How Did We Get Here?

Six Sigma Fitness
1960's weightlifters

Ok, that picture is not any of us but it represents the time and place where my passion for this business started.  That looks exactly like guys I used to workout with over 40+ years ago.  Hard to imagine that would spark anything isn’t it?  It was the early 60’s actually when I got my first dose but more on that later…

I have been flirting with the health and fitness business all my life.  My partner’s and I all came here from different paths but our idea of what makes someone healthy and fit are diversified yet very unified in terms of the adaptation we are trying to solicit from the body.  The journey to get here spans over 4 decades now and it wasn’t a direct path.  But that path tells you a bit about who we are and what drives us to do what we do. As you might guess it hasn’t been economic reward although we never give up hope that what we enjoy doing takes care of us into our retirement.

Its been a long time since we first thought that there might be a better way to get people involved in their health and fitness.  Almost 10 years to be precise, and it has been a journey of learning experiences evolving into a series of highly scientific leading edge concepts that we are working on today.

“Highly scientific leading edge concepts…” without a doubt an overused term.  In this case we say what we mean and mean what we say.  I will begin to explain our journey over a series of articles about who we are, where we came from and where we are headed.

I started my journey as a slightly “husky” young teen that quickly decided that “husky” was not a term I liked.  I used to walk past one of the few Chicago health Clubs as a kid back in the early 60’s and would marvel wide eyed at these gigantic super heroes that I would see hanging around the door as I walked past on my way to Baskin Robbins for a big double scoop cone.  I used to tell myself that I was going to join that club when I was old enough.

I was about 12 years old when I begged my folks to get me a plastic Sears Roebuck weight set and I began my lifelong quest for health and fitness.  It was with a small cheap bench and a barbell set that I could roll out of the way and under the basement couch that led me to the path I am on today.

“Old enough” for the Chicago Health Clubs came at about age 16.  Back then no parent signature needed to sign-up and give them a huge $400 upfront fee and a 3-year contract for $126 per month.  All this just to join a tiny club that was originally part of a bowling alley.  About 50 feet long and about 20 feet wide with one of the first Universal cable gyms and a host of free metal weights we spent 2 hours each day working out and talking about the latest supplement or exercise to make you big or strong.  This was 35 years ago and compared to our club today, which has no upfront fee and just slightly higher monthly fees it was state of the art training.  This industry has seen deflationary prices like almost no other service has ever seen.

I trained with all kinds of athletes and bodybuilders and just all around strong men.  I befriended Mr. Jamaica 1959, at least he said he was, I believed him.  He was in great shape at about 40 years of age at the time.  A guy named “Sarge” who was a Sarget in the Army taught me to bench press.  He was as wide as a house and about 5’7” tops and could bench press well over 400 pounds.  I even had a chance to lift with a wealth of local bodybuilders that revolved through the door, many who went on to achieve both regional and national titles.

During this period I started to watch the increase of steroid use in the industry blowing guys up so fast it was almost like a comic book and the huge spike in supplement usage.  We used to drink glasses of this fowl tasting blue or grey colored protein drink that came in gallon jugs.  We consumed magazines with the latest bodybuilding routines and tried to figure out what the secret to a fit and health body was, normally steroids unfortunately.  This was health and fitness in the 60’s and 70’s.  In the 80’s it became commercialized and available to everyone.

I followed these early years with the “expert” training in nutrition I received during my high school wrestling years.  I started as a slightly chubby 105-pound freshman and finished as a lean 105-pound senior.  My collective nutritional knowledge base at that time consisted of starvation diets, canned chow-mein dinners and dehydration as my main weapons for immediate weight loss to make weight before a match.  I once went 3 days with no food and barely any water except ice-cubes that I put into my mouth before I went to bed exhausted from 2-a-day practices.  Couple that with miles of running while wearing a sweat suit to further squeeze every last drop of water weight out of my system and you have a recipe for death.  Luckily today they don’t let kids do that anymore.

Fast forward to my college years with more wrestling and weight lifting, a bad rotator cuff injury that has stayed with me for life, several back injuries and all the collective knowledge I could glean from Joe Weider’s magazines and interviews with Arnold and the host of bodybuilding celebrities and I was already thinking about getting into the health and fitness business, little did I know that it would be sidetracked by a career in consulting, management and eventually venture capital and private equity but it all came in handy in the long run.

Stay tuned, and I will tell you about the Gold’s Gym Licenses monopoly I had in Chicago for about 2 years a long, long time ago…

Dean
A graduate of Loyola University and MBA from The University of Chicago.
Pre-med LSU and post graduate at A.T. Still University.

His love of technology started right out of school. As a new hire for Arthur Andersen's Consulting group, the largest accounting and consulting firm in the world at that time, he led the first implementation of one of the very first IBM and Apple personal computers ever used in the business environment quickly becoming the world wide expert in analytical implementation of personal computers for business. Eventually moving on to a widely successful leveraged buy-out and then returning to Arthur Andersen and becoming a Partner in the Chicago office, he specialized in health, fitness, nutritional and food businesses managing some of the largest strategic food industry restructuring deals at the time. As COO of a successful Midwest Venture Capital firm, he was responsible for the operational management and success of over 25 investments each averaging $2-5 million over 5 years yielding returns in excess of 1000%.

He served on the board of many businesses in the health and nutrition sector as well as the educational and certification industries, including the board of Nutrisystems and one of the largest licensing and certifying bodies in the US. Achieving a modest level of success he decided return to school to increase his scientific and technical knowledge and launch an investment company targeting startups in the health and fitness sectors. During this time he became one of Infusionsoft's first Certified Partners providing digital marketing consultation and implementation for many industries including the health, fitness and hospitality service sectors. Having custom developed some of the very first website to Infusionsoft CRM integrations, he implemented over 50 Infusionsoft installations and one of the first website membership systems providing targeted content to clients based on funnel tagging and online behaviors. While UltraFit Systems has incubated and exited several fitness concepts, he noted a need for better digital marketing and client management systems as well as analytical tools for health practitioners to use to chart a scientifically valid path to achieving their goals and objectives.

He is a founding member of Six Sigma Fitness (SSF), an online science and technology company with multiple distribution channels. SSF is a Cloud based SaaS health technology platform for Athlete Management and sub-clinical Health, Wellness and Fitness evaluations for the Health and Fitness industry. It is also a health practitioner educational resource that certifies practitioners in the SSF proprietary methods and business processes. He has created proprietary scientific algorithms, custom CRMs and integrated technologies using API integrations and behavioral logic for marketing and conversion strategies in the health sector. This platform and technology is currently being adopted and customized for a small muti-location mobile technology retail organization as well and B to B telcom provider.

A wrestler in high school and for a brief time in college until realizing the challenges of studying and playing sports at a high level while constantly having to cut weight, he decided to coach and master the challenges of health and fitness through weightlifting and martial arts while pursuing careers in consulting and eventually the venture capital and private equity business specializing in food and nutrition industries.

He is a multiple blackbelt having studied martial arts for over 30 years including kickboxing, Muay Thai, BJJ, Krav Maga, Kenpo Karate, Kung Fu, Northern (Longfist) and Southern Shaolin (Hung Gar Tiger and Crane), Tai Chi, Qigong, Traditional Weapons and Chinese philosophical studies including Taoism, internal arts and energy systems from an Eastern medicine perspective.

He has had the good fortune to train with and or under the direct lineage of some of the greatest martial artists in the world including Master Ed Parker, Master Jinheng Li, Kru Pol and Master Eddie Cha.

He is also the author of the Six Sigma Fitness™ Scholar Warrior Program which brings together the Eastern and Western sciences as well as the training of both traditional strength and conditioning with martial arts programming.

He is currently the Research Physiologist with UltraFit Systems, Physiologist/Consultant to many professional athletes specializing in combat sports, weight cutting and physiological adaptation. Authored and developed The Scholar Warrior Program for Six Sigma Fitness™ and The Six Sigma Fitness™ Methodology.

Past certifications are too numerous to list but more include Six Sigma Fitness™ Certified Practitioner, Certified Personal Trainer (C.P.T.), CrossFit Level 1, Precision Nutrition, Poliquin Biosignature, Poliquin PICP, BioForce HRV, BioForce Certified Conditioning Coach

He is available for consults, private self-defense training and speaking engagements.

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