Several months ago, ok, maybe a year ago, I was inspired to start a blog series called "Boss Lady". The mission behind Boss Lady is to inspire young women (and men) to follow their instinct/talent/passion and become entrepreneurs. 
My team and I are reaching out to all the woman owned businesses that inspire and amaze us on a daily basis. We will start with a brief background, then dive in to the nitty gritty of running a business, what keeps them inspired, and everything else in between. 
Rene and I met when she and Collin attended a Local First AR event at my shop last year. I immediately learned that these two ladies are all about supporting all things local and empowering people. I am so happy that we have all become friends! Meet Rene Hooper, I promise her story will inspire you!

I was born in Louisville, KY in not the most ideal living conditions as so many others. My neighborhood was referred to as the ghetto by the fancy people in the big houses on the other side of the road. I was smoking by 6th grade. At 11 years old I could name almost every house on the block by what drug you could buy from it. When the phone rang, someone was more than likely calling for their drugs. By 15 years old I started contemplating if life was worth living and decided that I owed it to my baby brother and sister to show them a better life. I knew it was possible because I had family that figured it out. I got my first job at a restaurant. I knew this life worth living was going to require a college education so I started saving and doing everything I could to earn all the scholarship money possible. I also knew it required getting away from the drug infested hood I was in and abusive step father. I moved to Memphis to live with my “Mammaw & Pappaw”..arguably the best people on the planet. I honestly believed Mammaw was an Alien because she was way nicer than other humans and obviously wasn’t an angel because she didn’t have wings!

I attended Houston High School that had won State the past 3 years in Cross Country and had a HOSA program. With a clear goal of earning athletic and academic Scholarships to become the best Physical Therapist I started job shadowing PTs at 12 years old. In 2002, after a long fight against Breast Cancer, my #1 fan Mammaw passed away. This lit a desire in me to value nutrition like my life depended on it. I decided to Major in Dietetics and Pre-Med with an emphasis in Physical Therapy at UCA. Here I also ran D1 Cross Country and Track and even had the honor of assistant coaching the team my fifth year! This is where I fell in love with coaching.  Throughout my time job shadowing and working as a PT Tech under some incredible DPTs in every setting I realized I was much more interested in teaching people good movement and progressing that into whatever level of fitness they desire rather than rehab for a limited time.

After college I packed everything I decided was worth keeping in my car and drove to Colorado to be a White Water Raft Guide living out of my car! This may sound crazy but I guarantee you I felt more rich than any wealthy “Custie” that entered my boat that summer. I grew up knowing I would start my career earning $75k/year as a DPT... After swallowing the conclusion that I would be more fulfilled spending my days coaching (NOT $1 guarantee there...) why not be a homeless river rat to test the waters. :) I highly recommend this!

My incredible spouse Collin, our 7 year old Braden and ridiculously spoiled cat Mary live a pretty simple life in North Little Rock. She compliments me as much as Crave - Fuel for Life compliments my CrossFit gym, I’m alright alone but so much better together! When we’re not working we’re probably tackling some outdoor adventure, testing Crave recipes or traveling!

I wouldn’t change much about my past because it’s what has instilled in me the resolve to accomplish whatever task is at hand with integrity. A life worth living for me is full of good people and the health and fitness to experience life to it’s fullest. What I’ve learned more than anything through my broad health and fitness education is awareness of what I don’t know and an appreciation for those that excel in their practice. When it comes to our members, I keep a tight circle of the best providers around that go above and beyond. Results are so much better when we can work together.

  1. Give us your elevator pitch. At CrossFit Align we believe the Quality of your Health determines the Quality of your Life and there’s nothing more important than that. We aim to equip you with the Health and Fitness you need to live life to it’s fullest. We offer this to you through coaches that believe optimal performance follows quality of movement, honest nutrition advice that will get you to your aesthetic goals while most importantly strengthening your immune system and a community that leaves your day better simply by being around such great people. At CFA, we’re interested in you living life to it’s fullest at every stage of life...we’re in it for the long haul so you can be.
  2. What is your business? CrossFit Align
  3. When did you start your business? August 2014
  4. What inspired you to make the leap? The love of coaching and desire to get people moving well.

  5. What helps you get started each morning? Coffee, diet coke, 10 mile jog, meditation?? A Green drink and coaching the 5:15am Breakfast club!
  6. Tell us about a day in the life of running your business.  I wake up at 4:40am to Coach the 5:15am class, knock out a little computer work before swinging home to take our little guy to school. Back to the gym for some computer work or various projects we have going on. Mid day is usually full of meetings or Personal Training sessions. 3pm has evolved into “Coaches Hour” at CFA. I love this because it allows the evening Coach to have someone to workout with as well as an opportunity for us to get together and discuss current obstacles at the box or test out different workouts.
  7. What keeps you motivated?  The members. Hands down.
  8. Describe your dream day.  Exactly how it is now but with more frequent vacations full of adventures.

  9. What is your greatest strength/super power? Probably getting injured people not just back, but better than they were pre-injury. This often involves working with a great DPT as a team.
  10. Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat? Facebook and Instagram.
  11. What do you do in your free time? (ha! What is free time?!) I feel most at ease on the water.
  12. If an investor gave you 1 million dollars to use toward your business, how would you spend it? I would add a second location and invest the rest into full time career opportunity and continuing education to the entire staff.
  13. What’s the biggest risk you ever took; how did it go? Not becoming a DPT...I’d say pretty great!
  14. Name something you hate doing but have to do for the good of your business. How do you make it tolerable? Running charges.
  15. How do you handle discouragement? Discouragement typically drives me forward faster.
  16. Which iconic person inspires you? My partner Collin. She’s the toughest person I’ve ever met hands down!
  17. Do you have a favorite, inspiring quote? Always leave a place better than you found it. The same for people.
  18. If you could choose anyone to pick as a mentor, who would you choose? Ida Rolfe and Carl Paoli
  19. Who are you in your next life? A cat!
  20. Any secrets on how you balance the ins and outs of running a small business?  Forcing myself to get away. Taking a vacation even if only for the weekend and involves dropping into another “BOX”, CrossFit gym. Just get completely away at least once a quarter.
  21. What’s the best advice you have for other women wanting to be entrepreneurs?  If the first thing that comes to mind when you consider being an entrepreneur is “ I get to be my own boss” or “I make my own hours”, you probably would not be happy as an entrepreneur.  Read The e-Myth Revisited and invest one year of your life interning for someone that has the career you want. Do everything they do...especially what you don’t want to. Live on no more money than they did their first year. If this means it’s an unpaid internship and you have to get another part time job to cover your that. If you’re still happy, dive right in!

Visit CrossFit Align in person
at 4150 Heritage Drive, North Little Rock, AR 72117
on social media:

All Photos By: Saira Khan

August 28, 2017 — Brandy McNair

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