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Life & Work with Joe Rivera

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joe Rivera.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I started my small gym business in 2014 out of an enclosed trailer I use to drive around from area to area on the Orange Park side of town primarily on the weekends. I would post on social media where I would be and I would set up, conduct a training evolution and then pack it all up again until the next weekend. I did this for 4 years while currently employed by the US Postal Service and then I decided to take that step in opening up a brick and mortar at the current location that I am at, 3745 ST Johns Industrial Parkway West #3. The 1st 8 month was the hardest between establishing clients and building out the gym itself. It was not until month 9 that I broke even that month and I have been bringing in more than my expenses up to now on my 4th year at this location. I currently still work for the Postal Service (train people in the morning, go to my full time job afterward all day then come back and train people in the evening), but plan on retiring in January 2023.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The first 8 months were definitely tough but the hardest part has been trying to run a full time business while holding a full time job. My day starts at 3am in the morning and currently, I average about 5 hours of sleep a night. The other rough road has been traveling from Clay County to the Gym location twice a day. Covid-19 created a small set back but thank goodness we live in a state like Florida the impact was not as bad as other gyms in different parts of the country. Trying to market on an almost zero budget has had its challenges but a huge part of the success I have had has been word of mouth and helping other small businesses promote their product in return for them promoting us.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I began my small running career in high school on the cross country team and finished my senior year as MVP. After high school, I joined the United States Marine Corps, which, of course, has a strong emphasis on physical training. During my time in the Marine Corps, I took an interest in weightlifting, strength training and cycling.

My time in the Marine Corps (active duty and reserve duty) included one tour in Desert Storm and two tours in Iraq and after twenty-two years, I retired as a Sergeant Major in June 2010 and I have not slowed down. I had his first taste of obstacle course racing (OCR) / mud running in the mid-’90s.

I was employed by the US Postal Service in 1994 while serving time as a Marine Reserve. I am an Area Maintenance Tech and I am responsible for all the repairs and maintenance for about 16 Postal Facilities in Clay and St John’s county.

Upon moving to Florida in 1997, I started to compete in road races and eventually became increasingly competitive, earning myself a spot on the 1st Place Sports running team for a few years as a Masters athlete. In 2011 I started to compete regularly in OCR and became very competitive in the Florida market. I utilized the old Marine Corps circuit training philosophy to enhance my training regiment and attribute: much of my success to those principles.

I have been able to maintain a healthy lifestyle, excellent health and weight and a positive outlook through good nutrition and exercise.

My desire to share my experience, training routines and principles led me to obtain my International Sports Science Association certification and start my functional fitness business.

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
People Person… While in the Marine Corps I learned how to interact with people from all walks of life and I learned to accept people for who they are no matter what their personality is.

I make sure I develop a personal gym relationship with each and every one of my members and I try to foster a family type of environment at Gett-Itt Core Fitness.

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