Justin Orr is a former University of Notre Dame football player, former USA Bobsledder, and owner of Iron Orr Fitness. He founded Iron Orr Fitness in 2004 after his Bobsledding career was over.
Iron Orr Fitness has been the #1 Personal Training Business in San Diego for the last 17 years and has won multiple awards for their expertise and client satisfaction.
Iron Orr is also the San Diego Seals Professional Lacrosse Team’s Strength & Conditioning coach. Justin held the University of Notre Dame bench press record at 515lbs, and has had pro football workouts with the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears prior to going into business.
Please tell us a little about yourself and what got you started.
I was drawn to the fitness industry because of the success I had in the weight room in college and on the Olympic level. At my peak, I had a bench press of 515lbs, a squat of 675lbs, and ran a 4.42 40-yard dash.
When I was a world-class athlete, I always loved helping others with their fitness journey, so creating Iron Orr Fitness was an easy segway for me into business. I’m fortunate because Iron Orr Fitness has now been the leader in San Diego for 17 years.
Where did the idea for Iron Orr Fitness come from?
The Iron Orr Fitness name came from an article written about me when I was on the US Bobsled Team. Because of my natural strength, the title of the article was “Iron Orr”. From there, Iron Orr and Iron Orr Fitness were named.
Describe your experience in the industry?
This has been a great industry for me because of my passion for helping others. I’ve been blessed with the fact that Iron Orr Fitness is a huge name in San Diego, and we have a great team.
It’s all about helping others, so this industry has been very fulfilling to me.
Tell us about your training philosophy?
My training philosophy is rooted in corrective exercise and myofascial release. I follow a periodized methodical progression of exercises from week to week and my slogan DGI (don’t get injured) is what has helped me continue to achieve client results without injuries.
How do you keep clients motivated and engaged?
My team and I keep our clients motivated by always recognizing their “small wins”. Small wins can come from results or just effort. Results are the focus, but you have to make the journey fun and enjoyable.
How do you handle conflict or work with challenging clients?
Challenging clients are fun for me and our team because they push us to be our best. One of Iron Orr Fitness’s Core Values is SOLUTION DRIVEN, so whether that’s helping a client breakthrough a plateau, designing a new diet plan to fix the old one, or motivating a client to “get their workout in”, we are always focused on creating a solution for every challenge…so clients can win.
What are the professional goals you wish to achieve in 5-10 years?
Our goal is to expand Iron Orr Fitness to its second location in 2021, and develop our online training platform so that we can bring our world-class training to more people.
What were the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge in creating and running a business is if you can survive and handle the barrage of constant challenges coming your way — and adapt and problem solve quickly. Scaling up is also difficult once you create success.
Grit and perseverance have been my friends and you have to use each to overcome every challenge thrown your way. Business is survival of the fittest and I’ve definitely had to become a great problem solver and develop an insane work ethic to thrive.
What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?
Find a great company and work hard to stay there and be a great employee. Starting and running a business is the hardest thing in the world. Find a great company, become a great employee and enjoy the balance in your life.
What do you see as your greatest success in life?
My greatest success in life is without a doubt being married to my wife of 15 years, Charlotte, and being a father to my 7-year old daughter.
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