by Ninja Master Mark Fisher
Like that annoying couple you know, MFF has many anniversaries.
Did MFF start in the fall of 2010 when I sent out the very first MFF Newsletter to family and friends? How about in Jan. 2011 when I started Snatched? Maybe it was in June 2011 when Michael Keeler (Business Wizard) and Kyle “Beast “ Langworthy (Master Trainer/ Fucking Batman) came on board?
All of these feel right in their own way. But happily, MFF’s home, the Enchanted Ninja Clubhouse of Glory and Dreams, has a more definitive birthday. It was two years ago, in December 2011, that we moved our classes and training from rented spaces around midtown Manhattan to our very own Ninja promised land. And my, how things have changed…
At the time, Kyle and I were the only full time employees. Michael worked part time for MFF “20 hours a week” (by which I mean a BILLION) and maintained a full time job elsewhere. And Brian “Manimal” Patrick Murphy? Hell, he had TWO other jobs.
Mind you, this made sense at the time. “The Grand Unicorn Experiment” has been an experiment since it’s conception, and we all know that sometimes business experiments go down in flames and devour the founders’ life savings and dreams.
We had no clue how the hell this was going to play out when I signed that lease. When we moved into the Clubhouse, we invited available Ninjas and put the place together in a one day marathon ala an 80’s teen movie montage. I was a manchild with a dream of a better world full of Ninjas, unicorns, and dragon testicles who had just convinced my best friends to risk everything and follow me on a rocket ride to outer space.
In the past two years, MFF has gone from 0 to 600 Ninjas. Not only were we able to pay the rent, but we expanded twice. Our staff exploded from 2 to 20 (not to mention our 30 plus Rainbow Wranglers, who bravely help us man the front desk and answer the phone in weird voices). We’ve been covered by the NY Times, the NY Post, the Wall St. Journal, and the Huffington Post just to name a few. My friends in the fitness industry tell me we’re the fastest growing gym in the history of the industry (“just add water and stir, bitches!”)
And now we’re on the verge of waitlisting new members to the Clubhouse because we literally can’t fit anyone else in. We find ourselves excited (and fucking terrified) about the prospect of opening another location.
As we again stand on the precipice of another massive gut-check, it feels appropriate to take a moment and reflect on what we’ve learned during the past two years.
There’s No Fucking Secret. Just the basics and bone crushing work.
We couldn’t get where we are unless we consistently delivered high caliber health and hotness results.(TWEET THAT SHIT!)
We are ridiculous humans, but you don’t have to hang around long to see we are VERY serious about fitness. Our outrageous antics may be what get us noticed, but NYers don’t easily part with their hard earned cash.
And although we continue to scour the research and investigate any promising trend in our relentless continuing education, we’ve found again and again that it’s the basics that work best. There is no secret MFF formula. Apply bone crushing work to the basics, train hard and consistently, eat the correct amount of whole non-processed foods, manage your sleep and recovery.
It may not sexy, but at this point it’s fair to say we have a pretty epic track record of success. Although we will always keep our eyes peeled for better and faster ways to get Ninjas the best results, our recipe of hustle and nailing the basics is holding up well.
Your Attitude Affects Your Results (TWEET THAT SHIT!)
As we often say at MFF, “The gods favor a happy warrior.” Not only does a good attitude allow you be more consistent and persevere in the face of the inevitable bumps on the road to health and hotness, it turns out it matters more than we thought.
One of the great discoveries of the past two years is that mindset will actually affect your fitness. This isn’t pseudo-science. If you are super stressed 24/7, it’s going to influence both your nervous system and your hormone profile.
Having a positive attitude is fundamentally crucial to achieving lasting health and hotness. (TWEET THAT SHIT!) Look for us to continue to offer solutions here via meditation, active recovery classes, life coaching, and goal setting workshops.
Long time followers of our work will appreciate ridiculous humanity for being as much substance as style. It would be easy to discount the glitter and speedos and improv dance parties as artifice.
I’ve always maintained our total rejection of many social conventions is a fundamental element of what MFF stands for. We know this shit is hard. Getting coached is fucking awesome. Feedback from a trained outside is eye is the fastest way to learn to train hard, stay injury free, and get results. But this also means constantly being made aware of where you can improve.
By embracing FUN as a spiritual calling, we strive to take the work of excellence seriously, but to never take ourselves seriously in the process. Ego just weighs too much.
We will continue to work to keep Clubhouse life dedicated to making the pursuit of serious fitness synonymous with joy. In a very serious world, we are committed to making you smile and giggle like a 6 year old. And we are acutely aware this may be the most important service we have to offer.
If there is one thing we’ve seen since having our very own Clubhouse, it’s the utter necessity of social support.
The Ninjas are the most diverse group of people you will ever meet. We have Ninjas just out of high school, and Ninjas in their 70’s, Ninjas of all body shapes, sizes, colors, and genders. We are aggressively LGBT friendly and are very proud to have many sets of parents and children in our number. We train accomplished professional dancers and people who have literally never before stepped inside a gym. But along with this massive diversity, we all share a desire to have a safe, fun, and nurturing fitness space to get better.
There are few moments that have moved me more than watching the silent (and not-so-silent) kindness of veteran Ninjas as they welcome new folks into our family.
We always lovingly refer to MFF as the “Isle of Misfit Toys.” We are the kids who sat alone in the bathroom stall during lunch in middle school. We had to fight and struggle and work towards accepting ourselves for who we are, whether it be because we were unathletic, or gay, or because we LOVED musical theater. Because we loved to read poetry, or we played the trombone, or because we had acne. Because we were ashamed we couldn’t do a push-up, or because we were afraid to tell that girl we had a crush on her, or because we were boys who liked to wear heels.
We are the fucking freaks. And we have found our home. And here’s the big news; our home is not the Ninja Clubhouse.
It’s each other.
Gratitude is Everything
As we look towards the final month of the year, I find myself again overwhelmed with gratitude. Much of my daily willpower is spent stopping myself from writing gushy social media posts about lucky I feel, but I hope you’ll indulge me for a moment.
I’m painfully aware of how lucky I am. The MFF Team is the most open hearted, hard working, talented, and hilarious bunch of maniacs you will ever meet. The Ninjas are hands-down the best clients (ew… I said clients) of any gym in the world. The Ninjas continue to push us, and prod us, let us know where we’ve mis-stepped, enable our ridiculous antics, and share the word about unicorn magic.
The Next Best Thing to Being There
And lastly, I want to thank YOU dear reader.
Yes you. The people who read my ramblings but don’t train at MFF. When I started the newsletter I just wanted to inform my family and friends about the basics of achieving health and hotness. The fact that this newsletter is as well read as it is blows my mind. I don’t consider myself a writer, so thanks for indulging all the grammar faux pases (see… is that supposed to be plural? I have no fucking clue. I JUST found out about the whole only one space not two after sentences things….). I have a burning need to communicate and share. And I can’t do that without you!
If you’re a NYer who reads this, I hope you’ll consider finally taking the plunge and giving us a ring. As it stands, we’ll be waitlisted in the next two to four months, and there will be no new space until the spring at the earliest. Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us at 212-356-0020, or just come to 411 W. 39th Street so we can give you a hug and high five and welcome you to the fitness home you didn’t know you were missing.
And for you non-NYers… we haven’t forgotten about you either. Hopefully you’re already following us on Facebook and Twitter, and I sincerely hope you’ve subscribed on YouTube. Over the next 6-12 months we plan to put all the basics of our technique on-line, totally free. And then, once we’ve taught you how to move, keep your eyes peeled for follow-along MFF workouts you can do in your own home and your own city. Although NYC is looking to be a possessive lover for the immediate future, your emails and support are appreciated more than you can ever know. We hope to find ways to make more and deeper cyber-fitness-love to you in the months to come.
I do not know what is in store for the next chapter of the Grand Unicorn Experiment.
Although I have no idea where we’re going… I know I’m grateful for this rocket ship ride. The stars look really pretty from out here.
Hope to see you soon.