HAPPY NEW YEAR
With the New Year upon us, and a lot of change taking place at RFS I felt like writing a blog discussing the past, present and future of RFS. I’ve heard so many different versions and stories as I’m sure you all have, too!
Having been open for almost 6 years, we have had several coaches and staff as well as members. As a result, there is a lot that has transpired over those years. Many of you already know much of the history of RFS and our future intentions, but many may not.
In 2012, myself, Jordan, Mike and Chris all joined together to build and create Real Fitness Sarasota. It was a dream come true for all of us and we are all grateful for the good times we all had together in creating this facility. The gym was built on the strong family foundation that we have.
During the first four years at RFS not much changed. We learned so much from each other and from our members. But just because RFS was a dream for all of us, it doesn’t mean it was the only dream that each of us had or that life wouldn’t pull us in other directions.
Our veteran members may remember Coach Mike’s very first aspirations, even before the gym, was to serve our country. In 2015 , he took steps to make that happen. By January 2016 he was on that journey and has had to keep his focus 100% on that. He is the only person that knows just how difficult it was, but I certainly witnessed how conflicting it was for him.
We speak to Mike regularly and he greatly misses the gym. He asks about it all the time and always wants to hear about how everyone is doing and what’s new. He had such a positive impact on so many people!! It was an extremely difficult time for Chris and I when Mike left, because not only did we miss Mike, but we had members telling us how much they missed him too and how RFS just wasn’t the same without him. We knew that, but you can imagine that was hard for us to hear as well.
As a result, I made the decision to remove much of Mike’s presence from the gym, a decision I regret now. At the time I felt it was what needed to be done in order for everyone to move forward. The fact is, Mike will always be a part of the RFS team. We miss him, but we are so very proud of him, and we’re excited about what his future holds! The rest of the team continued to work hard to create the RFS experience we wanted our members to have after Mike’s departure.
AND THEN THE FAMILY EXPANDED
Then, in 2017 as most of you know, Jordan and I found out I was pregnant with baby #2 and have since had Isla June. There were complications and some pretty scary moments, but thankfully Isla and I are just fine. But the experience taught me that time with family can’t be taken for granted and it should be cherished. Especially that time with your children.
I am blessed with the ability to be with my kids everyday and I want that time with them. With that said, RFS is my 3rd baby! I love it so much, and I am extremely proud of it. I want to be there as much as I possibly can be, because there is no place like it. I spent a lot of sleepless nights trying to figure out how to balance everything, not wanting to let anyone down. But there is a lot of work behind the scenes to keep RFS at the professional level I expect. Right now, I cannot provide the amount of time and attention as I’d like. This is especially difficult because Jordan’s work is primarily in Naples and our residence is also in Naples!
I simply can’t provide the attention or make the drive as much as I used to. But I will always be a part of it; I speak to Matt and Meredith every day and I know that in time I will be there more often—again working out alongside all of you!!😊
… AND THE FAMILY EXPANDED AGAIN
Chris got married in May of 2017 and we welcomed Katie into the Poppa family. As you all know, they have been looking at what would be best for their future. In the early part of 2018 Chris decided it’s time for him to make a change. Though it may seem sudden, Chris has been considering this move for some time, and his decision has nothing to do with anyone or anything else except his own family.
RFS is very special to Chris, and always will be. He will remain in touch and visit, and I’ll keep him posted on how you’re all doing, too!! He’s a man of few words when it comes to feelings, pleasantries or goodbyes, but I can tell you, this was a tough decision for him. He simply wants the best for his family’s future, and no one can blame him for that!
Just as with Mike’s departure, there will be an adjustment period. We will miss his sarcastic, dry wit, but we will laugh about the one liners he’s so famous for.😊 We’ll miss him and Katie, but more than that, we’ll celebrate with them as they continue their life together, happy and excited about where this opportunity takes them.
AND SO HERE WE ARE
So that brings us to today and addressing the present and future of RFS. I’m so thrilled RFS has such a strong, capable team in Matt, Meredith and Lisa at Real Fitness. As I’ve stated on social media, I will never be able to clearly explain how grateful I am for them. Matt, Meredith and Lisa have been working with RFS since 2013.
Matt and Meredith have worked full time at RFS right from the beginning and have been just as imperative to the growth of RFS as any Poppa has been. You may not be aware, but most CrossFit gyms are riddled with turnover and competition. That is not the case with RFS much in part because of the faith and loyalty Matt and Meredith have in RFS.
It is an understatement to say they’ve worked their asses off, and they deserve the opportunity to take RFS to the next level of our collective vision. They now have taken over the reigns completely and are fully responsible for management of the gym. Though it may seem like a lot all at once, they are implementing changes that are LONG overdue. ome are changes that we have all talked about many times in team meetings, but I was not able to make due to the time, effort and attention they would require. Meredith and Matt have fantastic ideas for 2018 and beyond and they have my full support on those. But what they really need in order to be successful is YOUR support.
OUR FUTURE IS BRIGHT
My main reason for writing this blog and explaining all of this backstory is for them. Most gyms, and businesses in general don’t provide the experience we do or create the relationships that we do with our clients. But we’re in a different kind of “business” at RFS. RFS is not the same place without all the Poppas being there day in and day out, but all the Poppas are still involved in some capacity and we all still love RFS and all of you.
Our hope is that you embrace these changes and support Meredith and Matt as they create a positive and special environment for YOU! These are the coaches who took their Christmas bonus you all so generously donated and put a portion of it BACK into the gym—and bought the members the new assault bikes! That is an incredibly selfless gesture that illustrates just how caring and committed they are.
So whether you love RFS the way it used to be or as it is now, please help us build it up to become even better!! We can’t live in the past. We have to evolve. No one struggled with this lesson more than I did in regards to RFS. But instead of missing the old, let’s look forward and get excited about what’s new!! I felt like the energy at RFS was better than ever last week when I visited and I love that!!
CrossFit is all about preparing for the unknown, but I do know with your continued cooperation and support, the future for RFS is very exciting and very bright.
Thank you all for your patience, love and loyalty to RFS. You guys really are what makes this a one of a kind community.