“I went from being an addict to an entrepreneur,” says Face Pol, who wants to “throw it all out there.” The owner of the new Fit Republic supplement store — set to open Saturday, August 20, in Longmont — tells it like it is. After battling alcoholism and drug addiction, he turned his life around through fitness. Now he wants the grand opening of his franchise to be both a testament to his efforts and a model to help others.
“I was in the depths of hell and had to claw my way out,” Pol says, adding that his life had become a “live to use and use to live” situation until he finally got clean in 2007. “I was always saying, ‘I’ve got to quit tomorrow’ after I failed every UA. I had warrants out for me.... I basically just left a long, long line of destruction in my path.”
It all came to a head with one final arrest, when Pol says he was fortunate enough to qualify for Boulder County’s DUI Integrated Treatment Court (ITC) Program. With a choice of prison or an intense outpatient program living in a halfway house, Pol knew it was time to get sober.
“Once I set my mind to it, I knew I had to do it, because I knew the drugs would kill me,” he says — though at the time he didn’t know where to start or just how hard the battle would be. “I was a mess; I didn’t know what to do with myself. Up until that point, my whole focus was on drugs, just using every day.”
In order to survive, Pol says he needed to find a new outlet — and he began hitting the weights and the books. “When I first got clean I was 185 pounds, and I’m 6”2,” he explains. “I’ve been through the wringer with drugs. I wanted to get big, wanted to grow and make it part of my journey. I picked up every magazine that I could find and would just read, or research online. I latched onto the gym and fitness, and all of that focus that I had put into drugs and alcohol I channeled into my health.”
The ITC Program typically takes its participants roughly two years to finish, Pol says, but he made it through in fourteen months. Along the way, he'd gotten interested in becoming an addictions counselor, but ran into some bumps in the road due to his criminal history. He decided to instead stick with fitness and make it into a career.
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“I kept involved in the fitness industry, and in 2012 started competing in bodybuilding competitions,” Pol recalls. “That led me up to last year, when I saw that Fit Republic was offering franchise opportunities.” Fit Republic had gotten its start in Denver in 2012, too.
During his nine years of sobriety, Pol has learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to “getting big,” and he says that along with exercise and diet, education is truly important. “If you walk into a GNC or another chain, they’re all about putting product in your hands, and there’s no emphasis on education,” Pol notes. “At Fit Republic, we educate and get people into proper diet and proper exercise, so that the supplementation part is working for them.”
The grand opening for Fit Republic’s Longmont store, located at 589 South Hover Street, will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. this Saturday. Anytime Fitness will be giving away free six-month memberships; Fit Republic will be offering raffle prizes and handing out prizes; and Tokyo Joe’s will be providing food and gift cards for the day — because he eats there so much, says Pol.
Visit the Fit Republic Longmont's Facebook page for more information.