Fighting the good fight!

Sarah Apgar is the Founder and CEO of FitFighter, a global fitness brand and transformative strength training system that’s accessible, unintimidating, and good for everyone of all fitness levels. It’s rooted in the training firefighters go through and Sarah’s own innovation of a steel hose at its core. Before starting FitFighter, Sarah served in the Iraq War, spent five years at Warby Parker, and is a volunteer firefighter, athlete, and mother of two. 

In her conversation with Maribel Lara, Sarah shares how FitFighter got started, her early “steel hose” innovation, and her vision for the company moving forward. In the beginning she had no expectations of building a global fitness brand. After nine years, FitFighter shows no signs of slowing down. Sarah talks about facing challenges head on, always having a “stubborn curiosity” as an entrepreneur, choosing where to focus in your business, building a successful brand, and much more.

"So when we talk about moving weight and building real strength, we are legitimately talking about an evidence based consideration around what real strength actually is."

Sarah Apgar

Transcription

Katie Hankinson: (00:00)

Welcome to Building While Flying a Sasha Group podcast, where we interview business leaders about how they tackle challenges, stay resilient, and navigate ever-changing skies.

 

Maribel Lara: (00:12)

I’m Maribel Lara, SVP and head of Consulting at the Sasha Group. I’m so glad to be back, uh, for another episode of Building While Flying. My guest today is Sarah Apgar, founder and ceo, a Fit Fighter, a global fitness brand that delivers a transformative strength system rooted in her own innovation, The steel hose. Sarah’s an Iraq veteran, uh, all American athlete, fitness professional, volunteer firefighter, and mom of two girls. Sarah and Fit Fighter have been featured in Muscle and Fitness, Rolling Stone, ESPN and Men’s Health, Among other critical acclaim. Uh, Sarah promotes the power of teams, women leaders and public service contributing a portion of sales to the Tunnel to Tower Foundation. A lot for us to unpack their, um, so gonna be hard to pick and choose which things to focus on. But Sarah, let’s start by answering the question, What is Fit Fighter?

 

Sarah Apgar: (01:08)

Fit Fighter, As you noted in your introduction, and thank you, it’s delighted to be here with you. Such a treat for me is a strength system that had his origins in the US Volunteer Fire Service, and I was solving a very simple problem, which was to train firefighters better for the rigors of the fire ground, and to use a tool that we use as the lifeline of the fire ground, which is fire hose to train for skills training for hose handling movement, um, work capacity, you know, building strength and endurance. It’s is so unique in the fire service mm-hmm. , even against military, which, um, as you noted, I also have in my background. And we realized as we started to work with this unique tool, that this had thousands of applications beyond just for firefighters to any demographic age eight to 80, who needs an accessible, fun, unique strength training system that’s safe and highly effective and also evidence based, because we know now that instability strength training is actually, you know, the most effective way for us all to train strength into our bodies. So we had quickly expanded from working with firefighters to working with just about anybody, um, from the home fitness setting through to professional athletes.

 

Maribel Lara: (02:31)

All right. And how long have you been at this?

 

Sarah Apgar: (02:34)

So originally the fair first steel hose I invented back, I made in my garage back in 2013, so it’s been almost nine years since that time. Right. But people sort of see, I think, you know, the last three years since we launched the company into the mainstream fitness industry, and they think Wow. You know, sort of an overnight project. Right. But it’s fun to sort of like note that, you know, this is, is actually almost a decade long in terms of the spirit and the roots of the innovation.

 

Maribel Lara: (03:03)

Yes. I think that’s, So I was, uh, I had breakfast with another entrepreneur and I was like, write it all down, because looking back at it later, right. One, and I think it’ll be funny to see what it is, but it’s, folks don’t see the starting point. So we’re gonna talk some more about that. But before we get to it, um, I think entrepreneurs are cut from a different cloth. Um, and I’d love to see sort of what the similarities are or, you know, what characteristics different entrepreneurs bring to the table. So what should we know about you and what makes you you?

 

Sarah Apgar: (03:35)

Thank you. It’s a lovely question. Um, I would say three things, which I think is commensurate with your, you know, what, what do entrepreneurs share? The first one is a pretty stubborn curiosity. So I’ve always been, you know, with both people and also, you know, um, anything that’s physical, like a physical product or an idea. I’ve always been very curious and I always, I just love to learn about people. I love to learn about new ways of doing things and new processes and new tools and trinkets, and that’s just the way I’ve always been. And, um, in my professional life, I found actually that physical products, things that we can see, touch and feel is also been a theme for me. You, um, well, you didn’t note in, in my background, is that I spent five years at Warby Parker as my first professional pursuit after I graduated from Tuck.

 

Sarah Apgar: (04:26)

And, um, so I’ve always felt like that curiosity of just asking one more question when you think all the questions are done Yep. Or exploring one more, you know, process or sort of like train of thought when you thought you had exhausted all is probably number one. Number two is a, a focus on the village, the support system around you. Hmm. So I’ve always maintained this a really deep and focused circle of friends and family that are, you know, 12 ish sort of folks who are really those inner circle people who know everything about you, everything about your journey, and are always sort of the phone call away, you know, at 2:00 AM type people. Yep. And because entrepreneur ship is a very lonely Yes. Adventure, which I’m sure you’ve heard from your other guests. Um, that is so important because the power of teams is, you know, one of the things that I esp to, um, that we all should appreciate more, and it’s ironic that as entrepreneurs a lot of times we can, it can be a pretty lonely journey.

 

Sarah Apgar: (05:31)

Yeah. And so that is probably number two. And the second thing is a tolerance for risk. Hmm. That I think is highly unique. And at times, I mean, I, I think, you know, probably something that, you know, people would, could question. If you look at, you know, the entrepreneurs that become well known in the mainstream, Right? Those are, you know, the Elon Musks of the world. Um, you know, there’s, there’s an extreme tolerance for risk, right? Financial risk, um, you know, public risk. Social risk. Obviously it doesn’t have to be to that extent, but I do think that, you know, the ability to see the horizon when maybe you’re not sure how to get there and to take that financial risk and, um, you know, the business risk is, is something and the social risk Yeah. Is something that’s very important.

 

Maribel Lara: (06:21)

I i that echoes through and through I think, um, definite similarities with other conversations I’ve had. Even like the acceptance of failure. Right. And that you will fail at certain things, even, you know, even if you don’t fail at the overall pursuit. Um, and that element of the power of team that searching for community came through in your personal story, My understanding is that’s why you joined Volunteer Firefighters, um, where you were living is because you were looking for that sense of team and community you had when you were in the military and seeking another element of that. So I think that that is unique, not necessarily consistent, but I think really unique and comes through in how you built Fit Finder. Um, so let’s get into the specifics of that. Um, there’s an innovation and product that I sort of spoke to at the beginning, but I also think there’s innovation in how you talk about using, incorporating weights in fitness in this idea of like, moving with weight as opposed to just lifting up and down.

 

Maribel Lara: (07:18)

And when I was reading that in our producer’s notes, I was like, Oh, that, that clicked for me and sounded like something I hadn’t really heard before. So I think there’s innovation in your approach to the utilization of the product as well. But let’s talk about the product first. So this idea of stubbornness, um, and this idea of curiosity for product and how it works when you haven’t been an entrepreneur, right? I think, you know, as the outsider looking in, you can think, you get to a product and you say, I have this idea for a product, I will pay someone to build this for me. Right. Or come up and it’s, it’s so often not that because that can be a pretty pricey pursuit. Um, so let’s talk about how you got to what the product is today.

 

Sarah Apgar: (08:03)

So when I was looking for tools in the firehouse to use, to train specifically for this hose handling skill, which is so awkward and so unlike anything else that we do in our daily lives, it, it was obvious to me that the place to start with was fire hose. But what I didn’t realize is as I started to tinker with how to recreate and really truly mimic the feeling of that hose line charged with water, so meaning coming from the hydrant under high pressure and imbalance and awkward with all 150 feet of hose behind us, you know, that was the hard part was how do, how do we solve that training problem, You know? Right. And so this is where the sort of stubbornness comes in. You know, I started to fill fire hose with anything that I could find, you know, indoors and outdoors.

 

Sarah Apgar: (08:53)

So with pebbles and with sand and with different kinds of grit and, you know, coal sl, and I mean, I have a box, it’s very fun. I should have brought it in here. I have this box that’s about this big of probably 25 different types of materials that I had started to compact into these pieces opposed. And I started with very long pieces of hose thinking, well that’s, you know, that’s the best way to mimic hose line is to have, you know, this, the sort of 30 feet behind us. Then I realized that actually if we shortened up these pieces and we started to compact these materials inside them, and then we could always link them together and we could always create a longer piece, but we have this beautiful, highly simple mm-hmm. and very effective tool at training this one skill. And so I, I finally settled after about two years of tinkering with the filler materials on a very small one millimeter steel shot. Okay. It’s perfectly round. And so this compacts into the fire hose creates this new form factor for a free weight that is comfortable to grip, and it keeps its shape so it won’t kink the way that sand would mm-hmm. or these different grits or pebbles. And all of a sudden we realize that we had this totally new form factor for a free weight, which when you think about it hasn’t changed in hundreds of years. Yeah. Dumbbells look very similar today, the way they look. Right. A thousand years, maybe

 

Maribel Lara: (10:24)

Different colors, but that’s about it.

 

Sarah Apgar: (10:26)

Right. And so it’s amazing that in a world where we’re constantly innovating, actually, if you think about it, you know, in exercise, and it’s specifically in weightlifting and strength training, we haven’t had a lot of innovation to say, What’s a better way to move weight? And so that was the, the, the steel hose innovation, I would say became its current commercial project product over a span of about five years. And then I felt like we really had something that had brought, you know, something commercial to the market that could be distributed, um, and widely utilized, you know, across all these different demographics that we have now.

 

Maribel Lara: (11:04)

So you, you said it right in your description just now, moving weight. Uh, so let’s talk about that because it it that, to me, that really is another innovation. It’s what is unique about Fit Fighter, right? Like, you could have named the company Steal Hose, but it’s not about the product, it’s sort of about the program and what you do with the product. Um, so talk some more about that because Right. We we’re a marketing firm, at the end of the day we do consulting and marketing, and so much of that is finding the unique way to talk about who you are, what you do, and get that across to a community. And you’re in a really crowded space, right. The fitness space is incredibly crowded, maybe not even more crowded over the last two and a half years, um, where folks have been looking for more options at home. So tell us about that and sort of how you landed on how different this was.

 

Sarah Apgar: (11:57)

Yeah. When we, when I started to work with Steel Hose at first, I, I really, you know, we were, because we were sort of in a very, we were in a niche, right? It was very narrow Yeah. The way that we were thinking about the application of the tool. And fast forward now when I work with steel hose, it’s almost like a fifth limb. It’s like, it’s a, it’s something that’s a feeling that, you know, moves with your, it’s something tangible and physical, but moves with your body around your body, in your hands, and layered all in all different ways, um, in a way that I’ve never felt before as an a collegiate athlete. Right. You know, I was a military gal in my first career, um, you know, firefighter, I love sports, you know, individual sports, team sports, you name it. I’m an outdoors person of mountain biking.

 

Sarah Apgar: (12:46)

And so I’ve always been into, I’ve always been into strength training, but I had never felt the awareness mm-hmm. of my strength and of specific parts of that, for example, your grip strength Yep. Which is widely known to be one of the biomarkers of our long term health. Some people don’t know that, but your grip is an indication of your long term, your, your longevity. Interesting. Your lifespan, um, the stability that you have. We talk about, you know, core blaster workouts, but in the end, we’re, what we’re really talking about is a stability in your trunk, right? Like the, your foundational part of your body from which all of your extremities exude. And so that’s the most important thing to make us strong. But when we’re isolating that and we’re not also recruiting our hands and our arms and our legs and our glutes, you know, and our head and our eyes and our, you know, our, our sort of senseen our sort of appropriate section and sensitivity to that movement, we’re, we’re really not, We’re sort of just like mindlessly, you know, moving our bodies up and down and placing weight and lifting weight in ways that is not representative of what we need in our lives.

 

Sarah Apgar: (14:01)

Gotcha. And that’s for 99% of us, I mean, certainly there are elite athletes who have very specific needs and who train with coaches who are, you know, every little movement is highly tailored to something they do. And, and for that traditional weight lifting and strength training absolutely. Has its place for the large majority of us. We just wanna feel strong moving around every day. We wanna be able to, on a whim, you know, run up the stairs to grab something we forgot. Yeah. We wanna be strong giving a sales pitch, you know, sitting at our desk have good posture. We wanna feel good. We want our faces to, you know, light up with expression and gesture in a way that feels powerful. All these things are really generated from this inner strength. And these very, these ways we think about strength that are, have not become the mainstream lexicon for what to be strong really means.

 

Sarah Apgar: (14:55)

We do have a great movement, I think, in the industry of, you know, strong is the new pretty Yeah. Right. Strong is the new beautiful. Absolutely. We’re sort of seeing that creep in, but we haven’t redefined what that strength really is and means even from like a basic anatomical perspective. So when we talk about moving weight and building real strength, we’re, we are legitimately talking about like an evidence based, you know, consideration around what real strength actually is. And that’s script strength, trunk stability, and the ability to, you know, react and have a sensitivity to our bodies in a way that we’ve just never thought about lifting weight. Um, so that’s what I’m trying to do is to actually meaningfully, you know, give people a, a tool that’s going to, for a lot of people for the very first time, make them feel like they understand why they should be lifting and moving weight and what strength feels like if they’ve never lifted weight before.

 

Sarah Apgar: (15:54)

Right. And moved weight. And what it feels like to actually achieve, you know, those results. Um, which until now have been a lot still about sort of physical results and, you know, about our muscles and about, you know, looking good and things that are quite external. It’s much harder for us to show the world our internal strength and for us to market that, to your point about marketing. Um, so it’s, this is a harder path Right. To do what I’m doing. Yep. Because I’m, I’m, it’s, it’s an easier path, you know, to, um, to to market and talk about things that we can, um, more sort of externally and, you know, um, and easily see and visibly see. But to talk instead about that sort of intrinsic internal nature of strength is much harder, but a much deeper and longer term idea. Yeah.

 

Maribel Lara: (16:50)

And it sounds like you’ve started to build quite a community around it, and that community isn’t where you started originally, which was firefighters. So talk about that community and what it looks like today.

 

Sarah Apgar: (17:05)

Yeah. So we have some of the letters that I get, you know, that come into me, you know, literally, Dear Sarah, you know, dot, dot dot mm-hmm. , because they’ve, you know, see me talk about this on, you know, in the media, on TV or on, on, um, social media. We’ll get people right in saying, you know, Hey, I’m a 70 year old. Like just yesterday, I’ll cite that example. I’m a 70 year old and I have a fibromyalgia shoe and I have arthritis in my fingers. Um, or I’m a veteran who has nerve damage. And so I’ve struggled to figure out a way to return to strength training and exercise and thanks so much for, you know, be making accessible, a tool that I feel like I can now use safely and I can grip, and I like the way it feels and Yeah.

 

Sarah Apgar: (17:56)

You know, can, can place it really comfortable in my body. And I felt like now I’m empowered, you know, to, to be, to get back to who I was. And those are the special letters and times, um, when you realize that this, our demographic is ranging from teenage athletes to your average fitness enthusiast with a garage gym, you know, to the functional aging community, which we describe, I think is a, is an interesting term we’ve now used. But Canada, the 55 and over community Yeah. For home strength training is the most important. Um, because we start to lose 8% of our muscle mass per decade after the age of 40. So I’m 42, so I’m like, Okay, clocks ticking . Right. By the time I’m 50, I’ve lost 8% of muscle mass if we’re not maintaining Right. Our strength, I just wanna let that sit for a second, you know, because it’s like, and so I usually tell people that, and then I’m like, Watch for like a reaction.

 

Sarah Apgar: (18:54)

You know? Did you hear that? I’m, Did you get it? Because like, so I say sometimes in my, um, you know, in, in my social and in sort of my lingo that if you believe in brushing your teeth twice a day, and we’ve convinced you that that’s a good idea, you should be moving weight three times a week because it’s as, as well researched and it’s as obvious, um, for your long-term health in the same way this is for your, you know, long-term dental health. And again, just letting that sit mm-hmm. , it’s kind of like, wow. Like we all have an obligation to each other to get each other, you know, strength training. Well,

 

Maribel Lara: (19:31)

You’ve convinced me, I’ll be ordering as soon as we’re done here,

 

Sarah Apgar: (19:35)

And I go,

 

Maribel Lara: (19:35)

I’ll go back to my computer.

 

Sarah Apgar: (19:36)

I’m like, How are we doing

 

Maribel Lara: (19:37)

? You’ve, you’ve got me Sarah . Um,

 

Sarah Apgar: (19:41)

So I hope I answered your question. I actually forgot.

 

Maribel Lara: (19:44)

Yeah. What we talked about what the community looks like now, right? So it’s not just firefighters, you’ve now got folks from all walks of life. Right. Um, did you envision that at the beginning?

 

Sarah Apgar: (19:56)

I absolutely did not. And, and people, again, that’s something that people always think like, wow, you know, we sort of set out and on this like, you know, to launch a global fitness brand. And I’m like, I can assure you, when I was like in the garage tinkering away with like my, you know, sewing machine and all my like, cool flags that this is not what we set out to do. And, um, my youngest daughter was 18 months when I felt like I had had enough of this ground swell coming at me, knocking on my door Yep. Saying, We really got something here. You know, we’ve got, we’ve got a big idea here. It’s not fully formed yet, you know, But you, you started out solving a simple problem for firefighters and you know, this is, this is a, you know, Viagra moment. You know, we’ve come up with like something that can, is so, is so beautiful in its simplicity. This is not technologically Yeah. Advanced. Right? But you

 

Maribel Lara: (20:54)

Thought at the beginning, this was just, this was firefighters.

 

Sarah Apgar: (20:56)

Definitely. That was where I was going with it, is let’s, yeah, let’s, you know, because we, we, we were using fire hose using tools in Firehouse. So let’s make, you know, let’s do something for firefighters based on my backgrounds, makes us a little stronger. And it was really the influx of personal trainers, um, coaches mm-hmm. , you know, folks coming at me, you know, the, the owner of the Fit Body Bootcamp in Huntington. Okay. Where, where we started. Yeah. And the fire department there who would see us working with the firefighters, and they would start, I think because of their training Yeah. And expertise, which was not mine at the time. They, they were the ones that started to kind of knock on my door, wander up and onto the truck ramp or see what we were doing and say, Yeah, you know, let’s, let’s put this in our, our bootcamp, you know, circuits, let’s just, let’s try this out.

 

Sarah Apgar: (21:43)

Let’s start to experiment with some things. So I started to experiment with some things, and now we’re sort of, everybody’s bouncing off of each other, playing around, you know, swinging fire hose everywhere and realizing, gosh, like, yeah, this is super fun. Like we’ve come across, we stumbled on something that, you know, has, is a really big idea. Now. We just start, have to start really fully forming that into what that’s gonna mean for people. You know, how to make it accessible to people, how to bring them the training. What do we, what do we want to program? What movements do we want to sort of come out of the gate with, right. And how do we wanna also build this brand? And I would say, um, one thing I didn’t mention when we talked about entrepreneurs is the brand building process has probably been the hardest thing for me as an entrepreneur.

 

Sarah Apgar: (22:31)

And I am still working every day at that one. I will say, you know, because when you do have roots in tactical, you know, the tactical athlete space, and now you’ve expanded so far from those roots, and you also have something that is so widely applicable to so many people, you also can’t be everything to everyone. Right. And so we are still in the process now, you know, three years in of really crystallizing, you know, what is it? How to simplify and distill the power of what we have for people in a way that they can feel like they know how to get started.

 

Maribel Lara: (23:12)

Yeah. I really do think the first few years of any given brand is when that brand changes the most. Mm-hmm. , right? Because you have your initial vision of who you think the audience is and what you know, what, uh, need you believe the product is serving or the services providing. Uh, and your eyes get opened up to whether or not that’s truly the bullseye, or if it was broader or more narrow than you thought. And that requires a shift. And so you really do feel like there’s a ton of metamorphosis happening in those first few years. It’ll, it’ll calm down, Sarah, I promise you.

 

Sarah Apgar: (23:47)

That’s really comforting. I

 

Maribel Lara: (23:48)

Promise you it’ll calm down. I mean, just, I talk about it all the time, but SA group, like who we thought we were gonna be when we launched in January, 2019 and who we were six months later was completely different. Fast forward, three years, still different. So I sure you, it’ll calm down and you’ll get more clarity as you move forward

 

Sarah Apgar: (24:05)

Coming from you. That means a lot, . Cause you guys are the expert. So I feel safe with this support and we’ll give you boasted,

 

Maribel Lara: (24:13)

. Um, so you, uh, and we may have covered this, so tell me if, if we did, but you, you talked about three key, like pivot points mm-hmm. , um, what were those?

 

Sarah Apgar: (24:24)

Absolutely. Yeah. No, we, we, um, th that’s those from a cr chronological standpoint. We hadn’t talked about that yet. So when we first launched, my strategy was to start working, and I should say when we first launched outside of the fire service and started bringing this into the fitness, the general fitness community mm-hmm. , my strategy was to reach out to trainers and coaches that I knew of that were fairly well known in the industry, who I thought would be great for giving product feedback and you know, helping me to position the steel hose at the beginning. And one thing they advised was great, I had great feedback. They loved the product. We brought a couple celebrity trainers on as partners, you know, and so that was great validation of the idea. One thing we decided is that we wanted to work through channel partners, you know, coaches.

 

Sarah Apgar: (25:13)

Okay. The strength and conditioning existing community to ultimately bring this to the masses. So it was very much a B2B strategy, you know, to work with trusted partners who had their own communities rather than try to go straight to the consumer and they’re living room. That’s hard. It’s expensive. So we spent the first nine months of our launch from the summer of 2019 through to the, you know, the spring of 2020 March of 2020 working with Jim’s coaches and trainers. And we all know what happened to the fitness industry, the time everybody went away. And so all of a sudden we were thrust into that, that sort of all of a sudden sort of upstream effort to provide great home fitness and home home strength training because we had a great product for it and a great philosophy for it to, during that time of the pandemic.

 

Sarah Apgar: (26:03)

And because we weren’t an established brand and didn’t have a lot of awareness, that was actually harder than people think. You know, a lot of people say to me like, Oh man, you guys must have crushed it during the pandemic, you know, Peloton style because you have a great home fitness product. Right? But gosh, if you’re not an established brand that’s well known, then it’s you against the rest of the world on Instagram. Right? And so we pivoted, that was the first major pivot was to say, actually that was really the, I would say the second kind of major pivot. The first being outside of the tactical athlete community and into the fitness community. The second major was then into the home fitness world during the pandemic. We then had this incredible opportunity once we got a phone call from the producers of Shark Tank, um, in May of 2020 and, you know, wanting to sh you know, showcase fit fighter on Shark Tank that fall. And so took that opportunity to film in August of 2020 and now 6 million viewers later on. ABC prime time TV in November of 2020 successfully launched into pretty much thrust into the consumer community that I thought would be three to five years down the road in terms of strategy.

 

Sarah Apgar: (27:19)

So now I’m scrambling to set up a digital platform for the first time with coached workouts and figure out what the value proposition was to the home consumer. Mm-hmm. when I had established everything to serve the more of the trainer community. Right. So that pivot then sort of thrusted into a second big phase of the business. And then when that’s once I was out from sort of underwater after that media moment in the summer of 2021 last year, I said, You know what, you know this, this has been an incredible experience. It put us on the map, but I do still really feel like our ability to work with partners that can help us to scale very, very quickly to hundreds of thousands and millions of consumers and put hoses in their hands through these other channels and fitness was still, that was a strategy I started with.

 

Sarah Apgar: (28:09)

I still felt like that made most sense for the business. And so we had a third pretty major pivot last fall back to working with our tactical community. So the fire service and the military to put steel hose into soldiers and firefighters hands, just more of them. Okay. To working with the enterprise fitness community, like the gym franchises of the world. Yep. Anytime Fitness at 40 fives, you know, the orange theories of the world. Mm-hmm. . So we started to really work with, um, a very, you know, high level and sort of scalable franchise, um, type of model where we would help create solutions for those highly programmed fitness models for people. A lot of them with a very expansive bricks and mortar presence already. Um, and then the third major channel now of course is to continue to support our community in who, like a great home fitness solution. So we do have a new iOS and Android app now out okay as of September. Um, which we’ve just relaunched with our coached workouts, our weekly webinars. And that’s that membership community that we’re now continuing to support. We have, um, 600 members of that community and, um, as of September. So really working now to grow that, um, into the future on the home fitness side.

 

Maribel Lara: (29:27)

So, I mean, just in the course of this conversation, right, there’s, there’s who your audience is in figuring out, are you gonna focus direct to consumer? Are you gonna focus on partnerships and thinking about scale? How do you take care of the people who are already part of the community and sort of continue to provide content, which seems to be a critical part of things as well. How do you choose where to focus? Cause I think that’s a, a really good, um, just insight for other entrepreneurs as well. Cuz you could get in the weeds in, in so many areas of the business. How do you at any given point, choose where you focus most of your energy and effort?

 

Sarah Apgar: (30:06)

Disclaimer here is that I’m still working on the answer to that question. Okay. And, but I will offer two salient points around this from my experience in making all of the the good, bad and ugly mistakes. Number one is that you wanna quickly get to market with your product and put it into people’s hands or your idea so that they can tell you where to focus. So that’s something I think people want to wait until things are perfect, perfect, no such thing, and then go to market and, you know, explode. And I would tell you exactly the opposite. The more quickly you can get out there in a way that’s scrappy, the, the, your customer is gonna tell you where you need to focus. Great example of that for us is a community such as yoga and Pilates. So never imagine from the firehouse we would end up in the yoga studio.

 

Sarah Apgar: (30:59)

And that’s become one of the most interesting market segments we’re growing because we have a soft free that provides a perfect tool for strength based yoga. Pilates, yoga instructors are looking for that and have wood floors in their yoga studios. So just a simple example of that first point. And then the second point is focusing your energy on where you, I as the entrepreneur are strong. So really strong at helping our enterprise clients, for example, to envision how they’re going to deploy our programming and training and our products and services into their programs to deliver greater value for their clients members and athletes. And so my focus is really on those very high level and very visionary partnerships, sales and clients, because that’s where I’m the mo you know, the strongest. Right. And that really is, I think in a new business, you know, you, you are gonna end up focusing to an extent where the founder or you know, the leadership, um, is able to deliver the most value and able to see the most growth and scale so that you can get to a point where you can start to then expand. All

 

Maribel Lara: (32:14)

Right, well I think that’s a perfect place to end. I think that’s a great takeaway. Thank you so much for coming in today. Um, I got to meet your girls. Uh, so yeah, it’s, it’s been a busy few days for you, so thanks for taking the time for us. I, I think our listeners are, are gonna get some tremendous value out of it.

 

Katie Hankinson: (32:42)

Thanks for joining us for Building While Flying Today. I hope you learned as much as we did. We’ll meet you right back here next time for another flight.

Welcome to Building While Flying!

This weekly podcast is brought to you by Sasha Group. We’re the consultancy meets agency arm of the VaynerX family of companies. We help ambitious companies build strong brands that flex with the times through strategy, branding media and marketing.

In ever-changing times, businesses and brands have to shift and adapt. And across all sectors, there is an air of experimentation. Business owners are trying new things out in the wild;  building the plane while flying.

Our pilots, Katie Hankinson and Mickey Cloud, will be talking to a diverse range of business leaders and founders. They’ll explore how these guests tackle various challenges while staying resilient and committed to growth. Through these real-life examples of strategies put into practice, we hope to inspire you to experiment and develop your own strategies as we all navigate these uncertain times together.

Fitness for everyone!

Sarah Apgar is the Founder and CEO of FitFighter, a global fitness brand and transformative strength training system that’s accessible, unintimidating, and good for everyone of all fitness levels. It’s rooted in the training firefighters go through and Sarah’s own innovation of a steel hose at its core. Before starting FitFighter, Sarah served in the Iraq War, spent five years at Warby Parker, and is a volunteer firefighter, athlete, and mother of two. 

Topics in this episode include:

  • How FitFighter got its start
  • Important qualities in entrepreneurship
  • What it means to be “strong”
  • Standing out in a crowded industry
  • How FitFighter pivoted in response to challenges
  • Choosing where to focus
  • …and more!
Connect with Sarah:

FitFighter website: https://www.fitfighter.com/ 

FitFighter Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/fitfighter/ 

FitFighter YouTube channel

Sarah on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarahapgar/ 

Sarah on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sarah.apgar/

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Los Angeles, CA