Today we are thrilled to have with us two special guests, Andrea Lopez and Carly Byrd from The Athletic Society. The Athletic Society is a unique fitness community that encourages everyone to achieve their fitness goals without any judgment. They offer a variety of modalities such as Zumba, kickboxing, and boot camps, to name a few.
But today’s episode is not just about staying fit and healthy. Andrea and Carly will be sharing their insights on starting a business for the first time, and we can’t wait to hear their tips and tricks. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or someone who wants to improve their fitness level, this episode is for you.
So sit back, relax, and get ready to be inspired by the stories and experiences of Andrea and Carly from The Athletic Society
Listen to the podcast episode here!
Today’s podcast we have Andrea Lopez and Carly Byrd with The Athletic Society. So you guys are new in business just a couple of months, correct?
Yes, we’re brand new. Just getting your feet wet, figuring things out.
So talk to us about what you guys do and what The Athletic Society is all about.
Yeah, so we are a private training studio. So unlike your typical gym, where you have a membership, and you can come in whenever we are by appointment only. We work individually with clients on goals. We also have group fitness classes. We also have recovery sessions, assisted stretch sessions, and things like that. So a well-rounded amount of services. You know, Andrea, she specializes in Zumba and different types of dance. Yeah, so that’s fun, we have a lot to offer. And we also do kickboxing classes. We also do that. So it’s all a part of that. Yeah, we know groove and improve. Yes, that’s us that’s our slogan boys.
Like, that’s what it’s about, right? Like, there are so many different ways, different avenues for fitness, you know, like, like, I mean, like what you guys offer, right? And then there’s more on top of that. So it just finding kind of your, whatever it is your groove is to, you know, figure it out and move and be healthy. How did you guys tell me about your background? Like how did you guys get into fitness? And then like, what led you to start your business?
So for myself, I actually had been pretty overweight, for a good majority of my life. I went through like a 65-pound weight loss by myself. And once I kind of realized I could do that. I was like, Oh my gosh, I have to help everybody do this. Yeah, remember what a mountain it felt like before, and then being able to overcome that was like, wow, so I got certified. Okay. And then now we’re seven years down the road. In that time period, I’ve worked for a handful of different gyms, I’ve managed different gyms, and I’ve become a bodybuilding athlete. I’m a nationally qualified bodybuilding athlete hoping to go pro at the end of the year. Cool. So I’ve been able to really, you know, reach my dreams, you know, things that I never thought I could do. You know, here I am bumping it out one by one. And now really opening a studio of my own is like, oh my god, it’s like mind-blowing, you know, feeling Yeah. So to be able to partner with someone who I’m really close with and trust a lot, you know, to create our vision is it’s, yeah.
How did you guys meet?
So long story short, I was working at a gym that she was a member of, and she comes up to me and she’s like, you’re going to be my trainer. You know, just as good as you, you know, we’re going to do this. And so we hit it off real quick. You know, we started busting our goals together, and she conquer her fitness stuff. And then that grew into a great friendship. And she’s very passionate about fitness. So we decided to take the plunge together. It was our turn. Yes. Yeah. It was just that everything was lined up perfectly. And so you guys met like, what about seven years ago? No, no,
I’m, I’m pretty new to I’ve been in Florida five years, I believe. So I’m from Stamford, Connecticut. Okay, yeah, so I love Florida never going back was amazing. And I’m like in paradise. Tarpon Springs is such a spot. So yeah, yeah. So I started also seven years ago started off at LA Fitness. I was just doing boot camps. There was a trainer. My Fitness, my love for fitness came because it was just my escape. So there was just always like, where I went to I just felt like it was my home for a very long time. Yeah. And it just became my passion. I was dancing since I was five. My mom put me in every class possible. Yeah, you can think of and so I’ve just that fitness and dance have just always been a big part of me. Yeah. And yeah, moving down to Florida now being in Tarpon Springs. I you know, I was trying to like come back to it and Carly brought that back real quick. Woof. And yeah, and that’s just my passion and it just wants me makes me happy. It’s so good to wake up in the morning and do what you love.
Yeah, so cool. It’s a, it’s a game changer. Like once you kind of figure that out, right? Some people figure it out sooner than others. But you know, as long as you’re still hunting and trying to figure that out, that’s pretty cool. So you guys, so you both got into fitness and like training, like seven years ago?
Yeah, oddly enough. Yeah. I feel like the cards kind of, you know, got handled perfectly for us to meet, you know, and be able to combine talents and yeah, reignite each other’s passion for what we do.
And so you were you were a trainer at like, when you met her right, but you were just looking for local Florida. So it was just, I was totally different. I was eating every single day. My job was to go into it was the best job in the world. Yeah. I’m such a foodie. Yes, I’m such a foodie. So I transitioned. Yeah, so I was into marketing, working for an amazing company. Yeah. So but you know, things pass on and I was just like, it’s time to get back into what I love. Yeah. So I love fitness. I love training. So I do my Zumba class. I’m like, Let’s go girls. Like it’s, it’s a party. Yeah, it’s just amazing. And being able to help others, especially in our little community type. And Spain’s not that little but you know, it’s so tight and needy and feels so like, blessed to be living here. Yeah.
And we’re like, what you guys are building at your gym too is like, that’s a little community in itself. Right?
Yeah, it’s become it’s so sweet. Just seeing that grow. It’s grown ships, kind of, but you know, we’ll be able to support each other. You know, it’s, it’s really, really cool.
That’s awesome. So what led you guys to Tarpon Springs? Like, why did you pick that location? And then what is the journey been like?
I don’t have any background in business before, right? Like, this is your first business. Yes. This is our baby. Yeah. Yeah. So so yeah. Tell me about like picking a location, and just like that journey of like, Okay, we’re gonna start the business. What are the next steps?
Yeah, so I actually was born and raised in Tarpon. Springs, cool. My childhood house is not even two minutes from our location. So, you know, it was really cool to be able to open a business in my hometown, you know, to be able to directly impact the community that helped me kind of become who I am. You know, my high school is like, right down the road. Like, it’s kind of cool to do that. But as far as nailing down the location, she had a huge part in that she was like, that’s where my dry cleaner is. She Yeah, go find the landlord right now. And I mean, she really got the ball.
I think in like, two days, I was like, wait, you like that spot? Let’s I’m gonna make it happen. It was very quick. It was like we started Googling, you know, different locations. You know, we decided we wanted to be local. You know, we both live near Tarpon. And you know, we wanted to stay close. And it just worked out really well.
It’s, it’s I love I mean, I love not having to, you know, it’s just a perfect location. Yeah. So close. And you guys both live in Tarpon. Right. So yeah, I’m like, I can bike to work. It’s the best feeling in the world. Especially on like, the cool mornings, and it’s nice out. Yeah, totally. Yeah, totally. And a lot of our members and clients are really, they all kind of just walk you know, they can all walk so it’s so cool to have a place where you know, people can just walk on walk in groups, and our whole plaza is amazing. So you know, we have the nail ladies who the what nail and spa they’re so good. Yeah, spring postings for those businesses have been around for a long time. Yeah. So they’ve been in that Plaza. Yeah, so we’ve been welcoming. Yeah, they’ve been so so nice. They even want to replant. florist friend.
Oh, of course. That makes sense. Awesome. Yeah.
He’s awesome. So yeah, I mean, it couldn’t have worked out any better. I mean, we started the demo immediately, right after signing the lease, and we did a lot of the work for her dad, me, and my husband. And then a couple of our friends. I mean, we got down and dirty we did floors, and carpet, took down walls, put a window in I mean. you guys have the vision for the space before. Before you got into images. We had a couple of like, we wanted some space for dance, right? And you want to space for like, so you can slam some weights. So we knew that that was what we were gonna which is like an interesting combination.
But it’s good because you know, we wanted something aesthetically pleasing kind of modern, really clean. It’s very beautiful. So you know, people walk in and they’re like, you know, it’s just all about focus. You feel comfortable. You feel confident you just feel ready to work, you know, you’re not distracted.
Very cool. What was the process like of starting the business like did you guys were there any challenging pieces to finding the location? I mean, sounds like that was you know, you kind of picked that spot but just getting up and running.
I mean, it seemed like it went really fast for us. I know people say it’s fairly difficult, and I’m sure in some aspects it can be. But we had a pretty clear vision, we and we, you know, once we got the advice, we needed the steps we knew we needed to take. I mean, we just banged it out one by one. I’m sure there’s gonna be a lot of obstacles to face, though. So, learning we’ve learned, yeah, we’re learning every day. Yeah. So I think maybe the thing that might have taken the longest was just, you know, getting the system kind of set up all the back end stuff, you know so that we can have the schedule. Like our app available that were on the mind-body app, if you search the athletic society, you can find us there, and you can book on there. So a lot of that stuff took a good amount of time, putting everything in.
And you guys have any experience with any of that before or like I did, you know, managing previous gyms, really familiar with some of those systems operating software. So I feel lucky in that regard, that I’m able to kind of share that with her. So we’re not just both blindly. Gonna try this. Yes. So it’s nice to have some background in it, at least, you know,
I think it’s a huge part of starting a business, right? Like just the back in set up is there’s a lot especially now with technology, like where to put it on the website and make sure you integrate it, all those things in marketing on top of all that. I’m like, we become graphic designers. And I know it’s great. Yeah, thankful for her marketing background. She brings a lot yeah.
She’s really helped with that. We’ve grown our social media pretty decent pretty decently. You know, we’re on Facebook and Instagram, you know, and that’s the followings almost around 200. So yeah.
Let’s go back. What are you guys doing to market your business and try to just get the word out?
A few different things. Obviously, word of mouth in our industry is huge. You know, if you do a good job with somebody, they’ll likely tell more people who tell more people so that’s always big, but we like going into different businesses, you know, popping in and saying hello, you know, offering free class passes. And you know, like right now we’re with the, the ape sanctuary in Tarpon Springs. You know, we’ve chosen them as our charity of choice for this month. We do a charity boot camp every Saturday at Weaver Park in Dunedin. Yeah, nine donation base.
And those donations go to the charity of choice. So among one was the Kimberly home center. They help women kids, children, and families, so we raised $150 For them, which was really cool. Yeah, this past month for March were the apes. We raised 125 for them and get this there’ll be dancing with the apes coming soon. Oh, yeah. Zumba with the apes is? Yeah, apparently the monkeys like to dance.
Yes. Yeah. So we’re planning that with them? Like, yeah, kind of the chimps where you can dance and you move your hands? Oh, yes, they do. Yeah, it’s so cute.
That’s awesome. Yeah, I think that’s what we talked about before the podcast, right? Like, community involvement. Like, just being a member of the community is huge. And obviously, you know, you’ve grown up here is a big part of that. Yes. Yeah. Very cool. So what is if if someone is like looking for a fitness group, whether it’s Zumba, or whether it’s like weightlifting, or whatever you guys offer, or just something different? Like, what advice do you have for someone who’s like, you know, I need to, I need to do something to move and you know, be healthier and stuff? What are some tips or whatever to kind of get started and find that group?
I would honestly say, don’t wait. I know a lot of people are like, I need to be able to do XY and Z before I can, you know, branch out and try something like that. But at the end of the day, that’s why your tribe is there. You know, everybody’s there to support each other and get better together. And we’re very much a no-judgment zone. So you can come in and feel good about the work you’re doing while you’re progressing and getting to where you want to be. So I would say no matter what you want to try, even if you’re like, Oh hot. I don’t know if I fit in with that group. I don’t know if I could do Zumba or I suck at dancing, you know, it’s like let those inhibitions kind of go and, and really get into it, you know, because once you’re immersed in the, you know, in the session, and yeah, it really is cool, you know, turning back there’s no turning back. Yeah, for sure. Come to the dark side. Yeah. Protein cookies.
It’s funny like the group fitness thing is it’s become, I think, a lot more popular in the last, I don’t know, five years, 10 years, something like that. But my wife and I, were part of group fitness for some years before we had kids. And it is like, just having that camaraderie or those friendships there like it just helps you get up and get moving. And make it to that workout. When you are on the days you don’t really feel like doing it. You know, you know, when someone’s gonna text you later and they’re like, Hey, we missed you. You know, something like that. You’re like, oh, man, I’m not missing next week. Yeah.
Yeah, you want to see your friend who’s in class as well. You know, it’s like a big community.
Yeah. That’s a big part of it. It’s cool. So So what’s the future for you guys? Like, what do you guys see the business becoming? And what are your goals for it,
I mean, we would love to expand and get bigger, you know, as our classes start to grow, we’re already looking at maybe a bigger space to potentially move into in the near future, you know, our one on ones have been growing. So we’re definitely getting to a place where we would like to get a bigger facility, you know, be able to accommodate more people, I have a group of athletes that train underneath me, they’re going to be competing in the next coming months. So we’re going to be doing, you know, bigger seminars, posing seminars with some of the bigger names in the bodybuilding world. And you know, just a lot of different things like that. So we want to grow and be able to expand those horizons, grow the dance, she’s got a great EDM shuffle class that she wants to kind of expand and grow out. So we’re looking for that market. And you know, we just want to have the space to be able to do that. So we’ve got some big goals and as new opportunities arise, we’re definitely going to Yeah, we’re gonna seize the day.
Yeah, ready to go. I like it. It’s like, what are your what am I trying to say here?
What is it like? Being partners? Like, you know, I know you guys talked about it. Like it was kind of just hit it off in the beginning, but being partners together, like how has that been? And did you ever picture yourself being a business owner as well?
Yeah, for sure. I knew like, I wasn’t gonna own a business. Definitely one day. Yeah. 100%. And yeah, I mean, it’s just like having a sister. So it’s literally just like loving your sister and like, we’re patient and like understanding Carly. So understanding. So it’s been good. It’s, it’s just like sisterhood. That’s how I can explain it. Um, we’re so blessed to I’m so blessed to help, Carly.
No, I would agree. I didn’t always envision myself owning a business. I never really saw myself as a leader. But as I got older, and certain things started to, you know, occur and I, you know, got put in management positions, I realized I did like to lead and that maybe I did want something bigger for myself aside from you know, working for somebody and you know, growing something for them, rather nurture something, you know, for myself with my partner, and there’s been a lot of give and take a lot of learning along the way. I’m, it’s been but that’s so good.
You know, it feels good. Because now you’re like, okay, cool. Now we know. Yeah, sounds good. Yeah, yeah. I’d say out of all the people in the world to do this with I’m very blessed. feeling the same way. 100% Yes.
I think learning like those, like overcoming those challenges, right? Like, once you learn that you can do that, right, you’re almost unstoppable at that point, right? Because it doesn’t, that’s part of the business you nobody hasn’t really figured out, right? You’re just constantly learning along the way you’re trying new systems, trying new ways trying you know, leading people and you know, making mistakes but as long as you understand and learn that, that you can make those mistakes and still move forward. You know, you’re set 100% Yeah. 100 Very cool.
So one thing I want to ask you guys, I can ask everybody at the end of the podcast is if you’re not in the gym, you’re not you know, just your downtime, like you’re doing whatever you want to do. Where are you guys going? Like uh, you know, a local restaurant, local park. What is it you’re gonna go visit that’s just for you?
Honestly, my go-to place my whole life here has been the Dunedin Causeway, Yeah, I mean, my whole life in high school after school goes to the Causeway right? Yeah, with my husband we were on our first date and we’re gonna go to causeway you know we’re gonna go to the tiki high end even now with the kids it’s like let’s go we’re going to the causeway now so that’s definitely my go-to spot I lived in Eden, you know, it’s close to tarpan you know, we even have built a bit of a following in Dunedin so yeah, I would say downtown Denmead in the causeway those are like my favorite places.
Yeah, a great little spot to visit the Causeway totally Yeah. And you run they have the trail there right so run walk absolutely by whatever it is get that fresh air get that vitamin D all of that good stuff very grounding. Yep.
Andrea, What about you what’s your what’s your go-to spot?
My go-to spot has a lot of go-to spots. I feel like I’m I love you gotta give these fish shack is my ultimate favorite in Palm Harbor that’s like my go I’m literally always there so that will definitely be where I’m at places really good. Yeah, it’s actually new. It’s a new place in Palm Harbor. And or I’m just home with my grandma. I like love. I’m with my grandma most of the time. Yeah, I love her. She’s home with me. So spend time with her and my dog and yeah, just, I like to go everywhere. I’m like, even like going to coffee shops. So I still like to do all that stuff. So yeah, yeah, I still like to mark it. I’m always out you know, and about Indonesian loved Anita and I created a little women’s group there. So tie that into my workout in Weaver parks. Oh, yeah. So that’s been super fun. So yeah, I love I’m always I’m always on the go. was
Some of your background and like eat local Florida. And if anyone doesn’t know that, about that, just go check it out on Instagram. Yeah, but like what is like what you mean? You’ve been to a lot of different restaurants and stuff. What’s your favorite?
My favorite in Tarpon? Let’s be sure Oh, Hellas Restaurant & Bakery. Super good. Yeah. The last bakery? Yeah, there are so many in the Indonesian. Let’s see. Bon appetit is really good. Love Bone appetite the atmosphere there on the water. Yeah, Tampa you lately Colombia and Costa Santostefano? Those are my top three in St. P. Oh, my goodness. There’s Doc Ford’s
Love how she just has it all like
I love Parkshore Yeah, so it is water tavern
Yeah, so crazy. That’s cool. We have so many good restaurants around here. I think that’s like one of the things that like, like we oh, yeah, we love about this area. Like, don’t eat in Palm Harbor Safety Harbor. It’s got some really great food. Safety Harbor. The Brine? Yes. But The Brine House. Check it out. It’s right. Where you know Safety Harbor spa. Yeah. He just sprayed on that road. You just keep going. They expanded to Okay, so yeah, it’s a good spot to check out. Yeah, they have some really good sangria.
Awesome, Carly, and Andrea. I appreciate you guys. It’s time today. Where can people find your gym and where are you guys located and then social media? We’ll link all that stuff below.
Perfect. Yeah, we’re at 1972. South Pinellas Avenue that’s at the corner of all 19 and Klostermann road in the Texaco Plaza. So we’re between the gift shop and the florist. You will see our banner out front and we are on you know Facebook, The Athletic Society, and then Instagram.
it’ll pop up searches. Yeah, I did the same thing. I have like a.in the middle of mine or period and yeah, get creative. Some still come out. You just search my name. Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. Well, I appreciate you guys. Appreciate your time and go check him out. Yeah, thank you so much. Thank you so much.
CONNECT WITH ANDREA AND CARLY OF THE ATHLETIC SOCIETY:
- Instagram: @theathleticsociety_
CONNECT WITH DONNIE:
- Follow Donnie: @donnie.hathaway
- Follow Palm Harbor Local: @PalmHarborLocal
- For more real estate information – www.thehathaway.group
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