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Meet Colton Ranson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Colton Ranson.

Hi Colton, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
When I was 16, I would sit in my basement and play video games for hours. I was addicted to eating food and did not know how to stop. Looking back, I would say it was a coping mechanism for my lack of confidence. My parents were avid gym-goers my whole life, waking up at 4 am every day to work out before work. One day my parents decided to take away my video game controllers until I worked out for one hour every day. I started doing P90x in my basement every morning before school.

In 2012, graduated from High School in Mukwonago, Wisconsin. I wanted to challenge myself by going outside my comfort zone and attended Arizona State University. I was very much an introvert, so going out-of-state for college knowing no one was a big hurdle. I was studying to be an Architect, while simultaneously attending the campus rec center every day. I had never been to a public gym before, so this environment was extremely intimidating for a small-town Wisconsin boy attending the largest college in the country. I remember a new friend of mine offered to teach me how to barbell squat. I would watch YouTube videos for hours about how to perform certain exercises, how to structure workouts and making appropriate changes to my diet.

During the summer of 2014, I had an internship with an architecture firm in Wisconsin. I was sitting at a desk for 50+ hours per week. I found myself being miserable sitting behind a computer, sedentary all day long. I quickly learned that lifestyle was not for me. I told my parents I wanted to do something more with my life and add on an additional major. That following semester I began taking courses to pursue an Exercise Science degree. I also applied to work at the campus rec center, the very one that I frequented since my freshman year. I got a job folding towels and renting out basketballs to students.

Fast forward to 2017, I had been in school all year round. I finally graduated with my Architecture degree. I had just 3 more semesters left of my Exercise Science degree. The following year, I gained several promotions at the rec center. I was the Facility Supervisor and an Events Supervisor. I then took a big step and became a Certified Personal Trainer, which was the highest paying job on campus. So at this point, I had three positions at the rec center on top of finishing coursework for my Exercise Science degree.

The last semester was all dedicated toward an internship in the field which you wanted to continue onto after graduation. So I worked as a Strength and Conditioning coach for children athletes between the ages of 6-18. After I completed the required hours, I had some downtime to figure out my next move after college. I was offered a facility manager of a new location for the company I had my internship with, which right after college sounded great! Or I could take the risky move and move back home and try to land a Strength and Conditioning job for the biggest facility in the Austin, TX area. I chose to move back home.

This was the first attempt of starting a side hustle of Online Training. I saw many trainers starting to do this through social media and thought it would be a great chance for me to make some money on the side while helping others and training In-Person. I marketed myself for 2-3 months and failed to get a single client. I decided to ditch my side-hustle and focus on my In-Person clientele. I was working as an intern at the largest Strength and Conditioning facility in Austin, TX while not getting paid. This made for really long days, but I knew it would pay off eventually.

Suddenly, I had a shift in priority. All throughout college, I knew I was a little bit different than most of my friends. I learned I was gay and had been hiding who I was from my family and the majority of my friends. After I moved back to Texas, I met my first boyfriend and decided to come out to my family. They were very supportive and I was happy to finally be living fully as myself. Luckily I had not planted any roots in Austin so decided to move in with him in Denver, CO. Where I worked for a high-end private sports club.

While still in Denver, my boyfriend convinced me to start trying online training again. He had a connection of friends that were interested in getting structured workouts, but didn’t want to spend the money of seeing a trainer in-person. So I started marketing myself as ColtFitness. I gained 3-4 clients right off the bat and began making workout videos for marketing. I had a steady stream of about 10 online clients at once, and 5-6 in-person clients. This was nothing to write home about, but I felt like I was accomplishing something as a trainer.

I knew Denver was not my forever home, and with my boyfriend constantly traveling I felt lonely. We eventually decided to move to San Diego, CA. I was extremely intimidated by the fitness industry in southern California. I knew I had just graduated college not even a year ago, I had never had a large client base, I had failed at online training in the past and I was starting from square one. I started working for a gym called Balanced Fitness and Health. I got clients rather quickly and became coming into my own as a trainer and adult.

In 2019, I broke off from the gym and started working for myself. I had created a name for myself at my gym and people were beginning to find me just through word of mouth. I had a full In-person schedule of 50+ hours of in=person clients and 25 online clients by the time 2020 came through.

That is when the pandemic hit. As a trainer in the pandemic, it was hard for us all to adapt. We didn’t know how long the gyms would be closed and we had no idea how intense the situation would get. I quickly jumped on zoom workouts and created a weekly schedule of classes and one-on-one sessions with current clients. I was one of the first trainers to offer this service that I knew of, and it was something I had experience with already having an established online client base.

I was hosting all types of classes: abs, HIIT, upper body, booty classes etc. I would have many new faces in every class because of word of mouth. People could get a KILLER workout in, in a 30-minute time frame. I am a trainer that keeps it moving, and keeps the intensity high. After about 5-6 months of training, I had over 100+ clients taking my classes. Together people lost over 250lbs in the first 5-6 months of quarantine. We all grew very close since these classes were probably some of the only interactions we had with other people.

Now that things are opening back up and gyms are fully operational. I can say majority of those clientele have stayed with me. I host the same classes every single week that I had on zoom. I have created such a strong sense of community and family in my ColtFitness brand that I am very proud of. I know the people I train are more than just my clients, they are some of my closest friends and family. They let me push them outside their comfort zone and their hard work and seeing their progress is ultimately why I wake up in the morning and love my job as a Personal Trainer.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
There have been many struggles and bumps in the road. I would say the biggest battle would have to be with yourself. When you work for yourself you don’t really get days off. You are constantly are on call and there is always something to do. I have a saying that I tell myself every day, “if you are not growing you are dying.” I do not like to be a stagnant business owner. I always like having a project, otherwise, I feel like I am not giving 110% every single day. Recently I started up a supplement company called ColtSupps, just to have another hand in the fitness industry. It has been a project of mine for 8 months. I wanted to give my clients a supplement that I am confident in, since supplementation is a big part of health & fitness and many of my clients approach me for recommendations. The line is still new and will take time to develop, but we launched a pre-workout in May 2021.

The struggles are keeping myself accountable and motivated when you are having hard days. There are moments I wake up exhausted from working 14-16 hour days Monday Friday. But I just repeat to myself “if you are not growing, you are dying” and that usually puts into perspective how far I have come and how proud of myself I am at the end of the day. Always find the silver lining in every situation.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
My umbrella job title is Personal Trainer. I own the company ColtFitness, and call myself a Health & Fitness Coach. Ultimately I don’t just help people in the gym, I help them in every aspect of their life when it comes to their health & fitness. My goal is to give you the tools to succeed in the gym and outside the gym. Whether that is creating new eating habits, break unhealthy patterns (i.e.: drinking, smoking, lack of sleep, etc.) that may be harmful to your physical and mental health. Every aspect of your health is connected it is not just about the physical.

I specialize in general population (gen. pop.) or those that are beginner (0-1 year experience in the gym) to intermediate (1-5 year experience in the gym). I have had major weight loss clients who have lost over 100+ lbs. There are also individuals that come to me that are advanced to help re-structure their routines and learn some new tricks.

What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
I see a big shift towards online training. There has already been a shift in two previous phases, back in 2016-2017 when trainers began working from remote and found you can make a living just sending out programs and not actually seeing individuals in person. The second shift was during covid, I think people turned to zoom workouts when they were at home for efficiency. If you are able to combine those two there will be a LARGE market for people not just locally but globally. A trainer that is able to tap into several fields and appeal to a larger audience will be the most successful.

Pricing:

  • $125/mo Online Training
  • 30-minute & 50-minute one-on-one training packages available
  • Drop-In Class $20
  • Virtual class subscription (2x per week) $125 per month

Contact Info:

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