Today, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to a great friend, a good man, and somebody that I think has been a very powerful addition to my business and my personal life.
Troy Taylor is his name, and just like me, Orangetheory Fitness is his game. He’s been by my side ever since he helped me launch the brand back in Tampa, Florida, and I am excited to share our conversation about our beginnings, the importance of gratitude, and how he got to where he is today.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. You can listen to the full conversation by tuning into this week’s podcast.
Terry Blachek: So, give our listeners just a little bit of background on yourself, Troy. You’re a big Penn State guy, right?
Troy Taylor: Yeah, so college. Penn State, track guy, always a runner, always into fitness, always into people, teams, things like that. Developing not only myself but working on others around me. I was a big fraternity guy, too, so I loved throwing the party, being part of the party, and creating the party so to speak.
You know, Troy Taylor is the party man. If you haven’t seen this guy, just know he’s got orange hair, an OTF logo shaved into the side of his head, and it’s like he’s a 25-year-old in the body of a… however old you are. We won’t broadcast that [laughs].
It’s definitely been fun. A lot of what I do with fitness came out of Penn State. One of my track coaches got me involved with a major league baseball team for the inaugural season at Tampa Bay. I left probably about two years after that, but during that time, I worked with the likes of Fred McGriff, Jose Conseco, Wade Boggs, the old guys that they put in there to try to teach the young guys. You know, your speed coach, enhancement coach, strength coach, all those types of people.
And from there, I gained a lot of background in physical therapy and personal training. I started at Gold’s Gym down there in St. Pete, Florida. At that gym, there wasn’t much personal training going on, so I kind of worked with groups in those gyms. And that was always fun, you know, putting people together with like-minded goals and things like that.
But everybody got results because they were together. And it became kind of a party within Gold’s Gym. From there, I got into more of the physical therapy arena where I was doing rehab stuff.
One thing that I remember during this time was that I never, ever stopped my workout. Never. Not for anyone. But one day, there came Terry, and so we stopped to chat. That’s kind of how it all started.
When we met, I remember you were doing some small group training. I think we talked about starting up a brand of our own and got involved with Orangetheory Fitness. Then one morning, we jumped in a van and drove down to Ft. Lauderdale to try out a class.
Yeah, amazing experience. I was like, “Terry, why didn’t we think of this?”
I remember the day very distinctly because it was like leaving Troy at summer camp. I left him there to sell memberships and get the presale started, and as I drove away, I looked back and actually took a picture. I still have that photograph. He was waving, kind of like he was my son, you know, “When are you gonna come back and see me, Dad?” kind of thing. It was great.
Anyway, Orangetheory has been good for you, Troy, it’s been great for me. We’ve built the brand, we’ve expanded the brand, we’ve taken a lot of people through the business, we’ve grown people, we’ve grown the business, we’ve sold franchises. And here we sit today as one of the larger groups of Orangetheory Fitness. But one of the things I want to talk about today is that if you look back at the last 10 years, if you look back at your life, all of us at some point have dealt with some type of adversity. As you look back, Troy, can you think of a time when maybe you had to deal with some adversity in your life, and maybe just talk us through that? What happened, how you dealt with that, and what that felt like?
Yeah, like you said, everybody comes upon adversity at some point in time, for some more than others. When I was in Tampa, I was torn in a lot of different directions. I think my focus probably should have been fitness more often than not, but I also had an entertainment company where we did some dancing and stuff like that. At the time, I was more into playing and having fun. I’m a dancin’ man. I got involved with that in college, the fraternity life, and so on and so forth.
And I think I really didn’t have much direction. I always wanted to have my own business in fitness. I tried that, you know, that was a bad leg of mine that kind of failed miserably. I always had a lot of following in fitness. People wanted to emulate and do some of the things that I did in the gym, as well as outside in other sports. And then obviously, you know, just physique. I did a lot of modeling.
So I was being pulled in a lot of different directions. Sometimes we find ourselves. I think your ego gets involved in there, failure gets involved in there. And coming through that, you know, I met you, Terry, and found a great product in Orangetheory fitness. It was probably the routine of fitness that kept me going every day, day to day.
And I’m about 50 right now, just turned the big Five Oh. I’ve kept consistent with one thing in my life, and that’s been fitness. That’s been taking care of my body, my soul, my mind. And I think that’s one of my biggest successes that’s gotten me out of a lot of different things that pulled me in different directions, different defocused events in my life.
You know, it’s always hard to come up with a routine that’s successful for you. A lot of people are still struggling with that. That’s why they’re in Orangetheory right now. So sometimes that takes time. It’s a patience thing. It’s years of work. And sometimes it’s a struggle there, you always have injuries that come into play, you have time in your life that is taken away from school, from relationships.
I think your ego still lies in the background of that as well. You want to look good, you want to feel good on the outside, but if your insides aren’t working, you’re not going anywhere, you know. You can forget about work, you can forget about play, all the things that I like to do. If my health isn’t there, well, I’m not going to be able to do all those other things. So that was probably the most important thing. And that’s something that I’ve learned over the years that I need to stick with and be involved with.
I just had a hip surgery, probably the one of the fastest recoveries that my PT has ever seen, just because of my history with physical therapy and also with fitness. Eight months later, I’m out running. I’m doing my thing. So not quite as fast as Usain Bolt yet, but I’m working on it. There’s always next year at the Summer Olympics.
So if I’m understanding you correctly, what you’re really saying is, you’ve dealt with adversity in your life. You’ve been at the top of the mountain, you’ve been at the bottom of the valley. But one of the things that you have found to help you through that is a constant exercise workout program and taking care of yourself.
Yes, and that’s not always going and lifting as much weight as I can. It’s not running. It’s not doing something that’s remarkable to the fitness world. It could be just stretching one morning, it could be a little meditation, it could be something that’s fun for me. But things that I know, the knowledge that I have with physical therapy and fitness and the human body, and how it reacts to things.
Energy, you’ve always seen my energy. It all comes from working out, from exercising and having that mentality that I can always find a sanctity in.
So the lesson there is, when you work out, you feel better about yourself. When you work out, you still have your health. You may not have your job, you may not have your career, you may not have the finances, you may not have the relationships, but man, you got your health.
Yes, sir. And that’s a pretty powerful thing to say.
Troy, you’re a guy that talks a lot about gratitude. I’ve talked about that in some of my past podcasts, but maybe speak a little bit to that: living a life of gratitude, your relationships, dealing with other folks, just tell us a little bit about that.
You know me pretty well, but I changed in the last two or three years spiritually along with my health. One thing I grade myself on is how I can actually give back, how I can be grateful for some of the things that I have. It’s hard to step back and say, “Hey, thank you for the clothes on my back. Thank you for the shoes on my feet, thank you for the roof over my head.” Those are simple things. But there’s a lot of people that don’t have those things. So it’s hard to do that unless you see something that’s very traumatic on TV or that’s advertised that makes you feel that way.
But if you practice — and that’s part of my routine — if you practice gratitude on a daily basis, it comes back to you tenfold. And I feel that spiritually. I got goosebumps right now just talking about it. I call that the Holy Spirit. Gratitude, being grateful for family, for friends, for mentors, for people that just somehow sneak their way into your life and make life better than you ever could’ve by yourself.
How do you show that gratitude to those people? What are the things you do?
I think part of it is how I pronounce myself, you know. You see my name up on the screen in class as Grateful T. People started using that nickname for me. It’s even on my license plate.
I’ll show gratitude to other people, but I don’t always have to say it. You know, all these things with gratitude work in the background. They don’t have to be professed or told to someone all the time. I think that a lot of times I feel like I’m put here to help other people, whether it be in fitness, finances, relationship, their life, maintaining their body, maintaining their soul, maintaining their mind.
So a lot of times I think it’s just in saying what I’m grateful for myself and teaching them how to do that. Are you grateful that you’re able to even work out and go to the gym? Are you grateful that you have a family around, a support system?
Showing gratitude is just something you kind of hold to yourself. It doesn’t always have to be pronounced or written down somewhere, but you have to do it and routinely have to say it to yourself. Spend a little time thinking, a little time contemplating in quietness, just thinking behind the scenes.
Well, two things I think we learned here is that, number one, in the face of adversity, keep spending a little bit of time on yourself and on your health. That’s that workout, constant exercise, doing something, being active. It doesn’t have to be the world’s best workout program, but doing something for yourself makes you feel better about yourself. Number two is living a life of gratitude and coming from a place of gratitude, with family, friends, neighbors, relatives, work, coworkers, etc.
And you know, you have something kind of special going on, Troy. I just want to mention it real quick. You got a T-shirt program you started up, right? Tell me how you started that program.
I have two daughters. My youngest daughter, her name is London. Other is Jada. We pray every night. And we’ve practiced that probably for the last two years straight, always saying the same prayer. But it all means something different to everybody.
One day, I asked my youngest daughter, London, what she wanted to be when she grew up, or what kind of superhero she wanted to be. And she said, I got it.
But what I heard was “I God it,” not “I got it.” So to me, that was a spark in my life that you can say to yourself at any given time. When I’m having a bad day or when life rubs me the wrong way, say “I God it.” Or how about just a simple statement for affirmation, “Believe me, I God it.”
So it runs along with scripture. It runs along with what God wants us to remember every day. We self actualize ourselves and other people by giving praise. And I think my daughter kind of brought that to light in me over the past couple of years. Like I said, you’ve seen that I’ve gotten heavily involved. Not that I’m a super spiritual guy — I still like to have fun. I still do some things that are probably like I’m still a sinner — like everybody is — but within that, I still get praise, I get thanks, and that gratitude comes out.
So if I wanna get one of those t-shirts, where do I go?
Go to I-Godit.com. Thanks.
That’s Troy Taylor, everybody. Keep your workouts going, live a life of gratitude, pick up an “I God it” T-shirt, and stay true to yourself. I say this without exception: I wouldn’t be where I am today without Troy Taylor. He has had an impact on my business. He’s had an impact on my life. I love this guy as a friend — more than that, a brother.
Love you, too.
Thanks a lot for joining us. We’re both your friends. We’ll catch you next week.