Sunday, October 30, 2016

Two Cowboys on a Journey: Natural High Fitness in Okotoks, Alberta

It's Your Life, Live it

(Learn: * Inspire: *** Amaze: * Live: *****)
(The Two Cowboys Subjective Rate-o-Meter.   )

Andrew Gustafson and his team at Natural High Fitness in Okotoks proclaim to mould dynamic lifestyles by helping their members follow the most effective and encouraging path to aspire to their peak fitness goals. A lofty statement and a lofty goal indeed.


"For as little as $1/month you will get the inside track on content like this and follow the travels of the Two Cowboys & A Camera. Join here."

Simply put, it is a place where you can hang out with your friends and enjoy your workout. They have everything you need for reaching your fitness (and your social) goals.

A gym is a gym, is a gym. There are a few places in Okotoks where you can deposit your sweat, move and pick up heavy stuff. Natural High Fitness is different in one very large respect. They are a community focussed enterprise. They are dedicated to supporting the community by giving back. They do it through charity work and other community-related involvements.

They help local Okotokians live healthy and active lifestyles. “Being an active part of the community is just good business, plain and simple,” says Andrew Gustafson, the founder and co-owner.  “It shows that we care enough about our town to help out in more than one way, we help many important local causes and feel we truly make a difference by creating a stronger and healthier community.”

The business is locally owned and operated by the Gustafson's who also work in partnership with the Town of Okotoks.

When we met up with Andrew, we were struck by his enthusiasm and passion for people. When I asked him about it, he made it clear that his passion for people is the single most important driver for his business. We don't find this surprising. Every small business owner in a healthy community can only be successful if they care about their people and that of their community.

At Natural High Fitness this stands out above everything else.

It's About the People


Being an entrepreneur is supposed to be simple. Firstly, find something you love to do. Something that has value for you personally. Do it. Enjoy it. Get personal value from it. Secondly, share it with those around you. Your family. Your community. If they like it too and get value from it, then keep doing it. Continue to share it with even more people.

By sharing it, you exchange value for a measured return. If you can get a large enough and profitable return, you can continue to share it and enrich more people's lives. Without this return, it remains a personal affair.

The next step is to use the return incentive and find ways to improve what you do even further and share it with more people. Then you are in business. Then you are an entrepreneur and a Producer.

The difference between a hobbyist and an entrepreneur in many cases simply comes down to the incentive or return. Return can take several forms. Monetary return or profit is the simplest, most obvious and flexible means of unlocking the value. There are other ways for value to be rewarded. Increasingly, people do what they do for more reasons than for profit. The ultimate success is to do it for profit that can be applied to add even more value to people's lives.

Community focussed businesses, or as we call it - businesses with a purpose - are taking the path of obtaining a return through social incentives. They are doing it for a cause. The cause can be to address a social or community shortcoming, such as feeding hungry children (http://www.eatmylunch.nz) or to address a lack of awareness or knowledge through education (http://www.socialenterprise.academy). There are many examples of businesses that stepped out of the more conventional profit structure by taking on a social or community cause. If a small business in a community does not have a community focussed cause, they can no longer compete on value alone. Large corporations can do things much cheaper, faster and better.

This is not a new phenomenon. If you are familiar with community-based businesses, you will know that this is the operating norm. Supporting a local business keeps money and value in the community.

The town's baker is the business that sponsors the Peewee Hockey team's uniforms. The butcher donates hams to the Foodbank. The builder donates time and materials to fix the Recreation Centre's roof. These businesses trade with each other and befit from each other. The dollars stay in the community for longer. The examples are endless. Local businesses employ the people of the community, often at incomes higher than the norm. They do it because they invest in their community's people. The value they provide benefits the community.

It should then be simple to realise that buying a cup of coffee from your local coffee roaster puts a dollar back into the dancing school. Getting a loaf of bread from your local baker pays for the hockey rink's ice. Getting your eggs from the local farmer puts shoes on a kid that otherwise may not have it. Supporting your local fitness entrepreneur supports a local cause.

If you want to take care of the people in your community and have a healthy community, then take care of the local businesses that support each other. These are the people that matter.

The best way you can do it is to spend your dollar locally and do at least twenty push-ups every day.

We enjoyed telling Andrew's story. It is not a gym story. It is a community story. We are proud to know him and hope this is the first of many stories we get to share about Natural High Fitness.

Hendrik van Wyk
Getting Fit Cowboy

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