Our mission statement is as follows:
We’re not a gym. We’re not a fitness center. We’re not a business. We’re a sanctuary for happiness. We’re a place where people from all walks of life come to feel young again. Exercise is just an uglier word for play. What we do in our classes, what we do with our personal training, what we do with our equipment is essentially just child’s play. We’re one big playground for adults.
We must not fool ourselves into thinking that exercise is always fun. Sweating, breathing hard, and muscle soreness are not always enjoyable. Challenges are hard. The process is sometimes hard and arduous. However, the sense of accomplishment our members get from achieving their goals and performing acts they didn’t think were possible makes all the work, all the effort, and all the pain enjoyable. We must challenge our members constantly so small successes eventually evolve into big successes. What they accomplishment in the gym should inspire them to accomplish much, much more outside of the gym.
So, in short, we’re the fountain of youth. We help remind our members of the days of old, when youth blessed us with hope, belief, and change. Anything was possible then, and anything is possible now. We remind them of the days when everything was much, much simpler. The smallest accomplishments resulted in the biggest smiles. Stress was as foreign to us as property taxes were. We were carefree, happy, and most importantly, living, not surviving. Maturity may have made some people forget, but we have not. For age is nothing but a number.
After the phone call I received this past weekend from an “unhappy” member, I just wanted to reiterate what we stand for, and more importantly, what we don’t stand for.
As you’ll notice, judgement is something that’s intentionally missing in our mission statement. The foundation of Ageless is built upon creating change for the better. No matter how out of shape you are, how bad your diet is, how much the scale says you weigh, how old you are, or how much money you have, we’re here to help you make positive changes. It doesn’t matter if you’re male, female, black, white, rich, poor, “upstanding citizen”, or former felon, we don’t judge because who are we to say no.
Why? Because the change that happens at Ageless is much deeper than just the superficial change you see in the mirror or on the scale. As those physical changes begin to take place, a curious thing happens. Positive changes in other aspects of your life begin taking place. The discipline from following a healthy lifestyle begins to trickle down into your relationships, your work, your dedication to your religion, and eventually to your soul. Sooner or later, you become a newer, better version of your former self. So, who are we to say no?
Ageless is a family-owned business. I was raised as a Christian in a family that valued hard work, honesty, and most importantly, acceptance. Growing up, I had friends that were rich, poor, drug addicts, sports stars, nerds, troublemakers, and Christians. Over and over I heard, “They can either change you, or you can change them. Make the right decision.” Not once did I ever hear, “Stay away from him. He’s a bad influence.” Why? Because who are we to say no?
Have I walked in his shoes? If I didn’t have a father or mother growing up, would I have made the right decisions? If I didn’t have access to the opportunities I had growing up, would I be who I am today? If didn’t have the role models I had (grandparents, uncles, aunts, teachers, coaches, etc), would I be where I am today? Most importantly, have I not made mistakes too? Do I not become a hypocrite as soon as I begin to judge? Who am I to say no?
At Ageless, we have members who are teachers, army veterans, successful business owners, amateur MMA fighters, pastors, stay at-home moms, and former felons. Some make over $100,000 per year, while others are currently unemployed. Some of have touched thousands of lives, while others have had troubled pasts. Some have served our country proudly, while others have served time. We’re proud of each and every single one of them. In the 4 years we’ve been in business, we have never had one incident at our gym. In fact, we have 2 mobile emergency push alarms that members can wear around their neck if they ever feel uncomfortable working out alone. All they have to do is push the button on the chain, and the police are immediately notified. No one has ever asked to use one. If Jesus can wash the feet of lepers, who are we to say no?
I’m proud of Ageless. I’m proud of our members. I’m proud of our staff. The last two months have been the most successful two months in our gym’s history. And guess where that profit went? Pete didn’t get a raise. Corrie didn’t start getting a paycheck. Tommy, Reggie, Randi, Meredith, or Jennifer didn’t get a single cent for helping the gym out with our classes. I still work 6 days per week at Sullivan’s. No. All of it went straight into our savings. Why? So we can expand and offer more activities and classes to our community. This gym has and never will be about money. It’s about change.
So to the anonymous person who left a message on the answering machine, I will gladly refund your membership. In fact, anyone that’s unhappy with the changes that have been made over the last 3 months or feel we allow too many of the “wrong kind” at Ageless , please call my cell phone at 217-556-5727, and I’ll personally write you a refund check from my own bank account. You’re not what Ageless represents, and I don’t want you in my gym.
But before you do, all I ask in return is to please take a good, long look in the mirror, and really reflect on your entire life. And then ask yourself, “Who am I to say no?”.