You guys, I’m jazzed about today’s post. As your resident fitness expert, it’s kinda my job to be questionably obsessed with fitness and health trends, so finding people who are even more passionate about fitness than me… well, those are the ones who keep me inspired.
And Cheri Byrd is the perfect storm of triple threats combining fitspo, careerspo (…that might not be a word, but you get it), and just plain ol’ inspo. She managed to turn her hobby into her profession and somewhere along the way, she managed to transform the lives of countless clients through sharing the magic of what she loves most. She is the founder of Chi50, a travel guru, a friend to many and of course, a kick-ass lady – read on for her story of starting her own successful business, her top fitness tips to help others trying to get in shape and for the little details that make her a Women We Love inside & out.
Cheri, take it away!
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WITH CHI50? WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT AND WHAT MAKES IT SO SPECIAL?
I previously worked at Lululemon as a manager and had the benefit of being able to attend classes at studios all over Chicago. I came across the Megaformer a few years ago and instantly fell in love. That machine hit muscles I never knew I had and every single class was different so I never knew what to expect. A couple years ago I took some time off to travel and figure out the next step in my career. It was during this time that I spent attending classes at studios in other cities (in the US and abroad) that I truly saw what the potential of my own studio could be. After sitting down with one of my good friends to review my business plan it finally came down to her asking, “if you don’t go for it will you always regret it?”
I took the leap and I couldn’t be happier about the decision I made. I think what makes CHI50 special is that it truly is a labor of love. I teach classes, take classes and am at the studio 90% of the time, not because I have to be, but because I truly love the space and community that we have created.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD ABOUT WHEN IT COMES TO CHI50 AND THE BRAND YOU’VE BUILT?
One of my main goals is that this wouldn’t just be a studio, but it would be community where everyone feels welcomed the second they walk into the door, and that it was authentic. I think in just a few short months my team has already created that community. We have so many regular clients who come in early or stay after class just to chat with us. Everyone on my team has their own unique style of teaching and their own personal touch that they bring to classes, but the one thing that they have in common is that they also love the studio and community aspect and make it their point to get to know everyone who walks through the door and make sure that our clients feel supported and taken care of.
WHAT MAKES YOU SO PASSIONATE ABOUT FITNESS ON A PERSONAL LEVEL?
Staying active and healthy is what keeps me sane. I realized a long time ago that finding that hour to have to myself and get in a good workout keeps me feeling balanced and happier. When I miss a workout I notice a change in my mood and that’s why I know it’s an important part of my day. I think everyone has to find the right workout for them so that it doesn’t feel like they are forcing themselves to do it, but they actually look forward to it. That’s why I love that I now have a job where I can help people find a workout that they look forward to.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU’VE FACED IN YOUR CAREER THUS FAR AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?
Learning to be flexible and not letting the unexpected things that come up deter you. I ended up opening the studio almost 8 months later then I had originally planned for due to delays in permits and build out issues. I learned that all of those things were out of my control and I had to focus on what I could control to get to the end goal. I knew that the space and location I had found was the perfect fit. So in the end it was worth the wait!
HOW HAVE YOU FOUND SUCCESS IN BALANCING YOUR KICK-ASS PROFESSIONAL LIFE WITH A HECTIC PERSONAL LIFE?
They say that if you are going to go into your own business to make sure it’s something you are passionate about because it will be your life. I believe that’s half true. You definitely need to have passion for what you are doing because it will be a big part of your life. However, I think the key is to still maintain the other things that you love and keep you inspired, because your life can’t be 100% work. That’s just not good for anyone. I love my studio and I love the people I work with and all of our clients. I know I made the right choice when I look forward to a Monday and feel more energized when I am at work. However, I also love traveling, eating at great restaurants and being with my friends and family. So I still make sure that I have the time do all those things and not be stressed out about work.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS FOR FITSPO?
I love @whole30recipes and @ambitiouskitchen for recipe inspiration. @Bethanycmeyers and @leslieggreenwood both work for SLT in new York and have some great videos on the Megaformer for new move inspiration.
WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
You should always hire people that are better than you if you want to be successful. Basically it comes down to not letting your ego get in the way.
WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR PERSONAL FITNESS, WHAT ARE 3 TIPS THAT HAVE HELPED YOU ACHIEVE YOUR DREAMS?
- Throw the scale away! It doesn’t do you any good because you become obsessed with a number that doesn’t actually show where you are at with your body. I have weighed more and been in far better shape then times that the number on the scale was less.
- Don’t force it. You have to find a workout that you truly enjoy and makes you want to get up in the morning and do it, or it will be very easy to find excuses to get out of it.
- Mix it up! I love the megaformer and yes, I could do it (and sometimes do) every day of the week. But it’s very important to add in variety too. I make sure to go for a run, take a spin class or a hit up a yoga class in addition to the Megaformer.
WHAT KIND OF DIET DO YOU ADHERE BY TO PAIR WITH YOUR FITNESS REGIME? ANY TIPS TO PASS ON TO OUR READERS TRYING TO LIVE A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE?
I think it’s just about trying to plan ahead as much as you can. When I take the time to cook at home and plan out what recipes I want to cook for the week then I go to the store knowing exactly what I am going to buy and my choices are always healthier. If I don’t take the time to plan it out, then I end up going out to eat or grabbing take out and that always ends up being where I make those unhealthy choices. But it really is about balance. I cook from home the majority of the week and keep it healthy so that I can indulge once or twice a week and go to a great restaurant that I’ve been dying to go to. You can’t deprive yourself either!
WHAT’S THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?
The people! I love my team and clients and they are a big part of why my job doesn’t actually feel like a job. I get to be surrounded by amazing and inspiring people all the time and I feel pretty lucky for that.
AND THE TOUGHEST?
Honestly, trying to stay on top of social media for the business. It’s just not my strength so trying to keep up with that sometimes really does feel like a job.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOUR AND CHI50?
Right now it’s just continuing to grow our studio and keep building on what we’ve already created. I’m hoping to keep adding classes to the schedule and am always on the lookout for great new instructors to add to or team. Right now that’s all it’s about. But I do hope that in the near future I could be looking into adding another location!