by Susane Pata
Greek philosopher Heraclitus once proclaimed, “Change is the only constant in life,” but for most people, change happens to them.” Daniel Lucas, co-founder of Nimble Fitness in Manhattan, is the type of person who will make change happen for him… and for his business… and for everyone involved.
Daniel’s life changed forever when his father, at age 46, passed away after a long bout of liver disease. With a healthy lifestyle, it could have been prevented. While he was too young to have known how to help his father adopt a sustainable healthy lifestyle that could have extended his life, his father’s passing was a transformative experience that helped shape his future path.
After earning a B.A. in Physical Education, he became a personal trainer at Crunch, spurred on by that former need to help others become and stay healthy. While earning certifications from three of the most respected fitness organizations in the country (ACSM, NSCA (CSCS), and NASM), he quickly became one of the top personal trainers in NYC, but deep down inside he knew it was not enough. He wanted to be able to contribute more to help people lead healthier lives.
Daniel sought ways to help him get after this growing desire and found that understanding the power of thought and studying some of nature’s universal laws helped him. He began to see how the universal law of attraction drew in many amazing clients. It also brought some great friends around, like Keith Pane. Daniel, a former DJ, and Keith, a singer-songwriter, discovered that they worked really well together during the production of a couple of albums and musical gigs. Daniel had always dreamed of launching his own fitness business and he invited Keith to be his business partner and accompany him on this journey. The two of them visualized creating a business where they would be able to live a life aligned with the same principles they used to coach and train clients. And both wanted to own something they could keep evolving in order to help people on a larger scale.
In 2006, Daniel and Keith opened Nimble Fitness in an 800 sq ft 12th floor space at 14th Street & Fifth Avenue and they named the company after Bob Marley’s beloved donkey, “Nimble.” It was also chosen to imply the art of being active and lively.
They were training actors, heads of major corporations, and famous film producers and directors. They also trained school teachers, physicians, and countless other working professionals. Bottom line? Everyone got the same treatment and everything was moving along for about 2 years, but Daniel knew that Nimble needed to grow and their studio was too small to accommodate Nimble's vision of creating an ever-evolving business entity that would give back in greater way. He firmly believed that “You can’t take your foot off the gas… if you do, the car slows down.”
And then the Great Recession occurred in 2008 which presented an unexpected opportunity. One of Nimble's clients told Daniel about a space a few blocks away that was significantly larger than their current studio and was available at below-market rent. The new space was located on the first floor, visible to people who walked along the street. As Daniel watched the extensive foot traffic on 12th Street, he became convinced that this was going to be the next home for Nimble Fitness.
Nevertheless, many of Daniel's and Keith's friends and colleagues wondered why they would move into a larger space during the Great Recession which they considered to be a risky move. However, for Daniel, the bigger risk was staying in a space that would not allow him to challenge himself. Sure, the new space's rent was lower than usual because of the Great Recession but it was still more expensive than their current rent. However, because their current studio was on the 12th floor, their marketing expenses were exorbitant and Daniel knew that the money that they saved on marketing would make the new space more affordable . . . and provide Nimble with the opportunity to grow.
Where others saw fear, Daniel saw opportunity. Of course, uprooting from a location where the dream was starting to come alive was certainly risky and stressful, but they persevered and, today, in addition to providing personal training, Nimble Fitness offers group fitness classes and hosts fitness education trainings on weekends. They also opened a 2nd location in the East Village last year.
Nimble also contributes to a charity every year; this year, Daniel Lucas is set to run the NYC Marathon to support Back on my Feet, which helps the homeless restore confidence, build strength and find new jobs and new homes, through running 3 times a week as a group.
Daniel re-directed the pain and disappointment that he felt when his father died into a career serving others and helping them live healthier lives.
The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively. ~Bob Marley