40 Lessons Learned Running a Gym for 10 Years - Strong As Hec

40 Lessons Learned Running a Gym for 10 Years

Success in business comes in many forms and has difference meanings based on who you talk to. With that said, last year I turned 40 and this year the life of my gym turns 10. So I thought I’d share 40 lessons learned running a successful gym for 10 years.

Running a gym for 10 years has MANY ups and downs... but more ups than downs.

I’ve had many conflicting thoughts of what success meant to me over the years.

Was in money?

"If money isn’t that important... why you worried about it." ~ Grant Cardone 

You hear many people say, "money isn’t everything." Or "money isn’t that important."

Here’s the truth.

Without money, it’s tough to make an impact.


Was success the lives you changed... the IMPACT you had on others? 100% it is... this leads to fulfillment. It’s something worth suffering for.

But after 10 years... here’s what I know to be the REAL definition of success in business.

Being tested... and enduring the test of time.

"To me, a fight is not a fight until there is resistance... till there’s something to overcome." ~ Teddy Atlas

There's a lot of truth in this in life, health, and fitness as well.

How much do you REALLY know about yourself until you’ve been in a fight... until you’re tested?

"You’re not in a fight until there's resistance... until there’s pressure."

Teddy Atlas said, "the ring is the chamber of truth." The same goes for Jiu-Jitsu... the mat is the chamber of truth.

You can’t lie about your skill... you’re either what you say you are... or you‘re not. And if you’re full of shit... the mat never lies.

There are 3 places in life you can’t lie:

  1. The mat (the physicality of life).
  2. Your marriage (your ability to feel, love, and share).
  3. Your Business (your purpose as a man, your utility, and ability to endure).

How strong and successful can these be if they haven't been tested... until they’ve been through resistance?

I knew my business—my gym—was a success as we left 2020 and entered 2021. After facing and staring down the barrel of a pandemic...

It didn’t close.

This is when I KNEW... I had been making the right decisions the last 10 years... despite the endless ups and downs... despite the constant kick to the balls.

The long nights, failures, the end of friendships, and relationships.

And that’s why I’m writing you today, to share my... 

40 Lessons Learned Running a Successful Gym For 10 Years...

  1. Set expectations!!
  2.  Assume nothing.
  3. The customer isn’t "Always right."
  4. Listen to your gut (read lesson #15).
  5. Don’t try to please everyone.
  6. When you put yourself out there... you WILL piss many people off.
  7. "They" will NEVER understand "WHY" you do it.
  8. Those who talk about "Loyalty" will be the FIRST to turn their back on you.
  9. Your friends and family will be the LAST to support you, and that’s ok.
  10. Don’t work SO HARD.
  11. Zig while everyone else zags.
  12. Invest in your growth MONTHLY.
  13. ALWAYS have a coach if you want others to invest in you.
  14. Don’t stay committed to something because of how long you’ve been doing it. Know when to pivot.
  15. Include God in your biz.
  16. You don’t need to have ALL the answers (this is a TOUGH ONE).
  17. Celebrate your wins. Don’t jump right to the next goal!!
  18. Create boundaries and say, "NO" often (read lesson #1 again).
  19. Give yourself a "cut off time..." you’ll NEVER finish.
  20. Give yourself permission to take time off (see lesson #10 again).
  21. The "GRIND" is for SUCKERS!!
  22. You didn’t get into biz to be a slave (read lesson #21 *AGAIN*).
  23. If you ask for advise, TAKE IT!
  24. Biz is 10-20% strategy... the other 80-90% is protecting your mind and heart.
  25. Get clear on your goals and BRAINWASH yourself to do it.
  26. Mind your thoughts... and the meaning you're give them.
  27. It’s not time you lack... it’s COURAGE.
  28. You're in business TO MAKE MONEY!!! (Read this again).
  29. Take care of the customers who’ve taken care of you.
  30. Say what you mean, mean what you say, and do what you said you would do.
  31. WHO you are is more important than WHAT you do (read lesson #15 again).
  32. Apology WITHOUT CHANGE is manipulation.
  33. Ask for help!!!
  34. Realize you don’t know shit (read lessons #13 & 33 AGAIN)!!
  35. Get crystal clear on your brand, messaging, and OFFER!!
  36. If someone says, "NO" to your offer... it has NOTHING to do with you (read lesson #26 AGAIN).
  37. Trust yourself. Know you will make the right decisions (read lesson #4 again).
  38. Commit to RESULTS... not ACTIVITY (read lesson #14).
  39. Find that "ONE" person you can trust in your biz, and help them grow.
  40. Have an exit strategy.

There you have it, 40 lessons learned running a successful gym for 10 years. Many of these will overlap to your daily life. To your health and fitness.

If you’re planning a side hustle or diving head first into your own business... these lessons can save you a lot of time and free you from unnecessary failures.

Here’s to a great 2021... the best has yet to come for you.

Thanks for reading dude.

Your brother in strength,

hec g.

P.S. - Drop a comment below 👇🏾 and let me know which of these hits close to home with ya.

Have a great weekend!!

  • Emily says:

    Fantastic post as always Hector! I really like #’s 9, 10, 26, 34,36,37…. they were all very good!

    • hey, Emily… thanks for reading and dropping a comment. It’s amazing the “meaning” we give to our thoughts. It’s a daily struggle for sure. But awareness is key. Thanks again for reading.

  • Joe M. says:

    Congrats on hitting the 10 year mark. From the outside it is easy to see how you made it…..because of you. In the just short time I started to follow you on YouTube and this blog you have made a big impression on me. Got me to think of things differently and helped me get out of my own head. Thanks for just being you. Here’s to another decade and well beyond.

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