Graduating from Georgia State University in 2014 with a degree in Exercise Science, Cody Parks continued progressing his knowledge by surrounding himself with the world’s top trainers.
With over 10,000 hours of coaching and hands-on experience guiding everyday people in their fitness journeys, Cody has a wide variety of knowledge in all aspects of exercise and nutrition.
Visit Formwell on Facebook and website.
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:02] Welcome to Spark Stories, where entrepreneurs and experts share their brand story and how they found their spark, the spark that started it all.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:00:13] Welcome to Spark Stories Live Business Radio brought to you by the Atlanta Business Radio Network. Every week, entrepreneurs and experts share the stories behind the brand who they are, what they do, and why their brands matter. I’m your host, Clarissa Jaye Sparks. In our own series, we dove into the everyday operations of inspiring small business owners in our community. You can listen live on Saturdays at 10 a.m. or the rebroadcast at WW dot Business RadioX dot com. Today we’re going to talk about the core of your business and why it’s important to have a clear vision, mission and values. Please allow me to introduce one of our amazing community leaders who owns it, Cody Parks. He’s a graduate of Georgia State University with a degree in exercise science. Cody continued progressing his knowledge by surrounding himself with the world’s top trainers, with over 10000 hours of coaching and hands on experience guiding everyday people in their fitness journeys. Cody has a wide variety of knowledge in all aspects of exercise and nutrition. Cody You’ve taken the step to launch your company and you’re braving the world of entrepreneurship. I have three questions for you. Please tell our listeners who you are, what you do, and why your brand matters.
Cody Parks: [00:01:31] Well, my name is Cody Parks. I own a company called Formal Personal Training, and we personal train individuals, adults over the age of 40 years old here in the Atlanta area. So Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Roswell, East, Cobb, even the deep Atlanta area, that’s who we serve. We’ve been voted number one in personal training two years in a row. And it really matters because we truly are making a huge impact with the adults in this community that are rock stars in their space of of influence. And we believe by you being healthier, you looking and feeling your best, you are going to be able to do what you love to do. At the highest capacity.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:02:15] That’s really good. So we are definitely benefiting from your services here in the community. What there are so many coaching, not coaching, but fitness gyms out here. What sets form well apart.
Cody Parks: [00:02:30] Really that we’re personal trainers. So in the market right now it’s 2022. What is offered to the marketplace? Majority of the time is a cardio based style of training when you go to the facility. And what I mean by cardio is hit training cardio. Think of anything that’s on a time clock. We’re going one minute as fast and as hard as you can go and you’re going to take off a minute. We offer personal training, so we’re individualizing the training session to you and what your capabilities are. We’re meeting you with where you’re at. We’re using weights, so we put our flag in the same. We do more strength and conditioning and you are tapping into so much more of the human body by doing a good high level strength conditioning session session for 60 minutes compared to just doing a cardio session. So think of brands that are running on treadmills, they’re hopping on rowers. They’re in a class based format with 30 to 40 people in them all doing the same thing and watching a time clock. Think of that as one product and then think of our product as a personal training service with adults.
Cody Parks: [00:03:40] And there’s 2 to 6 people in the building at one time with a coach, and we are progressing and regressing, making easier, making harder each exercise around your physical capability level. So if you have a tight hip or a tight back or a bad knee, bad ankle, we can change the exercise around. You still hit the muscle groups were one to hit. You still have a high quality workout, if you will, without getting hurt and in pain. And in today’s society, we’re sitting so much more, especially with the age bracket that we work with adults, professional adults. These are areas of concern for them, and that’s we offer them the product that will be a solution so they can exercise without getting hurt. They can have the accountability they need, the individual attention they need. It’s professional, it’s fun. And you really get a personal trainer when you go to us, not a class per se. That may be, I don’t know, think of a 20 or 30 year old or someone single that just wants to kind of go to a.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:04:41] Hang out.
Cody Parks: [00:04:42] At a party. They’re just hanging out. You’re meeting people and you know, it’s totally fun and I’m not knocking it. I in fact, I recommend sometimes if you’re not going to go play tennis, golf, if you’re not going to go for a run and you’re not going to do cardio on your own, you need to go to one of these places, you know, once or twice a week and get your cardio on because you still need to work it. Sure. We just offer something that will provide the body with so many other deeper levels of fitness your mobility, your flexibility, your strength, your muscle tone, your bone density. And then to further that in a personal training atmosphere, it’s very personal. So we really get to the deeper issues like your eating habits. Oh.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:05:20] That’s something we all need help with, right?
Cody Parks: [00:05:22] Absolutely. You look around us, we’re in an environment that has set us up for failure. Right. And so we can coach you through those eating habits and we can coach you mentally, physically, so that you have success. And it’s not a one size fits all. So that’s what really makes us different.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:05:40] That’s good. You listed a lot of different characteristics of the people, the type of persona or the type of person that is coming into your gym. If you had to make a comparison to the characteristics of an entrepreneur, how would you tie that together.
Cody Parks: [00:05:56] Of an entrepreneur in terms of our facility?
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:05:58] No, in the terms of like relating it to business owners, like what was your passion? What made you want? What was your vision for form? Well.
Cody Parks: [00:06:07] Finish that goes back to 18 years old. So I’m 33, about to be 34 now.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:06:13] Happy birthday.
Cody Parks: [00:06:14] So it was 15 years ago is where I started and that that’s going to be another rabbit hole. But I’ll sum it up real quick for the listeners. So I grew up overweight, you know, as a as a teenager I was overweight. And then I basically just stopped eating and did a lot of cardio and I lost a ton of weight. I was very skinny, but I had no muscle. I didn’t feel good. That wasn’t healthy either. Right. And then in college, I became a bodybuilder to where I would spend 3 hours in the gym and only eat the cleanest foods ever. And it’s totally not realistic, right, as an adult in this world as well. So here I am, 26 years old and I’m married. I’ve got kids, I now own a business. And so I had to learn how to truly find freedom through fitness. And so that is our mission today, is helping people find freedom through fitness. And what started as a passion, you know, over 15 years. The way that we’ve trained people has gotten has always gotten better and better because of research and technology and just where we were as an industry, but as a business that. Our mission has always been to help people find freedom through fitness.
Cody Parks: [00:07:30] But even down to. All right, we’re going to offer personal training for adults over 40. That was more of a byproduct of where the industry is and where the marketplace was, which would be very entrepreneur’s ship related and have nothing to do with health and fitness and passion. And that’s why, again, going back to those cardio brands. I’m not knocking it at all because, holy smokes, like there’s a lot of people that get healthy through those products and I want to see the world become healthier place. And if so, if someone feels comfortable and fit there and they’re seeing results there, then that’s where they need to go. But as far as our offer and business in the marketplace, that has changed just from years of being in the industry, looking at where the market is looking, what is being offered to the marketplace now in 2022, and that entrepreneurship has just changed. And we have just niched, niched, niched tighter and tighter and tighter and become more refined of the product that we’ve offered. And the outcome of that has just been a more consistent service and a consistent experience for our customers.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:08:34] So you’ve mentioned quite a few words here, kind of loaded, which I like. So even when you started out as an 18 year old said you were overweight. So that was a problem, right?
Cody Parks: [00:08:44] That’s a problem.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:08:45] So that’s when I started out.
Cody Parks: [00:08:46] I got a.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:08:47] Problem. I got a problem. So that is one key entity for starting a business. You have to have a problem and then you find a solution and your solution became being active. And then you said, you know what, I can turn this into a business. There you go. And then form was created through your passion and through necessity. So again, that’s a great encouragement for our listeners as startup businesses and entrepreneurs, just saying, Hey, what is the problem that I can actually solve coming up with a solution and offering that to your market and then coming up with the perfect offer? So formal has definitely nailed that.
Cody Parks: [00:09:26] There you go.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:09:27] Thank you. Definitely nailed that. So your vision base and your mission is how you’re carrying it out and that is your offering. Tell us a little bit more. How can we work with you as a personal trainer?
Cody Parks: [00:09:40] So as a personal trainer, first you can go to form MLB.com and we do a complimentary what we call Discovery Day, and we’ll spend 45 to 60 minutes with you and we’re going to discover all about you, your goals, where you are at specifically. You’re going to meet the team, you’re going to see the facility, and we’re going to make sure that we’re a good fit. And if anything, we’re going to lay out a game plan for you to start getting healthier. We’re going to meet you right where you’re at and lay out some exercise techniques, some nutrition techniques and some accountability techniques based on who you are and which time you have all these different factors. So even if you don’t stay with us, you have a game plan moving forward.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:10:18] It’s all about action, right?
Cody Parks: [00:10:20] It’s all about action. All about we say it all the time. Hey, this first month, actually, like the first 90 days, your goal is to just show up.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:10:28] Just show because.
Cody Parks: [00:10:29] That is a hard goal in itself, showing up and actually doing a 60 minute workout 2 to 3 times a week. Consistently for 90 days. I think that majority of the listeners would say, Wow, yeah, I haven’t done that in years. And there’s some people that would and we would find that pretty quickly and we would give you a bigger goal.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:10:48] A bigger goal.
Cody Parks: [00:10:49] Or a bigger techniques that you need to do in order to go from where you’re at now to where you want to go.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:10:55] Well, goal setting is part of the plan anyway, especially in entrepreneurship, like you said, constantly setting those benchmarks so that you can see results in your offering. Now, when you first started out, can you share with us some of the challenges that you possibly experienced with starting? Sure.
Cody Parks: [00:11:14] So when I started 18 years old. I didn’t have any business systems around anything, and so I just had to look at what was available to me at the time. So I was one on one personal training out of a big box gym and the I was also meeting people, friends and family at my apartment gym and training them there as well. And so one of the first things that I experienced was there was no consistent experience for these individuals. Some days it was at the gym, some days it was the apartment gym and it was only one on one. So I was just trading time for dollars. And when you’re meeting just one person at a time, you know it needs to be 2 to 3 times a week consistently, not just one time a week, and that person’s just on their own, doing their own thing. It can be successful. But that’s just that’s just a roadblock that I hit as a trainer, as a coach, which is not being able to communicate enough with these people and not have one home base where they were coming to me. And I was only one person at the time. So I’d say that was it was just so inconsistent with even the location of where we were, where we were meeting.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:12:37] I didn’t have a team. That’s part of it too. Location, location, location, location. So where were you in your mind, your mindset when you said, I need to transition from one on one to actually take the plunge and go into your own facility?
Cody Parks: [00:12:52] Well, tell more about this. I’m 18, so I’m in college at the time. I’m in college, I’m literally working at medieval times on the weekend to pay rent and I’m training people during like in the morning, early morning. I’m waking up at 4 a.m., I’m training one person at 5 a.m., one person at 6 a.m.. I take a break at seven and work out one person at 8 a.m. and then I would go to school from 9:00 until four, and then I would go back and train at like six and seven, go home, study from like eight until 11, wake up and do it all again. And then every weekend I’m at medieval times just trying to make like 100 bucks a night to pay my bills. I’m 18.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:13:28] Now. You can’t mention medieval times without telling us a back story. How did you end up? What did you do at Medieval Times?
Cody Parks: [00:13:37] Good evening, my Lords and ladies and welcome to Medieval Times. My name is Cody. I will be most loyal and hardworking self this eve. Hey, if you would like sweet tea as sweet as me, please turn your mug handles to the right. If you would like coke, turn them to the left. Get ready for a tournament, something along the lines of that.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:13:58] So, oh, my goodness. So that’s another characteristic of entrepreneurs. They are multi-talented.
Cody Parks: [00:14:02] Oh, man.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:14:04] So thanks for sharing that.
Cody Parks: [00:14:06] Oh, well, I hope that woke up your listeners.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:14:08] Maybe they woke them up.
Cody Parks: [00:14:10] That just sets the stage as well as where I was. So in an entrepreneur’s journey, if you will, you have to take inventory of what resources you have around you and where you are at individually. Don’t stick your head in the sand and think that you’re going to compete at an Amazon level and you’re one person. So I was one person. I was really trying to get my college degree. That was a huge time constraint. So I’m not saying don’t ever go and train the way I did it. I feel like everybody should start there. I’m just saying that I couldn’t make it a career. I couldn’t make it a consistent business, and I couldn’t make it a brand that was going to grow in the community and be known for something just by myself doing it in my apartment gym or in a big box gym. Does that make sense?
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:14:51] Yeah. So you took the plunge. You took the leap?
Cody Parks: [00:14:53] Yeah, after that. So I graduate college and I still knew that I wanted to be in the personal training industry. I honestly had no idea what vehicle that needed to look like if that vehicle was going to still be one person just giving the services to 25, 20, 25 people max. Because when you’re one person, you can’t have a book of business that’s a ton of people. You have 20 to 25 people that you’re working with on any given point of time because you’re just one person, you know? So long story short, I was seeking out some internships and I did an internship at a training facility that I felt like was doing a super awesome job with personal training. And it was a whole team. It wasn’t just one person. You had an owner, you had a director of training, you had three or four coaches. You had a front desk admin that welcomed everyone with a smile. You had a facility that was built out for personal training, and they’re working with hundreds of personal training clients instead of just like my toe. So literally, I just I went and found who was doing it the best, right? And repeated it. And that you can say like, Hey, I hate that term. Like, Oh, I’m self-made. I’m like, No, nobody’s self-made.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:16:05] No one’s self-made. It takes partnership. It takes collaboration.
Cody Parks: [00:16:08] From people way better than you. Yeah. So that’s what I did. I found who was doing it the best, and I spent, like. Ten weeks there, something like that. Hundreds of hours there and just shadowed. And so after that, that’s when I decided to really take a plunge. And I don’t want to draw the story out too long, but I took a job as a general manager in a facility like that facility. And at the time, it was what we would call failing business from a profit and loss standpoint, from a leadership of vision, core value standpoint. It had been a business a long time, but the industry had changed. So formal has been in business since 1999. So 1999, personal training, the equipment available, the modalities, the science, it is very different than the science and the modalities that we use today. It’s still a very new industry, if you will. It may not seem new to people today in 2022, like, oh yeah, it’s been around forever, but it’s really it’s really not. I mean, it started in it just it’s just not. So back then, to give you kind of a picture, you’re talking about going to a facility with nothing but machines and everybody is doing one on one training and everybody’s wanting to like just be these big muscle bodybuilders or bikini models kind of thing. Whereas now in 2022, we’re sitting for our job so much that, holy smokes, we just want to feel good. And so those modalities of mobility, flexibility, how the body moves, we just as professionals in the industry have gotten a lot smarter. The science has really come a long ways as to the technology, the modalities, the equipments, the service has come a long ways. So anyways, I took a failing business as general manager, turned it around and I ended up buying the business 100%. So that’s my story, how I got into form. Well, okay. And so, so.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:18:01] You’ve taken several big leaps in your entrepreneurial journey to get to where you are now. So I like to often tell people to trust the process and be able to recognize an opportunity. So as a general manager, you saw an opportunity and you took advantage of it. And I’m sure you maybe you question your decision or had some type of doubt. So how did you or or maybe you did and maybe we can just share that experience. And if you did experience those things, what words of encouragement would you give to someone who’s starting out and they’re facing challenges in starting?
Cody Parks: [00:18:45] So again, paint the picture for your listeners. I was 26 years old at the time when I took the management position, so I just had graduated college. I did that internship where I saw from the best, the best what it should look like. So I knew what. You know, not good. Looked like. But I also knew exactly what to do. I always knew that I wanted to be an owner. I had no idea that I wanted to own form. Well. So I just saw the opportunity to. Basically implement everything I had learned and I had the opportunity to lead this and basically wanted to see if it worked. So my plan was to make like prove that this system proved that my leadership business plan, if you will, business model would work and then go get investors. To start with me in my home town was my plan. So what I would say to the listeners that are starting out is. Take it one day at a time and do the absolute best with where you are right now. That’s it right now. Have visions of the future. But don’t be afraid to take the opportunity that’s in front of you right now. You may. I, you and I both want people of this town to go on and do build these businesses like Amazon. You know, Elon Musk, all these huge stories. Holy cow. Like these are people that have ten, 20, 30 years of experience in industry. It doesn’t happen overnight. And if you’re sitting around waiting for that to happen and just want to become social media famous, it’s not going to work like that. You got to get out there and take every little bit of the opportunity and crush it. You, as an individual need to learn what it feels like to win, to.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:20:30] Win.
Cody Parks: [00:20:31] And a win is going to look different. And every single season of your life. Yes, a win in your business is going to look different in every single season of your business life.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:20:41] And I think sometimes you mentioned something about the social media and how that plays a big part in how entrepreneurs think great their success and how they look at their wins. What has been your experience with social media and possibly comparison?
Cody Parks: [00:21:02] Sure. I think you just need to know your product. So if your product is being sold a lot online, then yes, you need to determine your success by your social media followers because that’s where you’re getting your attention and then that’s where they’ll learn about your product. They’re buying it online. I get it. My product is a very it’s a brick and mortar business, so mine is more personal relationships. So that’s how I had to justify with myself. Like, it’s okay, I’d rather have 5500 followers, but I don’t even have 1500 followers. I just don’t because my business model is built to have 150 clients paying a certain rate. And this brick and mortar, you’ve got you got revenues, you’ve got expenses, and that number needs to be a certain revenue. It’s just different compared to someone that has an online business. You do need to have all those followers. So I’d say just know who your target market is.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:21:50] That’s that’s very important because the target market determines sales. And even just because you have the 1500, the 15,000 500,000 followers don’t mean that they’re your customers.
Cody Parks: [00:22:03] Yeah, man, if you’re like a holy smokes, if you’re a CPA, you’re an engineer, you offer a service based business, your local, you’re really working with individuals that you know are only traveling 10 minutes away from you to use your service. Social media. While it is great. Yes, you must need it. You do need it. But it’s you don’t have to have 50,000 followers compared to if you have an online program only and you’re selling it for a very low, very low cost, and you need thousands and thousands and thousands of people to buy it for you to make money, then, yes, you need to have this huge social media following because the more followers you have, the more people are going to buy your product. And for your business to be successful, you need to have 10,000 sales a month.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:22:46] Right.
Cody Parks: [00:22:47] It just depends on what that that dollar is. And speaking of money, I want to go back to one thing that’s on my heart. When you asked, what would you tell the young, the younger people or people just starting out is finances. I see that so much. You have to be willing to not make anything for some time. All right. Why do you think that is working at mealtimes? I think I want to work at mealtimes. You think I.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:23:08] Wanted to wear that, right?
Cody Parks: [00:23:09] I was wearing like straight up. I’m kind of like a manly man. I’m a southern boy. I like to do all these Southern hobbies and like I’m in a tunic, like a short skirt, chest hair coming out. Like my friends would come and just laugh at me and, like, make fun of me. I think I want it. No, I needed money to pay my rent and it was providing me money so I could live my life and pay the bills while I was still working on my craft and figuring out what I was going to do in the personal training industry. So it’s okay if you’re a food server right now, it’s okay if you’re driving Uber and you’re still but you need to be diving deep into these internships and mentorships and learning and still mastering your craft. And at some point you will have to take the leap.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:23:49] Yep, you have to take this.
Cody Parks: [00:23:50] I just see more and more people wanting that. I’m going to graduate and I’m going to make 100,000 a year and I’m going to work 8 to 5. And that’s just not how it works for the entrepreneurs. You have to be able to wake up, work your absolute butt off, and at the end of the month you made zero. That happened to me all the time.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:24:07] All the time that.
Cody Parks: [00:24:08] Happened to me all the time. For years.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:24:11] Yeah. You know, and people didn’t understand that. I mean, you work countless hours and you make sometimes absolutely nothing.
Cody Parks: [00:24:21] Yeah, that’s how it works. And mind you, so now, like, ten years later, like banks, banks will determine your success financially by how much revenue you do per square foot. So we have one of like we’re in the top 10% of training gyms revenues per square foot. So I’m not sitting here just saying this from the guy full of passion. And he’s he has a broken system that doesn’t make any profit. You know, we have a very successful business model. But I’m here to tell you, it was ten years of constantly beating on our craft. It wasn’t that long and more like five years to be in our craft and work our absolute tails off for nothing. And you just have to believe in the process and believe in what you’re doing. And it really does help if you’re super passionate about it and you believe in your product.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:25:03] Yeah, I think passion definitely drives and something that’s really important is that drives it as well. Are the core values.
Cody Parks: [00:25:12] Yes.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:25:13] And how they have to align with your business model. And I think that helps. With success that helps create more wins. What are some of your values?
Cody Parks: [00:25:24] So our mission is helping people find freedom through fitness. That’s our mission. Our core values. We have six of them. And, you know, I wrote these five, six years ago, and I’m still open to changing them. And I’ll list them. And I’ll tell you real life how we’re doing these right now.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:25:42] Let’s hear it.
Cody Parks: [00:25:43] So our core values, number one, is community. We rely on our community so much so we have a book of business of 150 of these rock star adults. In our community, we’re just trainers or coaches. We are nothing without our community being with us. So we believe in our community and absolutely making this a fun environment. We do community socials once a month. We go to the park and do a park workout. We go have Super Bowl parties. We have parties at our facility because we want everyone to have community listen.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:26:18] Let’s talk about the word community, because I think people sometimes interpreted it a little bit differently. Are we talking about the city that you live in or the community that you’re creating within your.
Cody Parks: [00:26:30] Gym community we’re creating in our gym? So I’ll give you an example. We had six people training in our facility this morning. You’ve trained at my facility.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:26:38] So trained. I know.
Cody Parks: [00:26:39] You know, we had six people. Four of them were all different ethnicities, races. One was 51, was 61 was 45. One was 40. Some were overweight. Some were healthy and been with us for six years. My point is all different.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:27:02] Walks of.
Cody Parks: [00:27:02] Life. Walks of life. When those people come in because our core values community, you come in and it’s your first day. Hey, Clarissa, I want you to meet Tom. Tom, this is Chris. It’s our first day. Oh, hey. How are you, Clarissa? How are you?
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:27:18] Sounds like relationships.
Cody Parks: [00:27:19] That’s that.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:27:20] That’s community.
Cody Parks: [00:27:21] That’s community.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:27:21] That’s community.
Cody Parks: [00:27:23] And you would have never maybe talked with Tom had that introduction not happened. Sure. So because that’s one of our core values, we constantly are training up our team to make sure that that community is number one. Sure. That’s a good example of it. Yeah. We’re constantly doing the community events to provide an atmosphere where people can connect and get to know each other. Sure, that makes sense.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:27:45] Makes a lot of sense, makes.
Cody Parks: [00:27:46] It a lot stickier as an organization and people are just valued more and they want to see us more, which because we’re personal trainers and we need to see you, the more we see you, we get to give you this vehicle to get healthy.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:27:58] So it all works personal. It does. Okay.
Cody Parks: [00:28:02] Number two, drive change.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:28:04] All right. How are you driving?
Cody Parks: [00:28:05] Change. Oh, man. We even over the course of the last. So I’ve been a part of formula for I want to say seven or eight years. I’ve owned it 100% for three years. We have changed our model three different times and we constantly are driving change based on results and based on where the marketplace is so that our business can can continue to be successful. So how I’m driving change right now is we recently because of COVID in 2020, we have absolutely we’ve changed our facility. We have changed our facility and change the products that we offered on our show on our shelf. So we used to offer the boot camp cardio training like we talked about in the very beginning this episode, we offered personal training. We often offered open access to our gym. We had all these different layers of product. We were offering all different price points. And quite frankly, how we serviced each of those products was different because it was a different product on the shelf. Sure, think of a boot camp where it’s loud music and you’re cheering them on and that’s all that matters. People want to sweat and have loud music and lights and just be entertained compared to a personal training session, which someone wants a personal attention, right? And they need help with their form. Two different products on the shelf. They’re service totally different. We wore that to three years ago. We’re driving change by we found personal training to be the product that our team the formal team did the best we were the best in town at personal training and then holy smokes, our average age is 55 and then holy smokes, nobody want COVID hits. Nobody wants 40 people in a gym anymore. Sure. We used to have we’ve had up to 100 people in our facility at one point. At one time.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:29:49] At one time, at one.
Cody Parks: [00:29:50] Time and.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:29:50] Covid hit. Okay.
Cody Parks: [00:29:52] People wanted like, dude, no more intent in here, right? Like, we need to be 600 feet apart, you know, just a few people, whatever. And luckily, a year before, I already had that vision of just going personal training only because we saw such great results. People stayed with us for so much longer. The product was a little bit more costly, so think of it as $40 per hour. Instead of a boot camp class with 30 people, that was $20 an hour. And the boot camp, they stayed with us for ten months. We’re the personal trainers. They stay with us for three or four years. Wow. So you had a product on the shelf that was more money, better results, better lifetime value. I already naturally liked it better. I thought that our team was the best in town at it. I thought that our market was going all boot camp training through all these other boot camp brands, if you will. And I’d already seen it. Covid was the perfect time to say can’t do it because people don’t want to be around each other. Sure. So we’ve had an excuse to finally change it and people were so open to change. If we as a community, if if like our formal team didn’t have the core value of drive change, we would have never made the change. So we drove that change.
Cody Parks: [00:30:58] We knocked all those products off our shelves. I love it. It made us even more successful. And guess what? We have taken our facility down from like a 7500 square foot facility. It was like this huge facility because we had 100 people in it once down to a 3500 square foot facility. So and the experience was just as good, if not better, because now you have six people in a facility, whereas when you have six people in this huge facility, it’s kind of weird, like you’re on one side of the room. Sure, it was fine for like the, you know, six months there when COVID was at its height and we didn’t know what was going to happen and we didn’t know where it was, what was going to happen to the people. But now we’re after those six months to a year, it just kind of got weird that community feel what we going back to went away because you never talk to that person for an entire hour. So now we’re building a facility that matches that product on the shelf. We will open we will grand open that brand new facility in six weeks, by the way. Oh, six weeks. And we have about 30 spots left available until form. Well, we’re at its peak, so we’re maxing out at about 170, 280 people.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:31:59] So, gosh, Cody Parks is leaping all over the place over the course of three years or, you know, overall ten, you have made a lot of transitional and pivotal points in your business and that just kind of that adds to your success into your wins. So this is this is good.
Cody Parks: [00:32:17] Well, back to the core values. How do they not been in place? These are like your.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:32:21] Yeah, it drives who.
Cody Parks: [00:32:22] You are, drives who you.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:32:23] Are, it drives your.
Cody Parks: [00:32:25] Business. It’s like a compass. Where the heck am I going? Yeah, it happens all the time. At least once a month. I’m like, Wait, what? What am I doing? Where am I going? Go back to the drawing board. What were your core values? You have a lot of decisions to make. As long as they are around the core values, it’s going to put you in a better position. It’s going to put you in a position of who you know you are and where you want to go.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:32:43] Yeah, that’s a that’s going to continue to set your part. That’s your differentiator. And earlier you mentioned my next favorite word is niche. And you learn to niche down based off of your core values and it always takes you back to the core. And just drive. And it drives. It drives. It drives. It drives. This is some good stuff. Let me ask how as a how can my community how can we support you?
Cody Parks: [00:33:10] Well, we do have 30 spots left.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:33:12] Just 30. All right. I’ll hear that.
Cody Parks: [00:33:15] Well, in all honesty, we have 30 spots left, but on a typical month, well, there’s always some sort of churn. So we have one or two people drop off each month. So there’s always going to be once we get the 30. My goal is in the next six weeks when we open the next spot that we’re at max capacity. But every month we’ll have one or two spots available for people in the community. So if you are an adult over 40 and you know you need help with your health and fitness and you want to look good and you want to feel good, but you also want a professional personal trainer and you want an atmosphere that would value community. Then please check us out for and welcome. Come do that complimentary free discovery day and let us change your life. I’m telling you, it will absolutely change your life. So that’s number one. How you can help me as a business owner?
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:33:55] As a.
Cody Parks: [00:33:56] Business. That’s how you can help.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:33:57] All right. We are some people there.
Cody Parks: [00:33:58] All right. You know, you your listeners, how you can help me is figure out what your God given talent is. And I want you to go out there and I want you to do it. Yeah. I don’t want you to just be a personal trainer because I’m personal trainer. I what I love about our business is that we have like all these rock stars in their own industry. I can see somebody working out literally. I’ve seen people working out at 7 a.m. and at 9 a.m. they’re on TV like they’re like the biggest rock star lawyer in Atlanta and they’re on TV and they’re doing an interview. And I’m like, just makes my heart sing. Like, I get to see him do what he loves doing, what he’s called to do at the highest capacity possible. So how you can help me is by helping yourself and helping the community and absolutely knowing who who you are as an individual, what your God given talents are. And go out there and do it and do it with excellence and do it the best that you can do. And that’s really how you’re going to help me ultimately is just providing a better community for the Atlanta area in all areas.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:34:54] All areas like we’re we’re we’re worldwide. We hear you all over. There you go. There you go. But that’s also what what type of books are you reading? Are you listening to any books, any podcasts that keep you motivated, keep that energy going? Anything that you recommend for the listeners to read?
Cody Parks: [00:35:13] Yeah, currently I’m reading a lot of business books now because again, that season of life, I’m 33. I’ve owned the business for three years now, 100%. So I still have a lot of learning to do in terms of like that CEO role, you know, like financial role. We always have to be learning and growing. And if my organization is going to grow, I have to grow. It’s back to the law, the lid. If the leader is not growing, it’s just from the top down. So I’m leading a lot of business books. If you want to be an entrepreneur, I would recommend my favorite personal favorite was Dave Ramsay’s entree leadership. Again, that’s entree leadership by Dave Ramsey. Holy smokes. And I know Dave Ramsey is a big financial guy, but this book has nothing to do with financials. It’s all about how to run a company, so how to be an entree leader, entrepreneur plus a leader. And it is absolutely amazing book and that I read for the first time when I was 20. It really struck a vision and I have read it at least a dozen times since then and every single like 20, 22, 25, 26, 30, 33, every time I read it, I get something different out of it. So that book, if you want to be an entrepreneur and you want to be some sort of leader in your community, I would start with that book. All right. There’s tons out there. I see the one good grade on your shelf right now. I loved that book. There was a lot of really good nuggets out of that book. Yeah, that was that was great. But, you know, figure out who you are. There’s so many podcast. We’re in the information age. You can Google it, you can go to a podcast. You know, if anything, spend 30 minutes a day listening to podcasts or reading books.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:36:47] Yeah, listening to a spark story.
Cody Parks: [00:36:49] Something, spark stories. Something Holy smokes.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:36:52] Just shameless plug that shameless.
Cody Parks: [00:36:54] Plug. If it’s if you take one thing, if you listen to a podcast or you listen heck, if you listen to this podcast and it’s a 30 minute podcast and you got one thing out of it that helped you and you actually implement it, it’s worth it. It’s and you do that every day and you start stacking these things. You start stacking them before, you know, it’s been two years and every day you’ve implemented this new positive thing that you’ve just learned. And holy smokes, now look at where you’re at.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:37:18] Yep. Well, you know what? How can we find you? Are you on Facebook? Twitter? Where are you hanging out on social media?
Cody Parks: [00:37:27] So it’s this like crazy tagline named Cody Ray Parks.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:37:32] Cody Ray.
Cody Parks: [00:37:34] No, I again, I’m not a huge social media mogul with thousands of followers, but you can find me Cody Ray Parks on Instagram, you can type in Cody Parks on Facebook and you’ll see myself and I do I do do a lot of fitness related things. So I always post one recipe every single week that you can actually cook. That’s going to be a healthy recipe. I try and do a different exercise. The Week to Teach You New. Exercise. Inspiring quotes. Healthy living principles. Exercise principles and nutrition principles that will help you become a healthier individual. And if you’re looking for anything that’s going to help you become healthier than it would be a good page to follow. If you’re interested in our company, which again is not just me and our team, is actually even better than me. Go to form. Welcome, form, welcome. Super simple and book that free discovery day. That way we can come in. You’ll meet with the team. You’ll. I’ll meet you there. I’ll be there. And we can sit down, talk about your goals. You can meet the team, see the facility for yourself that we’re talking about, especially if you’re in this area. It is a huge, huge fit.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:38:39] Shout out to James.
Cody Parks: [00:38:41] Shout out to James. Shout the Holston. Yeah. And we’ve had so many great people that have come through the organization and I am happy to say that, you know, when people leave, it’s usually like they made an awesome connection inside of our facility with our community and they’ve just it’s like sprung them into something else that they were more passionate about. And and so it’s just an awesome culture all around.
Dr. Clarissa Sparks: [00:39:04] All right. Well, Cody, thanks for sharing who you are, what you do, and why your brand really matters. Here at Spark, we do like to just celebrate our local business owners, and we want to celebrate you today and every day. So again, listeners, please support Cody. Go out to his Facebook page or at Cody Ray Parks or from well to find out and sign up for those sessions again. Thank you. I want everyone to create a great day. That’s a wrap, folks.
Intro: [00:39:37] Thank you for listening to Spark Stories. If you’re looking for more help in gaining focus, come check out our website where you can find episode show notes, browse our archives and access free resources like worksheets, trainings, events and more. It’s all at WW. She Sparks.
About Your Host
Dr. Clarissa J. Sparks is a personal brand strategist, trainer, mentor, and investor for women entrepreneurs. She is the founder of She Sparks, a brand strategy design consultancy.
Using her ten-plus years of branding & marketing experience, Dr. Sparks has supported over 4,000 women entrepreneurs in gaining clarity on who they are, what they do, and how they can brand, market, and grow their businesses. Using her Brand Thinking™ Blueprint & Action Plan she gives entrepreneurs the resources and support they need to become the go-to expert in their industry.
Follow Dr. Clarissa Sparks on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.