For the last few years every March, I’ve been fortunate to attend the greatest show on earth “The Arnold Classic and Expo” in Columbus, Ohio. Now I know this isn’t the greatest show on earth, but it very well may be the most interesting one. If you’ve been there, you know what I mean. They have bodybuilders, powerlifters. Lots of orange tans. Colored hair for days and enough testosterone to keep us all jacked until year’s end. But for me, it’s a little different because I work for a supplement company with a group of people who I really look forward to spending time with and talking shop on the latest trends, products, and science of nutrient timing.
However, this was the year I strategically planned to make my first visit to EliteFTS. For the last 10 years, I have been a follower of the EliteFTS community. I really appreciate the information, tips, workouts and good ol’ banter. I’ll have you know that my girlfriend doesn’t appreciate this site as much as I do, but she does know who Dave Tate is, so that’s a huge step for mankind.
You see, to me Dave Tate is this guy like many of us who found himself in the weight room. In a humble way, he passes on knowledge that helps us all find our inner workout warrior. For that reason alone, I’m a huge fan. Several months earlier, I e-mailed Dave about his availability. Now I know Dave Tate has a ton of things going on; he trains, writes, and runs one of the most successful companies in the industry. I really didn’t expect him to make time for me, a complete stranger who wants to pick his brain on training, the industry, and possible facility development. It’s common knowledge that a meeting of this nature can become pretty costly. To my surprise, I received an e-mail response with a time we could sit down and I was pumped about meeting Dave for the first time. I had my sponsor fly me out a day early, reserved a car, and I was on my way.
I walked into the EliteFTS office and was greeted by Rachel Cassano, a very friendly young lady who seated me in the conference room as I waited. Dave arrived, we shook hands and he gave me a tour of the offices, warehouse, and the training facility. I’m sure if you’re reading this article, you’ve seen pics of this massive facility. Just in case you haven’t, let me tell you what you’re missing; this isn’t just a training facility – it’s the mecca. This is the kind of facility we all dream about having. Inside the gym you can find every type of band, bar, chain, rack and accessory known to man. It’s a workout warrior’s dream.
We sat down at a table right in the middle of the gym. It resembled an executive meeting table in a fortune 500 company except it was right in the middle of weightroom. It was perfect. We talked for a couple hours on how he got started, what his goals were, and how he runs his company. I asked him for advice on opening a facility, and at one point he pulled out a loose piece of paper and drew a make shift blueprint on what he thought a facility should look like. He also asked me several questions regarding what I was doing now and how I planned to evolve. I’m the kind of guy that takes hustles, works long hours, and doesn’t make a move unless I do the research. I read everything and study techniques and programming like it’s breathing.
Dave helped broaden my vision by providing tips on developing my goals. I probably did my best listening in years. One of the things that stood out was Dave’s suggestion on how to build a brand by focusing on the characteristics that mattered most to me. He advised me to take a pen and a piece of paper and make a list of my most important traits. I began to write integrity, honesty, knowledge, honesty, dependability, honesty, enthusiasm, honesty, unselfishness, honesty, loyalty and finally honesty.
“Ok Marc so I think honesty is important to you,” Dave said.
He was right. I didn’t want to start a business unless it was going to be based on giving quality training and information in the most honest way. I was happy to hear that he treats his business like a family and holds everyone accountable for their actions. He demands that his team always does their very best when working on a task. I’m certain that this directly carries over to an efficient business of any kind. The things he described were in line with everything I’ve experienced in my own career. I spent many years in both athletics and training. I’ve learned that successful leaders of teams and business are hardworking, honest, patient, and for the most part humble. They respect their staff and value what the individuals on their team bring to the table. I firmly believe that when an employee is treated this way, he can be trusted to go the extra mile without being asked to do so. I guess that’s what it comes down to when you’re starting anything. Always be honest because that’s the foundation of your reputation. Do your best when given a task. Make sure you have exhausted all options to make sure you’ve been thorough. Last on the list, but certainly not least, is my favorite. Treat people as you wish to be treated. You get respect by giving it. Understand that the people you interact with on a daily basis can make your life better or worse. You determine how you will be treated by others, so keep it polite and thoughtful. Try to be as understanding as possible and remember there are no bad teams, only bad leaders.
I was incredibly fortunate to sit down and receive so much wisdom from an icon in this industry. I must mention that Dave, being the class act that he is, did not charge me. He explained how the knowledge was free and that someday I would be able to pay it forward. I had a front row seat to the inspiration that fuels EliteFTS’ success and it’s no surprise that they’re at the top of the industry. Thanks to Dave and EliteFTS for being a positive influence on the Strength and Conditioning culture who continues to pave the way for all of us. I’ll always remember you taking time to school me on business, training and life.