I grew up as an overweight child who was constantly picked on for being a little nerdy and un-athletic. In 6th grade, I was cut from my middle school football team and was told by my coach I would never be big enough, strong enough or fast enough to play football at any level.
Little did I know that conversation would turn into a lifelong pursuit to become the best version of myself in every aspect of my life, especially fitness and athletics. The next day I decided it was time for a change and created an at-home exercise routine that I did every single night before bed which ultimately led to my flabs turning to abs all by nothing but discipline and commitment.
By 9th grade, I was playing on the varsity football team, by 11th grade had won the 110% award for work ethic and by senior year, I was a Division 1 prospect for football and track and field at nearly any college I wanted to go to. Needless to say, Corey Critell was no longer that 6th grader with low self-esteem, I was now becoming who I would be for the rest of my life. I won my pro card in bodybuilding by 23 and started my own personal training business by 25.
Simply put, what I understood was that if I could do it, then anybody can do it! Not just that but I needed to figure out a way to put myself in a position to help people do just that. When I was 21 years old, I dropped out of college after junior year and told myself I would own a gym one day. Had no idea how I was going to make that happen but I knew that if I was going to bet on anybody controlling the success of my life, then I wanted to bet on myself and nobody else.
By the time I was 30 years old, that dream finally became a reality with PHIT! There have been many ups and downs along the way to include losing a 7 figure personal training business to COVID last year. Life will always give us adversity and that we can not control but the difference between those people that make it and those that don’t is what you do with the things you can control when faced with adversity. I very easily could’ve gave up at any point since the beginning of this process but giving up has never been by nature. Giving up is easy but what happens when giving up is not an option. For me, I would never want to be on my death bed and look back at my life to think, “Damn, if I would’ve worked just a little bit harder, then I could’ve accomplished…”
On the surface, we look like just another fitness center but if you look a little further, you’ll find that PHIT is here to transform as many lives as we can. Fitness changed my life forever and I would love nothing more than to help everyone else do the same thing!
I don’t think any business venture is a smooth road, if so it is far and few between. One of the biggest struggles I’ve had to overcome was being separated from my daughter. With my training business, I had contracts with several gyms across the southeast and at times would have to move to work the business Monday-Friday. I drove back nearly every weekend to spend the weekends with her but the time I missed being involved in school or other activities Monday-Friday I can not get back. The goal was always to grow that business large enough to have the funds for my own facility, which we have now accomplished but it did not come without sacrifice.
The second biggest struggle would definitely be the COVID pandemic. When gyms were shut down last year, my personal training business, 180 Training, came to a screeching halt. I fought as best as I could to stay afloat with several things, from PPP funding to trying a transition to online training for my staff of 25-30 trainers but was not able to make it through.
Fortunately, I was able to close on a Small Business Loan for our fitness center a week prior to the breakout of COVID news but plans for that facility were much different than what we were actually able to create. Some people call that luck, I call that God. Instead of sitting back and accepting failure, I spent my time focusing on how to better equip my new venture, to withstand adversity. That is what actually inspired the idea for PHIT. Our initial idea was to open a fitness center called 180 Fitness and operate like everyone else. After watching what happened to all the other fitness centers last year due to circumstances outside their control, I knew we needed to open a facility that was different than what anybody else has ever done, so I decided to focus on that and things I could control rather than what I couldn’t.
Yes, PHIT is a gym but it’s so much more than that. PHIT is a brand. PHIT is the only company in the industry that is here to assist in every avenue of fitness, from Personal Training to meal prep to supplements to apparel, etc. We are the only facility that you can go to, to get all of your fitness needs.
The way I see it is if our customer trusts PHIT to help them with one thing, there is no reason why we can’t help them with all their fitness needs. We are a one-stop shop for all things fitness. If another situation happens outside our control, our facility may close but we will still be able to assist with every other avenue of fitness to make sure people don’t put their health on the back burner, especially when poor health is a big cause for the reason we are in the situation we are in in the first place! In summary, there will always be things happen that we can not control but the key is to do the best with what you can control and trust God that all things will work out in his favor. What’s meant to be will be but it’s up to you to control the path so you end up at your desired destination.
PHIT stands for Prioritizing Health and Inspiring Transformation. Our facility is here to be a one-stop-shop for all your fitness needs. If you need a place to exercise, you won’t find a better atmosphere. If you need guidance with your workouts, we offer unlimited personal training. If you need assistance with your diet, we make food for you. If you need products you can trust, our supplements are products I stand by. If you want to stay up to date on fashionable fitness apparel, we got your swag too!
What matters most to the PHITPHAM and myself is to make sure every one of our customers gets a great experience every time. When you walk into our facility or purchase any of our products or services, we simply want to improve your quality of life in every aspect. When you walk in our facility, we will great you by your first name and will make sure you have all the help you need to live a happy, healthy life.