Houston-area body-builder champions a unique brand of fitness that challenges individuals to strengthen their spiritual and physical bodies.
John Mitchell, owner of Phat Body Gym, began his fitness journey in college after friends inspired him to consider a professional career in fitness.
“When I start something I am really passionate about challenging myself and if I like something and see the possibilities of it working, I am going to find a strategy to get it done,” says Mitchell.
Fueled by his determination and passion for fitness, the personal trainer turned business owner now operates four fitness facilities throughout the Houston area with plans to celebrate the opening of his first franchise in January.
Not only is Mitchell enjoying the overflow of years of hard work and commitment to promoting fitness, the 44-year-old body builder recently was selected as an official trainer for UFirstFitness, a company recently launched by Cherita Andrews and O’Neal Hampton, former contestants on Season 9 of the reality TV show, “The Biggest Loser.”
Andrews, a resident of Richmond, Texas, heard about Mitchell’s training skills by word of mouth and contracted with him to develop a post-show fitness regimen for her daughter, Vicky, also a former contestant on the show.
“John is an exceptional trainer. Not only that, he has a real knack for motivating you to go to the next level without you really knowing how hard he is working you,” says Andrews.
Mitchell will be among a team of trainers selected to work with clients at The Jordan Ranch which recently opened its doors in January.
A luxurious western-style facility located in Schulenburg, Texas, near Katy, the Ranch provides clients with a structured fitness environment to realize their weight loss and fitness goals in a setting similar to contestant housing quarters on “The Biggest Loser.”
In the style of the reality TV show, clients will begin their fitness experience with a one-week stay at the facility followed by a 12-week follow-up program.
Mitchell credits God for the doors of opportunity in his life.
“God is off the chain. Any doors that open up to me I know it has to be God,” says Mitchell.
“Once we started doing what God said in that gym, we got three more gyms in a seven to nine month period and everything started taking off from there.” ~ John Mitchell
The TSU graduate lost his father at the age of 2 years old and was raised by his mother, who he calls his greatest influence.
“She raised me in the church and placed me around Godly men who nurtured and spoke into my life,” shares Mitchell.
After deepening his own relationship with Christ, Mitchell opened his first gym and soon was led to begin teaching bible studies in the gym.
“God told me I need you to do this,” says Mitchell.
Hesitant at first, Mitchell prayed for nearly eight months for confirmation.
“I kept asking God, you sure you want me to this this,” says Mitchell.
When Mitchell began conducting the bible studies, his gym began to experience phenomenal growth.
“Once we started doing what God said in that gym, we got three more gyms in a seven to nine month period and everything started taking off from there,” shares Mitchell.
When his initial gym grew to accommodate 40 trainers, he made the decision to open a second location.
Since that time, he has opened locations in north Houston, Missouri City, the Spring area and Humble and now has 52 trainers.
“We don’t go after memberships. I help trainers work for themselves and make a living,” says Mitchell.
Impressed with his rock solid fitness knowledge and expertise, and his record of success in the fitness realm, a local husband and wife fitness duo, have embraced his fitness system and will open the first Phat Body Gym franchise in January.
“They have been with me long enough to know that you don’t reinvent the wheel. If it is working keep the system going,” says Mitchell.
Not only did his gyms begin to flourish, lives began being transformed by his bible studies.
“It is more spiritual in the long term, but the initial reason for coming is the physical. They hear that we work people out hard and get them in shape,” says Mitchell.
His passion to help people, led him to write his first book, “God is Bigger Than Your Strongest Weakness,” in which he cites fear as the number one thing that keeps people from transforming their lives or realizing their dreams.
“When people’s lives change, that just makes it all the greater,” says Mitchell.
Keys to Business Success
Mitchell encourages business owners to do their research and prepare before launching a business.
“Sometimes people move too soon – ‘I want my own business I want to do my own thing,’ but you may not know enough to do your own thing you have to pay the price first, you have got to get enough knowledge and wisdom before you step out and doing your own thing,” says Mitchell.
He believes that if you are in business and it is not bearing fruits or flourishing, you may not be in line with God’s plan for your life.
“You know them by the fruits that they bear and you can’t follow God and not grow,” says Mitchell.
He also believes that setting priorities and maintaining consistency and focus are critical factors for the success of any business.
Before starting his fitness business, like many aspiring entrepreneurs, he tried several other businesses, including launching his own magazine, his own clothing called Phat Body Wear and his own bottled water product line.
“I think that a lot of us are naturally born with specific gifts, but it is up to us to bring it out and make it manifest,” says Mitchell.
When he focused in on his fitness he began to experience success, advice he believes will help other business owners.
“It takes extra steps to run and your own business and to be profitable,” says Mitchell.
His success is evidenced by the range of clients who are members of his network of fitness facilities, ranging from politicians to television news anchors to regular customers seeking to rise to a new level of fitness.
As he prepares to launch his first franchise, he believes the other ventures, God placed in his heart, will resurface at the appropriate time.
“I have a lot of things in me, but I can’t do it by myself. I am just waiting for God to send me the right people to nurture each one,” says Mitchell.
In the meantime, he is heeding his own advice and doing what he loves best—helping people transform their lives and become stronger- inside and out.
Phat Body Gym Locations