"Do what you love and you'll never grow old." -Sol Moravia
Take a trip down memory lane with us to see how Fusion Fitness began over 8 years ago!
This is Fusion Fitness Circa 2008.
When we first opened the studio space at 80th & Metcalf it was 1,000 square feet. We (Nate & Shane) built the studio space out on our own. Class sizes were typically 5-15 people - for the first few months, NOBODY would show up for the 5:30am classes!
After about 6 months of grinding - the word about the Fusion Fitness method had hit the streets and classes started to fill up. It was sooo fun to see the friendships, confidence, and muscles build amongst our clients. Darby & Shandi were the only instructors for the first 8 months - then we brought Brooke Degnan on as our first instructor hire (not bad, huh!?) Just like many small business owners, Darby and Shandi were the janitors, accountants, marketing department, instructors, DJ's, and admin team.
This was our first ever pro collateral photo shoot with Peep Toe Photography in August 2008. Occasionally clients ask why I started Fusion, and this actually starts with the question of, why did I start teaching fitness classes in the first place.
After realizing that the extra 25lbs (in addition to the necessary 20lbs) I gained when pregnant with my daughter wasn't coming off, I was bummed. I seriously hit a low in life, feeling depressed, worthless, and in shock of what motherhood really means. As wonderful as it is to be a new mom & feel the love of my baby, I was still sad. But if I really dug deep, It was my body image that was really bringing me down. I had always been a fitness fanatic. I had lost the drive to workout. After months of feeling like this I made up my mind to make a change.
I read every fitness book/magazine I could find to inspire me. Then started creating my own "fusion-style" workouts at the gym. I blared loud hip hop on my headphones. I spent 2 hours a day working out. After 2 weeks I was completely addicted. I continued to change up my exercises, create new series and challenge myself further.
I started to smile more, be a kinder person, and love my family harder.
I started noticing other people at the gym that were dragging their feet into the gym and half-assing their workout, and it bugged me. That's weird that it bugged me, I mean, who cares, right!? But I did care - I knew that people's lives can positively change through fitness - they just need a really hard push and some loud rap music. Nate and I had decided I would stay at home to be a mom, but I was still feeling a need to work. This was the "ah-ha" moment when I decided to get my ACE certification & start training.
I started teaching classes at a gym and created a little following. I felt the high from what I was doing immediately! Teaching at gym lends you to a lot of rules and a broad client spectrum, plus the dreaded music regulations. I was doing what I loved but I couldn't teach how I wanted to. At this point, I knew I had to start my own studio. Luckily, I had met another girl who was in the same situation. We decided to take a leap of faith, and that is why Fusion started.
February 2009. Top left: Laurie Morrissey, Amy Hodes, and Katie Corley at our first event Laurie coordinated, Body Bar. Top Right: Our first logo revisions/edits from Ampersand Studio. Bottom right: Morgan Georgie of Ampersand Design Studio at Body Bar.
Brilliant women - who happened to be clients, entrepreneurs, smarty pants, and go-getters - have contributed to Fusion Fitness from the beginning. Ampersand Design Studio was just starting their incredible journey as innovators & leaders in the design world. This duo had been clients since the beginning - they started designing logos, DVD covers and event flyers for us. We are always blown away by their talent & work ethic. It's been so fun to see their business & abilities flourish and we've been lucky to work side by side with them from the start! (Check out their latest mural at our Overland Park studio.)
Public relations is more important to a small business than I ever imagined. Very luckily for us, Laurie Morrissey with LM Connect was in the process of starting her own PR business when we met, 8 years ago. She's a dynamic girl who knows everyone and knows no limits. She's encouraged, challenged, and pushed Fusion to continually grow and do good for our community. It's been so fun to grow our businesses side by side. Fully incorporating community has always been important to us, and relying on help from our dream team of women-owned businesses and supporting and lifting up each other has made our journeys much more enjoyable!
March 2009. The original crew! (This is so embarrassing!)
This studio would not be so amazing if it weren't for the strong foundation that Amy, Brooke, & Sadie helped develop. When the studio was not even one year old, I was due with baby #2. Brooke had already started teaching and was totally crushing it as an instructor. Sadie was my friend from book club and a client - she asked what she could do to help out, so I said "teach some classes" and she was down! We met and trained for a few afternoons & she took off! Amy was our most frequenting client - she would literally take three classes a day on occasion. She approached me as my belly was getting super big and offered to help out. Amy had prior experience instructing so she was a natural fit! We trained for a few afternoons and she took off too!
At this time we offered four types of classes: Fusion, Fusion Mix, Barre, and Bootcamp. Every other class has since been created and developed off of our core method. We want to always evolve and continue to #shockyourbody so we have to continue to learn more to train in safe and unique ways. Naming the class and creating the class description is always my favorite part. This original team of four has been responsible for bringing on new instructors, creating new classes, training new instructors, & holding all of the pieces together as we've grown. We have had so many fun times - it's a true blessing to work with people you love to be around. Each team member possesses very different & very useful qualities. Month after month I am always pleased with how amazing all of our instructors have become! Cheers to the incredible team we were then and are now!
Our very first video, Dream Body, was created so that we could reach more people around the world and share the amazing energy we create in the studio with them. The brilliant Jenny Greenstreet of Just Like You Films and I teamed up and the two of us brainstormed on how we could best portray a real life Fusion Fitness studio experience over a media medium. Jen is wildly creative and super fun, making this video a very fun and energetic workout experience.
The incredibly talented Isaac Alongi and his crew filmed this creation. It was super fun, we laughed a lot, we sweat a lot, and we gained a whole new respect for anybody in front of the camera. We had no idea how hard it is to just simply look at the camera and talk to it! We rallied an amazing group of longtime clients and instructors to create a realistic class-type setting. Jen's vision of the "bubble girl" was so fun to see come to life and made for an extremely unique workout video.
Making this video was one of those scary, uncomfortable, awkward moments causing all of us to step outside of our regular routine and challenging ourselves to do something bigger and better! I am forever grateful for everybody that was involved in this video and for those of you who pushed through to another level. Because of these videos, we've been able to reach people around the world. We have now sold videos in 28 countries. Looking back on this makes me smile real big and laugh out loud about all the fun times we shared making this.
So there you have it - a little history on how this little place was made. We are incredibly grateful to all of our clients!