We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Blok and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Passion. No matter what you do, you have to believe in yourself, your purpose and the difference you’re making to those around you. I was originally a member for over 5 years with a challenging past of back issues,, weak body,, etc. I knew I wanted to recreate something like my gym because of the difference it had made in my life. Sharing that experience, the transformation that’s possible with TruHit Fitness was my driving passion. Instead of opening up my own, I feel like the opportunity to purchase my original gym fell in my lap. Here was the opportunity to take something I’m so passionate about and run with it! It was such a great deal, I would have been a fool to let it slip through my fingers. It all happened so fast and I quit my job in San Diego, moved back, trained to get certified, did our Photoshoot Challenge so I could be a walking example all in a matter of 3 months. When you have Passion driving you, anything is possible.
For those who are not familiar with your business, why did you choose it and tell us more about it, like what sets you apart?
Wow, what a loaded question! I believe what’s best is to go back to the beginning where most of these questions get answered along the way. Having suffered from back issues for years, tons of doctors, chiropractors, injections and shy of surgery (they said I was too young), nothing had fixed my pain except physical therapy and TRUHIT!! This is where my passion for HIIT (high intensity interval training) took off and I knew one day I would own my own HIIT gym focusing on form and giving other people the opportunity to become physically and mentally strong. When my office in San Diego was undergoing remodeling I went home to AZ to work and naturally I wanted to go back to my favorite gym!! Only issue: it had really gone down hill (I’ll spare the details) and it was for sale. I didn’t even think about buying it for myself and put feelers out to see if anyone would come to the rescue. 1st Challenge – changing my entire life to pursue a long term goal I thought was only a dream. As mentioned before, I left my job, moved back to AZ from San Diego, got trained and certified to run my favorite place to workout. The amount of stress and long days was an understatement and totally worth it! 2nd Challenge – Purchasing the gym only 3 weeks before COVID hit and I was shut down. For most people this would take the wind out of your sails, I was urged to shut down and try again when this was over. I wasn’t ready to give up! I trained virtual classes, did park workouts (in the AM AND PM 115° was tough) sped up the launch of my nutrition club since it was considered essential, took the opportunity to learn more about the business and what I wanted to do. As you know in AZ gyms had it tough, a place where people can build their health, strengthen their lungs and bodies was now frowned upon and looked at like a COVID mecca. At my peak I took a 53% loss in Y/Y revenue -I didn’t buy into that and to say this was a challenge doesn’t even begin to paint the picture. On top of that, all the help local businesses got (PPP, EIDL, SBA) because I was so new I didn’t qualify for ANY OF IT. Thank you to my landlord for being understanding for a month and a Scottsdale Grant that I was lucky enough to qualify for (my new part time job was applying for any grant I could get my hand on, I think I applied for at least 15?) I could go on, but this isn’t a novel, haha. So it’s easy to say I had some challenges. Instead of turning in the towel I took it as an opportunity to grow, to learn and to fight for my dream. We were one of the first gyms to reopen because we were following all CDC guidelines, I took extra measures to make sure my clients felt safe and it showed. My franchisor even commended me on my growth during these tough times. What sets me apart, you’re going to see a theme here: PASSION. When you love what you do it truly shows in the community, the environment, in the people you attract and that’s exactly what we were doing: creating a community full of passion that loved being a part of these amazing workouts! One of the biggest lessons was not giving up, even when it seemed like the world was trying to make you give up. That takes me to where I am today. A few weeks ago I had to close my doors and no this isn’t the end because I’m going to open up another location. With all the struggles I probably only had a few months left if things didn’t turn around and I was given the opportunity to recoop all my losses and a second chance at a new location – who is watching my back? God! Holy cow! Although it was so sad and heart breaking for most of my members, the support was incredible because they knew the fight I was in and now I have a second chance. So I’m currently looking for a new location and training at other locations in the meantime. Many of my members have come just to take a class with me, and that truly shows you the heart they have to keep our community alive. My story could go on, but hopefully this answers your questions 🙂
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Wow, people use to call me the walking Yelp and an Energizer bunny.. so a whole week with me would really give you a taste of Scottsdale!! Is this pre-COVID? This could be a touchy question, so let’s pretend no COVID so things are open and I don’t feel guilty for gallavanting around the town. Starting the week of going to Diego Pops for their Monday Taco night (using Yelp wait list so you’re not stuck waiting for hours!) because it’s fun, good food and drinks. During the week I’d love to take a trip to Sedona/Horseshoe bend, but if we are staying local Morman Trial and the iconic Camelback are hike musts when in town. At least one or two afternoons checking out all the little shops and historical landmarks is fun (LOVE sign, secret garden, History of the Olive trees, Old School House, Western artwork) while having lunch at Herb Box (butternut squash enchiladas w/short rib), Cafe Monarch (pastries galore), and Montauk (bruschetta, jam and pistachio appetizer) yes please!! Another day we would HAVE to go to Butters.. I know there are some favorite spots that I could go on, but the BEST OJ and Pancakes in my opinion come from Butters and if you haven’t been.. you’re welcome! Haha Since they are coming during spring a trip to Tempe Town lake is always fun doing some paddle boarding and looking at all the new and beautiful architecture that hugs the lake and truly makes it beautiful! Then a quick trip to hole in the rock..when there are clouds the sunsets are truly breathtaking! I could truly turn this into a whole magazine, so to keep it short some of my other favorite spots: Maple &Ash brunch.. yes expensive but that crab and steak Benedict and all the sides.. yes please! The Vig McDowell Mountian – fun atmosphere and live music on Saturdays! Frank and Luke’s specifically for their Poland crema sauce on anything! Fat Ox for their Cesar (I know the pasta is good too) First Friday in downtown to see the shops, art, people, and food truckssssss!!!!! Olive & Ivy for their outdoor dining and pesto bread app (on request) (hopefully Scottsdazzle is still giving us some outdoor beauty) MIM museum because I LOVE music Sunbar Tempe because again I love music and Penny champagne with food? Always a good time! HB Wellness because you can’t go wrong with their shakes, teas and the owner is awesome! And the list could go on.. I bet I’m forgetting something! Lol
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Wow, just one person? That would be impossible because the love and support I have received with my friends and family! My stepdad Mark is always there to support me and push me to “take that chance”. My lawyer Judy is like a mom to me and made sure the deal actually went through. She has mentored me, referred me and helped me so much, none of this would have been possible without her! Then there is my best friend Lanna who started her business around the same time, without her support and encouragement there would have been many more long days and doubts. (Hope that’s okay!)
Yelp: Truhit Central Scottsdale