THE MAX Challenge has always been rich in what they consider the world’s most important resource, good people. Whether it’s our franchisees, managers, staff, instructors, or members, each MAX Challenge center is an entire community of people who want nothing but the best for each other; to live happier, healthier, more fulfilled lives.
Mark Larose is the Managing Partner of THE MAX Challenge of Clinton. Mark was the original manager and center instructor when the center opened in 2018. After a short leave, Mark returned to take the lead as Managing Partner and is currently doing amazing things for the progression of the center. When asked what this experience has been like, Mark said, “A learning experience. A journey of passion for me. Many of our current Legacy members were here when I was manager, so it was like a homecoming for sure. Coming off the pandemic and lockdown though, presented some challenges. Mainly though, the first few months were a mission of the heart.”
Mark knows his number one job as managing partner is to serve the members, and that was his primary mission upon taking over. “Our members needed to know I was SERIOUS about rebuilding and growing – Not just for the business, but for THEM. During the first 10-week challenge after my return, I focused a lot on nutrition and helping the members to be honest with themselves. We saw some growth.”
Any business that reopens its doors is pressed to see changes, and it takes a keen eye in business to scout out the refinements that will take a company to the next level. Since Mark began leading THE MAX of Clinton, he added 4 new class times to the schedule and began implementing Saturday morning pop-up classes. He also purchased BOSU balls and expanded his instructor roster. However, Mark says the most important step he took was “Getting back to the basics!” He knew making direct connections with members was the most important step towards success. “I called members. I celebrated victories. I used the goal wall. I also restarted my weekly podcast on Facebook and online radio called MAX Living!”
When asked how he built up his center’s relationship with the community, Mark assured that it was hardly a burden at all. “Luckily, I have a little advantage with this, as I live in Clinton. During lockdown, my wife, Susan, and I would support local businesses as much as possible. We also are active in the Clinton Guild and the Hunterdon Chamber of Commerce.”
When you speak to Mark or watch him lead a class, you can tell immediately that he ALWAYS gives 100%. Mark is a huge fan of the “MAX Formula” developed by MAX Challenge Founder and CEO, Bryan Klein. “Do the MAX formula and stick with it!” says Mark. “Personal service, making sure classes are level-10 BEST, helping members get results – those are the key steps.” Mark continues, “Train your staff to be attentive and feed them encouragement. Give unparalleled support. And…be there. The members need to see the owner on a regular basis and the owner needs to be available to talk with members.”
It’s hard for MAX owners to pick a favorite transformation among their members, as every single journey leaves an important mark on their hearts. When asked about his most memorable moment, Mark replied, “It’s a tie between the very first challenge in 2018 and the challenge that just ended. The first one was so special in many ways. Dozens of people in my classes were making changes, getting fitter and healthier. Friendships were made that have lasted to this day. My power talks were so emotional, having watched members, now friends, accomplish feats they didn’t think were possible. This last challenge was also special, it was my first since returning. Watching our members come out of the lockdown, determined to regain the bodies and attitudes that suffered so much after a year of the pandemic. Many of their actions were heroic in a lot of ways. This past challenge brought healing to many, and members gained a renewed determination to make their lives better. Having lost so much so quickly due to the shutdowns, it was something to see.”
As a fitness professional turned businessman, Mark is in an excellent position to give advice to those who may be considering opening up their own fitness center. “First, don’t open just to make money,” says Mark. “Open a MAX to change lives! Have a passion to help your community get healthier. Be BOLD about it too. Do and say things that other ‘gyms’ might be afraid to. Be ready to work hard. There is always someone out there who wants what you have and is ready to take it. You need to work harder than them to grow your business. You need to figure out the amount of time, money, and energy it will take to succeed and then multiply that by 10. Most entrepreneurs underestimate the sacrifice needed to open and build a successful business. And… SELL SELL SELL.”
Mark knows that it is important to keep your eye on the future, to stay motivated, and take action towards your goals. It is no surprise that he holds aggressive goals for 2021. “So far we are on track. Every day from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep, it’s all about helping people overcome their fear of being healthier, and how to do it.” Mark is incredibly positive about the future of THE MAX of Clinton, in fact, he says the future is “So bright, I have to wear shades!