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How a 50-Pound Weight Gain Sparked Ann Carden's Fitness Empire

From episode: Adapting and Business Strategies with Ann Carden

did you start going into the media and the coaching or did you have like other general areas? Yes. So in the process of running that doll business, that craft business, I gained 50 pounds. And because it was very sedentary, right? There was no activity to it at all. And I had never been overweight in my entire life. So I was literally miserable. I mean, except when I was pregnant, obviously, but I was miserable. And so I really hit this kind of a crossroads in my life. Okay, I'm stopping this business. I don't feel good about myself. I don't even know what's next for me. Like, I don't even know what I'm going to do. And I still didn't want to go back into retail management. I still didn't want that life. My kids were still in school. So I started thinking, okay, the only thing I have control of here is to take better care of myself. And so I started eating right, working out. Long story short, I got in the best shape of my life. And I fell in love with fitness. And so I decided, okay, I think I want to help other moms feel this good. And I know that there's nothing around now. At that time, there were not health clubs on every corner. There just were not those things out there. Again, this was a lot of years ago. And so I decided that I would get certified. And I had to order the books. Like, that's how far back this was. I had to actually get in a magazine and order these huge binders that came in the mail so I could get certified. But I thought, I'm going to start teaching fitness classes if I can get moms that want to do this with me. So I went to one of my kids' back to school barbecues, or both my kids' back to school barbecues. And I handed out flyers. I found a community hall where I could teach fitness classes. And I asked moms if they wanted to take fitness classes with me. Well, I was in the best shape of my life. So like, we want to look like you. So yes, we will take them. So I was charging, I don't know, $36 or $39 a month, something like that. Well, it kept growing and growing. And I kept growing. And then I came up with a program called Body Blast. And at that time, it was trademarked. And I was also doing nutrition with people. So I got certified nutrition. And so I had a small bedroom in my home where there were back steps. So I actually set that up as an office and I had people coming to my home and I was doing nutrition with them. But I got the idea to put the nutrition and a fitness program together. And I called it Body Blast. And they came five days a week. We worked out at five in the morning. And I gave them nutrition and we measured and we weighed and we did all the stuff that now you see now. So this would sound ridiculous to anybody, but it was very different back then. I was charging four times what my fitness fees were for this. So it was like $125 or something to do this Body Blast. Well, it literally took off. I mean, people had these phenomenal results. And before I knew it, I had people driving miles and carpooling to come to my Body Blast. And so that really helped my business explode. And then I started looking, okay, I have to move from this little bitty town. It was actually called The Village, 93 people. That should tell you something. I'm going to have to move into the bigger town and find another place. And my husband was going into bigger rent and all of that. Oh, I just don't know. He said, if you can find a place with no lease, no long lease and it's within what you're already making, he said, then I'll support you. That's really where we were. So I found a place where they didn't put me into a long lease and I quickly outgrew that. Then I moved into another building. And then long story short, by the time it was all done, I ended up with a 16 ,000 square foot health club. I had a big weight loss center. I had loads and loads of people. And then during the recession, I opened two more. I opened up Women's Fitness Club in another location about an hour away. And I opened another weight loss center and it was a high -end club. So it was more training, bootcamp style. I was still running Body Blast. That Body Blast program made me well over a million dollars. Just that one little program because I became known for that. Talk about brands. I really became known. We had a waiting list all the time because I was running them myself because I thought at that time, oh, no, this is my thing. This is my baby. And so I was running them myself and people would call and say, when's the next Body Blast? When's the next Body Blast? And so we would have a waiting list. And it got to where we were even turning people away for those. So I just kept up in the price and up in the price. And yeah, so it was a crazy ride.

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