We had the good fortune of connecting with Lex Ronin and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lex, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I think I was like a lot of people, in the sense that I saw my “real world” job and my “real self” as two distinct lives. I can remember spending some very long days watching the clock, waiting for that 24-hour Paramedic shift to end just so I could go train in martial arts for an hour or hit the gym. Before bodybuilding and Martial Arts, it was music. I played in bands from ages 13 to 33. It’s all I cared about. I was a terrible employee in literally every job I ever had, including the Army. I was the guy who was always late and screwed up basic rookie things. However, when I would get to what I perceived to be my “real” life, I would suddenly become this energized, focused guy who cared about details and loved even the mundane parts. It was a weird evolution from playing in bands to martial arts to weightlifting to going into business, but it all feels like the same project. The big moment of my life was meeting martial arts instructors and personal trainers who did it full time as a “real” job. All of a sudden, that power that I had in my “off” hours was something that could sustain me in my “real” life. I did attempt to do personal training as a “side hustle” for a while and keep my Paramedic career, but after getting fired for the 4th time in 2012, I decided to jump in full time and make it happen. I had negative 100 bucks in the bank that day. I burned all my State of Texas Medical Documents and effectively made myself unemployable. It was June 15th. I celebrate that day every year. All six companies I worked for here in Texas have since shut down. So much for Normalcy….

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
In terms of what we provide here, the sign on the front says it all: “Old School Fitness.” What exactly is “Old School Fitness”? It is the things that have always worked, that are time-tested (Western bodybuilding is almost 200 years old!) and can last a lifetime. The era that I draw the most inspiration from is the “Silver Era” of bodybuilding, which roughly spans from the early 1900s to about 1960. Just about from the birth of Bernard McFadden’s “Physical Culture” magazine to the earliest Muscle Beach culture that ended in the late ’50s/early ’60s when steroids started becoming prevalent in bodybuilding culture. During this “Silver Age,” most “Physical Culturists” were regular men and women with jobs and families and did not fit the modern mold of the 24/7 “gym rat”. A regular weightlifting routine was a 3-4 day a week at most rotation and was usually full-body and not much more than an hour. Just add clean classical American-style foods from that time, and you suddenly have some of the best bodies to ever exist. Examples? For boys, look up Steve Reeves, John Grimeck, and Reg Park. For girls, look up the QUEEN: Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton. Fitness is incredibly simple. Literally everything you need to know to stay lean and athletic could fit into one issue of one magazine. I’m pretty liberal with the term “Bodybuilding” as most things that we want to get out of our fitness actually fall under the domain of Bodybuilding. No one goes into a CrossFit gym to NOT see their body look good regardless of whatever silly “functional” angle they are selling. The good news is that it’s a spectrum. The type of routine that I would prescribe to someone just wanting to shape up for vacation is the same type of program that I would start an aspiring competitive bodybuilder on. It’s largely a matter of varying intensity. Aside from the actual “product” i.e., the training, I can tell you with 100% certainty that what has made Ronin Fitness of Richardson successful is my Private One-on-One approach. When you are here, it’s just You, Me, and my dog Kit! There is NEVER another trainer or other people. People feel comfortable here, and they can just focus on making the training happen rather than worry about being surrounded by a toxic globo gym environment. Changing your body is very personal and needs to be done somewhere that doesn’t feel like you are in HR or a mall.
Finally, I think Authenticity plays a role. You don’t keep clients for months and years at a time trying to sell them supplements and upgrade packages. You get essentially the training and diet protocol that changed my life and I train in myself today and that’s it! Straight to the point and straight from the heart. Maybe the environment is fun too. My studio is only about 500 square feet, and about half my equipment is from the 1970s, with posters of the greats like Bruce Lee everywhere. I play ONLY high energy 80s rock when we are training. It’s definitely its own thing.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Best Pizza? Easily , Infinity Arcade in Garland. Its a 80s style arcade with a bar and kitchen. I don’t touch alcohol and I really hate bars but the vibe there isn’t like a bar at all. Their pizza is the best in town. Downtown Garland in general is lovely.

– runner up” Quarter Lounge Arcade. I actually like them both but Quarter Lounge is temporarily closed and re-opening in an unannounced location. Fingers crossed.

Best Gyms: Texas Gym in Garland , Hidden Gym in Richardson , Stroud’s Fitness in Hurst. The best gym in the country , Doug’s Gym, was down the street in downtown Dallas. Mr. Doug retired. That place really should have been preserved as a landmark.

Best Theater: Galaxy Drive-In just outside of town in Ennis. We are seeing the new Godzilla there this weekend! Drive-Ins are the only civilized was to watch a movie in my opinion but if you like sit-down theaters then Texas Theater is also fantastic.

Best Bookstore: Recycled Books in Denton. The rest of Denton is a gentrified hipster nightmare now but the old bookstore just keeps improving!

Best Sushi: Dozo Sushi right next door to Ronin Fitness of Richardson.

Best Shops: Retro Plaza in Hurst! It houses Retro Madness and Horror Freak. Alice Bowie is fantastic as well.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Hands down, Justin Everman of the A.C.W.A. He is my Martial Arts instructor and Business Mentor. We met almost 20 years ago and keep crossing paths. He was a black belt and a businessman even back then, so I am still learning things as he is far ahead of me. Mr. Kim of Texas Gym. His gym was founded in 1981, and I still train there 3 days a week. Thanks to him and his ‘Texas Gym’ method, I ended up with the most important person in my life, Jacqueline Nguyen, aka Jacqueline Ferrari. We met 5 years ago, and we have been inseparable since. Opposites Attract! I owe a lot to my first 2 trainers, Ricky ‘Rebel’ Porier and Chris Smith. My boxing coach, David Douglas, who I train with over at Hidden Gym. My first Krav Maga teacher, Bryce Ligheti. Chance Burleson at Legends Martial arts in Hurst. And, of course, all of my clients and students, past, present, and future

Website: www.roninfitnessofrichardson.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/roninfitnessofrichardson/

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