we do at JH. Now, I can't speak for another CrossFit. I know a lot of CrossFit box owners, but I can't speak for them. I know what we do because again, that's where I'm at all day, and we focus on movement and making somebody to where they can be and live a healthy life at 80, 90 years old without the assistance of somebody, where their knees work, their hips work. It's not about lifting the most weight, it's not about being the fastest. It's about making sure that, hey, 20 years from now, I want to make sure that you're okay and make sure that you have a healthy and sustaining life. I've had so many people come through my doors, and I've had a lot of people leave just because their passions change. That closemindedness, I was thinking about it. I believe that if you're going to start your fitness journey, I believe that you should start with CrossFit. Now, I can't convince you to stay. I will do everything in my power to make it worthwhile to stay at JH if you want, but I've had people who fall in love with weightlifting, who want to just olympic weight-lift. I have people who have fallen in love with strongman competitions, so they just want to lift heavy weight. I've had people who want to become marathon runners. I have a guy right now who has changed his focus to running. He just ran, I think maybe two months ago, a 50-mile trail run.
Marcus: An ultramarathon?
John: Yeah, in the woods. Right, 50 miles in the woods.
Marcus: Those people have a few screws loose as far as I'm concerned.
John: Now he's training for a hundred-mile. Being at a CrossFit gym, it opens your mind to what you're capable of, and it allows you to ask questions. As far as like, okay, I might not like this, I might not like being out of breath, but I really enjoy this aspect of CrossFit. The thought came because you have so many people who are just against CrossFit, where you have that single-minded like, "This is what you should do," whether it be calisthenics, whether it to be bodybuilding, whether it should be just you on the elliptical. People are so gung-ho. When you first come into a fitness passion or when you first develop your fitness routine, when you get in certain places, you become so single-minded and you forget to ask questions. The beauty about CrossFit is like, hey, can I back-squat 500 pounds and can I also run a sub-six mile, or can I be really good at body weight but also be really strong, or can I bodybuild and also do CrossFit? It allows you to open your doors, and it allows to you see other possibilities that you would have never gone to at another place, where you forget to ask questions, where you forget to question the system, where you think that this is the way it should be, this is what fitness looks like, this is what everybody should be doing. You just kind of close yourself off, and what CrossFit allows you to do is it opens new doors, and it helps you to find passions that you have no idea were there.
Marcus: Well, it also helps you find your limits as a human being and what you're capable of.
Marcus: That translates into other areas of your life.
John: Right. That thought crossed my mind because I was thinking about it the other day. If you're going to start somewhere, whether you stay at it or not, if you're going to start somewhere, CrossFit is the place to start.
Marcus: Or to at least give it a try. Even if you've already started your workout journey, it might be worth trying something. One last thing, and this is my soapbox.
Marcus: If you are stuck on an elliptical machine, or if you are stuck running or cycling or doing whatever for a period of time, several times a week, then you may want to give some sort of weightlifting, whether it's CrossFit or just lifting weights or whatever, a try, because generating lean muscle mass will help you burn more calories at rest, which helps you stay fit longer and will actually help stabilize the muscles when you go to do the running or the cycling or whatever. What CrossFit does so well is, you know, this guy way back when came up with this muscle confusion idea and it was just really a gimmick, but the truth is the more you can keep your body guessing, the less it's able to adapt and get accustomed to the workouts that you're throwing at it. That's why often when you see workouts for weightlifting, they'll often say to do it for six or eight weeks or something like that and then change it. Well, with CrossFit, you're literally changing it every other day.
John: Every day, yeah.
Marcus: Anyway, John, I do appreciate your willingness to sit with me and share your journey as a business owner and an entrepreneur, and it was great talking with you.
John: Thank you for having me.