The Business Of Fitness: Year One

Starting your own business is an exciting endeavor. For many fitness enthusiasts, it’s more than a way of life, it’s a necessity, and a real passion. And like any new challenge worth pursuing, the unexpected can happen, especially in your first year. But fitpreneurs possess that winning attitude that keeps them going through the tough times. Take Fitmark Ambassador Karey Northington, for example. After successfully wrapping up Year One of being in business with her husband, she’s a little wiser, a little stronger, and a whole lot happier.

Karey Northington Fitmark Ambassador

Photo by James Patrick Photography

Despite the roller coaster that was 2015, we came out on top and stuck together – Fitmark Ambassador Karey Northington of Northington Fitness and Nutrition, AZ.

Taking On New Challenges

As an IFBB Pro athlete, Karey is all too familiar with taking on new challenges and overcoming obstacles. But the decision to go into business with her husband Eric happened within a year of getting married. On top of that they were co-parenting together for the first time. Money was tight. Karey was working as a nurse to support the new business, and Eric was running a fitness studio out of EliteU – an academy for sports performance training. Together, their online business was blossoming, but there were sacrifices along the way. Karey said:

Our fragile egos were on the line and we made sacrifice after sacrifice this year. I worked AFTER work, still am currently (talk about learning what it really means to hustle!) We gave up eating out, we gave up shopping, and we stopped buying anything we didn’t need. We missed out on events and trips to make sure we could make up for the scant income, and we lost some friends along the way.

Testing the Limits

Karey had even taken the year off from competing to focus on building some muscle mass. But with all the stress of working long hours and balancing two different jobs, she said that it “was WAY more difficult” than she thought. It stirred up way “too many negative feelings to mention.”

As newlyweds, new co-parents, and new business partners, this brave duo faced many challenges in Year One:

  • Being caught off guard and having to make a new “5 year plan” for our lives together.
  • Missing trips we wished we could take due to financial strain.
  • Having trouble balancing two jobs (my full time nursing job, and our slowly growing small business) that led to many tears.
  • Gaining more weight than I wanted to during my off season/ reverse diet (read: stress eating) and missing out on competing at the end of the year as I planned.
  • Battling disordered eating patterns – stress eating and comfort eating.

Check In and Review Your Goals

Any passion worth pursuing will test you to your limits. As fitness enthusiasts, we all know how hard we have to work to beat our personal best and reach our fitness goals. You set your goals, make a plan and chart your progress along the way. When that plan doesn’t give you optimum results, you first review it and then you change it up. Business is much the same, and that’s exactly what Karey and Eric did. They sat down and had a heart to heart and asked some tough questions like, Why are we doing this again?

Fit Nurse On The Job Meal Prep

After the dust settled, we asked ourselves What do WE truly want to do? What is our passion? What do we believe in?

Here’s a list of what they came up with:

  • The inception of Northington Fitness and Nutrition, making our own Team and supportive community, all on the values of having healthy metabolisms – healthy minds and bodies.
  • Investing in our education – learning from the best of the best – and being a coaching center that tells you WHY we do things – not only because we want you to learn too, but because we actually have an answer for you since we have spent the time learning our craft.
  • Believing in ourselves, our product, and our want to change lives.
  • Finding something that makes us jump out of bed in the morning (or has me willingly writing a blog on Christmas Eve because I think it’s fun).
  • Making it through a rough first year as a couple. My previous marriage, stress tore us apart, in my current marriage, the stress ultimately brought us together.

Learn from Experience

Out of all of this, Karey and Eric soldiered on and made it through their first year together, a little bruised but not broken. Their experiences together only made them stronger as a couple, and the lessons they learned along the way opened their eyes. Karey said:

I used to live a life that put an emphasis on things material and this year showed me how little value those items have in my life. We forged some amazing friendships, nurtured old, and were truly grateful for the support from our loved ones.

Learning from other fitness professionals like our amazing Fitmark Ambassadors about the challenges they’ve faced helps us all grow together as a community. They’re an amazing group of dynamic people who love to share their experiences and pass on helpful information to other fitness enthusiasts, competitors and athletes, and many of you who work in this exciting industry. We were inspired by Karey’s blog when we first read it, and we hope you’ll be too. You can read the whole story on Karey’s blog:
Recap of 2015 and some serious goal setting for 2016.

You might also be interested in reading about Karey’s tips for balancing career and fitness:
Staying In Shape On A 12-Hour Shift.

Sport Your Lifestyle
The Fitmark Team
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