From Finisher to Franchise: The Positive Impact of Community and Leadership - Burn Boot Camp
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From Finisher to Franchise: The Positive Impact of Community and Leadership

January 10, 2024

Fitness journeys are as diverse as the people themselves, and Lindsay’s story stands out as a testament to the transformative power of Burn Boot Camp. From a non-existent fitness routine to becoming a multi-unit Franchise Partner, Lindsay shares the impact that Burn has had in her life since her very first Finisher.

The magic of Burn Boot Camp, according to Lindsay, isn’t just in the physical transformation but in the sense of community that envelops every Member. “Instead of people looking at me like I didn’t fit in, I was getting high fives, and people were telling me I’m amazing and congratulations,” she shares about her early days, highlighting the inclusivity that defines Burn Boot Camp’s unique atmosphere. Eight years later, Lindsay not only owns four Burn Boot Camp locations, but has also co-opened two more with a fellow Franchise Partner, turning a chance encounter into a lifelong sisterhood.

Beyond the workouts, Lindsay discusses the unique culture Burn Boot Camp cultivates. The Trainers, she notes, go beyond the physical, knowing each Member personally and creating an environment where everyone feels seen and supported. “When you walk through our doors, you are immediately family here,” Lindsay affirms. The Burn Boot Camp community extends its impact beyond the gym, contributing to charitable causes and changing lives in each community. Lindsay’s measure of success has evolved, shifting from chasing awards to focusing on the lives changed and the positive influence extended beyond the gym’s four walls.

Watch some of the incredible highlights from Lindsay’s story in the video below. Keep reading to hear about her inspiring transformation and her advice for anyone thinking about taking the first step in owning your own Burn Boot Camp.

What was your fitness routine like before Burn Boot Camp?

It was pretty non-existent. I played softball growing up and once I hit college I completely lost fitness. Then I started having babies and throughout my twenties I really couldn’t find anything that fit or stuck. It was not a priority of mine anymore.

What made you try Burn Boot Camp?

I had my second child and I was 29. I felt that in my twenties I never put me first. I really wanted to find something that I could go into my thirties with on a strong level. So, my friend told me about Burn Boot Camp. I started on a promotion and I went for three weeks. My husband told me I couldn’t join after that and to enjoy my three weeks. Within the first week, he told me whatever the price is, we are going to do this because you are a changed version of yourself just in that first five days. And the rest is history.

What was it that he saw?

I was happier. Even though I was sore and I could barely walk. I was literally crawling up the stairs my first week. But overall I felt better. I didn’t need to take the midday naps. I was a better mom. I was a better wife. I wanted to be more social and he could just see that through me and knew that I needed this in my life.

How has Burn Boot Camp impacted your family?

One way that Burn Boot Camp has really impacted my family is that my kids have gotten to see me take leadership of my own life. When I started Burn, my youngest son was a newborn and my oldest was five and now they are thirteen and eight. On his thirteenth birthday, my son wanted to go work out with me at Burn. It makes me emotional because as a mom, everything I do is for my kids. To see them wanting to do healthy habits just because they’ve watched me do it and to know that I’ve had that impact on their life, I don’t know if there’s anything better than that.

When did you feel like part of the community of Burn?

It was that first day. The first day I show up and everyone’s in their Lulu gear, right? And they’re all incredibly fit and strong and I was so intimidated to first walk in the door. I’m wearing an oversized t-shirt with pants that I’ve had for 10 years and that I usually wore to bed. I didn’t feel like I fit in from my own mindset. At the end of the workout, we were doing a Finisher. Devin was the Trainer, and he said, “Go outside, run four hill sprints, come inside, and you’re done.” Well, by the time I was finishing my second sprint, most everyone had ran inside at that point. I’m a rule follower, so I was just like, all right, well, I have do two more, even if I’m barely crawling up this thing. By the time I finished my fourth, I was walking back in the front door and people were already in their cars driving away. Instead of people looking at me like I didn’t fit in, I was getting high fives, and people were telling me I’m amazing and congratulations, and that they were proud of me for finishing that. I left not feeling like I didn’t fit in. I left feeling like I belonged even though I was in a different place in my journey than these other women.

How long have you been part of Burn Boot Camp?

Eight years. Burn Boot Camp has been a part of my life for eight years. I started as a Member of Burn Boot Camp in March 2015, and by June 2015, I was a Franchise Partner. By December 2015, Burn Boot Camp Elizabeth, my first location, was open and then two years later, so was my second location. Now I own four and I haven’t looked back since.

What made you want to become a Franchise Partner?

I guess my own transformation. When you’re in the gym and you start to do things that you didn’t think that you could ever physically do, it unlocks a different part of your brain that questions what you can do in general outside of this gym that you didn’t think you could do. That empowerment made me want to give this same feeling and mindset to women in Charlotte, men in Charlotte, whatever it was. I wanted everyone to be able to unlock their same potential because we’re all sitting here not realizing what we’re truly made of.

I’m a little crazy. I definitely believe in faith over fear and something was just telling me that this was the right path for me. I’m glad that I listened to the faith and I didn’t listen to the fear. I’m glad that I just kept going one step ahead of the other. I was working in corporate America and I knew that I wasn’t feeling like I was making a difference. I’ve always felt like I was created to make some sort of difference on a level. When this came into my life, I started to feel okay. I thought, “This is it, I think this is what I need to do.” I had to have my parents co-sign on a loan because we really didn’t have the finances to fund it. I called my dad, who is an entrepreneur, and he was just flabbergasted. He was like, “What are you doing? You have no idea that this is even going to work out and you have no money to rely on if it fails.” And I simply said to him, “I’m not going to fail.”

What has life looked like since becoming a Franchise Partner?

It’s been an interesting eight years. I was able to leave corporate America pretty quickly. We thought that by the time we opened location two was when I would leave, but I was able to leave about five months into location number one opening. About a year later, my husband was able to leave his job to help open location number two. We’ve really changed our lives. I wouldn’t say it’s from as much of a financial perspective as it is from how we view life. That’s really what Burn has given us. I’ve been able to live a passion and as long as it can pay the bills, we’ve realized that our lives are so much happier being able to pour into something that’s meaningful and impactful. So now my husband is living his passion. He was in the military for 23 years and really didn’t know where he was going. Him seeing me transform into someone that took life by the horns and really just jumped all into something and taking risks, made him want to do the same exact thing.

How has the Burn community supported your journey as a Franchise Partner?

In 2021, we were coming out of a pandemic. I have a friend who is also a Franchise Partner in Charlotte, and we were on the phone every single day just talking through ideas, seeing what each other was doing, how we were doing. All of a sudden we both had this little light bulb go off where we asked, “Why not combine? Why not do this together?” Because we’re already talking to each other every single day, we’ve been on the same page for everything, and then we can have that support system to really pour into our locations. So, she owns two, I own two, and together we opened two more, so now we just have six locations in Charlotte. It really is a magical thing because when we met, she was also one of the first Franchise Partners. When we first met, we both had no interest in each other and I would say didn’t like each other based off of judgment. We both had just started Burn Boot Camp and I really think that that speaks to what Burn Boot Camp is. It strips you from your judgment of other people. That’s what I love about Burn, is it helped us both evolve as individuals and strip each other down to know who is the person and where are you on your journey. I really started to understand that everyone truly is the same and is good at heart, you just really have to find that person inside. Once we started to do that, we connected on such a level. She’s like my sister, and now we get to do this together.

What is the Burn Boot Camp community like?

The community is unmatched. Everyone that walks in here is really in their own walk of life and has their own journey and wants different things out of the gym. Once you get in here, no one is treated differently. Everyone’s the same. It doesn’t matter if you can do the same exercises or if you can lift heavier weights or lighter weights, or maybe you can’t do any weight at all. The egos are left at the door and so is the judgment. It truly is a beautiful thing that we’re starting to see replicated. Even once you leave the gym.

In this community, you just never know what you’re going to find. There’s something about the high fives and the sweating it out together, and the fact that we also give back to the Charlotte community. I really do feel that what sets Burn Boot Camp apart is it’s not about just coming together and sweating it out for 45 minutes and leaving, but it’s also getting your kids together on play dates. We’ve had Members meet their spouse at Burn Boot Camp. I’ve had multiple friend groups form at Burn Boot Camp. I’ve had people move here from other states feeling like they had nobody, and they were depressed and didn’t know where to go. They came to the gym and now they have a community. We’ve had lives change in the community outside of these four walls because everyone comes together to support the outside. It gives me goosebumps because where else can you find a place that not only brings people together, but then they take that togetherness, and they bring the good outside and raise money and give back to their community. That’s what we do.

What impact does Burn Boot Camp have beyond the workout?

So outside of the 45 minutes of a workout that you can get at Burn, we’re talking to you about what your goals are. It’s not what people think. It’s not how much weight you want to lose. It’s what do you want to get out of this? How strong do you want to be? Do you want to learn how to do a pull up? It’s more about power and really empowering women to be bigger in terms of taking up more space in the world and not trying to slim down to fit a societal mold. That’s what Burn Boot Camp is. You see people in here sweating and you see them getting strong. They’re getting strong because they’re taking that out into the world and they’re being stronger moms and they’re teaching their kids to be stronger kids and they’re inspiring their husbands who are showing up at Camp with them because they’re like, “Yes! I want to be a part of this too.”

What is one of your favorite transformation stories?

I look at transformations as the whole person. I really don’t view transformations as physical anymore. I view them as mental. Those are my favorite stories in how people are taking what they’re doing at Burn and applying it to their lives outside of here. I’ll never forget, there was one Camp that I was training, and I went to do a wall-sit next to a Member to just sit there with her. She turned to me, and she goes, “Hey, I wanted to tell you something real quick. I went to interview for a job.” It was a high-level job. And she goes, “I never would have ever even considered myself capable of even applying for it. Not only did I get the interview, but I got the job. And the fact that one year ago I would’ve seen that job posting and just gone by it. But this time I looked at it and said, yes, I can. I am capable to do this job.” And she said she went in with such confidence and she got that confidence and empowerment at Burn. That’s what it’s about. It’s just that transformation of being able to learn your potential and seeing you break through the barriers in your workout, but it doesn’t stop there. You start to break through the barriers in your life and saying, “What can I do?” instead of saying “What can’t I do?”

It’s definitely so empowering and inspiring to see people not just change their lives, but realize they want to take what Burn Boot Camp does into a different community. Maybe it’s to their hometown or maybe they’re moving across the country to do so. I’ve kind of lost track of how many Franchise Partners have come out of my gyms. I know that it’s at least eight locations across five states. I’m really proud of that because it’s spreading our message and spreading what we stand for into more communities.

What’s something you’re proud of since becoming a Member at Burn Boot Camp?

I participated in Burn Athlete Games two years in a row. It did look a little bit different when I did it, however, it was a big testament to me because I’ve never been very self-disciplined. That’s something I’ve always struggled with. When it comes to really transforming your body and challenging yourself and being strict to your nutrition, that was something that I would always say I can’t do. I changed my mindset and said, “Let’s see if I can do this.” And I did it two years in a row. I’m so incredibly proud of the discipline and commitment that it took in order to do that. By participating in Burn Athlete two years in a row, it really set a foundation for our team. Ever since I did it, it’s been part of our culture in our Burn Boot Camps to challenge yourselves the way that our Members challenge each other every single day to go outside of your comfort zone. I’m always really proud to see our training team take that challenge on every year.

We’ve had six of our Trainers make it to Burn Athlete finals held at Burn Headquarters. Every single time, it is just such an explosive weekend because our community shows up for their Trainers. You will never miss them. They are the loudest in the gym. They have signs, they have shirts, they really pour into our Trainers. It’s such a testament to the way that our Trainers and Burn Trainers in general really pour into our Members day in and day out, 365 days a year.

What sets Burn Boot Camp Trainers apart?

When you walk through our doors, you are immediately family here. You’re going to be known by name, by the Trainer. They are going to know what you’re capable of. At the beginning, they’re going to be really listening to you and pushing you past what you can do, just a little bit to your limitations. But at some point, they’re always going to know how to push you past that limit a little bit further and a little bit further. That really is what makes our Trainers the top 1%. Because you can’t find that, you can’t find someone that knows your name. Knows that your daughter started softball this week and maybe your dog died and they have a little handwritten note for you. And then also get on the floor with you and say, “You used 20 pounds last week, we’re going up to 25’s. You can do that.” It’s just such a special environment to know that you are constantly being challenged and you’re also being protected to ensure that you’re doing the right exercises.

Our Trainers absolutely practice what they preach, but they’re also a part of the community. It’s not practicing what you preach and then doing a different workout. They believe in these workouts. If you take a look at any of our Trainers, they’re so strong. Completely strong. Even though everyone might look a little bit different, they’re strong mentally and they’re strong physically, and they’re going to be sweating it out right next to you in Camp every single day. They’re going through the same type of pain-faces and moments of wanting to take the breaks as you are.

I love that you walk into this gym and you don’t see just the same type of person. I love that you look at the Trainers and you don’t see the same type of person. We are not all the same and we are all not the same size, nor should we ever be. I think that that speaks wonders to the fact that you don’t have to fit a mold to work out here. You just have to show up as who you are. That’s all we ever ask anybody to be.

Do you have a favorite day of Protocol?

I love metabolic conditioning because it makes you feel strong, it makes you feel powerful, and it makes you also feel like maybe you’re dying.

What would you say to someone who might feel intimidated to try Burn Boot Camp?

In general, I struggle with social anxiety, just as a human. That hasn’t changed. However, when I started Burn Boot Camp, I would meet my friend there every single day. I would not walk in that gym without her. She could be running 5 or 10 minutes late and I’d just sit in my car to meet her and walk in. Even after I became a Franchise Partner and still worked out at the same location. Even though I knew every single person in the gym, it was just a weird, social anxiety thing for me. But I walked in, and slowly but surely, I was able to do it by myself. So I understand how intimidating it can be to walk in for the first time. What’s the worst that can happen? I don’t know. Maybe you don’t like the workout. Maybe it isn’t for you. That’s rare. But what’s the best thing that can happen? I’m a testament to it. It can change your life.

What would you say to someone who loves Burn Boot Camp and wants to open their own location?

Why not? Why would you not take that next step? Why would you not? If you fall in love with something, if you have a passion for it, if you feel a calling, why would you not follow that? And, you know, it’s a risk. Any business is a risk, but I truly believe that if it’s something that you believe in and you have faith in what it stands for and what you stand for and you’re authentic in that, then you will be successful.

How do you measure success?

I measure success through impact and how many lives we’re changing and what we’re doing outside of the gyms to change the community and help people in need. My way of measuring it has definitely changed. I used to chase awards. I wanted to be the best. I wanted to win everything. I always wanted to have the top numbers. Going through a pandemic and being taken to a different level changes the way you view success. Once I got down, and I buried myself into the why. Why am I still here? Why am I still doing this? It’s because of the people and it’s because of the reason why I decided to take that first leap to begin with. Because of the empowerment and the transformation in my own mindset. That’s what I want everyone to have. When I was able to start going back to the people and going into their stories and seeing the impact we were having, it didn’t matter anymore. I don’t care if I never win another award. I don’t care if I’m never number one. The people that are in this gym, their lives are being changed. That’s success to me.

If you could go back and tell yourself anything before starting the journey as a Franchise Partner, what would it be?

Prepare for failure. I would tell myself to prepare for failure. I walked into this journey on a very successful note. I believed in faith over fear the entire time. And I never questioned fear. I never questioned anything going wrong. I always said nothing will go wrong because I won’t allow it. I won’t allow myself to fail. But failure is a necessity and failure is real. We need failure to learn and to get better and to grow into better humans, better business people, better owners, better moms, better partners. We need that. I looked at failure as a negative. Quitting is a negative, but failure is a part of life. I wish that I would’ve embraced that from the very beginning, but that’s something that I’ve been able to learn and I am so grateful for that lesson and it’s only made me a better person.

How do you balance it all?

An incredible team. Incredible team. That’s it. It’s the people first, and my team saves me every single day. I have a great partner in doing all of this. We have just over 70 team members, a great executive team, and great leaders inside the gyms. I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without any of them. Having that team that’s empowered to really embrace this journey and embrace what we do here at Burn Boot Camp and truly believe in it, is the only way that I can have work life balance, whatever that looks like.

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