Welcome to the new Stride Muay Thai website, and welcome to the new blog!
To say that this blog has been a long time coming would be an enormous understatement! I’ve always wanted to do a blog, but there was always some sort of annoying obstacle in the way. (Have I said “blog” enough for the first couple of sentences?! Believe me, I deleted a few more that you didn’t get a chance to read).
For the past 4+ years, I’ve been building my own website using the GoDaddy website builder. If you’ve ever used that website builder, you can understand that it is quite basic. Basic enough for someone like me to use and build my own website, but a bit too basic for the extra flares and whistles that I’ve also wanted on the site.
Cue our hero for this story, Anthony Fajardo! Anthony is a former (hopefully “soon to be again”) student of mine who just happens to be a badass website designer. I think for the past 4+ years, he’s bitten his lip and not said anything about the old site. I feel like it would be similar to when I’m at a condo gym, and see a trainer who has no idea about boxing or Muay Thai holding pads for clients. Quie painful!
Catching up over a coffee one day, Anthony took mercy on me and we came to an agreement for him to build Stride a custom website. Fast forward, a couple months later to this blog! Everything can now be found on one website, the way I’ve always wanted!
So who am I?
If you stick around long enough, you’ll realize that at times I can tell interesting stories and that I have some fun anecdotes. I enjoy talking about, and discussing a lot of different topics! Muay Thai, fitness, martial arts, client success stories, the trials and tribulations of starting your own small business, world events and much much more! But talking about myself, not my wheelhouse.
So here’s me in a nutshell (did you picture Austin Powers doing his “I’m in a nutshell” bit? If you did..we should get along royally).
Toronto. Born and raised! (It will always be “Toronto” or maybe occasionally “T.Dot” but never “the six”..that doesn’t work for me. Call me old fashioned). Worked many jobs! Amex, Royal Bank, Rogers to name a few. Then a bunch of restaurants sprinkled in between. Kelsey’s, Baton Rouge, Canyon Creek.
As I was approaching my 30’s, felt wholeheartedly unsatisfied with where I was in my career and other aspects of my life. Decided to do something about it.
ONE - Always thought I could be a good personal trainer. Went and got certified as a personal trainer. (Still did nothing with that for a while though).
TWO - I have been training martial arts since the age of 16. Have always wondered if I could actually pull off any of the moves and techniques that I spent my adolescence learning. Finally in 2007, pulled the trigger. Saved some money, quit my job and travelled to Thailand for the first time (3 months the first time). Trained with some of the most unbelievable athletes I have ever seen. Travelled back to Thailand 4 more times since, usually living in a camp for 3 months or so. After a couple of fights, and learning from some of the most amazing trainers decided to pursue a career as a trainer in Toronto. This is where ONE + TWO came together.
When I came home from Thailand the 2nd time, decided to finally let go of my safety blanket (of working at a restaurant, where I was too comfortable) and jump head in as a personal trainer. I worked at a gym I loved in midtown Toronto. Near the end of my stint there, they hired one of the most vile fitness director’s I have ever encountered. Real sleazy and gimmicky. Said things like “I can sell ice to an eskimo” ← real words from first ever group meeting with the trainers. Working with him drained my soul, so took off to Thailand again. When I came home, decided I would move on. Got a job at a small gym afterwards. 6 months later became fitness director of that gym. Based my program on the opposite of how “sleazy guy” ran his program.
In 2011, decided it was time to go out on my own. Started my business, Stride Conditioning. Started as in-home personal training. Eventually started teaching a small group of people Muay Thai in a rented out studio. That grew, and in 2014, opened Stride Conditioning Muay Thai & Fitness in Scarborough.
So. That’s it in a nutshell (think Austin Powers again! “oh yeah baby!”) There are a lot of gaps in the story that I will fill in as I enter more blogs and vlogs. It’s been an interesting ride so far. Running your own business brings a lot of highs and a lot of lows. I’ve taken a lot of bumps along the road, learned a lot of valuable and sometimes painful lessons, but I get back up every time, and come back stronger and hungrier. One thing that I’m super proud of though, is the community that we have built together at Stride. Sometimes it’s easy to take for granted things we have created along the way, but every time I get to train a client, or teach a class, I am filled with pride of how far the gym has come, and I am filled with even more joy when I think of where we are gonna go!
Thanks for taking the time to read this inaugural post! Hopefully you’ll come along for the ride with me. We’ll touch on a lot of topics that I mentioned in one of the previous paragraphs. My inspiration for posts usually comes from conversations that I have with clients and gym members. So many times, after great chats I’m always thinking, yeah...I think a lot of people would benefit from hearing that. So that’s how this blog is going to go. You’ll notice my grammar will not always be perfect (as my wife has been pointing out to me non-stop), but that’s fine. I think everyone will still get the point.
See you in the ring!