Today we’d like to introduce you to Harut Tovmasyan.
Harut, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in a large family. I am the third eldest of 10 kids (eight boys and two girls). As far as I can remember, I was in fifth grade when I started realizing the life we had. Why we couldn’t have the toys we wanted, or go on summer vacations like my friends. I started paying more attention to the sacrifices my parents were making just to pay bills. I thank God for the life we had because it could’ve been worse but it still bothered me. Deep inside I felt like I needed to do something with my life to be able to help my family out.
When I was 18 years old. I was still living with my parent back in Cleveland, Ohio. I was working at Home Depot and was just over it. I just did not want to have a 9-5 job. The thought of it would depress me. I ended up partnering up with my ex-girlfriends (who was my girlfriend at the time) brother to open our computer company. It was great in the beginning but trust issues started to develop. He kept stealing money from the business. We split up the business and went our separate ways. I ended up doing the whole computer business for few more years after the split.
After closing my computer company, I thought corporate America would be a better fit. That didn’t work out either.
In May of 2006, I broke up with my girlfriend of five years at the time. We were going through some rough times and one day she left to “visit” her brother in another city and never came back. No goodbye. Nothing… Not sure if you can actually classify that as a break up. It took a major toll on me. Talk about getting punched in the gut and stabbed in the heart at the same time. I was heartbroken. I got dropped me to my knees and couldn’t get up. I felt lost in life. Lost interest in everything. Didn’t eat, couldn’t sleep. Can’t remember exactly how long passed until she finally reached and we spoke. I tried my hardest to work it out but still no luck. I felt like she was struggling financially and knew I would help her, because I wanted our relationship to work out, but she took advantage of that and never returned.
I had no choice but to move out of Cleveland because it was very hard for me. Every inch of Cleveland I went to reminded me of her and I just needed a new start. I wanted to leave Cleveland while we were in a relationship but only stayed for her. I put my dream of becoming an actor aside for her (which she knew) and since she was no longer in my life there was no place for me in Cleveland anymore. I remember one of the last arguments we were having in my car about moving to Los Angeles together so I can pursue acting. At the same time the song “Lose Yourself” by Eminem came on and I was like. Look it’s a sign. Especially when the verse “You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime” came up. She responded back by saying “you will never make it”. That’s a dream, it’s a fantasy.
So, I moved from Cleveland Ohio on Black Friday of 2006. I remember, my parents were getting ready to go shopping and I was packing my car to drive out. I moved to Sacramento first and lived there for a year while we started our car dealership. Then we moved the business down to Camarillo with my brothers to Oxnard, which later was moved to Thousand Oaks. I was running the car dealership and growing our business. Everything was great but I wasn’t happy. My passion was to be an actor. That was the main reason I moved to California. In 2009 the auto industry was at its worst and we ended up closing our dealership. My brothers all moved back to Cleveland, while I stayed in Los Angeles with one of my closest friends that had also moved from Cleveland. I bounced around for a while from AZ back to LA to Bakersfield doing contracting work just not to move back to Cleveland. I was very close to becoming homeless but still, I wasn’t ready to give up on my dream of becoming an actor. I moved to Bakersfield for some contracting work that was only going to take 3 months but ended up taking 10 months. We lived in a run down hotel in with a friend of mine for almost 5 months with work equipment from. Every night I was saying to myself. What the hell am I doing here? Why can’t I just walk away from the hopes of becoming an actor and go back home. At the same time I am also responsible for my friends livelihood and he was relying on me to lead in a way. Man, times were rough.
Since we were staying longer in Bakersfield than anticipated, I ended up renting a one bedroom apartment. I figured if we can live for 5 months in a hotel room, we can make do in one bedroom apartment. This apartment sacred me for life I must say. It has cockroach infested. Either me or my friend Arthur would wake up middle of the night, screaming and chasing cockroaches with our shoes because they were crawling on us. It was bad man!
I could have said screw it any time and went back to Cleveland and had a simpler life, but I kept visualizing how life is going to be when I make it as an actor. I kept visualizing myself holding an Oscar and doing my speech. I couldn’t wait for the weekend to come any quicker so I could drive down to LA to take some acting classes. That’s what kept me going honestly.
I was holding on to my passion with a string of hope that sometime soon I will get back on my feet and am able to pursue acting again. That soon took almost three years even after moving back to Los Angeles.
As reality was setting in that I wasn’t going to be a star in 6 months. I knew I needed to find a real job to survive. I didn’t want to end up being a broke actor.
Before becoming a certified trainer, one of my former childhood friends that used to live in Cleveland had also moved to Los Angeles. One day he went to a home poker game and lost $6K to the wrong people. I ended up bailing him out with the money I had saved up from the contracting work. He had promised to go back home and get the money from his parents to pay me back. I had bills coming in with no money to pay. He was supposed to pay me back within 30 days and 5 years later he hasn’t even called me once to see how I am doing. The story of my life. Helped another friend, loved one and I got screwed again.
My options were running out on how to make money really quick so I got certified to become a personal trainer. After getting certified, I got hired at a very reputable high-end gym. I thought I knew everything about training because of my martial arts, soccer and weight lifting background. Aesthetically I looked great. I was fit, had great muscle definition, etc. The whole nine yards. Then I got exposed to what training is really about and it became more than a passion. I was obsessed with it. I was able to reverse the clock on my body in a sense. I felt younger, become more athletic, faster, stronger and more powerful while I was getting older. All because of the new approach of training methodology I started to adopt. It was my escape from reality just like acting. When I put my headphones on, I’m in a world of my own. I let my mind loose and start to travel.
I worked for Equinox for almost 3 years and started to really master my craft. The more I learned the more obsessed I got and took my training to new heights. I met my business Roy Paras at Equinox. He got hired as a trainer one month after I got hired. Within the first year of working together we started working on EPX. Started to brainstorm ideas during lunch hour or slow hours during work. First was our logo, then philosophy, etc.
Once some of the key components were in place we started to focus on how to bring EPX to life. How are we going to stand apart. We didn’t want to be just another fitness studio or training company. We wanted to be “thee training brand”. We wanted to create a household brand name. So when you thought of fitness, you thought of EPX. Which relates to all forms of fitness, whether if its pain management or pain relief, to fat loss, building muscle, athletic training, postural training, etc. All forms of human performance. We worked on our project after hours and weekends. When our friends were going out or enjoying their weekends away from work. We were working.
The more time I spent on EPX the less I spent on acting and it started to bother me again. Between my fulltime job, building EPX and acting. I was getting exhausted, but still looked at the bigger picture and stuck with the game plan. My days would start at 4:30/5am and wouldn’t end until 11pm. Sometimes acting classes would go all the way to 1-2am. On those days, I wouldn’t even go back to sleep because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to wake up for work. This schedule continued for little over 3 years. Several times I almost walked away from acting all together. But I would just keep reminding myself that the sacrifices are only temporary.
In January 2014 I left my place of employment to invest more time into EPX. What a rodeo that was. I noticed every time I make a change to better my career I would take a severe financial hit first. Life was great, I was living in Calabasas at the time. After quitting my work, for no reason I would start losing clients and I started to panic. How the hell am I going to pay my bills. I wasn’t the reason for losing clients, which bothered me even more. Times got really rough when I was struggling to pay rent. I was like not again. I thought I had paid my dues already. I had went through the struggles to be where I was at already and now I am going through them again. But I didn’t let it bring me down because I had been in that situation before and I had gotten out of it. I just have to do it again. No big deal.
Summer of 2014 while Roy and I are continuing to build our business, we made an agreement to become the official training department of 360 Health Club. Business started to pick up and I was excited because of the financial relief, but overwhelmed because it was hard to juggle acting and working, managing, and building new business. Few months later, I landed my first major acting role. I got casted for “Hollywood” for a feature film called Vigilante Diaries. Then Roy and I got an opportunity to be an executive producer for the movie. We were very excited.
Things were looking great for a short while. My partner ended up holding down the fort while I was filming Vigilante Diaries. Everything was great until early 2015. The deal we made with the ownership of the gym went sour. The ownership started doing things behind our backs. Roy and I weren’t cool with that but we were also little strapped for cash because we had just invested in our first movie. With no other option but to find a private lender, (which we did, which was a whole another challenge by itself) so we can build our own gym.
After 5 years of working countless hours, we finally opened our first location in Woodland Hills on July 1st, 2015. After we opened, I remember some of our clients, friends, and family members were like. “I can’t believe you actually did it. You kept talking about opening a gym and you actually did it”. And all of that started from believing in ourselves, believing in each other and working on our vision to bring it to life.
Opening a gym is very challenging but keeping the doors open was a whole another animal. Because of our reputation in the area, we thought it was going to be easy. Yeah right! Roy and I were the owners, employees, managers, the interns and everything else we needed to be to keep the doors open. But we never gave up. We believed in each other and kept pushing hard and we knew all the hardship will eventually pass.
What are your plans for the future?
My plan for the future for EPX is have more Southern California locations and then turn it into a franchise. I want to see the masses have access to EPX training. On top of that, we recently completed our own trainer certification program and are working on getting it national accredited. Our goal has been to have EPX Trainer Certification Program to be the new gold standard in the industry.
Personally, now that Vigilante Diaries is completed and will be released in select theaters in Los Angeles and New you’re and iTunes. I have started working on two other projects that are still in the development stage. Hopefully they will be ready for pre-production by the end of the year.
- Harut Tovmasyan and Roy Paras rates: $150/hr.
- Elite Coach Plus rates: $115-$135/hr.
- Elite Coach rates: $85-$100/hr.
- Group Training: $200/Mo unlimited access
- Phone: (818) 245 5008
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.epxculture.com
- Instagram: haruttovmasyan EPX or epx_culture
Check out his work below: