Learn about Florida Entrepreneur Justin Bedor and Jeremy Cook:
Justin Bedor and Jeremy Cook, Co-Founders of BeFIT Health Studio, met in 2000 while working together at a Steak & BBQ restaurant in Orlando. Justin, who started Personal Training in 2001, convinced Jeremy to start his career in Personal Training in 2007. The two worked well together and in June 2012, they opened their own Personal Training studio. Today, they operate out of a beautiful studio in Lake Mary that offers a full line of appointment-only group and individual training services geared towards 'Functional Training' for all levels of ability.
The transition from full-time employees to business owners brought with it some challenges and some learning opportunities. "Jeremy's wife had their first baby two weeks before we opened the gym", Bedor said. "We continued to work our current jobs while working on the new business at night. We helped with the build-out." Cook added, "I would get off at 8pm and then go over to the studio until about midnight to help with the build-out. It was a lot of work." The pair was able to secure a loan from a bank to help with equipment and construction costs. “One of the many benefits of being a personal trainer is that you are surrounded by motivated and successful people. They also gave us some great advice and acted like mentors." Cook said.
The decision to open their studio in Lake Mary was a pretty easy one. "We did a good amount of research and found there are not a lot of cities like Lake Mary," Cook said. "The median income is higher than normal, the families are bigger and the area is growing like crazy and it's consistently rated as one of the top ten cities to live. We have companies like Verizon who recently moved here and are providing thousands of jobs. That represents new potential customers for us. It's just a great place to live and work." Bedor added, "We did look at Lake Nona, but ultimately decided on Lake Mary because of the relationships we'd already established here."
About a month after they opened Bedor and Cook caught a bit of a break when a competing gym got bought out. They were able to hire a trainer, with a book of clients, when he left that gym. They were convinced that they'd be the ones training clients and running the business for at least the first year. They were pleasantly surprised when they found a trainer with such an established list of clients.
Cook and Bedor strive for 'Functional Training'. Bedor explained, "Our typical clientele is 35 – 70 years old and usually dealing with limitations. For this reason, we focus more on a functional style of training that allows for daily movement without pain but still allows for an increase in strength." Cook added, "It's training for everyday life. We deal with a lot of people that have grand-kids. We focus on everyday movements rather than using single joint exercises. Back in the day it used to be about pushing your clients to failure and making them super sore. That's not how we do things anymore."
Cook and Bedor continue to optimize their business and their service offerings. Looking toward the future, they see themselves employing more full-time trainers. They want to stay at the forefront of technology and new training equipment. They want their trainers to take a more active roll within the business to allow Cook and Bedor to focus on the business. They're even considering the possibility of another gym.
Cook and Bedor offer up some great advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. "Do a lot of research," Cook said "You don't want any surprises, especially with licenses, insurance, and city rules. Those things can take up a lot of time and money real fast." Bedor added, "Talk to other entrepreneurs, family and friends about your idea. Seek advice from these people."