We were lucky to catch up with Jared Burgess recently and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Jared thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. To kick things off, we’d love to hear about things you or your brand do that diverge from the industry standard
UST Personal Training has gone in a different direction than the majority of fitness studios and companies in recent years. While the industry has mostly focused on creating large open training areas where multiple individuals train with trainers in a shared equipment/space environment; UST has tried to focus on the individuals who want to train completely privately with just their personal trainer/fitness professional.
Both styles of fitness studios have benefits, but the style UST has created has been very underrepresented in the past few years. Large facilities with open shared areas and group classes can offer lower price points and train more individuals at one time. But the UST approach has valuable benefits that members in the community really appreciate. Exercising in a completely private setting is a better option in the following ways:
-Privacy; not worrying about training while others can see you. Comfort of trying exercises without others around
-Efficiency; with only you in a compact training area and no other individuals using equipment you may need, your workout moves much quicker, allowing you to get more done in a shorter amount of time
-Effectiveness/Attention; When you are alone with only your fitness professional, all the attention is given only to you! There are no distractions or other potential conversations/interuptions
-Safety; not only is it easier for the equipment to be kept more clean with only one client at a time, but you also get to exercise in a space without many other individuals exhaling heavily from their fitness routines all around you. This is extremely valuable in the current condition we find ourselves with Covid.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
My career in fitness training began in high school when I participated in athletics (football, hockey, basketball, martial arts). As you would expect, fitness training, weight training, endurance and stretching all go hand in hand with athletes, and this was my first introduction into a world that would become my career. As athletics faded off over time, my love for the gym and exercise only grew and lead me into an entirely new path of fitness modeling and acting. After graduating from the University of Tampa and having two years of experiencing training clients at a local studio, I made my first big jump and began training on my own; founding Underground South Tampa in 2006. My passion for my profession and my unmatched care for the clients that became best friends, lead me to realizing that I needed to expand and take another big career step. In 2020 I opened UST Personal Training. This is the studio that I currently train out of and also hosts three other personal trainers.
What do you think helped you build your reputation within your market?
Personal Training is a difficult career. There are gyms and fitness studios seemingly on every corner and constantly new trends and larger facilities opening up yearly. Yet the one that the remains a constant is giving people the best service and experience in the market. Trainers at UST constantly go above and beyond to make sure their clients are able to reach their health and fitness goals. There have been instances where trainers have gone grocery shopping with their clients, gone bicycle shopping to help them find ways to stay active on non-training days, and spent countless hours designing exercises for them while they travel or food plans to help them stay on track!
When you care for the people you are trying to help, work becomes so rewarding and doing a little extra to help someone else out is something special. This is what grows our reputation. This is why clients continually send in family members and friends and why new incoming clients quickly become like family.
Can you talk to us about your experience with buying businesses?
My wife and I expanded and rebranded our fitness studio in 2020. We purchased a property in 2019 that was originally built in 1952 and to say we had some work to do would be a massive understatement.
The purchased property was not well maintained and the lot was not up to current commercial property codes in any aspect. So it was a very long and difficult journey that constantly tested our resiliency. Costs kept rising, new problems were continually being discovered and the City was always requiring new modifications to bring this property up to current codes. Without the constant love and support of my wife, countless hours of help and support from family, and even the hard work of clients (who would come by and volunteer their time to help with projects that needed to be completed) I would have not been able to do it.