I’ll admit it. When we started Fit To Hunt back in 2014 our main goal was to build a community. Offer some cool content, sell some t-shirts…maybe a few hats and ride off into the sunset. The rude awakening was when we had a basement full of t-shirts and hats and very few orders; someone had forgotten their lesson in branding but that is a story for another time.
I have always fallen on the “total wellness” side of the spectrum. What that means is my vision for Fit To Hunt was never to simply produce workouts but really help people navigate through the minefield of wellness that includes categories such as:
Physical wellness (the one we all know)
Environmental wellness (being clutter free…not saving trees)
As a practicing personal trainer and fitness coach in St. Louis, MO for over 21 years, I have made it a point to include these elements in the conversations I have with clients. It does not matter if they train in person or online; total wellness is more than how many apples you eat and the number of push-ups you can perform.
Nevertheless, when the inventory of t-shirts weren’t moving, we fell back to what we know and are really good at: personal training and fitness coaching. Each year we help people prepare for the hunt of a lifetime or simply help them continue to hunt for the duration of their lifetime. In the last year we have helped folks get ready for elk, whitetail, duck and turkey excursions but it was a November waterfowl hunt that really made me stop and think it is possible I missed the point of Fit To Hunt. Or did I?
I was sitting in a duck blind in Northern Missouri with Nick and two guides from Pro Outfitters. The ducks were stale but we were able to shoot a few Canada Geese and Nick connected on a young gadwall. It was a good day.
In that blind, I listened for hours as Joe, one of our guides told me his story. He had battled cancer for the last year and it darn near broke him. He was living on a relative’s couch during his chemo treatments because he couldn’t work. It was awful, yet he persevered. Joe is a colorful character and I found myself captivated by not only his story but his honesty to a guy who he had just met a few hours earlier. He stared some pretty bad stuff in the face and won. I believe with sheer grit and determination as Joe does not strike me as the type of rolls over when presented with a challenge.
Last Friday night I saw a DM on our Instagram account. In opening up it was a longtime supporter of Fit To Hunt who lives in Idaho. Now, we have never offered him one piece of exercise advice but he has been one of those folks who have been there from the beginning. He proudly wears and represents our logo on the west coast (something we never tire of seeing) and have supported our partner products such as Yo Buck, Wilderness Athlete and Pure One Outdoors.
In the DM I could tell something was wrong. Our friend had just gone through some personal tragedies and despite a long week and a big difference in time zones we got on a call around 8pm CST on a Friday night. We talked about what was going on in his life, his loss and his outlook on spirituality. I am not even sure if the conversation lasted 15 minutes but it was a meaningful 15 minutes.
I know we did not talk about his exercise program. I do know we talked about God, the universe, perseverance and friendship. We talked about his dad who he had lost several years ago and how there are still places on their property he cannot go because of the memories associated with that piece of dirt. I also listened. Funny how a professional coach sometimes does his or her best work when they say nothing. This was one of those moments.
And today, amidst the body aches, chills and pounding head I responded to a Tweet from a long time follower and client regarding his exercise program (because when you are sick Twitter is the place to hang out). His response to our response to him made our day
It doesn’t matter if you buy a $3 beer koozie or a $20 6-week workout plan or follow us on Instagram; we want you to feel like you got value equivalent to a $2,000 purchase? Does that make sense? Is that even possible?
We think it is. Mainly because we know now this isn’t just about creating exercise programs. We want to know you, help you solve problems and be there with you when you climb that mountain, harvest that bull or land that fish. Or, if you simply need someone to listen to you.
We really are grateful for your business, your support and for following us! Thank you and as always it is our wish that you stay #FitToHunt.
What kind of content do you want to see created to help you get the most out of your outdoor adventures? Leave a comment below!