Name of business: XX Functional Fitness
Type of business: Gym
Location: 1420 Freitas Park, Turlock
Hours: Group classes 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday; Open gym 6 a.m. to 7 a.m., 1 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Friday and 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Saturday
Contact information: 209-447-8885
Specialty: Kettlebell workouts
History of business:
In October 2019, the stars aligned for Alec Schmitt.
The Stanislaus State graduate realized last year that his job with the California Department of Food and Agriculture wasn’t making him happy, and decided he’d like to pursue personal training full time. On the same day that Schmitt turned in the keys to his now-former job, the owner of the Turlock gym where he had helped train people for the past few years called him and said they were looking to sell the business.
Today the location is known as XX Functional Fitness — the name Schmitt gave his first business endeavor when he bought the gym last fall.
“I decided to take my passion and make it full time,” Schmitt said.
He was inspired to chase his dreams, he said, after losing a close friend who had done the same. His friend, an artist, had chosen to forgo a “normal” job and fulfill his desire to do what he loved for a living. Schmitt’s friend was just beginning to realize his dream when he passed away unexpectedly, leaving his comrade behind to ponder the meaning of life.
“It made me really think about what I was doing with my time. It could be over in a minute,” Schmitt said. “He lived his passion his entire life and never regretted it...As I was sitting there at my desk job, I realized I liked to exercise and do not like sitting at a desk. I took the time to say, ‘This is what I’m going to do.’”
Coincidentally, the same day Schmitt turned in his keys and received a call about purchasing the gym was the anniversary of his friend’s death. Now, just over a year later, Schmitt has had to overcome hurdles of his own — from remodeling and marketing to a full-blown pandemic — in order to transform XX Functional Fitness into the gym it is today.
Schmitt has seen business slow since COVID took its hold on the world, whether it’s state guidelines forcing him to close altogether or clients afraid to work out as the pandemic rages on. While XX Functional Fitness is a large, ventilated space with rolling doors and space to move freely in the front and back of the business, not everyone has returned to class even though the number of people is limited.
The gym has adapted, however, with Schmitt making home visits for one-on-one personal training and even Facetiming clients to ensure they stay up-to-speed while absent.
“It’s been rough. Some people just don't feel comfortable being in a gym even though we have plenty of space outside. That has affected my business, personally, along with the people who have been with me for a while who have had to come in and out depending on how bad it’s been,” Schmitt said. “I’ve told them if they don’t feel comfortable, that’s okay...We’re making it work, but it is an extremely big deterrent for a lot of people.”
Those who are still able to make it into Schmitt’s socially-distanced classes find a wide array of equipment to work with, from Olympic weightlifting racks to a massive number of kettlebells. Schmitt is a certified expert with the latter, which offers a unique, full-body workout with one small — but heavy — workout tool.
“Kettlebells are one of those weird things that everyone has and everyone knows what it is, but no one really knows how to use them,” he said. “They seem to really help a lot of people with conditioning and weight loss. They’re not so much for getting you super swole but keeping you in shape.”
XX Functional Fitness currently serves a variety of clients, like elite Jiu Jitsu athletes, high school football players and even grandmothers. There are options to participate in small group classes, open gym time or one-on-one personal training; it’s all dependent on a person’s goal.
“Anybody can walk in here and do a workout. When I say we service everybody, we service everybody. Whether you're at the beginning of your fitness journey or the middle of it, there's always something that we can do to help you,” he said.
At the end of the day, Schmitt can sleep well knowing he’s found a job he’s passionate about. He’s also using his position in the community to give back through the XX Holiday Shoppe, which will feature over 20 small businesses at the gym to provide a holiday shopping destination for the community and collect donated toys from attendees for Westside Ministries. The XX Holiday Shoppe will take place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 13.
Whether it be through helping those in need or those who walk through the doors of his gym, Schmitt knows he made the right choice when he left his desk job last year.
“My favorite part is just helping people. I don’t necessarily do this for money...it’s all about watching clients develop confidence and a winner’s stride where they're ready to attack the day, and watching my people evolve into what they want and achieve their goals.”