I'm writing this post from Barry's Bootcamp in Chelsea on a weekday afternoon.
Every 60 minutes, throngs of sweaty sweaty people skip out of the workout room high-fiving each other; exhausted, but accomplished. I sit questioning what all of these sexy people do for a living that allows them to work out from 2pm - 3pm on a Wednesday. But I don't question why they're here. Personally, I love coming to Barry's Bootcamp (BBC) because I know I'll see familiar faces, we'll hug, and I'll leave energized. The place is alive and feels like home. I've embarrassingly been here more often just to hang out than to actually take class (which is a one hour high-intensity mix of strength training and treadmill work. I'm sore just thinking about it).
Joey and I met through mutual friends, right around the time he started as a trainer at Barry's Bootcamp, West Hollywood. Joey had a performer's background, was always attracted to group settings, and had an interest in physical fitness. After dabbling in a few different careers, he says that walking into Barry's was like meeting 'the one.' He just knew it was right. Soon after, a position for Director of Operations opened up, and Joey wanted the job. But he didn't have any experience. So he took a bummer second job with Gold's Gym in the sales department, responsible for locking in new memberships. He reflects on those months as 'doing his time,' handing out flyers to hikers at Runyon Canyon (ugh). When he came to the Director of Ops interview he had a long list of ideas to improve the company and take the local phenomenon to the next level. Joey really believed in the physical results of the workout and that the business was scalable. His first hire in his new position as the Director of Operations was his long-time bestie, Alycia.
Since then, Joey has hired many of his closet friends to join the Barry's team! And working with friends has contributed to the community-driven, familial atmosphere. Joey says that, "Barry's is almost like Cheers. Everyone knows everyone else's name."
Joey is a great communicator; candid, honest and transparent. He creates an atmosphere at Barry's (and in his personal life) where people genuinely feel welcomed and a part of something bigger. He's a busy man, now directly involved in eight BBC locations across the US. New Barry's storefronts have opened internationally, they've re-branded the entire company, and have established a franchisee structure. From the looks of his Facebook feed, Joey's life is perfect; a successful small business, a gorgeous partner, and shot after shot of smiling friends and family, fancy hotel stays, and abdominal muscles. What a lot of people don't realize is that behind the aspirational life, there's a tremendous amount of hard work that Joey makes look easy. He is sensitive, feels things deeply, and has spent a lot of his life struggling through rough spots.
The Barry's empire is growing, but each location still has a mom and pop feel. Joey co-owns many of the locations, but he teaches classes and can be found mopping and folding towels as well. He has a natural inclination to help people, which is probably why he is such a good teacher. Deirdre was a Joey Gonzalez devotee when the Chelsea, NY location opened. In the spring of 2011, Deirdre convinced Joey that BBC had to set up a summer shop in the Hamptons. Joey: "Okay, who's gonna run that location?" Deirdre: "Me?" She basically had no work experience, but Joey trusted his instinct and decided to invest in her potential. Now she is two years in, and manages the Hamptons location (and they are opening a second this summer in Amagansett).
He finds time for the important stuff and makes people feel special. For example, I came to New York with my family for my 25th birthday. Joey kindly made a reservation for us at one of my favorite restaurants, La Esquina. As soon as we sat down, the waiter brought over 2 pitchers of their signature margarita. Joey called ahead to order them. How does he find the time to be a successful business owner, excellent boss, supportive husband, and attentive friend?
And he believes that life is all about searching for, and finding, the things you love. One of Joey's important "things he loves" is his hubby Jonathan Rollo*. Their 2011 Miami wedding was a grand celebration of love, family, and friendship. The video capturing the union makes me tear up every time I watch it. They are a power couple who are very impressive individuals, but exponentially impressive as a team. Hospitable, intelligent, adventurous, and fun, Jon and Joey make every event, situation, vacation, anything better. When I asked Joey how he handles all of the responsibilities in his life, he attributed his drive and success to the support of his partner.
If the way we workout reflects the way we live, Joey walks out of every class knowing he pushed himself to the limit and left everything on the treadmill.
* Trust me, you want to hear more about Jon. He's a gem. Look for him in a future coffee.
1. Work hard.
The perfect job is not just waiting for you to find it. Figure out what you want to do, then connect the dots to get there. The process of connection almost always includes sacrifice and hard work.
2. Surround yourself with people who make you better, faster, stronger (like Daft Punk said).
This is a theme amongst people I've had coffees with, so far. Work with people who believe in your potential, increase your self-confidence, and help develop your crazy ideas. Befriend and date and live with those people, too.
3. You get more bees with honey.
Joey is one of the most positive and straightforward people I know. He means what he says and wears his heart on his sleeve. And he's winning! His success in life and career proves that nice guys don't always finish last. Cheers to the nice guys!