Black Business Spotlight: The F.I.T. Lab and Chizel Inc.

Vee Vang /SWEETVPHOTOS Jamie and Tyrone Minor

Local fitness center focuses on healthy transformations

 “The F.I.T. Lab is an acronym for Fitness, Innovation and Transformation,” said Tyrone Minor, the owner of the F.I.T. Lab and Chizel Inc., located in Falcon Heights, MN.

Minor grew up in the St. Paul’s historically Black Rondo neighborhood. “I take pride in that too,” said Minor.

Minor’s familial background and upbringing had a profound influence upon his entrepreneurial plight, as he was surrounded by Black entrepreneurship as a youth: “I’ve had that entrepreneurial spirit even from my parents who moved from the segregated South, up North. During that time, they actually relied on Black businesses and Black entrepreneurship for survival.”

A lot of hard work, dedication and capital is goes into operating the F.I.T. Lab and Chizel Inc. businesses. Minor stresses the importance of being financially independent and how “ownership is key.”

He said, “At the F.I.T. Lab, I own all of the equipmentthe website, the name, logo, and all of those things.” He encourages other entrepreneurs to be self-sufficient by owning everything they create.

Minor is well-versed in health and fitness. He holds multiple titles and roles. He is a certified personal trainer, licensed physical education teacher and former track and field champion. He also obtained master’s degrees in applied kinesiology and sports management at the University of Minnesota.

“I started out as an elite athlete, and after I transitioned out of competing in track and field, I began training individual clients to help them reach their goals,” said Minor. At the time, he focused on building his brand, known as Chizel Inc.

The Chizel Inc. brand was established before the F.I.T. Lab came into fruition. “Chizel Inc. started two decades ago and eventually what happened is the demand for my services exceeded my ability to deliver those services,” said Minor. So, he chose to expand his business. “Thankfully,” explained Minor, “with the support of the community and other Black entrepreneurs, the support allowed us to outgrow the space.”

After Minor established Chizel Inc., he opened the F.I.T. Lab in 2013. “My first brick and mortar location was on Como and Snelling Avenue right across the street from the State Fair,” he said.

Submitted photo

The neighborhood embraced his business. “Selecting that location was intentional, because that’s only a few miles from the community that I grew up in.” Minor emphasized that he wanted his services to be accessible to everyone in the community, which reflects diverse demographics.

Three years later, in 2016, Minor relocated the business to Falcon Heights. When customers arrive at the spacious and inviting F.I.T. Lab, they can expect to be introduced to an all-star team of certified fitness professionals. Everyone works as a collective to ensure help individuals reach their fitness goals and are on the path toward a healthy transformation.

The overall mission and purpose of the F.I.T. Lab surrounds manifesting positive changes in the lives of their clients. Minor further explained, “The idea is that you first, come work on your physical health, but simultaneously you work on your mental health, spiritual health, financial, etcetera.” He added, “Ideally we hope to help people become a better version of themselves.”

Although the F.I.T. Lab and Chizel are thriving, there have been challenges along the way. Like many Black-owned businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the flow of commerce. “I’m an educator, I’ve been teaching; this is my 21st year. I’m a phy-ed teacher—if the F.I.T. Lab and Chizel are all I did, I would’ve been impacted even greater when the pandemic hit.” He was forced to utilize personal savings and received grants to help the business stay afloat during tumultuous times.

Overall, having a positive mindset is a crucial aspect of being successful. Minor said, “You have to have an unwavering confidence in yourself. You have to be willing to bet on yourself and invest in yourself. For example, I bet on myself with the F.I.T. Lab.” Also, “Align yourself with likeminded people—surround yourself with people who believe in your dreams,” said Minor.

Minor encouraged young people to “find out what you love, what you’re passionate about, what you’re talented at and then you figure out a way to make that your paycheck.”

He added, “If you create your own brand and no one else is like you, then the only competition is yourself.”

F.I.T. Lab, Chizel Inc. is located at 1583 Hamline Avenue, Falcon Heights, MN 55108. Hours are by appointment.

For more info, visit www.thefitlabinc.com or call (651) 645-5242.

About Ashley Lauren

Ashley Lauren is a contributing writer at the MN Spokesman-Recorder. She can be reached at alauren@spokesman-recorder.com.

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