Owner Pavel Samsinak trains over 60 clients at Czech Us Out LLC, which emphasizes nutrition and training styles to develop lean and fast muscles for sports.
Business Spotlight: Fit for Sport
Decathlon. Javelin. Bobsled. Hockey.
The sports define Pavel Samsinak’s career. As a youngster raised under communist rule before the revolution in Czech Republic, Samsinak lived and breathed athletics.
At age 10, he was drafted into a Czech sports school, where he trained six days a week, three times a day for track and field. Similar to life at a boarding school, the 24 athletic prodigies were being groomed for international competition.
Following Soviet Union occupancy in 1968, Samsinak says the country lost the military game, but it had a chance in athletics.
“We couldn’t use the army, so we used sports,” he says. “If we had an opportunity to beat Russians, we took it. So they invested lots of money in sports in order to compete and beat them.”
For Samsinak, the fruit of that labor is evident in his Springfield gym, where he works with over 60 clients on fitness and nutrition. He opened Czech Us Out LLC in 2002 and bounced around a few locations downtown before spending three years on East Sunshine Street.
Eighteen months ago, he moved Czech Us Out to French Quarter on East Republic Road.
The unique name worked on Dave Litherland, who’s put Samsinak on his morning routine the last three years.
“I actually saw a bumper sticker,” Litherland says of his first encounter with the gym.
After researching online, the former cyclist and runner connected with Samsinak’s decathlon experience. “I’ve been here ever since,” he says.
Litherland, a commercial property owner married to a Springfield OB-GYN physician, fits the bill for most of Samsinak’s clients: They want to lose weight and become a little more fit.
“I wanted to make a change,” Litherland says. “I had been cycling, but I was putting on a little more weight than I wanted.”
Heavy weightlifters need not apply here, though.
“I don’t do bodybuilding,” Samsinak says in his Czech accent, noting his emphasis on nutrition and training style develops long, lean and fast muscles for sports.
“You will lose weight, only if you eat well,” he adds. “Working out is secondary to food.”
Body smarts At the Czech sports school, academics were in the background, but the students studied math, biochemistry and physiology.
The studies triggered something that Samsinak connected to his athletic training.
“As an athlete, your tools are your bodies,” he says. “That helps me now, because I know the human body and I can help my customers accomplish their goals with their bodies.”
Before coming to America and starting his gym, Samsinak’s natural athleticism and disciplined training afforded him an opportunity in world-class competition.
He was one of 11 students to complete the rigorous school training and at 17 years old finished second in javelin at the Junior World Championship in Seoul, Korea. The mark qualified Samsinak for the 1992 summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, but a back injury sidelined him two months before the games. He still attended and supported his teammates, but his future was uncertain.
“I was kind of useless for the javelin from that point on,” he says, but then the Czech bobsled team came knocking.
“They hired me as a pusher, the last guy in the bob.”
The team’s best finish was fifth in the Grand Prix international competition, and Samsinak began winding down his athletic career. He took a trip to America.
“I came out for vacation, a month in New York City, and thought, ‘Hmm, I like it here.’ I bought a car and traveled state to state, just having fun, and ended up in California,” Samsinak says.
He worked for a Los Angeles company, Energy First, as a nutritional speaker to mid- and high-level corporate managers. Conducting daylong seminars, the food talks led to audience questions about training.
“I didn’t know what to do, so I started Czech Us Out,” he says, noting he met his wife, who studied at Drury University, and she got a job in Springfield.
Samsinak received his citizenship in 2007.
Health alert According to the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services, 1 in 4 people in Greene County were considered obese in 2011, a fairly healthy statistic compared to the national obesity rate of 27.7 percent. However, Missouri’s 30.2 percent obesity rate is sitting in the bottom third nationwide.
Samsinak says he has the formula to beat those odds.
“If you want to succeed with your goal, no matter what it is, 75 percent of the equation is food,” he says, chalking up exercise to 20 percent and vitamin supplements for the remainder.
He recommends balanced meals: “A chunk of meat, vegetables and fruit, and some good fat,” such as avocado, nuts or oils with good fatty acids.
Zero carbs? Almost.
“No processed carbs. The rule is it must be raw, unprocessed,” he says. “Also, what’s white is not good – white flour, white sugar, white potato. It breaks down too fast and increases your blood sugar.”
A friendly reminder sits on the gym’s counter. The printout lists “things not to eat” – breads, pastas, fruit juices, sugars or artificial sweeteners, and alcohol or soda – and “things to eat” – meats, fish, birds, cheeses, raw nuts, green or red vegetables, and fruits, except for bananas, pineapples or grapes.
Litherland says the gym community helps him stick to the diet plan and workout routine.
“It’s a social club here,” he says, pointing to high accountability in the group. “One thing Americans do well is that we go to our jobs. We might be sick, but we show up at work. This becomes your job, part of your day. When somebody doesn’t show up, usually you get a text message. It keeps you coming in.”
For Litherland, that’s usually five or six days a week. He is one of the gym’s unlimited annual members, which at $3,000 a year is the top tier in Samsinak’s pricing model. The six-month unlimited rate is $1,740 and payment by the session ranges from $324 for 12 sessions to $1,080 for 48 sessions.
Czech Us Out recorded 2013 revenue of $150,000, and Samsinak is projecting a 10 percent increase this year.[[In-content Ad]]