Scott of Crossfit Logan Martin talks about his wake up call that started his fitness journey

Good morning. This is Peter Keller from Fringe Sport, and I'm here today talking with Scott Campbell of CrossFit Logan Martin in Pell City, Alabama. So, I've got Scott over here and Scott I'll have you introduce yourself to our audience in just a moment, but one thing that you told me before we started recording that was super interesting is that you've been open for about two months and you've already gotten, did you say over 100 members or right out 100 members.

Scott Campbell: No, we are almost 100 members, yeah. We're right there hovering, we're getting really close.

Wow. That is really fantastic, and we'll dig into that for a minute. I just want to pull that out at the top because I think that, that's crazy. Two months open and you're almost 100 members. So Scott tell us a little about yourself and how you came to open CrossFit box.

Scott Campbell: Absolutely. So, I was a career law enforcement officer. I'm in the Army National Guard here in Alabama. I'm a warrant officer here, and I kind of got started in CrossFit back in 2012.

I was very, very obese and overweight. I was over 280 pounds. Last time I got on the scale I was 280 pounds. I stopped getting on the scale after that. So I was probably near 300 when I found CrossFit, but how I got into it was I was working a part-time job one night as a deputy sheriff at a big box retailer, and I'm in Montgomery, Alabama, and a guy was stealing some stuff and I went to arrest him, and I had to chase him and we got in this huge fight. He was going for my weapon and in four minutes and forty five seconds, all caught on the security cameras there.  I'm fighting for my life and I just remember laying in the street after the backup came over. I was just laying on my back like just looking up at the sky at night and I was like how close I came to losing my life that night.

So anyway, kind of got over it or whatever and I was telling my partner, I was an investigator at the time, about it a couple of days later, and there just happens to be a CrossFit instructor who was working with our sheriff's department with us that day. He overheard me telling the story and just stopped and put it in a blunt but realistic way was "Absolutely, you got your ass kicked look at you. You're fat, you're out of shape, you're overweight and you can't be effective at your job the shape you're in right now." And so at first I was offended and taken back but as I got to thinking about it I had a little girl at the house and being there for her, so I said I'll give this CrossFit thing a try. I ended up falling in love with it. There's a workout program that worked for me. I enjoyed it. I looked forward to going to the box every day and working out.

So, as I went through my CrossFit journey I ended up getting a transfer to a state trooper to a town that didn't have a CrossFit box and kind of was looking around and seeing the need for it, and really wanting to helping the people the way that I was helped, especially in law enforcement and in the military who were struggling with weight and were struggling in this epidemic in law enforcement right now. If you look around we have law enforcement officers who are very overweight. As part of the job you are riding around in the car for 8, 10, 12 hours a day, and the only time you have to eat is you stop at a gas station and grab a chunk of pizza if you don't plan ahead so I really wanted to help the community. I wanted to help the law enforcement community find CrossFit how I did or find a path of fitness, not even necessarily from CrossFit but through proper diet and a good exercise plan elsewhere but that's kind of how the reason why I got into opening this box.

Wow. That's such a wake up call. And so, if you don't mind me asking, you'd mentioned that you're at 280, 300 somewhere in there. Where are you sitting now or where has CrossFit led you weight wise?

Scott Campbell: Absolutely. I'm hovering, I stay anywhere between 190 and 200 now. A very healthy weight for me. I stay around 15, 16, 17% body fat. I feel very good and I perform just as great so this is where I want to stay. I've been down to 179 pounds and as low as 9% body fat and I just don't perform as well. I look a lot better aesthetically, but performance - I don't CrossFit to look good, I CrossFit for performance. I perform, so I stay around 190, 200, yeah.  

Awesome. And so are you still, you mentioned you are in the national guard. Are you still doing law enforcement as well?

Scott Campbell: I'm not, no I actually ended up resigning my position with the state troopers out on marine patrol troopers. So, I got paid to drive a boat, carry a gun, spend my summers on the lake. It's a great job, but I saw this opportunity to help people in another way and resigned my position right before I opened the box on July 1.

Wow. So this is very new for you.

Scott Campbell: It is, yes, it is, yeah. We've had some great buzz in the community and they've welcomed us with open arms so that's been awesome. We've even seeing great results in the two months that we've been open so I'm really excited by what we'll be in the first year.

So tell me a little bit more about Pell City. So you had mentioned moving to a town or city that didn't have a box. I presume that is Pell City, right?

Scott Campbell: It was, yes.

So what's the demo there in Pell City. What are the people like, what are the major industries, what's the population?

Scott Campbell: Yes, so we have right around, 13 to 15,000. It's a lake town. We have a Logan Martin. The name of the box is actually after the lake here, Lake Logan Martin. It was the lake that I was the state trooper out here for a couple of years. So, it's a lake town. We have a great population for CrossFit. The major industry, there's a Honda Manufacturing plant, so auto, and other than that we're sort of a commute to Birmingham, Alabama, the largest city in Alabama. A lot of people commute back and forth to Birmingham, and then Honda is the other big one.

What do you think the population is a few hundred thousand people or what are we looking at?

Scott Campbell: Oh no, in Pell City it's less than 15,000. It's between 13 and 15,000. I looked at, before I opened the box, doing demographics and stuff like that it's between 13 and 15,000 between the two. Since the most recent census, I couldn't find the information on but from the 2010 census it was 13,500, and I know it's grown since then. It's the 15th largest growing city in Alabama, so we're growing from there. 

Wow. So tell me a little bit more about your fast growth. How did you start to get the word out and what did that look like?

Scott Campbell: Yeah, absolutely, so I was pretty plugged into the community already being a state trooper on the lake. I'm the only guy on the whole lake, when I was a state trooper here. So, I already knew the community, and I did a lot of community outreach before. The biggest part of being a state trooper, marine patrol state trooper is dedication.

We drive a car every day but people get out of the boat and sometimes they forget what's going on. So, a lot less of the ticket writing that a lot of state troopers are known for a lot more education for pulling people over, like, "Hey, here's what you're doing, here's how we can be safer about it." So, I already made a pretty good relationship with a lot of members in the community. Just through social media, advertising, Facebook, Instagram and word of mouth. The now and beaten pavement and going into businesses and talking to people and how we are coming, and to give us a try. From try for a free workout, so if you like it and it's for you and we started really slow too.

CrossFit has never been to Pell City, so we started a very, very basic level and we instruct to pay people who have never done CrossFit, never did Olympic lifts, never done even sit ups. So I'm struck to the lowest common denominator, and people really enjoy that and they enjoy that instruction. I really wanted to put on importance for teaching people how to move and not necessarily getting somebody first to muscle up in the first month.

I wanted to start with the basics. Let's start with the air squat, let's start with a push up, let's start with a sit up and moving our body weight around, and to build some of that good foundation. And that's what I really think people have really enjoyed was, "you know, nobody ever really showed me how to run before, no one ever showed me how to squat before, no one ever showed me the proper way on how to do a push up." So, taking the time with compliance and then it's almost like a spider web effect from there. When they are telling their friends about it and bringing their friends in, and that's kind of when we just exponentially grew, and it had been growing.

I've been signing up at least two to three members a week since we started. So I mean, that's even today. We signed up a new member yesterday. What I'm going to continue to do is provide the super good product, we do have a great price line we started out with an introductory offer, but I'd say it's probably the lowest priced box in our area just because I wanted to get on a map there, and I wanted to get that buzz. But also, I wanted to reward the people who are going to be in our member base. These are our first people who've joined our box and I wanted to give them an incentive to be the first and to stay with us. That was our growth model, and we stuck with it and it's been working for us, so far two months in. We're still an itty, bitty baby, but hopefully we can come in and grow like we are. 

Yeah, absolutely. So I want to dig in just a little bit more, you mentioned that a number of your members nobody had shown them how to do a push up before. So what do you think your members are looking for, because some people ... I'm here in Austin, Texas, we've got 50 or 70 boxes something like that, and we've got some boxes that cater to competitors. They want to go to the CrossFit games. We've got some boxes that cater to runners who are looking for a little more strength. What do you think your clients are looking for mostly?

Scott Campbell: So, yeah, so when we started out, I took the things that I enjoyed about CrossFit, and I've done anywhere, anytime I go somewhere I'll stop at a box, and I always make little mental notes, like, I like how they did that or I really don't like how they did that.

So, most of my CrossFit was done at a little small box called CrossFit Eufaula. And the guy there, his name is Jason Threatt he's an instructor at CrossFit Eufaula, and he's probably, of all the box that I worked out with, he is the best instructor for starting CrossFit, that I've ever worked with I mean, he goes, he dumbs it down to an elementary level, works with people, and so we opened our box. That's kind of the model I wanted to have because people enjoy that. That's what I enjoyed about CrossFit.

When I was obese or whenever I thought about working out or go to a gym, I had no idea what to do. I've lifted some weights, okay, some bench press and some curls or some hamstring extensions or whatever, but I was just kind of walking through the gym blind and I had no idea. So, I came into CrossFit and well there's my workout right there on the board. And, they planned it out for me, and now he's going to show me how to do the movements and do them correctly or I'll hurt myself. So, that's really why I fell in love with CrossFit, because it was all the stuff I'd struggled with about fitness and the gym dumbed it down to my level.

That kind of a model we wanted to take after was bringing the average Joe's, people who were frustrated with being obese and overweight, while still keeping it entertaining and fun for a game's level athlete. I think we program, the plan I had was to program for the best athlete at the gym, and so work with whoever our number one guy is and make it challenging for him again make it doable for this person who hasn't worked out in 5,6,7 years and is 70 pounds overweight. That's really the people I set out to help.

Man, I love it. That really sounds fantastic. So believe it or not, I've been really having a great time but we are about out of time, so I was clicking around and I found you guys on the web at and I also found you on Facebook for your CrossFit Logan Martin page. What's the best way if anybody either wants to join Logan Martin or if let's say another box owner wants to reach out and chat with you. What's the best way for people to get a hold of you?

Scott Campbell: Yes, so they can go to the website, or my Facebook page and find my phone number, my email on there, and anytime, if I'm busy I'll call you back and everything. Send me a text message and I'll call you. Email, email back and forth really.  Facebook and Instagram, email, phone, any of that. I love to help people. I've learned a lot, in this, you know about a year long process of getting this box open. And there's a lot of things that I have to go back with day one I'd do differently. So, I'd love to share that, that if people who are thinking of opening a box and kind of hits and misses along the way.

Awesome. How giving. Well, is there anything else you'd like to say to our audience Scott?

Scott Campbell: I don't think so Peter. I really appreciate talking with you and I appreciate everything that you're doing for the community. That's awesome that you're doing this podcast.

I love it. Well, this has been Peter Keller from Fringe Sport and Scott from CrossFit Logan Martin. Everybody go out and lift something heavy today. Cheers.

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