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Why I Started VPSC

When I went to "Bring Your Kid to Work Day" at Aerojet with my dad sometime in the late 90's or early 00's, I knew immediately. Aerojet had a bunch of large buildings on their campus. Some of those buildings were for manufacturing, fabrication, property storage, etc. Other buildings, like the one my dad worked in, were for office work. When you walked in you were hit with stale air, commercial lighting with a low hanging drop ceiling, and weird off-white half walls that seemed to be made out of a fuzzy carpet like material. To a young Robert, this building was not the best introduction to "grown up work". It felt stale, quiet, and boring. I knew immediately that I would not, and could not, work in a cubicle, devoid of the sunlight and outside world all day every day. It wasn't going to happen.


One of the best parts of that day was watching the scientists demonstrate various experiments and see them geek out like all of us kids watching the show. But the single best part of that day was when my dad took me out to a warehouse where a couple of his work buddies were hanging out. This storage warehouse wasn't setup for "Bring Your Kid to Work Day". I probably wasn't even supposed to be there. After avoiding the rattle snake as we walked in, the first thing I saw was a basketball hoop all the way in the back past the lone office. That was it. Nothing else mattered, I was getting shots up. If my dad would have let me, I'd have spent the rest of the day there.


 

I was adopted at the age of 5 by my aunt and uncle. I grew up an only child with an almost non-existent extended family. Sports provided me the opportunity to spend time with a group of people multiple times a week for a few months at a time. I didn't realize it growing up, but sports gave me the extended family that I didn't have. It gave me "brothers", if only for a season. I didn't know it, they didn't know it, but these experiences were solidifying the importance physical fitness and sports would have in my life into adulthood.


Like a lot of kids in high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. I did know, however, what I didn't want to do. I did not want to work a desk job, or anything that resembled desk work. When it came time to do my senior project in high school, I chose to coach youth football for the Folsom Jr. Bulldogs. At the time, I thought I chose it because it was the easiest and simplest project for me to do. Putting the project together, I thought something to the effect of, "What a waste of time this is. I didn't learn anything other than I can really fake a project." That season I showed up to practices and games more than I had committed to. I was always early and excited to be there to help the younger kids out. I didn't put any thought into it. It just happened. I was looking forward to being out there every single day. When it came time to present my project at the end of the year, I received extra recognition for the quality of my project from one of the people on the scoring panel. This, for the senior in high school who was taking 11th grade English for the second time.

 

After graduating high school I took an unintentional semester off before starting junior college. I hadn't payed attention during my senior year to the counselors telling us to get registered early and all the classes filled up before I could get registered. The next semester I was enrolled and ready to go. Sort of. I was there but knew I was either going to fail all my classes or....well I was going to fail all my classes. I wasn't interested in being there. I loved to learn, just not what they were teaching.


One day about 2 weeks into the spring semester I saw a commercial on TV while at the gym. Odds are I was doing chest that day. The commercial was advertising a local vocational college for health and fitness. This was a school for people who wanted to take personal training seriously and make a profession out of it. Flash forward a month and I had dropped out of junior college and enrolled in Bryan College. Here, I was the nerd. I was the guy studying extra and asking clarifying questions in class. Who knew I had it in me? To be honest, I did. I knew I just needed to be in a room talking about things that I was actually interested in. And this room, talking about the implications of a 4-week strength training program on novice general population clients, was a room talking about things that interested me.


Flash forward 18 months, and I just finished coaching my third season with the Folsom Jr. Bulldogs. I was training 30+ athletes from the program, and the business that would become Victory Performance Strength & Conditioning had begun. I graduated from Bryan College early and was pursuing my Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology as a transfer student to California University of Pennsylvania. At this point, it had become apparent that this was the path I was going to pursue. I was going to train athletes and general population clients.


At this point I hadn't thought about having my own facility. After 7 years of sub-leasing from other gym I owners, I finally opened the first Victory Performance Strength & Conditioning location in April 2017. The gym was 1,200 square feet. Tiny and huge all at the same time. Tiny in size, huge in what it represented. I had seen this venture through to the point of finally having my own gym! A dream that started 7 years prior was finally a reality! 7 years later we are now in our second location, a 4,000 square foot facility that is incredible and a dream come true!


You see, I opened Victory Performance because fitness, performance enhancement, and coaching are my life's passions and having a facility like ours allows me to blend those passions into one incredible opportunity. The opportunity to help others improve their health and function. The opportunity to help high performing athletes find the next level they can get to. The opportunity to help my parents, and people like them, live life with vitality and independence in their "golden years". I opened Victory Performance because I want to help people. People like you.


-Robert Gray

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