Jason Miller dreamed of owning his own gym. He put that dream on hold for a teaching career. Finally, his entrepreneurial spirit took over, and he was a gym owner. Well, okay, he trained clients in his garage, but it was the start of a new career—the career he really wanted.
“I told myself I didn’t want to regret and look back at 50 or 60 years old and say, ‘I should have tried that,’” Miller said. “I found the means and the type of gym I wanted to do and loved. I just told myself and my wife at the time that I would rather lose a few thousand bucks and give it a shot than look back and wonder why I never tried.
“I have been able to put so much into it because I do truly love what it has morphed into, and what it is going to be in the future. We are still changing and growing, and I am constantly trying to innovate.”
Miller began the business Cross Fit Legit in 2011 (The name changed to Legacy Athletics in 2017). A little more than two years later, he had quit his teaching job in Little Rock to run the business fulltime. There have been times of uncertainty, but Legacy Athletics has grown enough that it has moved four times. When Miller trained clients at his house eight years ago, he couldn’t imagine the spacious facility that sits at the north end of Military Road in Benton.
“It’s a good feeling to love what you do,” said Miller, who is also a Little Rock fireman. “I love it. It’s my passion, and I am proud of Legacy.”
Miller was born in Arizona but raised in Benton. He earned a kinesiology degree at the University of Central Arkansas and embarked on a teaching career. While he liked teaching, the fitness fanatic started the foundations of his small business dream. After balancing a full-time job and business, he quit teaching almost three years in.
Miller was able to rent a small space near Middleton Heat and Air in Bryant, and word spread thanks to a group of faithful clients.
“There would be times of nice growth, and there would be times just sweating bullets constantly because things were falling apart or not working the way you thought they would,” he said. “Or things were working great and then out of nowhere things completely out of your control took over.”
Times got bad enough that Miller contemplated selling the business.
“I thought I needed to get out because I was going to ruin my family,” he said. “I read a quote that said something to the effect that if you stick with things just past the point it looks like things are over, it will work out. Most people quit at that point.
“I said, ‘I am going to go down with it, I am not going to sell it.’ I just couldn’t do it. I had put too much time and effort into it. It was just crazy; it turned around and blew up. Now, we are on an amazing path and trajectory and new things are coming.”
A steady stream of clientele filters in and out of group classes and private training sessions at Legacy at different times of the day. In each group class, clients can choose from a Fitness or Performance workout. Fitness is for the beginners or folks just looking for a great workout, and Performance for the seasoned students looking to push their limits a little more.
Miller says Legacy is attracting clients from around Saline County because of the family environment that trickles down from him, manager and business partner Joey Zellers, and the coaches.
“In the beginning, it was completely word of mouth,” Miller said. “We still definitely get a lot [of clients] by word of mouth. We treat our clients well, and they can’t wait to tell their friends and family to come check us out. They share stuff on social media.”
Miller’s new online program, Rebel 7, offers patrons day-to-day nutrition and fitness coaching with the ability to work out remotely, and also allows his business to expand “around the world.” Miller paid a designer to build a website a few years ago, but he wasn’t happy with it, so he learned to build sites on his own.
Rebel 7 is a nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle program designed to be completely sustainable and mesh with anyone’s daily life. Rebel 7 is included in the membership fee, but the daily nutrition program is $20 a month extra. Longtime Legacy clients Laryssa Calley, Kenzee Wineland and Kelsey Kerhees serve as remote coaches helping clients navigate workouts and the nutrition program.
“You can work out from afar and have the remote coaching online and get the help you need,” he said. “You can communicate daily or multiple times a week.”
“I want people’s lives [to be] better,” Miller said. “I don’t just want to give them a workout. I want them to say, ‘Pretty much everything in my life is better because I was doing some of the things Jason taught us,’” he said.