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Meet Fernando Gutierrez of Performance Fitness Training Center in Montclair

Today we’d like to introduce you to Fernando Gutierrez.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Ever since I was young I loved sports, soccer was my favorite. I started playing soccer at the age of 10 years old and dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player one day. I promised myself to make it happen. Once I got to high school my senior year I was blessed with an athletic soccer scholarship to play for a division 1 school. I felt like I was on top of the world and one step closer of achieving my childhood dream. I end up graduating from high school with straight A’s and was given a Golden Conquest award that only ten students receive their senior year I was lucky enough to become one of them. College came around and it was an amazing experience meeting new people from different parts of the world and being able to play the sport I loved 24/7, life was good.

Winter break came along and it was time for me to come back home. I was ready to relax and hang out with my friends and family. I received a call from one of my friends at the time asking me if I wanted to hang out with them. I haven’t seen him since high school so I agreed. It was the biggest mistake I had ever made in my life. That day the guys that were supposed to be my friends end up committing a burglary and I was with them not knowing what they had planned. At the time I was 19 years old. They were 17. I didn’t steal nor did I help them steal. But just for the simple fact that I was with them I was charged with a felony. At that moment, I lost everything my college scholarship was revoked, and I facing up to 6 months in jail. Most importantly, I hurt the people who believed in me all because I hung out with the wrong crowd. I was in deep depression and felt like a failure. It took almost two years and almost $10,000 in lawyer/court fees to prove that I was innocent. My parents never gave up on me; they knew the type of person I was because of them I was able to pull through that situation.

On June 26, I was found innocent and the judge dismissed my case. After two long years of fighting this case. I still didn’t feel happy. I still felt like I lost the case because I lost my scholarship. After that, I never played soccer again and instead, I got into boxing and M.M.A. I started training a lot and fell in love with the sport. One day I was looking for a new gym to train at & walking into Punch It Up Fitness gym. They were looking for a boxing instructor so I agreed. That was the moment where my career in the fitness industry all started. I started doing personal training on the side training at parks and saving money. My goal was to someday own my own gym. Five years later I had saved enough money to open up my own gym and now I’m in going on my third year in business. Not only was I able to open my own gym but I also started a non-profit organization that helps kids from low-income families that are being bullied or are in bad paths in life be able to train boxing and get mentorship in life to hope it helps them out continue life in the right path.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Anyone had the ability of being able to own their own business. But Business isn’t for everyone. It requires a lot of hard work, long hours, and lots of sacrifices. Business will really bring out the type of person you are. So of the struggles I faced were:

– Finding a landlord that trusted in me to be able to lease me a property due to the fact of my age thinking I was too young to start my own business, my work.
– At times Figuring out where I was going to find money to pay off my bills.
– Finding customers.
– Having people believe in.

Please tell us about Performance Fitness Training Center.
My business is a Strength & Conditioning/boxing gym where we work with athletes ( mainly soccer players & combat sport athletes). Not only do we work with athletes but we also work with regular people looking to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. We’ve worked with a couple of pro boxers, Amateur MMA fighters, and amateur/pro soccer players. We Currently work with a pro soccer team for riverside called Riverside Xolos USA; they are a reserve team for a Professional team from Mexico. What I’m mostly proud of my company is that we are not a multi-million dollar gym company but we work as hard or even harder as if we are a multi-million dollar company.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had the opportunity of starting all over and change things, it definitely would be not answering that phone call from my friend. But then I really think about it now and I’m glad I did. Because if it wasn’t for that situation I went through, I feel like I would of been where I am now. It taught me so much about myself and about life. It taught me that when times feel like you’re drowning all you have to do is keep swimming no matter.

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Fernando Gutierrez

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