Learning The Power of Focus and Freezing with Cryofit
At The Nesting Call, we realize that wealth can be even more fulfilling when you have good health to help you enjoy it. That’s why we’re so excited to introduce you to Brian Balli and Kathy Roche, the owners of Cryofit, a cryotherapy-based service focused on helping reduce inflammation and stimulate the body’s core functions.
foundingAUSTIN: Brian, how would you describe your business?
Brian: Cryofit provides whole-body cryotherapy as well as other health and wellness services. Whole-body Cryotherapy is a unique cumulative therapy that was developed forty years ago in Japan and slowly made its way through Russia and Europe. It came to the United States a little over five years ago. Whole-body cryotherapy is a three-minute process where the user is in a cabin, essentially a stand-up tanning bed, with their head sticking out. Liquid nitrogen is converted into a vapor mist that circulates around them at very cold temperatures. This freezes the top layer of skin and causes the body to respond, stimulating the recovery process and lowering inflammation. During what we call cryostate (-166F), your body responds by pulling your blood into your core. Your veins constrict and you enter a state called hyperfiltration where your blood is being filtered two to three times more quickly than normal. Your blood is thus filtering and detoxing, as well as picking up more oxygen and nutrients. When you come out of the cabin, your veins relax and dilate and this oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood is flushed back out to the rest of your body. There’s a huge endorphin and adrenaline release when you come out of the cabin and that triggers your natural anti-inflammatories, ultimately aiding in regeneration for the next eight hours, and those effects can last for the next 72 to 96 hours.
fA: Do you have an ideal client?
Brian: Anybody who wants to take their life to the next level or do something about the physical issues they have. Somebody who wants to get rid of the pain that they’re dealing with everyday. However, all people can benefit from our therapy and we can lead our clients through programs that will help them to reach their ultimate goals.
We see a huge range of clients, from age twelve all the way to eighty. Some of them are athletes looking for recovery, while many others are seeking pain management for injuries or autoimmune disorders like fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis.
fA: What kinds of results should an athlete expect to receive from a session?
Brian: We get a lot of athletes with sore muscles full of deoxygenated blood and lactic acid. Whole-body cryotherapy filters that blood out quicker than normal, stimulating the recovery process. So they’re going to speed up their recovery time, decrease pain and inflammation in the major joints, clean up their blood, and get the lactic acid out of those muscles. This increases flexibility, which prevents injury.
fA: How would an elderly client benefit from Cryofit?
Brian: From our elderly clients we hear all about the “‘itises” (arthritis, colitis, etc.) along with Fibromyalgia and IBS—all these inflammatory autoimmune diseases. When these patients get into the cabin, their body responds to the cold by releasing endorphins—the good-feeling hormones. They block pain in the brain. So they reduce their overall pain in the short run and over a series of sessions, it lowers the inflammation in their nerve endings in order to stop the frequent flare-ups. Ultimately, they start living with less pain and enjoy longer periods in between flare-ups.
fA: Is this your first company?
Brian: No this is my fifth.
fA: What about you, Kathy?
Kathy: It’s my second.
fA: What inspired you to get involved?
Kathy: I first came to Cryofit in April 2015 while I was training for the half Ironman, since I wasn’t recovering fast enough. Then, I started coming more and more, like five days a week, while I was training for my first full Ironman. I believed in the company and the product. So I asked how I could get involved.
fA: We talked a little about Brian’s background with the company. What about your background? You said you had another company, want to touch on that?
Kathy: My first company was an equestrian training facility that I ran for five years. Then I went to get my MBA and did strategic planning and economic forecasting for Emerson. After that I was a stay-at-home mom. I got divorced after eighteen years and rediscovered myself through running and got into triathlons. Being able to find a business I believe in—it’s like a rebirth, a second life.
fA: What would you tell someone who recently got divorced after being a stay-at-home parent for 18 years?
Kathy: Start over. Pick yourself up and start over. Find something you believe in.
fA: What strengths were crucial to your success?
Brian: Well, I would say walking the walk. Not just preaching, “Live healthy,” and then going home and eating a bunch of cake. When my son was born, I was not healthy. I knew if I wanted him to grow up and lead a healthy lifestyle, then I needed to lead by example. That started slowly and has evolved into kind of always finding the best and latest technologies for healthy living. I would say that is why I’m successful at this; I’m actually trying to lead a healthy life. I’d also say, we’re successful because we have helped people and we want to help people.
Kathy: Yes, and not just the athlete. A lot of what we do appeals to the average person wanting to make a change. We help direct them that way. They want to feel better about themselves physically, spiritually, mentally, and we want to help.
fA: Where will you be in five years? What is your vision?
Brian: Making a dent in the problems of this country as far as nutrition and health goes; shifting the thinking on a larger scale and getting people to look at prevention more than treatment. I was talking to an oncologist two nights ago and he was saying, “I love what you’re doing, because if there’s some way we could get people taken care of before they get to the office, it’s a much better way to approach health.”
Kathy: In five years, I’m hoping that we are in a prominent position in Austin. That people know who we are, they know what we can offer them, and they feel very comfortable coming in. I just want to reach the community.
fA: What’s the most difficult lesson you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
Kathy: Not to take a paycheck—to pay everybody else first.
Brian: The most difficult lesson to really put into practice is to not pay attention to anyone else’s plan. To focus on what you’re here to do. Have your plan in place and focus on it—put your blinders on and move forward. If you get distracted, you’re derailed and you’re not where you need to be.
fA: What do you love about being an entrepreneur?
Brian: Having a vision and bringing it to life.
Kathy: I like the freedom that it gives you to expand your own horizons, to keep pushing yourself. You get to see what else you have to offer, what else you have to do, and be challenged.
fA: Do you have a best financial move?
Brian: Starting my first business. I invested $500 with my roommate and turned it into a 250-employee company.
Kathy: I’m hoping that it’s this one. Teaming up with Brian.
fA: What drives you?
Brian: My kids and family.
Kathy: Community. I want to build a community.
fA: What’s the best advice you received when you started your business?
Brian: I’ll go back twenty-four years: Don’t burn anyone else’s candle out, yours won't burn any brighter.
Kathy: Mine was, “Choose your partners wisely.” That’s the hardest thing about going into business.
fA: What advice would you give to an aspiring startup? Would it be the same advice that was given to you?
Brian: Oh, no. That was more of a character thing that was given to me. Advice I would give to any entrepreneur is: Put your blinders on and don’t let anybody distract you.
Kathy: Same. Also don’t be so driven that you aren’t open to hearing anybody else’s ideas.
fA: Is there something other than business that you are passionate about?
Kathy: Triathlons and doing Ironmans, half and full. I did my first full at age 50 and I loved the journey to get there.
Brian: I’m passionate about being able to feel, look, and perform your best at any age. Most of my friends who are my age don’t do the things I do.
fA: Do you have an exit plan?
Brian: It’s not a hard exit plan, but I imagine once we have developed the concept and grow it, somebody will come in, some larger conglomerate, and incorporate our services with theirs. Like the owner of Lifetime Fitness.
fA: When you hang your hat up where do you see yourself?
Brian: In Austin, Texas. With a couple of other homes in the mountains and elsewhere.
Kathy: Austin. I moved here eighteen years ago and I’m not leaving! I love it.
fA: Is there a person that inspires you or motivates you?
Brian: My business mentor who passed away was a big inspiration, Carl Petty. Big entrepreneur, he had fifty Hallmark stores and a couple of dozen hotels around the country. I knew him growing up. He was the person that told me about the candle.
Kathy: I would say my father. He joined a very small PR company and then grew it worldwide. And all that time he always emphasized it was the culture and the people that matter. It’s the people and the culture of the company that allows it to deliver a good service.