This Harvard MBA Grad Left Corporate and Found Her Purpose In Fitness

It took everything in me to get out of my Ford Focus and walk in the studio doors.

For some strange reason, I randomly decided that I wanted to attend a cycling class, and after doing some research, Grit by Brit, a fitness studio in my city of Dallas, was repeatedly told to me as a must try.

But here I was sitting nervously in my car, too chicken to get out. On the 20 minute drive over, I was listening to a mixture of Beyonce, Boosie, and Jeezy to pump myself up and get ready for a new fitness adventure. Despite listening to this type of workout motivation music, I no longer felt inspired to even get out of the friggin car. Just when I decided that I would drive away and “maybe workout later” a friendly woman waved and motioned for me to come in as she walked into the studio.

So alas, I sucked it up, and walked in. Once I entered the studio doors and gave my name to the smiling receptionist, I learned that I had signed up for the wrong class on the wrong weekend.

‘Welp, that’s a sign that I shouldn’t be here,’ is what I told myself. Moments later, as I was telling  the receptionist that I would just turn away, and come back another time, in walks Brittani Rettig, the founder of Grit by Brit and owner of Grit Fitness. She eagerly welcomed and embraced me, and asked me if I was ready for the workout. After I told her I signed up for the wrong weekend, she motioned me to come on inside and pick out my bike anyway.

So in I went.

As I picked out my bike, I saw many fearless images on the dark walls that inspired me for this new fitness ride. Also, there were many ladies in the room that were dedicated cyclers that appeared to be beyond excited for Brittani’s cycling class. One person that I remember in particular was Jaz, my cycling partner. As Jaz introduced herself to me she told me that, “This is my place of peace. It makes me feel happy and remember my purpose in life.”

The notion of finding your purpose in life is one that many people say that they are doing, but so few actually do so. For Brittani, she found her purpose through fitness in 2012. Although fitness and sports had always been apart of her life (in high school she was an athlete and in college she played division 1 basketball), she began to struggle with her own weight and with staying healthy once she entered corporate America post college. While working at one of the top 4 consulting firms, Deloitte, she was working crazy hours and gained a lot of weight.  Eventually she joined a gym, started taking group fitness classes, and that’s when she fell in love and wanted to learn how to teach those same classes. 

While on her fitness journey, she started a fitness blog called Grit by Brit, and would post the different classes she was taking, the type of workouts she was doing, and overall how she was just trying to live a healthier lifestyle. Soon after, she got her certification to become a fitness instructor. She then began to teach part-time at 24 Hour Fitness and would teach free community fitness classes in between. While she was blogging and teaching fitness classes, she knew she had found her purpose in life, but with all things, sometimes you have to wait for your moment in life before you fully pursue your purpose. The destined plan that is meant for us to take, will come at the right time, and not on our preferred time.

After interviewing at a few health and fitness companies, Brittani realized that her purpose in fitness was really headed down a different path. She knew exactly how she wanted to teach and inspire others, and that was by doing her own thing, the Grit by Brit way. Once she realized that she wanted to truly pursue her own passion full-time, she made a commitment to herself that she would save enough money to live off of for six months and pay off her student loans. Once she paid off her student loans and saved enough to live off of for six months, she would quit her job and pursue her passion full-time (and that’s exactly what she did).

This was in October of 2014, and she opened her first Grit Fitness studio in January of 2015 in Dallas, Texas. Being able to start a business, especially a successful business, is not always an easy feat. But for Brittani, she took the path less traveled, putting her desire aside to hurry and start a business, and worked on things to promote her brand, and build clientele. For almost 3 years, Brittani was still working at Deloitte, but she was also teaching fitness on the side as a side hustle, blogging, saving money, building up her brand, and increasing her blog following and online presence. As Brittani told me, “Looking back, I don’t regret that at all. Of course there were times when I wanted to quit my 9-5 and do fitness 100%, but I knew that I wouldn’t have the revenue to come in to live off of. Also, I knew if I didn’t have enough savings, I would make immature decisions, and not decisions that would be best for my business long-term.”

Making immature decisions when you hit hard times is easy for someone to do, especially when you are strapped for cash and your business is your only source of income. As Brittani said, “Sometimes we try to everything we can to make quick money without thinking of the long-term value of it. I think starting a business before you actually have a business is a smart way to go. Just do it as a side hustle, get some money in, figure out how getting revenue actually works, and then once you have a core group of customers, and you got some money, then go into it full-time. I’m not a big fan of taking a big leap of faith with nothing under to support you.”

Starting her business, before officially having her business worked well in Brittani’s favor. Her first customers were people that had come to her free community classes. They were also people that had taken her classes at 24 Hour Fitness or the other gyms that she was working at. So all of these people essentially knew who she was and trusted in her. When she officially started Grit Fitness, she wasn’t a stranger or an unfamiliar brand or business.

Soon after successfully opening her first Grit Fitness studio, Brittani opened a second location, also in the city of Dallas. She currently has over 30 instructors on her team, and often hosts a variety of events throughout the city. Brittani doesn’t seem to be losing momentum; she definitely is getting better and her business is steadily booming. She is looking to hopefully add another studio in the near future, and is looking forward to continue to motivate people to become the best version of themselves.

Working in the fitness industry, has become really popular, and Brittani has some much needed advice if you desire to work in this industry.

“If you are in it for the money, you are in it for the wrong reason,” Brittani exclaimed. “In the fitness industry, there’s not a lot of money to be made in the beginning. You have to do it because you truly want to empower and motivate people. You have to want to use your gift of fitness to truly inspire people. I believe that if that’s not your true reason for being a fitness entrepreneur or instructor, then you may need to go along another path.”

In her talk with me, Brittani further dropped a few words of wisdom to all aspiring entrepreneurs.

When you want to start a company, you should be so interested in it, that you are always looking for ways that you can be the best in it. You should always want to improve, and take yourself to the next level,” Brittani told me. “If you aspire to be an entrepreneur, pick something that you are fascinated with, because you’ll have the energy and the excitement to put in the hard work, and the desire to keep learning so that you can serve your clients.”

Being able to keep your clients motivated and happy is definitely something that Brittani has mastered. During her cycling class, I clipped my shoes onto the pedals, and cycled fearlessly, slowly, and then at times rapidly, I felt like I could conquer the world. With every pedal, and every sweat that dripped down my forehead, down my arms, and my legs, I stopped thinking about my crazy week at work, or the crazy week that I had ahead of me. At that moment in Brittani’s class, I was pedaling through my fears and insecurities, and I knew that this type of workout was mentally preparing me for more.

Shortly after leaving Brittani’s cycling class, I felt pumped to get that same, indescribable, victorious feeling again of pushing myself through an obstacle, and feeling like a winner at the end. The way that I felt at Brittani’s cycling class is what I know pushes Brittani everyday to live through her purpose in fitness. Happy, full of energy, victorious, and ready to take on the world.

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