Christopher Litten, our May 2019 Trainer of the Month award winner and owner of BodyBasics Health & Fitness in Tucson, Arizona, is committed to a mission to “empower [their] clients to realize their innate abilities by providing an environment that educates, nurtures, and inspires them.” Christopher is an example of resiliency and commitment to excellence; not only in how he leads his team, trains his clients, but also in the way he leads his own life.
Here is a look at how Christopher is raising the bar…
Certifications/qualifications: B.S. Business Marketing; Pn2; NSCA-C.S.C.S.; NSCA-CPT; FMS 1 & 2; Advanced Functional Aging Specialist
Studio Name: BodyBasics Health & Fitness, Inc.
Year started in business:
1994 started personal training as sole proprietor
2000 started BodyBasics Health & Fitness
Recognition & awards:
- Internship Program Support for 10+ years with Pima Community College’s Fitness and Sport Science program
- "Best Gym" Top 3 Northwest Explorer 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and number one in 2019
- Finalist for Copper Cactus Small Business Leader of the Year, 2007
What inspired you to start your business?
I was inspired to start my own business because I knew a gap existed between personal training and serving the “boomer and beyond” generations. Early on in my training career, I discovered a real joy for improving the quality of life of someone in their later years. In 2004, I leased my first place to develop a team in order serve even more individuals than I could on my own.
What is one hard lesson you’ve learned in business you believe has been most valuable?
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 2016 was a significant day for our business because that was the day I received letters of resignation from three of my four staff trainers all on the same day! Why? Because I had become too driven by numbers and performance, and lost touch with the importance of relationship with each of them. Since then, I’ve built a team of five excellent trainers and added our first full-time Director of First Impressions. I strive every day to connect and listen to each of them; all while balancing as best I can with the day-to-day responsibilities that come with being a successful business owner.
If I asked one of your clients why they choose you over other places, what would they likely say?
The response we get from our clients to this question is consistently this: they value the quality of instruction they receive, our willingness as a team to listen to them when they have concerns, and our ability to work with any physical limitations and still help them to progress. They also appreciate the collegial approach to training we have at our studio. Last, they always feel welcome and not out of place.
Name one or two ways you are trying to raise the bar in the industry:
A primary way that I’m trying to raise the bar in the industry is by how we take care of our staff. We provide a full compensation package for our team once they’ve hit certain benchmarks as an employee. Our employment package includes paid time-off annually, 50% of our group health plan is paid by us monthly, a percentage matching for those enrolled in our retirement plan, and an annual stipend for continuing education per employee. Additionally, all of our staff are salaried based on level of education as well as length of time employed with us. We also have a collaborative environment that supports sharing of clients so that schedules are able to be condensed to blocks of no more than 9 hours a day for our staff, inclusive of time to eat and a daily one-hour staff meeting. I firmly believe that we have to take care of our people. People struggling to get by can only think about survival. We want our team to be able to think creatively and they can’t unless they know survival is accounted for.
Another thing I’m very proud of and I believe also raises the bar in our industry is inspiring young personal trainers to consider that the pursuit of personal training can actually be a career objective. We have been involved with our local community college’s internship program for over 10 years as one stop of several for enrollees in the college’s Fitness and Sport Science program.