Today we’d like to introduce you to Mike Hastings.
Mike, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My whole life I dreamed about playing in the NFL. Since I was 8 years, I had played football every year since then. I played wide receiver and loved. I stumbled upon kicking on accident when playing around in practice. I got invited to a national kicking camp with top high school and college kids in the country. I was nationally ranked 3rd out of 300 in that camp. I was only a Junior in high school. I had a real shot to play in the NFL. I had trained years in college getting ready for the draft until one day, my life completely changed. I will never forget the moment that one day, over 10 years ago. I got into a near death car accident. I woke up to the car going sideways at 90 miles per hour. The car flipped 5 times and landed upside down. Miraculously, I walked away from the accident without a scratch.
After the accident, I kept getting serious injuries very easily in practice. Doctors told me due to the traumatic experience, I went through with the car accident, that I should not play any sports for the next 3 years for I could potentially die. Something about my body going into shock at almost any given moment. I went through depression. I gave up and didn’t care much about anything. My health suffered. My energy dropped and the pounds kept adding on. I never left the house. I became negative about everything.
One day, I woke up and looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize the person looking back at me. I wasn’t happy with what I saw. From that point on I said, “Never again!” I started out slowly… began going for walks, I started running, working out… I read health and fitness books, magazines, website articles… anything I could get my hands on. And, 6 months later, I lost 50 lbs. on my own! While the journey was a hard one, it was so worth it… I was starting to like the person in the mirror again. My confidence and my energy were back and I was leaner and stronger. I went on to lose a total of 85 lbs. and haven’t looked back since. I became a Certified Personal Trainer and Licensed Nutritionist during my transformation, so I can understand how the body works with diet and how to properly exercise. At this point, I wasn’t even working as a trainer yet. I was currently an auto mechanic.
People noticed my transformation and pleaded for help. I taught them what I know and not only did they lose weight, but their health improved greatly. More than just weight loss, but being told by their doctor that they no longer need pain meds or high blood pressure medication, that aches and pains they’ve had for years disappeared, that most were fitting into clothes they haven’t fit into in years. I felt of more worth and value to this world again by helping others through health and fitness.
At this point, I was in the best shape of my life and I wanted to give NFL one last shot. I played semi pro football for 2 years and I finally got invited to the NFL combine! I was calm, confident and overall just humbled to have the opportunity. I got top 5 and recognition from the coaches, but I never received that one call. The call to pack my bags and move. My guess is that I was over qualified for the NFL haha just kidding. But really, I gave it my all and have no regrets. After the tryout, I realized my true calling and purpose in life. And, that’s what I already loved and was passionately doing every day. And that’s helping others with health and fitness and becoming a positive influence to all.
I have been a trainer for ten years now and still loving it every day. I started out at a body transformation gym called Grinder Gym. I was there for 4 years and learned a lot, but something was missing. I had a vision of owning my own gym one day and creating a cool atmosphere and community of people. Always a positive vibe, where the work outs are fun, yet challenging. Connecting with each and every customer as if they are family. I then heard that a friend of a friend was opening up a gym. I attending this small meeting and met Bryan Mistretta for the first time. We had the same exact vision, same morals, values and had high standards for ourselves. I had a good feeling after that meeting and went all in. 3 months later, Versatile Fitness was born. We started with a handful of our current personal training clients. It was a very slow start. At one point we were questioning whether we were gonna make it past month 4, but we stuck to it and focused on our current members. Slowly but surely, members were inviting their friends and family, and those members did the same, and so on. It got to the point where Bryan and I were both teaching classes together for the classes were going over the capacity.
I remember the day where every class was packed, that members were going elsewhere to work out, I said: “We need to open another gym!” Not even a week later, we stumbled upon Versatile Fitness 2 in Pacific Beach.
Till this day, we are still working the same as we did when we started. Till this day, we still have the same members that have been with us since the beginning. All of our members are like family.
Cool side story – At our 3-year anniversary party a man approached me and we started talking about the gyms. He asked me a very important question “What makes you different than all the other gyms that offer boot camps?” Kinda put me on the spot there ha! But then, I proceeded to name off every single person by first and last name, named each person’s injuries, and named some of their favorite exercises. There were 150+ people at our party. He stopped me after a few minutes and “got the point”. We both laughed as I jokingly forget his name.
I believe everything started happening since the car accident, for it taught me a very valuable lesson. Life is precious and any day can be your last. How do you want to live your life? How do you want to be remembered? I want to teach that to everyone, through my actions of how I live my life to the fullest and how I treat others. I now only see the good in others. I get to do what I love every day and for that I am grateful. And what’s best about what I do? Not only do I believe in the potential people have, but I help people believe in themselves again. To me, that’s most rewarding part of my career.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There are many difficulties, struggles, and sacrifices along the way. We would hit roadblocks, unfortunate and unexpected situations would happen, we would have really bad days. We realize that things like this will always happen. Either through the business or in our lives. But getting mad, upset or sad about it won’t fix the situations. We would have a meeting, realize we have some issues and start brainstorming solutions. The optimist in me loves to believe those good things come from every situation. The realist in Bryan brings me back down to earth. It’s a good balance.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Versatile Fitness – what should we know?
Versatile Fitness is a circuit training functional training gym. Total body high-intensity workouts, that’s geared to all age ranges and all levels of fitness. We make the workouts fun. yet challenging. I am one of the Co-Owners and specialize in nutrition. I am most proud of all our beloved members. For without them, VF wouldn’t be possible. One thing that sets us apart is that we really try to connect with our members by posting helpful (but funny) videos of Bryan and I. Our personalities show and I feel that people can relate to us better.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
There are many qualities that come to mind but if I had to choose only one quality. It would be unwavering perseverance.
- Address: 4340 Genesee Ave.
San Diego, CA 92117
- Website: versatilefitness.com
- Phone: 845-558-1667
- Email: email@example.com