I knew I wanted to post a blog today but I didn’t know what I was going to write it about. Then I got on facebook and my “memories” popped up and reminding me that 6yrs to the day, I settled a lawsuit that would change the course of my life and the course of Strongside, forever. 

I learned a large lesson with this instance. I learned how to deal with what we commonly call HATERS. I know that seems like a buzz word these days but we all have them. We all have these people in our lives that say “just be satisfied” or “that is good enough” or “you’re too skinny/muscular” or “why are you so healthy?! Just live a little!” or “you work too much” or “do you really need that nice of a house/car?” the list continues…

The year was 2007. I started working with my previous employer and I started with them, cleaning toilets and folding towels. I just needed something to get my foot in the door! I worked my way to the front desk position and then to the training department. This was a massive, billion-dollar company and somehow at 19yrs old, they called me “boy wonder” as I was the #1 trainer in the company. I went on to take over the group training department at the worst-performing club in the company and made it the #1 club within 9 months. I did that for a few other clubs as well and then went to work at the corporate office. Long story short, I didn’t like the environment up there so I moved back home after 2 years. 

When I moved back home to Woodstock GA, I went to a single club and ran the group training department there. Over time my classes grew to such a massive volume, we had to take over the basketball courts because there was not enough equipment. But, I became unhappy with the direction of the company and its values and they didn’t want to invest in what I needed to stay. So I met with all the VP’s and directors after attempting to stay for 1yr and told them I was leaving. Surprisingly enough, even though they knew I was going to start Strongside, they let me finish my 2 weeks so all the members would be happy. 

I always knew something was fishy though. I felt like there was a rumble in the jungle and I was watching my back. I knew that each year the training department did about $1.1million in revenue between the 26 trainers at the facility I, alone was responsible for about $400,000 of that. I was very sure there would be a big problem when I left, legally. I crossed all my T’s and dotted my I’s to the best of my ability. 

2 weeks after Strongside opened, I got a letter about a lawsuit and so it began. I had to move quickly and file first so everything would file under GA law (GA is a “right to work” state). I had just opened Strongside so I was seriously broke and then I had to borrow more money to hire a legal team to keep the business (that was not profitable at that point) afloat. So I had debt on the business that was not paying for it’s self and then I debt on the lawyer to pay for the business that could not pay back the loan….nice. All that caused me to have to get rid of my car. I only lived 1.5miles from the gym at the time so I would wake up early and run to the gym and I’d usually get a ride home from a member after the last class of the day. 

Those are just circumstances though, none of that mattered. I knew the mission and I knew the goal. This was just some stuff I had to go through. Now, going back to the haters….I had many people suggest that I close up shop vs getting in a legal battle with a billion-dollar company. Everyone told me that they would drag it on to drain me financially. I was told that they have a legal team in house and I could not beat that. I was told that I should collaborate and go back to work there and just so much more. I was essentially told to give up and file in line. 

Long story short, Strongside won. I was able to overcome everything they accused me of and life moved on. The details are not as important as the vision and the vision was accomplished. 

I share this with you for 2 reasons: 

#1 = We all have HATERS. I just gave you an example of a HATER in my life but I have all the same ones everyone else does. The truth is, you want a bunch of haters, that means you are REALLY moving forward. I get it, you definitely don’t want all your haters suing you, but you need to know who they are. When you know you they are, you can control your environment. One of my favorite quotes:

“Surround yourself with people who do not make excuses and get rid of people who do. Get obsessed, stay obsessed, and surround yourself with other people who are maniacs.” 

#2 = The reason I say that this experience changed my life and the course of Strongside is because I can only imagine how much we would have just “gone with the motions” if this never happened. We would have been complacent, Strongside would have just been another gym, and we would have just fit in. If everything was easy there would not have been much of a reward. I don’t think it would have got me to think differently or get motivated. As stressful as it was, it helped a lot. There was passion in what I was doing but there was no fire. I’m very grateful for this because a fire was lit 6yrs ago and it’s still burning HARD!! 

Here is the deal, you’re a rockstar and do not let anyone tell you otherwise. I share my experience with you to let you know that you are the 1%. You’re the person wanting to eat well, you are the person wanting to exercise, you’re the not normal one. That is ok! Just because you’re not normal, does not mean that is bad, it means you’re the 1%. You’re the 1% that said “I want to be my best self” and you are going after it. I can’t wait to see you dominate everting in your path and BE YOUR BEST SELF! 

Around every corner, you’ll meet people telling you a bunch of reasons why you DO NOT need to do something and how difficult it is. You’ll be criticized (even on a small level by subtle comments) and you will have resistance in your way the entire time you’re doing it. But that is ok, you are the 1% and you can do this! At Strongside we leverage our community for constant support and uplifting cheer! This Strongside family will help you, support you and cheer you on the entire way! 

1 Team, 1 Vision – Let’s get better together! 




Mitchel Black, CPT, NC

Founder & Head Coach – Strongside®

CrossFit Level 2 Trainer

USA Olympic Weightlifting Coach

N.A.S.M. , N.S.C.A. & N.P.T.I. Certified Personal Trainer

N.P.T.I. Certified Nutrition Coach & Weight Loss Coach

Direct: 678.735.0563

Email: [email protected]

Address: 110 Londonderry CT #112, Woodstock GA, 30188