Xplorer C.J. Schiatta
Coaching, cultivating success, and bringing a CrossFit mindset to customer relationships.
For C.J. Schiatta, supporting gym owners and coaches as a Customer Support Specialist at Xplor was an easy career fit – because he used to be a personal trainer and gym owner himself.
Before Xplor, C.J. worked in retail for 12 years, nine of which were spent at Apple, a role he loved. But through the encouragement of his brother-in-law, C.J. began doing CrossFit, and eventually started a side hustle CrossFit coaching, which he began in his backyard. His love of working with others and creating community eventually led him to buy a CrossFit gym, and become a small business owner. Now, after having sold the business, he’s able to support and empathize with his customers, as he was once in their shoes and understands their specific challenges.
“I’ve been a TrueCoach user for five years on and off,” he said. “I wanted to be able to support gym owners because the gym life is part of my lifestyle.”
C.J. learned several lessons from running his business, namely, how to prioritize your health and well-being. Starting, paying off, and growing a business, he said, can be challenging.
“At the end of the day, as a business owner, you want to live your life outside of your business,” he said. “I’m not saying weekends off is a must, but giving time back to yourself is so crucial to your overall well being.”
C.J. said during his time as a gym owner, he was living the grind mentality to its fullest, waking up at 4:30am to coach the 5am class, and staying at the facility until 9pm, only to do it all over again the next day. While he said it was worth it, and supports others pursuing that lifestyle, it can catch up to you. But luckily, there are changes you can make to find a balance.
“When you start to notice it, my advice is to listen to your body. See if you can make adjustments to get more sleep or eat better,” he said. “I always love to share the small story of how I physically looked my best from the workouts I was doing, and running my business. I felt powerful, but I was not taking care of myself. Moral of the story is take care of yourself…and you’ll love what you do even more.”
That’s why C.J. says its so important for business owners to take advantage of technology, so they can spend more time doing what they love.
“It’s about investing in yourself. A really powerful tool not just for fitness lovers, but for everyone, is a Whoop band. It’s a health monitor that tracks your strain, sleep, and recovery, and coaches you on what you can do to improve your overall wellbeing. And for your gym or studio, investing in software will also help make your life easier. Look for tools that can send automated e-mails to help keep customers engaged, and consider programs written by other successful gym owners for your customers too.”
C.J. also suggests asking a member or two to help out with cleaning the facility every night; giving a trusted coach access to the business e-mail so they can help respond to new inquiries; and encouraging members and coaches to get involved with marketing on social media. “There’s a lot of moving parts when running a gym, so use your community and make sure you give back to them as well. If you find yourself struggling to delegate tasks, take a deep breathe, look in the mirror, and let go of the ego. Your business will thank you.”
After the sale of his CrossFit gym, C.J. said he wanted not only to pursue his interest in tech, but also reignite his passion for fitness, coaching and inspiring others.
“I felt the need to be a part of something bigger and more meaningful to enjoy work,” he said. “I wanted the same feeling I got when I was running my business, and that was the feeling of pure passion. Xplor has completely unleashed that feeling.”
In his role today, C.J. says he helps his customers reach their full potential by creating connections that are positive experiences, as he wants his customers to feel welcome and understood.
“I want to make an impression that they can talk to others in a positive way, because customers deserve for that need to be met. It creates a community and a long-lasting relationship.”
In fact, long-lasting relationships are a cornerstone of C.J.’s career and expertise. When he was running his gym, he attributes a lot of his success to his clients who stuck with him and believed in him – because those were the people who ultimately helped him grow his business. He explained that when a gym changes ownership, you can lose customers not only because of the ownership change, but also if you adjust the programming. And in C.J.’s case, he wanted to take a more results-driven approach.
“I bought a CrossFit gym that [previously] showed no support for its members, but the members thought that was normal. I made workouts more challenging to get better results, and a lot of customers left because of it; they wanted easy workouts but wanted a muscle up – but you don’t earn a muscle up with soft workouts. You earn it with a challenge that keeps you coming back for more. So, for the members who stayed, they promoted the gym and helped me grow the community.”
Though he’s relatively new to the company, C.J. says he already sees how the community within Xplor helps cultivate success.
“Here at Xplor, putting trust in the community will get you to places your heart desires,” he said. “I see more and more of this each day I come to work.”
When asked what advice he would give to a younger person following in his footsteps, C.J. says not to put a timeline on what success looks like.
“Success can be found in multiple places in life. It’s not just the dream of being a millionaire. Most of the time if you want something really bad, it’ll happen, but it doesn’t happen behind the screen of your phone. Patience is hard, but it is a massive player in what makes you a leader in your own shoes,” he said.
He also emphasized that change should not be feared, no matter if that change is good or bad.
“You will, no matter what, have to make decisions that are uncomfortable,” he said. “Run towards that discomfort, and 99.9% of the time everything is going to be OK. Don’t avoid failure and disappointment when you see it in front of you. Have your moment of gloom, and move forward because that’s the only road you can take.”
And moving forward and overcoming challenges, especially in the fitness space, is what C.J. knows how to do best – which is why it’s no wonder that the life motto that most resonates with him is: who you are in the gym is who you are outside of the gym.
“You’re going to go on streaks of hitting the gym five days a week, and then you’ll have weeks where you can’t get to the gym because of your schedule, or you lack motivation. These are completely normal things. Even your coach loses motivation, and if they tell you they don’t, they’re lying. It just goes to show that as incredible and resilient we can all be, we are still human and we have feelings and emotions. If you show up with purpose, chances are you do the same outside of the gym.”