The Search for a New Space and the Long Road to Partnership

In the Spring of 2015 I asked my client and friend, Lee Khan, to mentor me as I was exploring ways to grow the business and move into a bigger location. She’s a successful entrepreneur who I really love and respect, so I trusted her to give me objective feedback about my ideas and plans. The studio space at 22 North Main Street, which MOVE Fitness occupied from early 2012 through October 2018, was very small (little more than 600 square feet of usable area). I knew the space limited what kind of fitness training I could offer, as well as how many clients I could see at one time and how big my bootcamp classes could be. I did manage a 9 person class once - that was a challenge, but I made it work!

Lee is well connected in the Randolph community, and she helped me find and explore some potential bigger locations to relocate MOVE to. It was a challenge to find the right space, and we searched for several years before we finally landed on the building that the business is now located in (at 24 Pleasant Street). It was a journey of ups and downs, but it is the one that led me to where I am now!

Lee and I after completing the Benson Bear Obstacle Course Race in August 2015.

Lee and I after completing the Benson Bear Obstacle Course Race in August 2015.

During the time that I was working with Lee to find a new location, I was also looking to add a partner to my business. In 2016, Kim White and I began discussions of what it might look like for us to form a partnership and grow MOVE to include a wider variety of strength training options. She was connected with Green Mountain CrossFit (GMCF) in Berlin, VT and was interested in working with them to possibly bring a GMCF location to Randolph. We spent time working with the owners of GMCF, Nick and Cady Petterson, discussing and planning this venture; we taught classes at GMCF and got our CrossFit Level 1 Certifications in June of 2017.

By the end of 2017, this idea was stalling out a bit on our end, and we ended up deciding not to move forward with it; it didn’t feel like quite the right fit for us personally. I was headed in to shoulder surgery in February of 2018, and we started discussing how to move forward with our vision in the current location as we didn’t have a new space yet.


At this time, we started exploring the idea of adding a third partner to our proposed business plan...enter Kristen Gage! Kristen had been a client of mine since March of 2017, and has a background in various fitness realms, including teaching Zumba classes locally. The three of us had many meetings to discuss the vision for our potential new business, to make sure we all were in line with that vision, and would work equally hard to make that vision a reality. There were lots of details to iron out, but in June of 2018, we made it official! Kim and Kristen became partners with me, joining MOVE Fitness as owners. For me, this has meant fewer early mornings and fewer late evenings at work, which equals more time with my family and more time to take care of me! 4.5 years of running a training business on my own was starting to take a toll on me personally, and having these two amazing women to share the work with, to bring fresh ideas and new class options for the clients, has been very refreshing and invigorating for me.

One of many meetings with my two amazing partners - always with plenty of good food to fuel our ideas!

One of many meetings with my two amazing partners - always with plenty of good food to fuel our ideas!

We re-branded the business with a new name - Movement Evolved, and over the summer and fall worked to build a new website, get our business up and running with online scheduling through MINDBODY, create a new class schedule (which continues to evolve)...and with the purchase and renovation of the 24 Pleasant Street building by Lee Khan and her new business partner Jerry Ward, we were able to relocate into our NEW, MUCH BIGGER space in early November!! We’ve been getting settled in, getting the new class schedule up and running - which now includes mat classes with a core focus, advanced boot camps with focused barbell work, a cardio-focused class as well a soon to be added low-impact class (coming Friday March 1st!), and would love to have you come check us out!! Visit our website at www.movementevolvedvt.com or stop in to the new gym and see how we can help you reach your health and fitness goals!!

Kim, Kristen and Sarah in the new gym space.

Kim, Kristen and Sarah in the new gym space.






The Evolution of MOVE Fitness/Movement Evolved - Part 2

The Season of Injury, Surgery, and Searching for Help

In June of 2014, just after my return from visiting Kristi in Chicago, I fell from my pull up bar and broke my big toe in the joint where it connects to the foot. I had to wear a special shoe for the next 12 weeks to make sure it healed correctly to avoid surgery. This was the start of 4 years of injury, surgery, and recovery for me. I had been running the business on my own for just 6 months at this point, and have pretty much injured or recovering since then - I’m not sure if my clients remember me in a fully functional state!

Broken toe

My lovely footwear

It was so fun to wear this shoe and wrap for weeks while my broken toe was healing!

It became clear after the first year of running MOVE Fitness solo that I was going to need some help if I wanted to grow the business and add time and more classes to the schedule. Being one person, there were only so many hours I could work and still be available for my family. Also, it was a challenge to take time for a vacation or other needed time off and leave my clients with no gym time.

So, I looked to add some help with running a few classes. Kristy White got her personal training certification through the American College of Exercise, and began teaching some bootcamp classes for me. She has a sunny personality and great energy, and people always have fun at her classes! In addition to becoming a great friend and sounding board for ideas, she regularly taught bootcamp classes at MOVE and Movement Evolved through December 2018. Cole Farrington was also part of the training team for the better part of a year. He shadowed and then ran sessions and classes for me, and was a great addition MOVE. He eventually ended up taking another job that was a better fit for him and his family. The help that both Kristy and Cole added was tremendous in giving me a bit of a break from the day in, day out  schedule of the gym.

Kristy+and+bootcamp+crew

Bootcamp Crew!

Kristy (center, in pink) has always offered great energy and fun in bootcamp classes!

Cole

Cole’s Motto

“Sarah Says” - That way I always took the blame when clients didn’t like a challenging workout!


In the meantime, I got a new neighbor on my hill at home in Barnard, Kim White. She and I became fast friends, and eventually started doing some workouts together. She was interested in pursuing personal training, we spent a lot of time talking about what I did at MOVE, and she eventually decided to work on getting her certification with ACSM! This was a boon for me...she started doing some shadowing at MOVE and got to know my clients, and eventually was able to fill in for me for a month when I had hip surgery in August of 2016.

Biking after hip surgery

Recovery and Rehab

Working hard on getting moving again after my hip surgery!

In the Spring of 2015, after my broken toe had healed and gotten back to feeling mostly normal, I returned to running and training for some Spartan Races I had planned for that summer - only to notice that my right hip was bothering me every time I ran or did certain strength moves. Needless to say, I tried to deal with this for a year on my own - with massage therapy, chiropractic, and my own corrective exercises - before I went to see a sports medicine doctor in May of 2016. He ordered some testing, which included an MRI that showed I had a tear in the labrum of my right hip (the ring of cartilage that holds the head of the leg bone into the hip joint) as well as a cyst in my acetabulum (hip bone). So, I saw an orthopedic surgeon and ended up with surgery on my hip to help take care of these issues - and it was a good thing I did, as it ended up being a pretty significant repair that was needing to be done, and one that will (hopefully!) help preserve my hip joint and stave off the need for a replacement. Because of the nature of the repair, I was on crutches for 6 weeks, with 6 months of physical therapy and really more than a year of recovery. With Kim and Kristy taking care of things at the gym, I was able to take close to a month off for my recovery before returning to work - and when I did, I had to get creative with how I demonstrated (or didn’t demonstrate - hello YouTube!) certain exercises until I was back to a more fully functioning state. Thankfully, my wonderful clients have always been understanding and accepting of the workarounds I need to do to get the job done.

Return to work from hip

Back to work!

After nearly a month off from work to recover from hip surgery, I returned to the gym with the gym-rat terrier, Lila. I had a special high chair - or as my client’s named it “Sarah’s Queen Chair”, to sit on to keep my hip in proper position.

By the time I was mostly recovered from the hip surgery, my left shoulder started acting up. It had been a problem area for me for a number of years (from back in my days at a nursing job where I did quite a bit of computer and phone work), but this flare up didn’t let up. I worked through the fall of 2017 with occupational therapy and massage, but couldn’t get it under control to a point where I could do the activities and strength work that is necessary for my job. So, I went back to the orthopedic surgeon and ended up having shoulder surgery in February of 2018. Once again, this led to a lengthy absence from working at the gym for my (very long and uncomfortable) recovery and rehabilitation. Thankfully, again Kim was able to take over those duties for me and keep sessions running for my clients, along with the continued help of Kristy - and we even had some help this time from a third trainer - Kristen Gage! As it turns out, both Kim and Kristen would soon play a big role in what the future held for MOVE Fitness.

Post Shoulder Surgery

Post Shoulder Surgery

Here I am, just a few hours after shoulder surgery on 2/15/18 - little did I know how long the road to full recovery would be…now, nearly a year later, I am thankful I had the surgery and am pleased with the progress I have made, but it has been quite a journey!

My time dealing with multiple injuries, surgeries and recoveries has given me plenty of appreciation for what that experience entails. It has taught me how to work through injuries, work around injuries and just keep moving. So, when clients have physical issues that they are dealing with or recovering from, I am better equipped to understand what they are going through and have the knowledge and experience to keep them moving - a body in motion stays in motion! My clients know that I will ALWAYS find something for them to do to stay active and strong, so there’s hardly ever a reason to miss a workout!!

Bulging Bicep

Strong Arm…

Here I am, joking about my “bulging bicep” a couple of months after surgery. After nearly a year of recovery, my strength is still not back to what it was prior to the injury and surgery - but I’m working on getting it there!


I am also immensely thankful for the amazing help offered and given my by wonderful clients (many of whom are now more like family and friends than just clients, after more than 5 years working together) in the form of rides, meals, and emotional support during those challenging times - my family and I will forever be grateful for it all!


Stay tuned for the next installment, where I explore finding a new and bigger space as well as going from a solo business woman to a three woman partnership!








The Evolution of MOVE Fitness/Movement Evolved, Part 1: The Beginning

MOVE Fitness was started in 2010 by Kristi Bachelder. She ran classes at the Bethel School and then had a small studio behind a hair salon in South Royalton. She moved the business to Randolph in early 2012. (Dates are approximate)

I first met her in November of 2012 when I was seeking some guidance from a personal trainer for my own fitness programming. My friend Trista recommended Kristi to me as she had recently started using Kristi’s services at MOVE Fitness. In January of 2013, we did the Polar Bear 8-Hour Obstacle Course Challenge at Shale Hill Adventure Farm in Benson, VT...it was cold and beautiful, challenging and fun! Kristi and I became fast friends as we are kindred souls and have much in common. Over the first half of 2013 we got to know each other better, she mentored me in my quest to find a personal training certificate that would be a good fit for me, and we trained for and ran obstacle course races together. Here’s a picture of Kristi and I starting (top) and finishing (bottom) our second lap at the Polar Bear!

773733_450598818327710_548624962_o.jpg
793832_450598911661034_825104174_o.jpg

In the late summer of 2013 over dinner at the Worthy Burger, Kristi asked me if I would be interested in taking over MOVE Fitness. She was relocating to Chicago and wanted her clients to continue having their fitness needs met, and knew I was interested in becoming a personal trainer. I had been toying with the idea of getting a certification, but hadn’t actually pursued one yet. For the next month or so, I talked this idea over with my husband Jeremiah, and spent plenty of time thinking about it on my own. By the end of September, I had made my decision - I was going to move forward with buying the business! This would be my second time being self employed - I had done it for 2 years from 2008-2010 after our second son was born, when I ran a home daycare.

In early October, I gave my notice for one of my 2 nursing jobs - at the Coumadin Clinic at Gifford Medical Center. I would finish up there at the end of October and spend November shadowing Kristi at MOVE full-time to get plenty of on-the-job training before I took over in mid-December. I also started working on studying for my personal training certification through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and got my Level 1 Functional Movement Screening (FMS) certification. I continued with my second nursing job as a school nurse at The Barnard Academy and The Pomfret School, as these were very part time positions (though I would end up giving them up in June of 2014 so I could focus solely on my work at MOVE).

Throughout November and December, I did many hours shadowing Kristi and some time working on my own, learning the ropes of how the business was set up and getting to know the many amazing clients. By mid-December, I was fully on my own running all of the sessions and classes. We had a wonderful farewell party for Kristi/welcome party for me at the home of Susan and John Westbrook. From a distance, Kristi continued to be a source of support, and offered much valuable guidance to me over the next 6 months (and beyond). I visited her in Chicago in June of 2014 to attend the Perform Better 3-day training summit and in August of 2015 when I got my FMS Level 2 certification. She and I also attended a GMB training together in Philadelphia in October of 2017. She continues to be a great friend and sounding board for ideas, and I visited her at her new home in California this summer - just for fun, no training was attended at that visit!

Stay tuned for the next installment of this blog to hear about how MOVE continued to grow and change and get to where it is today as Movement Evolved