Over the past year, the AFA family has been very fortunate to see the partnership between Jordan Carlisle and myself grow. Jordan and his business partner, Strengthen co-founder, Tyler Presley, initially approached me in the summer of 2015 looking for some feedback about their ideas to build software that could help me better engage with my trainees. About three months later, they came back with a few prototypes and Jordan and Tyler decided to join AFA as members because they wanted health and fitness to be at the center of their start-up's culture.
Over the next six months, Jordan began volunteering his time to help with our morning training sessions to better understand the daily processes of being a trainer. We spent a lot of time just talking about business, life, and what the future might look like. Something that stuck out was Jordan's enthusiasm to use his past training experience to learn more about the art and science of being an AFA strength and conditioning coach. I guess if you're waking up at 5:00am muliple times throughout the week, you might as well take advantage of it. That's when it became obvious that we shared a similar passion for the idea that movement truly is medicine and how big of an opportunity we have in the state of Arkansas to make a positive change.
At the beginning of 2016, Jordan and I agreed that he could train people under my guidance while they beta tested the Strengthen application with AFA clients. By doing so, he'd be able to interact personally with clients to have a better understanding on what does and doesn't work for Strengthen. Jordan has helped me support our existing memberships and taken on the responsibility of a few new client memberships, as well. The members of AFA have found Jordan's enthusiasm infectious. To understand the culture of AFA and what truly makes it what it is, one would have to be inside the doors of the facility, which Jordan has done daily. Also, his business skills have played a huge part in continuously improving our brand and how we engage with our clients. In return, we've helped drum up business that is helping Strengthen press forward. We have been researching at best in class health and fitness companies, like EXOS, where Jordan, Kevin Collins (AFA's team physician) and I spent a week long mentorship to learn how they are the leading innovators in our industry.
As most new businesses come and go, it's pretty tough making it through the first couple of years. I knew we couldn't have started Arkansas Fitness & Athletics if it wasn't for the great people always supporting and believing in me (more to come on this subject in a future blog post!) Just like in our early days, the product was never near perfect nor should I ever think it will be because greatness is never given, it's earned through hard work and dedication everyday. That's how I feel about the Strengthen team. I believe in what they are doing just like they believe in AFA!
A High Impact Partnership
After months of thinking through what the future of AFA and Strengthen might look like, Jordan, the AFA family members, and I have decided that it's our obligation to use our combined skills to continue to make a bigger difference in people's lives with the best of both worlds! That's why we are announcing that Arkansas Fitness & Athletics is the new home of Strengthen Labs. Arkansas Fitness & Athletics will now be powered by Strengthen. With the added collaboration, we'll be able to continue to attack new opportunities with a stronger team . Ultimately, we'll continue to be innovating in the best ways to better serve our members, build a brand synonymous with what it means to live optimally, and make an impact on our community.
To try out Strengthen and help us improve the product, go to https://strengthen.io to get started.