Chase Ford and his wife, Courtney, saw opportunity in an old shuttered industrial building in Green Bay, Wisconsin, to pursue their shared passion for CrossFit, a high intensity exercise program that blends running, weightlifting, gymnastics, rowing and more. Here they would launch the “CrossFit One Shot” gym. “One Shot” because “you only get one shot to live,” Chase said, recalling his own military service and survival story.

Chase, a proud U.S. Marine, returned to the homeland after two tours of duty in some of the most dangerous locations in Middle East. The constant attacks from Iraqi insurgents took a heavy toll. He lost friends during combat — and he lost friends to the psychological combat of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Upon return, he transitioned to a military contractor career, training Navy SEALs on situational awareness in combat. But for Chase, the best way to escape the chaos of the battlefield was to sweat. That’s why he dove headfirst in IRONMAN triathlons, marathons and subsequently CrossFit. The intense training regimen was the perfect distraction.

“Choosing a healthy route was the best option for me,” said Chase. “I tell other vets to ‘go be healthy.’ If you sit there and mope, think about stories, it’s never a good thing.”

But after opening the gym, they felt like they didn’t know what to do.

“We had money going into a checking account, but we didn’t have a business plan or plans for ourselves,” Chase said. They reached out to Northwestern Mutual financial professional Kyle Vander Loop, CLU, CLTC, for advice on how to balance their personal and professional balance sheets.

After building a budget and addressing other basics, today, they’re working with their financial professional to build plans to grow, open new locations and launch wellness programs at local corporations.

“Beyond personal expenses and goals, we had business expenses to look at,” Chase said. “We have to pay an affiliate fee to be a CrossFit gym. We also have to pay insurance and taxes. And we would get hit with big bills and we weren’t ready. Now we have a saving and investing plan for every dollar.” 

Choosing a healthy route was the best option for me. I tell other vets to ‘go be healthy.’ If you sit there and mope, think about stories, it’s never a good thing.

Interestingly, Chase’s love of CrossFit helped him find his true love, too. During his first week at a CrossFit gym in San Diego, Chase met Courtney. Weights turned into dates and they fell for each other. Together, they had a vision for a CrossFit gym, a family and a happy life together. That’s why they also made plans to financially protect their now 1-year-old child and their young family.

“We’re very family-oriented. We encourage parents to bring their kids. There aren’t a lot of other gyms that have passion for CrossFit and family,” Chase said. “That’s definitely changed the dynamics of the gym, but it’s made us distinctive.”

Chase and Courtney work with financial advisor Kyle Vander Loop, CLU, CLTC.

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