by Matt Weik
Who would have thought that in the span of a couple of years, we would be looking back on some of the biggest losses our industry and the fitness community has experienced? We’ve lost icons like Franco Columbu, Rich Piana, Luke Sandow, Matt Porter, George Peterson, John Meadows, and Dallas McCarver, to name a few (there are more and no disrespect to those not named). The amazing part that comes from such sadness is the legacy all of these individuals have left behind.
To this day, you still hear people talking about Rich Piana and his crazy content and honesty regarding his cycles, Matt Porter and his incredible training protocols, Dallas McCarver and how he had so much potential and the impressive physique he brought to the stage in such a short period of time.
I don’t know about you, but it makes me sit back and wonder what people will say about me when I’m gone. Will all my hard work and dedication to bringing the fitness community content be for nothing, or will my name live on through the thousands of articles I’ve had published? What about you?
The Fitness Community Doesn’t Forget
I remember the morning of January 18th, 2015, when I woke up to my cell phone ringing off the hook and text message after text message blowing up my phone. It was people in the industry asking me what I knew about the death of Greg Plitt. At that time, I worked for MET-Rx alongside Greg, and we were extremely close. We worked on several projects both for the brand and on our own.
Regardless of if you’re a man or woman, everyone in the industry knew who Greg Plitt was. I remember thinking about how much I admired his passion and drive. How he would stand at the booth for hours talking to anyone and everyone – answering all of these questions. His motivational videos could instantly get you pumped up and ready to take on the world. The fact that his following was so immense said something to the person he was, considering he never stepped foot on a competitive stage.
To this day, I still have people messaging me asking about him. What he was like. What it was like working with him. And thanking me for the content he and I worked on and published together. It’s been five years, yet the fitness community has not forgotten about him and the legacy he left behind.
Competitors, Influencers, Bloggers, and Vloggers… Listen Up
It’s, so cliché to say, but life passes by in the blink of an eye. Also, we are not granted tomorrow. What are you doing right now? What are you doing in the fitness community to leave your own legacy? Are you going to be known as one of the greatest bodybuilders to step on the stage? An influencer who sells out when a check is written in their name? A writer who produces thousands of educational content pieces? Or even a vlogger who cares more about exposing who’s natty or not rather than using their platform to bring value to their audience?
You have a platform. A FREE platform to do whatever you wish with it. What are you doing? What are you putting your efforts toward? The fitness community is very forgiving, but they also never forget the past. We all make mistakes, but we also have the ability to learn from them and make improvements. No one in the fitness community is going to say Rich Piana is perfect. Heck, none of us are perfect – including myself (despite what I tell my wife and kids). But love him or hate him, what Rich did during his time on this earth brought people value and entertainment. You know you’re doing something right when your haters watch everything you do and want to see what your next move is.
Supplement Brands, Don’t Think You Were Getting a Free Pass
I’m not going to call out any brands in particular (you know who you are), but how you treat your customers, how truthful you are with your customers, and the way you conduct business does not go unnoticed. The fitness community is a tight group, and while you may have some loyal fans, you also have some shade being thrown your way for some bad business decisions that hurt people (and even some actions that were illegal). Not meeting label claims, not paying employees, closing your doors in the middle of the night and leaving your employees high and dry, money laundering, spiking products, deceptive marketing – the list goes on and on.
Getting into the industry out of greed and seeing the potential financial success should not be the reason you start a business. And while you think you’re pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes, the things going on behind the scenes and closed doors will always surface, and you will get exposed. Again, the fitness community is extremely close. All it takes is for one person to tell another what’s going on, and your business could instantly be ruined.
Your focus should be on the impact you can make and lives you can change. No one expects you to be a philanthropist and give away millions of dollars but be a good person and do what’s right for the industry, the fitness community, and the people who support your brand and purchase your products.
Loyalty goes a long way in this industry and the fitness community, and unfortunately, there isn’t much of it going around anymore these days. This also plays a large role in the legacy you leave behind. Look at Bill Phillips. Bill created EAS, made it huge, sold it, and then watched the brand die a slow death until it ultimately went out of business. Now, Bill is entering back into the space to revitalize EAS, and I believe with his good name, the good he’s done in the industry, and his legacy will help bring life into the brand once more and put it back on the map.
I wonder what Bill wants his legacy to be? Supplement mogul, fitness guru, best-selling author, the hardest working man in the industry? If you’re in this industry, I want you to do some self-reflection. What are you doing, and what impact will it have on others in the fitness community? Are you helping or hurting with your actions? Are you a giver or a taker? Are you carving a path or simply standing in everyone’s way? Because when your name and date are etched into your tombstone, there won’t be another chance to leave a lasting legacy.