Photo Credit: Vanessa Rogers
We admit that we were, at first, suspicious of Jon Bates, owner of Addicted to Fitness, when we encountered his daily Facebook posts. We thought, No one can be that positive all the time. We played it low key. We spied. We hoped for a slip-up of some kind. But no…the man was consistently positive, day after day.
Finally, after months of watching the man continue to spread his joy to the world, we decided we simply had to feature him in Naples Noteworthy. We’d done enough research to know he is well-respected in the community and a fitness guru, to boot. On top of that, he has a knock-out wife and daughters who are champions in gymnastics. The whole family is in shape–they really are the model of the “perfect” American family. Granted no family is really perfect, but this family comes close.
We took a look at Addicted to Fitness as well. The journalist we sent was so impressed, she’s now a member of the gym–and not because it’s the same gym Dr. Phil uses.
After studying Jon Bates for months and finally interviewing him and comparing him to other coaches in the region, we’ve named him the Fitness Coach with the Most Positive Mindset in Naples. Now, we know there are many good coaches out there with positive attitudes–some of the best, we think, work at Addicted to Fitness–but bear in mind we’ve spied on this guy day in and out for months and he just doesn’t quit. He’s like the Energizer Bunny of Positivity. We’re sure there are days where he didn’t feel so good, where he personally felt like quitting, where he didn’t want to put out a positive message. But somehow he choked back his personal feelings and continued to be a beacon of encouragement and inspiration to others.
And we think that’s pretty darned cool. In a world where most of the messages you encounter are not so positive, running into someone like Jon Bates is a breath of fresh air.
Enjoy the interview.
We can’t help but notice what a positive attitude you have. Where does that come from?
I am a true believer that whatever you focus on in life becomes your reality and becomes bigger. If you focus on what is wrong, bad or ugly it grows and becomes your reality. Or, you can focus on everything that is right, good and beautiful and that becomes your reality. I am a believer in gratitude. If you start and end each day thinking about everything that you have to be grateful for, the list grows. There are always going to be struggles in life and you can decide to let them bring you down or turn it around and find the good in each day. Every day I am so grateful for my health, my beautiful family and my ability to live my passion helping people change their lives for the better through health and fitness. It doesn’t get any better than that, in my opinion.
How did you personally get interested in physical fitness?
I have been in the health and fitness field for almost 30 years. I started working in a club in Venice, Florida selling memberships. I was 18 years old and was planning on going into the Air Force. I took the job to make money before I left for Basic Training. I quickly fell in love with helping people get into shape and become healthy. It was at that point that I decided to go a different direction with my life. I spent the next 10 years in the sales and marketing side of the business. What better thing to sell than health and fitness?
I moved to Naples, Florida in 2004 and continued working in clubs selling and marketing. I was offered a job to manage a new Powerhouse gym and train clients. I quickly realized that my true passion was working one-on-one with clients. I felt I had the most impact on helping people change their lives. I was recruited to help open a large Club & Spa and became the fitness director. During that time I continued to train and coach clients. I knew the corporate structure and administrative part of the business wasn’t for me. So, I created my coaching business, Addicted To Fitness, Inc. where I worked with clients both in their gyms and homes.
In 2011, I was fortunate enough to make a long time dream come true and opened my first facility on Airport Road in Naples. Now every day I have the pleasure of working with clients and members in a beautiful space that is unlike any other gym in Naples. My days start at 4:30 am and end at 6:00 pm, but it never feels like a job. It is my passion.
So tell us a little more about Addicted to Fitness. Why did you open it? Tell us a little about the facility.
Addicted To Fitness opened back in December 2011 with the help of some amazingly supportive friends and clients that believed in me and my mission. The market was flooded with BIG BOX corporate gyms that were crowed, dirty and lacked personal service. I wanted to offer something different: a local, family owned and operated gym that truly cared for each and every member. A place where everyone knew your name and you weren’t just a number. A gym that was clean and smelled good when you walked through the door. I wanted everyone to feel welcome, no matter their age, fitness level or shape. I wanted to be the “Cheers” of fitness in Naples.
Addicted To Fitness is going on its fourth year in business and the growth has been steady and slow. We have a great group of fitness coaches that are passionate about helping people. Our members are like family and couldn’t be more supportive. We’re still growing and appreciate the kind word of mouth advertising from our loyal members.
We are a full service fitness center that is smaller in size but bigger in experience. We are very clean, friendly, not crowded and care about each and every member. We cater to Baby Boomers and beyond. We work with all ages, fitness levels. We offer personal fitness coaching and small group classes. We have state-of-the-art equipment by Cybex! We have private showers and lockers for our members. We are a gym where you are much more than a number, you are part of a supportive family. Our cost for membership is only $29/month with no contract. One-on-one coaching is an additional $65/hr or $40 for 1/2 hour.
We just added another service for our members. It is a Migun Far-Infrared jade massage table. This a great alternative to a massage. You are completely clothed for your 35 minute session and at a fraction of the cost of a massage. We charge only $25 for members and $35 for non-members.
We think the big question everyone will want to know is, when you’re out of shape, how do you get into shape, what’s the process and what are your tips?
I think everyone defines “in shape” differently. There are many different goals that people have for their fitness. Ultimately the goal should be to lose body fat, gain and maintain muscle mass. This is what helps you to stay healthy and fit. It shouldn’t be about a number on a scale, as that is not the true measure of fitness or success.
If you are someone that has not exercised in a long time, the main thing is to start out slowly and gradually. I recommend that you hire a professional fitness coach to make sure you are doing things with good form and safely. You wouldn’t pick up a golf club and go out and attempt to play eighteen holes of golf without first taking some lessons. Why would you go into a gym and attempt lifting weights without some proper instruction and guidance??
You also need to have realistic goals. Everyone wants a “quick fix”. There is no such thing when it comes to healthy weight loss and getting into shape. If you start out with unrealistic goals you could possibly get hurt, get frustrated, disappointed and quit soon after you start. You didn’t gain the weight or get out of shape overnight, and you won’t lose the weight and get in shape overnight either.
Consistency is the key to any successful exercise program. You need to make time at least 3-4 days a week as a minimum to see results. If you can’t afford a personal fitness coach on a regular basis, get a workout buddy to help keep you accountable. At the end of the day, the only thing we truly own and that matters is your body and your health. It needs to be top priority. If we are truly honest with ourselves, there are no valid excuses for not making time to exercise and take care of our health.
What role does nutrition play in all this?
Nutrition, of course, plays a huge role. If you fuel your body correctly, anything you do physically is going to be enhanced, you’re going to get the maximum benefits. But if you work out and then go to a fast food drive-thru, you’re basically sabotaging all your hard work. Your body needs good nutrition to function properly, especially when it is creating new muscle, which is a key element to burning fat, increasing the amount of muscle you have in your body. You can’t build good muscle by consuming trash. You need pure fuel–and that’s what good nutrition is. At Addicted to Fitness we have licensed nutritional counselors who can help you with your meal plans to make better choices in order to ensure you’re getting the most out of your workouts.
Many people want to get fit but have a hard time actually accomplishing this goal. Why do you think this is and what advice would you give for someone who has tried and failed in the past?
I believe there are many reasons. One, as I said, it takes commitment and consistency. There are no quick fixes. We live in a world of immediate gratification. So many want to just take a pill and hope that fixes their problem.
I recommend first that they seek out professional help and guidance from a supportive, caring person. So many join gyms and try to work out on their own without any knowledge of the body and how it is supposed to work. Over the many years of working in gyms, I have watched so many people come and go and do things incorrectly in a manner that is not safe. Then they get frustrated, hurt or discouraged and quit.
The BIG corporation chain gyms are not truly in the business to help people change their lives, they are in the business for the bottom line. Their business model is to sign up as many people as possible and hope half of them don’t show up but keep paying their membership dues. Very sad but true. This is one of the many reasons Addicted To Fitness is unlike the BIG BOX gyms. We want you to show up. We want you to succeed.
The other reason people struggle with getting and staying in shape is they make too many excuses for not consistently exercising, most of which are invalid. “I don’t have time” is the biggest lie people try to tell themselves. I believe, at the end of the day, how much money you have, where you live, what kind of car you drive, or how big your house is, doesn’t really matter. The only thing we truly own in this world is our bodies. We need to prioritize what truly is important. If we don’t have our health, none of the other material things matter. We need to get honest with ourselves and take full responsibility for our bodies and our health. People refer to hospitals as “Health Care,” which is so far from the truth. You go to the hospital or doctor when you are sick, not when you’re healthy. What we do every day for people at Addicted To Fitness is true “Health Care.” We need to be proactive and not reactive with our health.
We’ve noticed your daughters are quite the athletes. Would you like to tell us what they’re up to, and how they got involved in fitness–was that a personal inclination on their part or is that more to do with your parenting, your efforts to get them involved in something fun and active like gymnastics to keep them fit? Is your family “active” together?
My daughters have been flipping and jumping from the young age of two. We started them in a county gymnastics program at 3 years old. They immediately took to the sport and loved it. After one session the county coach recommended that we get them in a more advanced program. We then enrolled them with Naples Progressive Gymnastics school where they began to compete. They are now both state and regional champions.
In June they qualified and went Nationals in Las Vegas for Nationals and took 1st and 3rd all around. There they were competing with the best of the best in the country. They placed 1st and 3rd overall. Pretty awesome. They have a true love and passion for the sport and have dreams and goals of one day competing in the Olympics. My wife and I will continue to support their passion as long as it comes from them. We are so proud of their hard work and dedication. During the summer they attend a gymnastics camp to continue to work and improve their skills and will be competing again in the fall.
We are active and healthy together as a family. We bike, play tennis, walk and work out together. I believe the best gift you can give your kids is not something you buy, but teaching them, by example, a healthy, active lifestyle.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Doing exactly what I am doing today. Working hard, hopefully with the help of my girls, to make a positive, healthy difference in people’s lives. I would love to open up other Addicted To Fitness locations as I feel we have a niche in the market that is needed and wanted. The Baby Boomers are the largest growing segment of the population and they want a clean, full service, supportive place to work out and stay healthy and active into their retirement.
That is our mission and passion every day–to provide the place where they can do just that.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I enjoy playing tennis, going to the beach with my kids and just spending time with my family. I tend to be a bit of a workaholic as my work doesn’t feel like work to me. Helping people get and stay healthy is truly my passion. I enjoy listening to country music and playing games with my girls. My wife and I also enjoying going riding on our motorcycle in this beautiful place we call home. I have lived in Naples for over 20 years and still love it every day.
What is your philosophy of life?
If I had to sum up my philosophy of life it would be focus every day on the things and people you have to be grateful for. I believe we live in a world filled with so much negativity, hate and sadness. We have to put blinders on and keep our focus on what is right, good and kind in the world. It is not easy but a worthwhile goal.
As I said in the beginning, I believe whatever you focus on and put your full attention on becomes bigger and becomes your reality. If you focus on everything that is bad and wrong in the world you see more of it. And the opposite is true, if you focus on everything that is right and good, you see more of that. Our mind is a very powerful tool that can help us or hurt us.