Henry Torano has been involved in fitness since he was a teenager, and although at the time he never thought coaching would be his career, he eventually opened a CrossFit facility and is now, at the age of 40, is the owner of OPEX San Juan, in Puerto Rico.
Though he loved CrossFit, he explained why he eventually transitioned from the group class model to the OPEX individual design approach.
“CrossFit is fun, high energy, varies and (was) new at the time. It was a whole new gym experience for folks,” Torano said. However, all the things that “make it great eventually come back to haunt you,” including too much high intensity training and a lack of individualized attention for clients, often resulting in injuries, he explained.
The bottom line was he knew that long-term success required more than a constantly varied workout delivered in a group setting. It required true individualized coaching to meet individuals where they’re at and prescribe appropriate fitness for their needs.
Torano admits making the transition to the OPEX model came with some challenges, namely in helping people shift their mindset to embrace the long game.
“The biggest challenge is getting people to buy into the reality that what you want is not always what you need. That fitness is not a plug and play thing. It takes time and progression,” Torano said.
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A second challenge, of course, came down to the higher price point that goes hand-in-hand with a more personalized service.
“Five years ago, I had $300 a month trying to compete with $100 a month for a CrossFit membership,” he said.
Through the challenges, however, Torano “stuck to my guns (and) kept pushing my message. People would buy into it and results spoke for themselves,” he said of what he told himself, adding that “hands down, the biggest factor” in his success today is that he truly believes in what he does.
For those considering switching from a personal training or group model to the OPEX model, Torano’s advice is similar to what he needed his clients to do when he made the switch: Lost the short-term, impatient approach to see results and embrace the long-term path to success.
“There are a lot of challenges on the front end, but a lot of fulfillment in the back…put the pieces in play and start moving towards it,” he said.
Though the pandemic has slowed Torano’s growth, he’s still in a position where his gym is doing “a little better than it ever has,” he said.
Though he is not where he ultimately wants to be as a business, he sees “a lot more opportunity for growth,” and he knows he’s on the right path. And the best part is, his actions and his goals are aligned.
“It’s absolutely awesome to wake up every day doing something I’m so passionate about and have so much confidence in,” he said.
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