Caprice O’Bryant’s incredible story lead her to founding Excuse Free Fitness.
Her story is one of fight and fortitude
Caprice O’Bryant’s path to entrepreneurship has been laden with setbacks that would devour the average person’s spirit. She suffered a traumatic brain injury from a major car accident that left her unable to walk at the age of 14. After five months of intensive therapy at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, she relearned how to walk.
Three years later she was in another car accident that left her with grand mal seizures. Then at 19 a severe seizure caused a fall that left her with retrograde amnesia. Imagine being 19 years old and having to relearn: your name, what you liked, who your loved ones are and how to love them again. She was admitted to many of the top hospitals in the country where she was diagnosed with epilepsy. The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota encouraged her to try yoga. O’Bryant said they encouraged her to do yoga because, “stress was the number one cause of seizures when I was in the hospital in Minnesota, and they were like yoga is going to help calm you, and it’s going to help calm your mind, and your body’s going to relieve some of that tension.”
Her father started taking her to the gym, and she started eating better. The nutrition helped stop O’Bryant’s seizures, she has now been seizure free for two years. “I don’t want to discredit the seizure medication, it did help me control my seizures, but it did just that, it helped me control my seizures. The nutrition helped stop my seizures. If I can have two seizures yesterday, and two days from now I’m going to the gym. Then anybody should be able to do this, you have no excuses, if I can do this then you can do this.”
O’Bryant, 23, now runs Excuse Free Fitness, a private training facility for people to go and reach their goals in a fun, comfortable setting. They offer fitness classes, as well as nutrition planning. O’Bryant’s motivation for starting the business were the health concerns she had to battle and overcome. “I wanted to do something that had a purpose. Something that was fulfilling and would help other people,” O’Bryant said. She is the: president, owner, head trainer, nutrition specialist and receptionist. “I kind of wear a lot of hats right now. My dream is still a baby we’ve been open about a year and a half, almost two years now,” Bryant said.
O’Bryant said the most difficult part about her job is that she is a workaholic and, “it’s in the forefront of my mind all the time. So I don’t have really have much balance because of that. Because it is the most important thing in my life.”
Excuse Free Fitness is located in Homewood, IL. A southern suburb of Chicago. O’Bryant didn’t go the investor route. Instead she financed the company by herself by working two jobs at Chipotle and Steak and Shake. They currently have four employees. Last year they had a 46 percent profit margin. For 2017, O’Bryant is looking for a 65 or 70 percent profit.
Excuse Free Fitness services everyone who is into fitness. Some of O’Bryant’s clients have faced obstacles in their lives and they come to her because, “I understand and I have been trained on how to help them reach their goals despite their obstacles, despite how many chromosomes they do or do not have, despite if they can hear or cannot hear, or whether they can stand or not. I help everyone that wants to live a better life.”
In the average month the company services around 100 to 150 people. O’Bryant helps people with their nutrition plans and bases it off a person’s needs, their health history and their goals. She hopes to expand to five more locations around the world.
“The key to being successful is to just keep going. If you are going through hell you should keep going because that’s how you get to the other side.” O’Bryant said. “My other advice? Don’t compare yourself. It was the most toxic thing for my business. You lose out on your blessings by focusing on other people and you lose out on the beauty of your journey when you don’t pay attention to your own chapter that you’re in. don’t compare yourself just focus and trust your journey because it is specifically for you.”
Tyler St.Louis is a Creative Writing major at Western New England University. He is currently in his third year of college. Tyler describes him self as a novella writer, with a focus on the fantasy and horror genres. He is also a strong advocate for professional wrestling (which his friends find weird) because he views it as an art form more than a sport.