We had the good fortune of connecting with Paul Ohshima and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Paul, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I’m sure my experience wasn’t much different than most first time small business owners. I put a big chunk of my life savings into starting my business, so at the beginning, there wasn’t much of a balance. If I wasn’t physically working, I was thinking about work. And this was about the same time I had my first child. I purposely lived in apartment right above my fitness studio so I could try not to miss any of my daughter’s “firsts,” but work still dominated most of my time. It was the only way I could support my family so I didn’t feel like I had much of a choice. And from my previous experience with my corporate job, I knew the more time I invested upfront not only going through the motions, but also understanding what I was doing and seeing if it could be done better, it would help me become more productive, quicker. And for a bit, it seemed to be working as the business was growing and I got to spend more time with my daughter. But of course, COVID hit and drastically changed our business model and it has been, in many ways, like starting all over again. This time though, after watching how quickly my daughter (and now son) are growing up, it is a bigger struggle to find the right balance as I know this is a precious time in their lives, but also a crucial time for the business. I want to dedicate so much time to both, but I know time is finite. So for now, I am focusing on blocking off times for both, and doing my best not to think of one when I’m doing the other. I think I’ll know the balance isn’t right, if I’m thinking too much about one of them.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We are part of F45 Training franchise. F45 Training specializes in HIIT workouts utilizing the latest technology with heart rate monitors and TV’s that guide you from station to station. The TV’s free up our multiple trainers to concentrate on coaching to bring a personal training experience to a group fitness class. Our studio, F45 Training Arts District, is located in the Arts District of downtown Los Angeles.
When we started, F45 was relatively still unknown and with constant construction delays, we couldn’t consistently market so we really weren’t sure if anyone would show up on our opening day. But we’ve been able to slowly grow our location into one of the top studios in the nation by cultivating a very family like culture. My partner and I had zero experience in fitness or running our own business, but we both left our comfortable corporate jobs so we could work in an industry we were passionate about and be able to help people. We looked for staff with similar passion. We understand that people come to us because they want our help to reach a certain goal, but often times, taking the first step and showing up is the hardest part so our goal is to make everything else as easy as possible. Welcoming them and making them feel included right away, providing fun and constantly varying workouts and recognizing the small achievements. By setting the tone with the team, we’ve been able to build a membership base that is full of super supportive people who recognize everyone is at a different point on their journey but they all share the common goal of bettering their lives.
The family like culture is a huge reason why we have been able to keep the lights on during COVID. Our members have been immensely supportive during these times even though many are in situations where they’re not able to come back to train in person. Thankfully technology has allowed us to keep in touch with them via online platforms. For those that are coming back in person, we’ve invested heavily on a new setup and tweaked our workouts to mitigate the risks as much as possible. Running a business during COVID is new for everyone, so we really had to rely on our member’s feedback to provide a setup that they’d feel safe in. What works for similar businesses in the next county over doesn’t necessarily work for us.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The Arts District is my favorite area of downtown Los Angeles. It has a completely different feel then the rest of downtown. It has a lot more creative types so everyone seems to be a bit more laid back. If my best friend was visiting, of course we’d start every morning with a workout at F45 Training Arts District. Starting your day with a workout sets the tone for the day with a sense of accomplishment right from the get go. It’s only 45minutes and a full body workout is already programmed for you so you just need to show up ready for a good sweat. After that, we’d head for a post workout cup of coffee at either Groundwork or Verve if we wanted to add a breakfast in too. Both are a short walk from F45. After a quick shower, we’d head over to checkout the pop-up galleries on 3rd street or just walk around the neighborhood to the different murals painted around the area. For lunch, we’d head on over to Urth Cafe or Cafe Gratitude for some delicious healthy foods. But we’d balance out all the healthy stuff with a nice, post lunch drink at Wurstküche or Arts District Brewery where we could drink outside and just enjoy the awesome LA weather. Then head back and change to get ready for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants (not only in downtown), Bestia. After stuffing ourselves with some Ribeye, pasta, & bone marrow, it’s time for a little bar hopping. So many fun bars in the area. If we were looking for something a little more upbeat, we’d head over to Resident, Here & Now, or EightyTwo or if we were looking for something more mellow with really good drinks, we’d head over to In Sheep’s Clothing or Manuela. Of course we’d have to end the night with a little treat with ice cream at Salt N’ Straw!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My business partner Bobby My wife Nana
My amazing staff
Our incredible members
Three Peaks Visual Supply The Social Trust