Christopher Lee is a certified fitness trainer from Buffalo, New York. Christopher specializes in designing workout plans for clients that make them look and feel more athletic, helping them avoid injury. Mr. Lee emphasizes a healthy diet and lifestyle so clients can fuel properly to get the most out of their workouts and reach their fitness goals. When he is not working with his clients, Christopher Lee can be found at a hot yoga class, practicing martial arts, or spending time with his friends and family in Buffalo.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I was lucky enough to discover martial arts and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specifically, early in life. Martial arts don’t only train your body; they require discipline, focus, and internal stillness. If you don’t focus, you lose. So, growing up, I learned this the hard way – getting beat up and even injured a few times during practices. But I had this burning fire in me to get better and prove that I can succeed in the competitive world I was in. It wasn’t easy. Later in life, I pursued a career in exercise science and personal training to provide my clients with the regimen to improve their health. I already knew that I wanted to help athletes to recover from injuries and prevent them from having injuries in the first place. I just didn’t want to teach only from my personal experience. I wanted to give expert advice. So, to summarize, my business idea came from several injuries I’ve had during my career as an athlete and the desire to help people in the same boat.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I like to get up pretty early and meditate for at least 30 mins. Then I usually do some form of a workout, have my smoothie or breakfast if I have time. I used to go to the gym, but since the COVID-19 lockdown, I usually go for a jog and then do an at-home workout. Then I check in with my personal training clients – we stay connected virtually. It’s interesting how my focus shifted from fitness to mental health lately. Whenever I talk to a client, I always check in on how they are doing mentally, and then we dive into their fitness or recovery goals. After I check in with clients over Zoom, I do minor marketing and admin tasks. It’s not my favorite type of work, and I like to procrastinate. So, to make myself productive, I set a timer for 30-60 mins to get all of my tasks done. Usually, it helps.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I am a huge believer that if you have an idea, it already exists. Maybe it’s not apparent in the physical reality, but as a famous quote states: “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it.” So, whenever I get an idea, I like to meditate on it. I focus on the idea and then relax into meditation. It helps to release any resistance I might have in relation to the execution. Usually, after I do this, I start getting more ideas on how to execute this project I have in mind.
What’s one trend that excites you?
In my industry? I am seeing more and more people redefining their priorities in life. So many professionals lost their jobs and were put in the position of living off unemployment. They were stuck in their homes with their spouses and families. This was traumatic for many people. But also, I think it was healing in a way. Many of my clients share that their fitness goals became more internally-oriented versus externally-oriented in the past. In the past, it seemed like everyone wanted to get fit for their colleagues and friends to see how great they look. Now, it’s more about “How can I be healthy for my own good?”
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
It’s somewhat counterintuitive but doing nothing one day a week actually makes me more productive. I used to be a workaholic that barely got any time off. COVID-19 made me slow down. Now I dedicate a full day to doing nothing and unplugging. So, on my workdays, I am forced to get everything done and not procrastinate.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Slow down and enjoy every part of your journey. Even struggles and mistakes are simply lessons to be learned.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
As a personal trainer, my goal is to provide the best advice to my clients as possible. Sometimes, they go online and find information that is the opposite of what I told them. At times it’s very frustrating because people tend to trust “Google,” and it’s not always up to date with the latest scientific discoveries. I recently mentioned to one of my clients that cutting calories drastically would only give her short-term results. She found several articles and sent them to me explaining that her friend tried this diet and got great results. It’s just something all professional trainers have to deal with – the availability of information doesn’t guarantee its trustworthiness.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Mindfulness and meditation. You don’t have to sit in a quiet room for an hour to benefit from mindfulness. Go for a walk by the river or in a park. Step into nature. Walk barefoot if you live in a warm climate. Simply sit for 3 mins and focus on your breathing. Many people don’t realize that they have obsessive thinking continually happening in their heads. When they decide to meditate, they suddenly become aware of it.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I love using word-of-mouth and social media channels to grow my business. Word-of-mouth is easy – if you do an excellent job for your clients and you have refined offering, they will refer their friends and family to you. As far as social media – I am a fan of building a community of people with the same goals. People don’t just want to get fit; they want to interact and share their progress.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I mean, if you ask anyone in the fitness space about their experience with COVID-19 lockdown, you will probably hear the same answer: “It sucked!”
One of the mistakes I made during this time was panicking. As a result, I offered all of my local clients a 25% discount since we couldn’t train in the gym. They were very appreciative of that, considering the overall hardships that many people went through. But I think instead of lowering the price-tag, I should have offered more value. I did it anyway, later in the pandemic. It was definitely an adjustment for all of us.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Nothing comes to mind at the moment. It’s really hard to predict how customers will react when the pandemic is over. Will they go back to the gyms? Will they stay working out at their homes? I am not sure. Therefore, I don’t want to mislead anyone with a business idea that may not be the best in the long-term perspective.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I got takeout from one of my favorite restaurants in Buffalo. Won’t say their name because they’re already too busy. I love good food. For some reason, there is this stigma that if you are in a fitness space, you eat steamed broccoli and grilled chicken only. No, I go out sometimes. You have to have everything in moderation.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use Focus-To-Do. It helps me break down large tasks into smaller, more doable tasks. It’s a great application if you are a busy entrepreneur.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See,” by Seth Godin. Amazing book on how to market yourself and your business.
What is your favorite quote?
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life” by Muhammad Ali
- To be productive, set a timer for 30-60 mins and get your least favorite tasks done within the timeframe.
- Dedicate one day to doing nothing; it will make you more focused during the rest of the week.
- Spend time meditating and walking in nature. Or take a 3 min break to breathe deeply. This will help your overall focus and release stress.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.