Today we’d like to introduce you to Mark Musonge.
Mark, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born with a heart defect which (according to my doctors) was getting complicated as I got older and needed urgent attention. Which being born in Uganda, needed me to raise money and go for open heart surgery in India. I was told at the age of 13 not to engage in vigorous sports like basketball, rugby, and swimming. Any even basically that taxed my heart really hard. Unfortunately, these were the very same activities I enjoyed the most and excelled in (basketball and swimming. And also did track – sprints).
Being a stubborn kid, I know mom was worried about my condition but she never stopped me from enjoying my sports activities. If anything, she supported me. I’d say when I was about 17 I went in again for evaluation and they could not find the hole in my heart anymore. They did all kinds of scans and looked over and over again but found nothing. My doctors could not make any sense of this because they checked me all the times my heart got looked at and they could not find anything.
Long story short they told me that I should tone down on all the vigorous sports to avoid aggravating my “condition”, which at this point I wasn’t sure what it was anymore. What made it even more puzzling was the fact that I defied all the signs of someone with the same condition; I should not have been as tall as I was; my lungs should have been filling with liquid very frequently etc. I was in very good shape. I was among the top athletes in school; always the best at track in my category; best swimmer in school, two time MVP in high school, etc. I defied so many odds.
In Uganda, there’s so much politics involved in sports as well. The more people you know, the further you will advance. Luck was never on my side with every attempt I made to compete at the national level. I figured at an early age that I was wasting my time. I decided not to give up on myself by educating younger high school kids and give them all the knowledge I acquired to be who I was. Some of these kids looked up to me because I was a popular athlete in school.
When I graduated, I became my high school’s basketball coach for both the men and women’s teams. One of my approaches to coaching basketball was to have the ladies play against and with the men’s team so they can mature faster. I did everything any other coach least expected me to. I knew I had all the resources around me so I used everything I had to make my team the best in my school’s history. Three years in a row I had the most improved female player during the national championships. Second year in my career, I produced the best boy’s team in the country and 2nd best ladies team in the country.
I attributed my success to my health condition that I overcame. I believed in people that never believed in themselves. Even though I was never able to compete for my country, the people I helped succeed made me realize there was more out there that needed that one person believing in them, and push them to be great.
I moved to California 10 years ago when I was 22, and thought maybe I would restart my sports career but I realized could do better training people than joining a college team to do both track and ball, and later see which one I’d be more successful at. So I started my company in 2011. I struggled a lot to find my footing. Being an introvert, it was always hard for me to introduce myself to people and sell my “product,” But I had a hunger for success; not by how much I accumulated financially but by how many lives I have influenced positively.
Dad passed away back on Jan 2nd, 2017. Life has never been the same since, but a different trigger was pulled where I thought to myself, I will always do anything that would make him happy. he loved soccer so much that he still played it even in his 70’s. I love people, I love fitness so much but most importantly, I love to see people safely defy all odds and do the things they least expected to do in their lives. There has been so many success stories from clients that have never thought they would be where they are physically today. Some have dropped sizes and weight to numbers they only dreamed of in their adult lives; some have diabetes and train with blood sugar monitors but have still experiences success. How could I ever walk away from that? I have established a culture of believers that have influenced others and its the success that keeps us all together.
Has it been a smooth road?
I had a big problem establishing myself. Trying to establish prices and all. I was not confident in myself and my craft. I remember once I took a bus to San Gabriel Valley to see one client that paid so little, that the whole trip cost me over 5 hours. She was my only client for the day. I had clients out in Orange County that I charged so little, one of the sessions was on Friday. I had to join that pm rush hour to get there and wait till 8pm to come back. One time as soon as my client in Noho had paid me, as I was walking to my car, the parking enforcement guy had just put a ticket on my car… parking violation. I literally gave him more than half the money I was paid for three sessions. Once my car broke down on my way to Orange County at around 11am. I got back home at around 10pm with a tow truck.
But none of these setbacks among many others ever stopped me from pursuing my career. It definitely has been one rocky road.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
My company has 2 locations and we provide both personal, one on one and group fitness training. I have a mentorship program training people that will eventually become trainers. I have met and heard of some very bad trainers that care more about money than their clients. The team I am building through mentorship are people I am hoping would see how awesome this company is and want to stay and grow with it.
On the other hand, I am also a certified private chef. I do meal prepping and for three years, I hosted a media company as their designated chef during Grammies and BET weekends. I facilitated over 500 clients between Wednesday and Sunday of that same week. Now I do private events within my fitness clients and meal prepping as well. But I do not advertise.
What sets me apart is that I do actually genuinely care. I go above and beyond to do more than an average client pays for to work with me.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I plan to open more locations and do both online and in-person training. Im excited to think that I can take this to other states and use the same model that I have here in The Valley. There is so much competition in LA but there are places out there that would love the same services but they don’t have people with the same drive and resources (more mental than anything).
- Personal Training starts at $250 a month
- Group Training starts at $175 a month
- One on one Training starts at $1400 for 10 sessions
- Address: 8461 Foothill Bl, Sunland CA, 91040
- Website: www.markmusonge.con
- Phone: (213) 927-5688
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: markmusonge_elite
- Facebook: Mark M Trainer