Today we’d like to introduce you to Dennis Connor.
Dennis, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
A brief summary of my life includes a young boy who grew up in ft worth raised by his grandmother, a father in and out of prison a distant but loving mother. A close-knit family, with great history among us. As far as my career, it started unknowingly when I was in high school. I didn’t have access to top facilities or equipment so I had to improvise.
My high school didn’t have those luxuries either so pull-ups, pushups, pushing cars and carrying logs became the norm. This showed me that you can use any resource to get better if you have the will. I adopted that same mindset while in college. While in college as a technology management major, I realized that I liked technology but I loved health and fitness. Once that became my reality, I made a decision that would graduate from college and either play professional sports or become a strength and conditioning coach. After graduating in 2006, I worked my first job at LA Fitness. From there, I began to establish myself in the industry. I did internships at SMU and TCU, became the head strength and conditioning coach at D1 sports and eventually started my own brand and opened a 10,000 sqft facility.
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?
Absolutely not. One particular struggle that stands out the most is when I first started working at D1 sports. I came in with big aspirations of training local athletes and NFL combine athletes starting day 1, but those lofty goals would have to wait. I trained youth classes twice a day At the rate of $15 per session. With $30 a day, I knew I had to find another means of bringing in income. The job has to be flexible on hours just in case I were to be assigned to another class or if I picked up clients. I had a truck, I had free nights and I didn’t mind getting dirty so I took a job as a trash man picking yo trash at contracted apartments, 8pm – 1am would be a typical shift. Tossing trash and working my butt off at the gym was my daily routine. I had tunnel vision and in time, all the hard work paid off. I eventually got the job as head coach and haven’t looked back since… There are so many struggles to name but right now facing the Covid19 pandemic is by far one of the biggest tests, and the how we overcome, well that remains to be seen.
Athletic Zone – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Athletic Zone is the home of optimal Performance. We focus on long term health or all ages. We are known for our athletic-based training that is adapted for all ages and abilities. I developed a program which I deem Long term optimal performance (LTOP)
I’m most proud of the diversity of coaches and knowledge that is shared among our tribe or members. We have coaches with many backgrounds in the industry which makes us versatile and able to help a variety of different individuals and their needs.
The culture we create through longevity and quality over quantity approach to fitness is what sets us apart from other gyms that have what may seem to be a similar setup.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Becoming and author and being trusted within the community to speak at local schools and mentor young men is by far the most important and proudest aspect of my career.
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