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Meet Ryan McCarthy of True Strength Fitness

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ryan McCarthy.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I think people will best understand who we are, and what we do by understanding a little bit of my personal story, so let me start with a little context. My vision for True Strength Fitness from the very beginning was to help people create the best version of themselves, so they can live a long, full, and happy life.

Growing up, I struggled with my weight, and due to some circumstances in my life at that time I became very depressed, anxious, and insecure. I remember feeling very frustrated, hopeless, and defeated. One day, my best friend dragged me away from my couch, pizza, and soda (literally haha) to the gym where I began to dabble with the weights and cardio machines, I mainly joined the gym to play basketball, but when games weren’t going on I would lift some light weights.

Slowly but surely, I noticed that my body changed, but more importantly I noticed how my personal struggles began to improve as well. I slowly learned that if I showed up and worked hard, I could change anything about my life, my body, my relationships, my career, and my overall happiness, it was all mine to control! This was very empowering, and led to a massive 10-year transformation and growth period for me as a person, not just from a physique standpoint (220 pounds of flub, to 150 pounds of skinny, back to 220 pounds with abs), but as a human as well.

During that 10-year growth period, I went to almost every box gym in Arizona, paid tens of thousands of dollars in personal training, and tried almost every diet ever created. I failed at achieving my goals hundreds of times, but for some reason had the will to get up and try again. After going through this 10-year struggle and learning how NOT to do things, I thought to myself… there has to be an easier way.

Most people just want to lose some weight, tone up a bit, improve their energy, and feel good about themselves. Most people don’t want to workout hardcore 6 days of the week, and eat chicken broccoli and rice 6x per day for the rest of their lives, nor do they have to achieve the results they want. Throughout my 10-year journey through the mainstream fitness industry, I was frustrated by a lot of what was going on, and I began to want to fix that in order to help other people succeed, and save them all the wasted time and money that I had spent.

There are lots of great facilities and trainers out there, so don’t get me wrong, but there is also a lot of intentional misinformation out there, there is a lack of relationship with the client, and a lack of accountability and support. One day (I think it was after I saw a shake weight commercial, haha), I decided enough was enough, and that I wanted to devote my time and energy to teaching people how to achieve their health and fitness goals quickly, and how to make them last for the rest of their life.

I started as an independent contractor with 1 client and 3 part times jobs to make a living, and I am happy to say that now we have an amazing support team and 130 full-time members just two years later. Now, we have our own awesome facility that we can call our home.

If there is one thing I learned in my 10 year fat journey, it was that it takes a COMMUNITY to make it a lifestyle, so it is hardly anything that I have done, but that which our members and fitness family have done, the positive and empowering community they created, that have contributed to our growth. We are still a small boutique fitness facility, but we have a big vision of helping transform the lives of 500 Scottsdale/Phoenix residents in the next few years, and I am confident we will do just that.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
A mentor of mine once told me when I first began my journey that success is not a straight line, in fact, it usually consists of lots of twists and turns, and many failures. The road has definitely NOT been smooth, most small businesses fail, and Scottsdale is an extremely competitive market as there are many great training facilities here. It was challenging starting with only 1 client, and 0 capital to market to a point where I could pursue my passion full time. I remember walking for hours door to door in the Arizona summer heat offering to train local residents for free for 30 days to help get our name out into the community and help change lives.

Slowly but surely, our member transformations would leak over Facebook, word of mouth, and more traditional marketing methods to attract people struggling that needed our help. Other challenges included learning how to be a small business owner, not just a trainer. In order to help the amount of people I want to help, I knew I had to learn how to become a leader and build an amazing team. I still practice what I preach and invest a lot of time and money into coaching, to help me continue to grow as a person, and to continue to deliver incredible service and results for our members.

Looking back, I am extremely grateful for these challenges, as they have helped develop me as a person and taught me so many valuable lessons. There will be plenty more challenges ahead, but each challenge carries a seed of equal or greater benefit.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about True Strength Fitness – what should we know?
Now that you know who we are, let me tell you a little bit about what we do. We are a fat loss and body transformation facility, and that is it. Our members are mainly working men and women from age 30-59 that struggle with body fat and lack of muscle tone. Common problems they experience before they start with us are changing hormones, a slowing metabolism, a lack of energy, and a frustration that they are “stuck” and that “nothing works.”

They have usually tried many things in the past that have failed them, such as box gyms and crash course diets, and they are feeling very discouraged that they can’t seem to find anything they can stick to. We have a simple philosophy for fat loss, one that I spent 10 years perfecting.

We use a 3 pillar approach to our successful body transformations.

1.) The RIGHT type of exercise
2.) Lifestyle Nutrition Plan (NOT a diet)
3.) Support and Community

It takes all three of these pillars working TOGETHER to experience a life changing transformation, most people have done one, maybe two of them together in the past, but not all three. Our workouts are high energy, fun, challenging workouts designed to burn maximum fat and tone your entire body in only 30 minutes. They are held in our private training studio and led in a small group setting by a personal trainer.

Our lifestyle plan is not a one size fits all. We sit down and create a realistic and custom plan for our clients that varies on what they like to eat, what their busy schedule looks like, and what their goals are. Our support and community are really the secret sauce. We assign every member an accountability coach that texts them, answers questions about their meal plan, celebrates their successes, and helps them stay motivated to stick to the plan so they never fall off.

As a company, I am most proud when I walk in our front lobby and see our floor to ceiling transformation testimonials of lives changed. Marriages saved, confidence restored, careers taking off, health scares fixed… these are why I started True Strength Fitness, not just as a place where people come to workout, but a place that delivers life-changing transformations internally and externally, it is very rewarding and keeps me going every day.

I think what sets us apart from others is not just our results drive culture, but our community. I know every member’s name, and their “why” (why they want to make a transformation). Our members are not just numbers who scan in at the front desk and go through their workout. In my experience, this was greatly lacking in the mainstream industry, and it is something extremely important to me, something that I think helps people breakthrough and experience great transformations.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing of the shoulders of giants.”

Success leaves clues, so early on I was obsessed with studying and modeling success.

I have had many mentors and supporters on our journey, they are truthfully the only reason we exist today, as I wanted to quit more times than I could remember.

Here are the three people that have made the biggest impact on my life:

Dave Ashley is one of my best friends and was a childhood friend of my mom. Dave gave me a key to his training facility when I first started as a contractor. Without Dave, I might still be working at LA Fitness.

Myla McCarthy is my beautiful wife (who I met at TSF but that is another story haha). Myla runs the daily operations of our business, everything from teaching some of our training sessions, to scheduling, to client interactions, to managing our team. Myla’s support of my vision has led to our growth, and she frees me up to do what I do best and continue to pursue our vision.

Alex Hormozi is my business coach. I know firsthand the importance of having a coach in fitness, but it is even more valuable in business. Alex built and ran several successful gyms in California, and now teaches other fitness business owners how to do the same. Alex pushes me to face new levels of fear and growth that translate into a better service and experience for our members.

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