By Emily Lohec | Staff Writer
Experience fitness, build community, make an impact— these are three core values of Waco’s Refit Revolution, which began with three inspired entrepreneurs looking to make a difference in the fitness industry.
Catherine Ballas and Angela Beeler, founders of Refit, spoke about their passion for innovation in fitness Tuesday as part of the Hankamer School of Business’ Confessions of an Entrepreneur series.
Beginning the lecture with an active workout for the attendees to complete from the comfort of their seats, Ballas and Beeler after answered a series of five questions focused on what it takes to be an entrepreneur, how to achieve a desired business and what makes it all worth it.
The Refit Revolution studio was founded in 2009 by Ballas and Beeler, along with partner Emily Field. The three began their “fitness evolution” by uploading a few choreography videos to YouTube throughout the week meant for women to take a break from their busy schedules and dance it out.
As the trio started to gain a following on their social media platforms, emails began to pour into their inboxes from women wanting to know how they could grow and be a part of their fitness journey as well.
Beeler said that as Refit Revolution began, so did a movement for empowered women not just in Waco, but in the surrounding areas as well.
“So many people are focused on how to lose weight and the number on the scale,” Beeler said. “We believe fitness begins a few steps before that and how you look at those numbers and still learn to love yourself.”
Beeler said that one of Refit’s core values is acceptance, and that through this, woman have felt confident and encouraged by other women who have also begun their own journeys in fitness.
“It’s about looking to these other women and saying, ‘You belong here and let’s do this thing together,’” Beeler said. “One of the misnomers about fitness in general is that it’s all about changing bodies and while that’s true, Refit is about changing lives and that’s what living a life of impact is all about.”
As the trio’s fitness program continued to grow on YouTube, the program made its way into teaching members at local churches and in 2013, they began training other women in the local area to become certified Refit instructors.
The women saw the success of Refit Revolution for achieving fitness goals, the business quickly leading to growth of the community as a whole. Finding this niche is how the women formulated a business plan that related to passion and positive influence rather than five or 10-year trajectories, budget forms or profit revenue.
“For anyone thinking through business ideas, you really have to think of the criteria that measures success,” Ballas said. “Aside from finances and a healthy growing business, what are the things that will lead to a successful business? As we’re creating businesses and companies…what this looks like for a lot of entrepreneurs today is actually bringing value to a person that’s outside of monetary number.”
Ballas said that through valuing the clients and by having a fitness program that supports women, this will allow for all members to grow confidently, not just in their own bodies, but together in the community as a whole.
Atlanta, Ga., senior Gabby Jackson is an employee at Refit Revolution who has seen the determination and acceptance of Ballas and Beeler initiate her own desire to embody these qualities for her own life as well.
“They incorporate spiritual beliefs into their work, which helps exercise the mind and the heart,” Jackson said. “Finding a positive and encouraging outlet, such as Refit, is crucial to deal with everyday stress and to keep our bodies constantly moving and healthy.”
Jackson feels that at Refit, she is more than just an employee, but rather part of a family that looks to include anyone wanting to live an impactful and faithful life.
“All of my bosses have a very strong-rooted faith,” Jackson said. “They use that to help and encourage all of their members to love themselves for who they are while trying to better their own body physically.”
Ballas and Beeler know how hard entrepreneurship can be, and they emphasized that if it was easy, everyone would do it. They encouraged students to realize that as failures become learning opportunities and experiences turn into character growth, following dreams and goals is the No. 1 step to success.