For those of you readers from in or around my hometown in Southern Illinois, this won’t come as a surprise…since I spent much of my childhood and teenage years onstage. In 2010, I was a body-double in a music video for Milla Sunde – ½ of the musical duo, The Green Children. You can see the video here.
While on set for this shoot, this stunning gal and I struck up a conversation together. She and I were polar opposites…with her super cool Serbian accent, her LONG, toned legs and 6 foot something stature, gorgeous long raven hair and beautifully tanned features. It wasn’t surprising when I learned she owned a personal training business. Upon discovering our entrepreneurial endeavors, we quickly swapped information and have been business buddies ever since.
In fact, the revitalization of my blog is due to an accountability program Leks and I put in place between each other. So, you can thank Leks and her “whip it into shape” attitude for getting me up and running here again! 😉 I’m very grateful for her friendship and her belief in what I do and, more importantly, how we can change the world together and encourage more and more women to seize their goals and support each other. Alright, let’s get to the good stuff and introduce you to Leks.
Starting with the basics, Leks officially launched Consistently Persistent Fitness 4 years ago, but moved into her own space 3 years ago. (In fact, TODAY is her business anniversary! Woohoo!) She calls her business CPFitBody for short. Obviously, you have to be CONSISTENT and PERSISTENT to reach your goals. You must also learn more about vegan ways that are also part of the training. CPFitBody offers personal training as well as small group personal training. It’s more affordable for most people, and it does fit most people. They have a trainer to supervise all clients, making sure everyone has a proper form, pushes themselves hard enough (or not too hard in the beginning). They can modify per individual’s needs and really focus on delivering personalized and individualized attention to all of their clients. They also recently introduced nutrition coaching program as well, for all those struggling with food choices. Connect with Leks and CPFitBody online here:
Now, let’s get into the details. Tell us how you got into fitness and personal training? How did you develop this passion?
Ah…how much time do you have? LOL. Honestly, when I was younger, I was a dancer, then started running (young and stupid, I don’t run now, just so we’re clear….), I did some school marathons and stuff like that. Then I moved to the U.S. and got overwhelmed with food! (Cheesecake, in particular.) Oh gosh, I still stay away from those. Anyway, I quickly gained about 20lbs, as if I had inhaled those calories. They just crept up on me! So on New Years of 2000, when we developed the pictures (yes, 14 years ago…you know, when you actually had to go pick up your photos), I didn’t recognize myself and my 2nd chin! So it was time for me to hit the gym. I didn’t know what I was doing. I did boxing and kickboxing for a while as well, but I’m not a born fighter and I don’t love that sport that much. Being punched in your head is really not fun. Punching someone, on the other hand…. Anyway, so I decided to start lifting again and really started exploring, learning, educating myself and TA-DA! It was clear to me this is IT! This is what I want to do! And since I’ve been struggling with weight for a bit, I could relate to my clients about hunger, weight issues, body images, insecurities, stress eating, etc. To find new ways to boost your routine, check this testosterone boosters list.
I know you worked in a few gyms prior to starting CPFitBody. What led you to make the decision to go solo and start your own business?
Well, let’s just say I’m not good at following other people’s rules J Really. My mom said when I was a kid and she’d take a knife to cut my food, I’d say: “Let me do it.”… they should’ve known then! HAHA. I always wanted to be my own boss. I LOVE responsibility. I like to know that if I failed – it’s because I did something wrong or I didn’t do enough. And if I made it – it’s because of the hard work I put in and risks that I took. The idea of failing excites me because I know how far I’ve come. I made something from literally nothing – moved to Franklin 4 years ago with no equipment but a few bands and no clients and no connections. Now we’re celebrating 3 years at the studio with about 70 clients and bunch of equipment! So, I take chances. I like to fail. I LOVE to succeed but I also love the hard work that I put in because it feels great. I LOVE receiving testimonials from clients that bring tears to my eyes saying how, with my help they transformed their lives. That’s what I live for.
Why do you think so many people find it difficult to make exercise and healthy eating a priority?
Because it takes discipline. It’s easy to get motivated for a day. It’s hard to stay disciplined when the motivation is gone. And of course… there is confusing information that’s being bombarded to people every day. You don’t know WHAT to believe anymore. But, that again goes to discipline. Taking the time to research, educate and stay on top of your choices when that cheesecake is calling your name. Oh and… hormones. LOL.
Did you have any critics or naysayers when you started your business? If so, how did you respond?
You know, this is a funny one…. I thought I’d have more than I did, but to be honest, I really think people around me have recognized that “spark in my eye” and drive that comes out when I talk about fitness and business. When I was leaving the corporate world, they all signed a card with notes to wish me all the best, to stay strong, to make dreams come true. They framed it and to this day it’s in my office on the wall. I still keep that with me. I still have a card from a former co-worker that said “See you on TV, Leks!” and I still have 2lbs dumbbells she bought me as well. Whoa…this brings tears to my eyes just remembering this. And I’m working on the TV thing, don’t worry. Although we were featured locally…
What is one thing you hope to accomplish with your business in 2014? Why is that important to you?
To deliver EVERYTHING I promised to my clients AND THEN SOME. To make them go “whoa”. Because client satisfaction is the reason I get up every day. I’m in a service business and the best thing I can do is leave my clients speechless. (And breathless…haha.)
If there are others out there who are interested in starting a fitness/personal training business, what would you tell them?
Make sure you WANT to start your business, because entrepreneurship is not for everyone. And if you’re not made for it, it will break you. Be ready for long hours, exhaustion, stress, frustration and good times. Oh and…TRUST YOUR GUT! ALWAYS! Also, build an amazing team! If someone is not a good fit for your business, let them go. You will find a good one. I honestly don’t know what I would do without my team. They make all the difference, all the time.
How do you unwind in your free time? Do you have any hobbies?
I’m really not good at this and this is NOT a good thing. Honestly being a workaholic IS a problem, so I’m actually forcing myself to watch movies these days and read books that are NOT fitness related. I’ve been doing pretty good so far with occasional movies. And sleep. I really need to catch up on my sleep. I’m learning to balance 🙂 so if you have tips – let me know!
Tell us about a personal goal that others might find surprising.
Many people don’t know this, but my life goal is to go back to Serbia and work closely with the orphanage. I want to spend time with those kids, show them that there is love, show them that all they have to do is believe, offer them scholarships, and try to offer them a better life. This was my goal since I was a kid and even more so after I lost my mom.
What do you think holds people back from starting a business or pursuing their passion?
IF that is what they do want to do, they’re probably too afraid to fail. There’s always the “What if…”. Well, I know that if I was to fail (God-forbid), I would start ALL over again and definitely re-evaluate what to do different this time. But I’d stick to it till I make it! They also rely on other people’s opinions too much sometimes, which can be discouraging. Oh, and not sticking with things for long enough. Success is not a straight line. If you’re not willing to go back and forth for a long time, this is not for you.
What is the most exciting moment you’ve experienced in your business?
Walking into my studio for the 1st time! I STILL to this day do that sometimes… I walk into the studio as if it was the 1st time I walked in – I NEVER want to forget that feeling!
Such an enthusiastic entrepreneur! I love it! If you’re in the Middle TN area, come out to celebrate CPFitBody’s anniversary! Leks is throwing a party this Sunday, April 6th from 1pm to 3pm. She’ll be doing fitness demos, plus have a few other local experts on hand relating to hair styling, massage, organic food catering, skincare (Yes, that’s me! I will be offering skin consults and demos with our anti-aging tools) and more. There will be prizes, music, food and MUCH to celebrate!
I can echo SO many things that Leks shared – not everyone being cut out for entrepreneurship, many not business owners not committing enough time to allowing the business to succeed, building the right team…just a few of my similar insights.
What “golden nugget” did you pull from today’s interview? I discovered several, but I’d lov
e to know what resonated most with you. Please share and let’s dialogue in the comments!