Surviving and succeeding in a business that is filled with naysayers is hard but challenging. Patty Durell, CEO and founder of Rock Solid Fitness, shares her story about how she was molded to becoming who and what she is today. She talks about how she built a unique health and fitness philosophy and how she broke into the male-dominated health and fitness industry. Patty’s drive for success is not wanting to be her own boss but to be a good leader while integrating her unique philosophy. That includes finding people who can understand you and have the same experiences as you do can help you build your business up. She also notes that overcoming obstacles and turning it into opportunities is a promising move towards goal achievement.
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Conquering The Health And Fitness World with Patty Durell
After years’ worth of planning my daughter’s wedding, she had this destination wedding. It was a beach wedding. The weather was fabulous. Normally with a destination wedding, there are only 35 people that usually attend because it’s a big commitment. It’s out of town. You have to go for a couple of days. It’s expensive. We must have invited the party people because we had 70 people come and party. We partied for five days straight. The only thing that I was slightly cringing over during this whole event was this new thing called trash the dress. After the wedding, and especially if you’re having a beach wedding, you and your husband take a dive into the beach with your wedding clothes on. That gorgeous dress that we spent all that money on. I had never heard of that before, but this is a thing now.
I don’t know when it started, but I can tell you that it was not a thing when I got married over many years ago. Her dress was this mermaid type dress. She couldn’t run in the water like that Baywatch babe strut. It was funny watching this whole thing unfold. She’s getting the dress dry cleaned because I thought she should. What do you do with this dress that you’ve gone into the ocean with? She had to pack it up and put it in her suitcase. She says to me, “Mom, I’m never going to wear the dress again,” which is true. I was thinking about what if she has a daughter and her daughter wants to wear the dress. I still have my dress, but she didn’t want to wear it. This is a new age, the new thing. It was a great wedding. I have a married daughter. Who knew? We got back from Mexico. I got this cold and I lost my voice.
I have a fabulous guest with me. Let me give you a little bit of the background. I joined the Working Women of Tampa Bay group. Although I’ve been living on and off in Tampa for about seventeen years, I’ve never worked in Tampa. I’ve always traveled for work. I didn’t have a network in Tampa. I decided it was time to change all of that. I joined a few of these local associations that I felt matched my needs. That is where I met Patty Durell. She was at this luncheon that I was attending. She owns Rock Solid Fitness in Dunedin, Florida. She has a great background and a fabulous story. I met Patty at this event. I dropped my business card at her booth. She was one of the sponsors for the luncheon. They were doing drawings and I won four personal training programs at her gym.
I love fitness so this was the perfect gift to win until I saw how far I lived from her gym. You’ve got to be in it to win it. Even though it took me over an hour, sometimes an hour and a half with traffic, I was intrigued by her new philosophy so I went. I am glad that I did because first of all, I’ve got to talk more with Patty, who is an entrepreneur, making things happen every day. I absolutely love her unique philosophy on fitness. Without further ado, I would like to introduce to you, Patty Durell. Patty, how are you?
Carolyn, I’m doing great. Thanks for having me.
I always say things happen for a reason. I was supposed to drop by your booth. I was supposed to win this fitness because now you and I get to partner together. We have many exciting things to talk about. Before we go into that, why don’t you tell me and my audience a little bit about yourself and your background?
I have to say congratulations. Carolyn does not look old enough to have a daughter getting married and I can’t imagine trashing the dress like that. I’m excited to have met you too, Carolyn. I am Patty Durell. I grew up one of five children in a very Italian family. I had no idea that spaghetti came in a box. My mom would make us homemade pasta all the time. I became a little over-fat little girl, not because of pasta. I still love my pasta. It was the pepperoni, provolone and the salami. Fatty Patty was my nickname growing up. Here I am now, I own a fitness business. If you asked me who is Patty? I’m a mom of a cat, a wife to a fabulous man and a business owner.
Kids are so cruel to call you Fatty Patty. We’ve talked about it a couple of times on my show. We all deal with growing up with a background. When we talked, your background was not in health and fitness. You went down a different path. You redefined and reinvented yourself in the health and fitness space. Tell us a little bit about your schooling and your background in that area because I want to show people how you redefine and reinvent yourself when you need to. I want to go a little bit deeper into your background and come around to how you ended up in health and fitness.Failing is succeeding. It’s those things that are so hard and how you overcome them that makes you stronger. Click To Tweet
My background, if you wanted to start with what molds me, is I was an introverted and insecure young adult. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I tried the college thing and that’s a whole other story in itself. I went working in Corporate America and decided that wasn’t the life I wanted. I got into health and fitness. Along the way, I had to shed that person who wasn’t confident, who was insecure and was Fatty Patty. It was a transformation. I got accepted into a nursing program and decided I didn’t want to do that. I did physical therapy and graduated with a degree in physical therapy as a physical therapist assistant. I met a man who changed my life in many ways, but mostly by introducing me to an exercise program. After a little bit of help from Weight Watchers, in this exercise program, I was a new person. I shed a lot of body fat. I built a lot of confidence. I learned that failing was succeeding. It was those things that were so hard and how you overcame them that made you stronger. The style of the exercise that I now teach to everyone is a metaphor for you must fail so you can be strong enough to succeed the next time you’re in a big challenge. That is a big lesson.
You were Fatty Patty and you changed your life. You went from this physical therapy background. You went through Corporate America. You found out that was not where your passion was. You married your husband. You found your passion. Now people are dying to know you’ve got this unique health and fitness philosophy, which I went through three or four of the sessions so far. I absolutely love it. Let’s talk about that philosophy. How did you come up with that? First, talk about what it is and tell us how you came up with it.
It boils down to three words: brief, intense and infrequent. We do 30-minute strength training sessions twice a week. When you won this gift and your name was called and I remember exactly who you are. I said, “Probably not a more fit person could have one minute.” You are one fit person, but it works. The program works no matter if you’re as fit as you are or a couch potato. The difference between someone like you and a couch potato is how intensely can you work or how much effort can you put forth. What we’re trying to get out of everyone is the maximum effort that they can put forth, whatever that means to them. Intensity and duration are inversely proportionate.
If you’re going to work out hard, you can’t work out for that long. If you’re going to do something extremely difficult like run a marathon, you couldn’t sprint it. You have to pace yourself because it’s 26.2 miles. If you wanted to get from here to twenty feet away as fast as you could because a train was in your way or something, you would sprint that out at a maximum effort. You wouldn’t be able to sprint for 26.2 miles. The point is if you’re going to work out intensely, you should take some rest and recover. That’s when our body gets stronger. Most people ask the wrong question when it comes to exercise. They ask, “How much exercise can I tolerate?” They think they need to do an hour, an hour and a half every day.
They have to do strength training or lift weights for strength. They have to run, swim and bike for cardio. They have to stretch in yoga for flexibility. Whereas we know if we can make every movement through full range of motion, if we could make every movement a maximum effort, if we can make every movement in between your exercises as fast as you could be, meaning not while you’re doing the exercise, but running from machine to machine, you’re going to get all of the flexibility and all of the cardiovascular efficiency to your cardiovascular system: your heart and your lungs. You’re going to get all the strengths that you can. You can do that in a short amount of time. The question people need to ask is how little do I require to be in the best shape that I can be in? That’s what you experienced with us.
What I learned from doing your workout is effort. What I realized was I was sandbagging it at my own gym. When I was talking to my coach on my first day there and we were doing legs, quads, I usually do 90 pounds on my legs and I’m all that in a bag of chips. He’s looking at me like, “That’s not enough.” I wasn’t watching what he was putting on, but the philosophy is that you do it between eight to twelve reps or ten to fifteen reps, whatever muscle group you’re working with.
By that last rep, you should be struggling to make that last rep because then you’re putting through this maximum effort. The first time we tried it, we must have tried it at 90 or whatever and I could do fifteen easily. Then we kept going to find out what the true weight was. When he told me what it was, I almost fell off my chair. It was 220 pounds. I’m like, “Are you kidding? That cannot be right.” That philosophy is all about at the end of that experience, you have to be spent. You have to fail. You can’t do it anymore. You want to rest a little bit and then they’re like, “Come on. Next exercise. There’s no downtime here.” I loved it.
It allows you to do 30 minutes and then do something more important. Go spend time with your kids. Go back to work, meditate, get a massage and read a book. It was something different and you have to fail. That word has been such a negative word, except you cannot survive without failing. You have to fail and that’s the only way we overcome and adapt. It’s true for an exercise routine and I think a lot of people waste a lot of time.Believe in yourself, and when one door closes, just keep looking for the next door that's open. Click To Tweet
I see people in the gym for an hour or two hours and I’m like, “Even at my best, an hour was my max.” I would do 30 minutes of cardio and then 30 minutes of weight training and that was that. Now that I find out that I don’t have to do all of that, I’m like, “You’ve got some time back.” That’s the best thing ever.
You are super strong and people are not sure what they’re capable of just like you weren’t. They underestimate themselves.
I was shocked at some of the weights that they were putting on. It makes you feel so much better that you have that capability or you’re pushing yourself to get there and that’s the key. We are talking about reinventing yourself and redefining who you are. When we talked initially, you are not interested in being your own boss and the boss of others but you stepped into that role and you’re growing your business. What initially turned you off about that and how did you now get the swing of it?
I feel like nobody likes their boss. I don’t mind being the boss of me. I’ve always been that. I never wanted to own a business. I worked as a physical therapist assistant and I had a little side business helping patients, working as a personal trainer. I love the fact that I was renting out of other people’s face. I didn’t have to have the headache of an overhead or the responsibility financially. I could come and go and do my own thing. I didn’t know how to manage people or what to do with people. I didn’t want to be the boss. I wanted to be on their team and that didn’t work so well.
It’s hard and you’re learning it as you go. That’s where the challenge becomes. There are many people that don’t like their bosses because some bosses suck. If you have the mindset that your people are part of your team and you need every single person on your team to be successful, it’s a very different ballgame because your people love you. You figured it out.
You can’t do it. I heard you say on a podcast and you were talking about being on the show, Survivor, you said, “You can’t win the game without building relationships and you can’t win anything without building good relationships.” I believe that. Not that I thought I wasn’t going to build good relationships, but when you don’t want to be the boss and you own the company, people need a leader, somebody has got to be the boss. I’m sure that you’re the same if you’re ever around a table. If you’re doing something and somebody has to take charge of that table, it’s always me taking charge of that table. I’m sure it’s always you taking charge of the table. Somebody needs a leader but to be the boss, it seemed like a four-letter word.
The boss has this connotation of that old view of what a boss is. They’re sitting behind their desk and they’re barking orders. That’s very different these days because it’s more of building relationships with your people and you’re building a team. I always say, “One vision, one voice, one team.” When you think of it in that way, everyone understands the vision. Everyone is saying the same thing because they understand where the company’s headed and they feel like you’re backing them up. They feel like a partner and as part of the team. One vision, one voice, one team, that’s what makes it grow. Speaking of vision, I always love to ask my guests this because I like to collect the data on do people create a vision? Put that vision into play when you started to create Rock Solid Fitness. Did you sit home and have a vision board? Do you create a business plan for your business every year? What is your process for that?
Yes to all of the things. I have a vision board in my bedroom and my office. The company has a vision board and it changes. We realize the vision board and we make a new vision board. Probably a year after I started my brick and mortar, my fitness studio, I sat down and did a business plan. I don’t know how people run a business without one. It is a very specific vision and everyone on my team knows what that vision is. Every 90 days we revisit it, we talk about it as a team and we change it if it needs to be changed. Everyone is clear on that vision. It’s so important to have a vision. Work toward that one thing and work backward.It's so important to have a vision. Work toward that one thing and work backward. Click To Tweet
That to me is one of the critical elements that make people successful. Every single person on the team knows the vision. I’ve worked with companies, with senior leaders. I was working with this one specific company and I talked to the CEO. I found out what his vision was. We were doing an exercise, a strategic plan with his whole team. I had meetings with them individually and what I found was none of them was on the same page. When that happens at the senior level, you can imagine what happens to the people below them. They’re all confused. They have no idea what’s going on. Everyone is siloed. Everyone is going off in their own direction and that’s where issues arise.
I am talking to one fabulous entrepreneur. She didn’t realize she was becoming an entrepreneur when it started, but she is definitely an entrepreneur now. These days, that word is used so frequently. More and more people are choosing to do their own thing because the world is getting a lot smaller. With this global economy and the ability to reach people anywhere, everyone has that opportunity to be an entrepreneur. You’re in a business where it’s mostly a man’s world. Talk to me about how you broke into the health and fitness space, which is typically more of a man’s world than not, and you’re blowing it away. Tell me how that works.
I was introduced to this whole high-intensity training philosophy when I was in college and when I met my husband there. He taught me everything I know and he’s the smartest guy about this stuff. He had written some books and he had a podcast a long time ago. People in my niche knew him. If somebody ever ran across me, they always thought Dave was the one running and building the business. He wasn’t. He had nothing to do with it as far as that. He was supportive and he would teach our coaches. He would help with the website, but it was my baby. He didn’t want to have that business.
That was the first thing. I was always thought of as, “You’re not the one running anything. Where’s Dave? Dave’s doing all the work.” I was doing all the work. I learned to roll with it, let it go and not let it be an issue. The banks too, the fitness business in itself is shaken to have a female come along to own a little strength training studio with equipment and dumbbells. I can’t prove it but no bank would help me. One person laughed in my face and told me I’d be out of business. That was a few years ago. Every time that happens, what would that do to you? It would make you want to do it more. Watch me now. It’s an interesting world and that’s why I started to gravitate towards women. If you had told me ten years ago that I would feel this way, I’d be like, “You’re crazy,” but it’s the way it is now.
It’s scary that a few years ago you were still experiencing some of those things from financial services institutions, to people within the industry wanting to talk to your husband because he’s the knowledgeable one and you’re not. You’re the one growing the business. When you think of it from that perspective, because there are plenty of women out there that are probably feeling the same way, what can you tell them to help them through this? It’s a tough thing to have to bite your tongue and let it roll.
It is a tough thing. It’s like anything. How many times did you apply to be on Survivor? Your story of survivorship throughout all that process in the show itself is amazing. The biggest message is you can’t give up on yourself and you can’t give up on your passion. For every naysayer there is, there are going to be ten more naysayers. There are going to be a few people who support you and want to help you succeed. You believe in yourself and when one door closes, just keep looking for that next door that’s open. You’ll find it if you keep looking. You have to let go and understand that it’s not all about you. I don’t mean that it sounded weird because it is all about you, but it’s when people react to you, it’s not about you. It’s about them.
The thing is you can’t always worry about what other people think. That is the lesson. As long as you feel good about what you’re doing and you’re following your dream, you’re following your passion, you’re committed to making it happen, whether they laugh in your face, whether they slam the door in front of you, you’re going to find another door. It’s funny that you bring up about Survivor because I tried out for four years and for four years I was told, “Maybe but not right now.” I could have given up on every single one of those, but nine videos later, I didn’t give up. I kept going just like you found the doors, you found ways to buy the equipment, you’ve got your studio and you’re open for business.
For all the women out there who are trying to break into a man’s world, who are trying to do something that they’re passionate about, don’t give up. When you’re dealing with those naysayers, find the positive people because they’re out there. You have encountered people that were mentors to you and helping you along the way. It’s not only naysayers. Those are the people that you have to gravitate to. Those are the people that you have to spend time with, consult with and do all of those things.
You need to find those people that you’re saying and it’s probably not going to be your husband. It’s probably not going to be your best friend, your wife, your daughter, your mom, or your dad. It’s got to be someone else who’s in the trenches going through the same things that you’re going through that nobody else understands. Those are the people that you have to seek out who have the same experiences and can say, “I understand,” and mean it. There are not a lot of people that got it.
It’s so true, especially your family, your spouse, your kids, they’re not going through what you’re going through. They can’t relate to it. It’s difficult for them to feel the emotion that you’re feeling and to have empathy for you as you’re going through this struggle. They are challenges. You’re faced with these challenges. It’s figuring out somebody who’s been there, learning from them and finding out what they did to get themselves through it. Using that knowledge to help keep your vision alive because that’s what you want to do. The minute you squash your vision, that’s when it all ends. You’ve given up. I always say that if you do squash your vision, it wasn’t that important to you. It wasn’t your true passion. If you find your true passion, you will do anything to make it happen. I wanted to do a little teaser, because the last time that we talked, you talked to me about this workshop that you delivered a few years ago. Before we talk about that workshop, why don’t you tell people where is Rock Solid Fitness? I know I said it’s in Dunedin, Florida but tell us a little bit about where it is.
Rock Solid Fitness is located on the North West corner of Belcher and Main St. right near the neighborhood Walmart Center in Dunedin, Florida.
Is there a website that people can go to if they want to find out a little bit about how to cut their workout down from two hours to 30 minutes?
If they’re doing that, they need to go to RockSolidFitnessFL.com. There’s the blog and some other information there. Thank you.
A few years ago, you had this workshop. Tell us a little bit about what that workshop was all about.
We had a great half day for women. It was a little longer than a half day and it was how to be the CEO of your life and your business. Sometimes women put everyone else first. It’s one of my big goals to help women learn how to put us first, especially as business owners. You’re a mom. I don’t know how women can be a mom and work a job, let alone own a business and be a mom. Hats off to all of you who can do that. We put everyone else first. It was a day of how do we take care of ourselves from how we eat to how we work out, how we move, how we manage our stress, how we sleep, how we hold people accountable, how we delegate in our house and our business. With all that, we had a great organic lunch, we had tea, we had yoga and we had meditation. It was a fabulous day and a fabulous workshop. Everyone walked away with tools that they could implement immediately. That’s to me what makes a workshop or a seminar successful. If I can walk away and I can start doing simple things to change my life, that’s what it was all about.
You have the ability to implement right away and see change. That’s the benefit of going to a workshop. There’s going to be another one of those workshops. When is it going to happen?
You and I are going to do it. We’re going to make it happen. It’s going to be super fabulous. October is always the best time to do that stuff. It’s before the holidays. It’s after the summer. You and I are going to have to pick the exact date.
We threw it out there. It’s out there and it’s going to happen. All you readers and all you women traveling from wherever, you’re going to be in Dunedin, Florida because you’re not going to want to miss this workshop. We’re going to have tools for you to take away and change your life immediately. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what we live for. Those are the things that make us successful. It’s not all rosy all the time. You’ve dealt with challenges. We’ve all dealt with challenges. We’ve talked about some of those challenges and dealing with the no’s, dealing with the negative people. I also like to have people walk away with something different. What is a method that you’ve used to turn challenges into opportunities? That’s one of my pet peeves. Everyone likes to hone in on all the things that are not working, that are very difficult and we all have them. There are ways in which to overcome and turn those obstacles and those challenges into opportunities. What is your strategy? I’ll talk to you about what mine is.
When my husband was diagnosed with cancer at a young age, he shared with me that there’s always an opportunity in every crisis. With crisis becomes an opportunity for great things. I believe that. I don’t think it’s always easy to see sometimes where the opportunities are but I love issues. My whole team knows that issues are my favorite part. When we have our weekly team meeting, I can’t wait to get to the issues because when there’s an issue, it allows there a change to overcome that issue. The change is the opportunity for me. I love change. I love to create change. It creates usually a way to solve an issue that you were having. Crisis is an opportunity and solves the issues with change. I would say that is my answer. What’s yours? I can’t wait to hear it.
I love that because it gives you a place to start over to see things differently. Sometimes we get so locked into that one lens, that one thing that we’re comfortable with. If you step back a little bit and turn your body to a fraction to the left or to the right, you’re going to see something totally different. When I think about challenges, I think about these challenges are learning. There are ways in which I will now have another experience under my belt. I will be able to help other people through those same things going forward. My strategy is similar to yours. Every challenge gives us a chance to try something new. A lot of people are scared of change. They’re comfortable in the status quo and not willing to take that step forward. Once you take that step forward and do something different, solve a problem or try something new, you experience a whole new set of opportunities. There are endless possibilities. That’s the way I think of it.
What do you learn? How do you get better from it? That was wonderful. Thank you.
We talked about redefining and reinventing yourself. We talked about turning challenges into opportunities and learning from all of your experiences. Don’t give up when those doors close in front of you. Find that next door. It’s out there. Patty Durell from Rock Solid Fitness shared her story with us. Patty, I want to thank you again for being on the show. Your ability to shift gears and find your niche is fantastic. Can you please remind our audience once again where they can find Rock Solid Fitness?
RockSolidFitnessFL.com and our telephone number is (727) 282-1800. It’s been so much fun, Carolyn. Thank you.
There are many people out there who struggle on how to redefine and reinvent themselves. The insight that you shared with us and how you did it is going to help people understand that it’s possible and figure out what they need to do differently to make it happen for themselves. Thank you once again for sharing your story with us. I am super excited to learn your unique way of working out because it’s given me back at least 30 minutes of time every time I work out. Thank you for that. That was fabulous. Not for nothing but she was my coach and she tried to kill me, she pushed me to the bitter end. The weights were tough. She’s no-nonsense. I love that.
To all our audience out there, I hope this helps you on your journey to building your own business. Women can break into a man’s world and be very successful. It’s tough. It’s certainly not easy. You’re going to have the doors that close, but you’re going to have to find the ones that are open because they’re out there. The only thing standing in your way from being successful from owning your own business is yourself. If you give up, you’re never going to know what you’re capable of. Just like in the fitness program that Patty talked about, you have to find your failure. You get to a point of failure so that you can succeed again the next time. That’s the same when you’re running your business, when you’re trying something new, when you’re learning a new skill. Those are all the things that come into play.
I do this show so that you can take away things to help you immediately. I’m always looking for topics that you’re interested in or things that you’re struggling with and you want to get some help on. Go to my Instagram, @CarolynRivera14. We all know it’s all about the gram these days. I’m building that up. I’m providing you with information. I help people break through the barriers that are blocking them. That’s my mission. Go to my website at CarolynJRivera.com. All of the Carolyn Rivera Shows are out there. Don’t get comfortable. Challenge the status quo every single day. Believe, commit, achieve, it’s the secret sauce to your success. Those are the things that are going to help you find your passion to succeed in life and to claim victory.
About Patty Durell
Patty and Dave Durell moved to Florida in 1995, and have been empowering and challenging people to be their best through physical fitness ever since. They first started as a Physical Therapist Assistants (PTA’s), helping people overcome life-changing orthopedic and neurological events.
During this time, they started a personal training business to help discharged physical therapy patients continue improving through supervised strength training programs. Their training business expanded to include people of all ages and stages of life, from those who had never exercised to professional athletes.
The business eventually outgrew other people’s gyms, and they opened Rock Solid Fitness, a membership-based fitness coaching and consulting studio, in 2012. Originally located in Clearwater, they moved to a larger facility in Dunedin, FL only 4 years later due to continued rapid growth.
Patty is a Master Level Personal Trainer, Certified Conditioning Specialist, licensed Physical Therapist Assistant, and the CEO of Rock Solid Fitness. She has been featured on many business and fitness podcasts, local TV, and news magazines. Patty is also on the Advisory Board for the Saint Petersburg College Sports Management Program, as well as the Palm Harbor University High School Medical Magnet program.
Dave has formerly worked as a Strength and Conditioning Assistant with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a Strength and Conditioning Consultant to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at Southeast Missouri State University. He has been published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research and has written 2 books on strength training. He holds a Master’s Degree in Health Fitness Administration and is a Master Level Personal Trainer and a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant.