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Meet Devin Gray of Optimize Fitness & Performance in Franklin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Devin Gray.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I got started with strength training simply because I wanted to be a better wrestler. That led me to meet a strength & conditioning coach for local UFC fighters. Speaking with him inspired me to study exercise science. I graduated with my degree in exercise physiology from Texas A&M University in 2011. From 2011 to 2014, I worked at a few different local gyms and private studios.

Owning a business was my goal since 2008. As a new trainer, I would train clients for 30-40 hours a week, and then spend my free time studying. I kept up to date on the cutting edge of fitness and nutrition, but also learned about business, marketing, web design, the psychology of coaching, and about entrepreneurship.

Early on, I specialized in injury post-rehabilitation – helping people get into great shape after rehabilitating an injury. I hurt myself in college as a cadet at Texas A&M, and my workouts were never quite the same. I found many clients who felt the same way I did. Frustrated by a lack of progress and afraid of getting hurt again. I learned new exercises and methods that let me workout without pain, and began teaching them to my clients.

I opened my first business in 2013. I sublet a 160 square foot treatment room from a chiropractor, and converted it to a small training studio. I coached clients there part-time until I saved up enough money for a facility of my own.

Optimize Fitness & Performance opened in September, 2014. It was the first gym in Franklin to offer semi-private personal training, which I strongly believe is more effective than one on one personal training.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
No, it’s been a rocky road. Very rocky, at times.

Owning a business can be scary. There are a lot of sacrifices and you don’t have a guaranteed income. My finances, relationships, and health have all suffered at times.

I opened Optimize Fitness & Performance in 2014 with just enough money to pay first, last, and security. I raised enough cash by selling sessions to the handful of clients I had to buy flooring. In the beginning, I had very little equipment. It was a real struggle to pay rent for the first few months.

But I worked hard, learned from my many mistakes, and eventually figured out how to run a successful fitness business.

Today, the gym is thriving. I was able to make slow improvements and investments into equipment over the last three years. I realized that there’s a specific type of person that I love to coach, and I built my business to be perfect for my ideal client.

I’m excited for the future of Optimize Fitness & Performance and I enjoy working with my clients every day.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Optimize Fitness & Performance story. Tell us more about the business.
My favorite moments as a coach happen when my clients realize how much better they feel because of strength training. They become stronger and healthier, but also more confident, happier, and proud. I truly enjoy watching my clients change physically and mentally as they continue to work hard in the gym.

And really, I hope that’s what Optimize Fitness & Performance becomes known for – helping people to live happier, healthier, and stronger lives.

The fitness industry focuses too much on how we look. All you hear about is fat loss, six pack abs, and brand new diets. I don’t think that makes people happy, or that it teaches people how to feel better about themselves.

Staying body positive has always been important. There are no mirrors in the gym. Most of my clients have stopped using their scales altogether. They learn to stop relying on the scale to judge their progress, or even their self-worth. They’re proud of their abilities, their hard work, and they actually enjoy working out.

One of my clients that I’m the most proud of is a grandmother in her 70’s. She loves that she can continue to hike and kayak with her family. And it’s because of how strong she’s become in the gym. She works out right alongside my athletes and my adults in one our strength training groups.

She started with pain in her knees, shoulder, and back. I worked with her physical therapist to develop an appropriate exercise program for her. Now she’s mostly pain-free, and stronger than ever. She’s built up some lean muscle mass and is feeling great. I love client stories like that, at any age.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Business owners can’t rely on luck. You have to create your own luck by working hard and being prepared for good opportunities when they come. I’m not saying that I haven’t been lucky. Of course I have. But I’ve succeeded by learning from my mistakes and by taking risks on new ideas.


  • Personal training rates range from $40 to $50 per session
  • Small group personal training costs between $199 and $399 per month

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Sandra Balfe

Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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