Former BYU cougar turns misfortune into entrepreneurship

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Kimble Jensen
Jordan Pendleton opened his gym, Performance One, in 2014. He has seen great success in training his clients since. (Kimble Jensen)

Former BYU football player Jordan Pendleton thought he would play football his entire career, but he was forced to look at other options after receiving a devastating knee injury. Since then, he has thrived in helping athletes become champions.

Pendleton, of South Jordan, Utah, has owned and operated Performance One in Lehi, Utah since 2014. He works with a variety of different clients, each with different goals. Some clients are 8-year-old kids and others are professional athletes. By taking the time to get to know each of his clients and his or her needs, he helps them each excel.

Pendleton had always been interested in fitness and training. He learned early on that success comes only from hard work and dedication.

“My dad instilled in me at a young age that if I wanted to get to where I needed to go, I needed to work harder than everyone else,” Pendleton said.

Pendleton graduated from BYU with a degree in exercise science. Knowing he needed to pursue a different career path, he participated in several internships. Ultimately Pendleton knew he wanted to train athletes one-on-one.

“I had always dreamed of being a head strength and conditioning coach at a university, but I also liked the idea of working in the private sector as well and being my own boss. I loved the idea of being able to train a variety of different sports, and not just sports but just your everyday ‘average Joe’ as well,” Pendleton said.

He always thought he would start his own gym but didn’t know how soon he would be thrown into the career path.

“I wanted to open my own gym when I was done playing football because I was super passionate about it, but my main goal was to play in the NFL,” Pendleton said. “And then my senior year when I got diagnosed with a career-ending knee injury that sent me out, that’s when I really started diving into it.”

Pendleton said owning a gym was a challenge, but his passion for helping others meet their fitness goals kept him going.

“Honestly, I had no clue what I was doing because I’d never been a businessman. I had to learn the business side of things on the fly, but it all came back to the training. It’s what I was passionate about,” Pendleton said.

His first clients came from word-of-mouth referrals. He started by taking any client he could get and saw it as an opportunity for growth.

“In the beginning, I helped a 60-year-old trying to walk again. I didn’t care who it was. I was like, ‘Bring it on.’ That’s how I got started. I just started training. I didn’t do any marketing, I didn’t do any advertising, and slowly I just started to gain clientele off of referrals, and it spiraled from there,” Pendleton said.

Now, four years later, he has seen his clients become collegiate and professional athletes. But one of his favorite clients — a busy 45-year-old-dentist— is one who was not a necessarily a natural athlete. 

“He can do things he hasn’t been able to do for the last 15 years,” said Pendleton.

Helping someone to become an athlete with little fitness background is certainly a challenge. But Jordan said the trick is to set realistic, attainable goals that keep motivation high.

“It’s important to set goals that are small, simple goals because obviously, it’s not going to happen overnight. Just making small goals and setting milestones that are reachable is the most important thing,” Pendleton said.

Morgan Kane trained with Pendleton for three years before receiving a full-ride scholarship to play basketball for Iowa State University.

“Jordan has helped me not only develop as a basketball player but to better develop as a person by teaching me to never give up and to push myself and never stop until you get the desired outcome that you want,” Kane said.

BYU defensive back Koy Harris said Pendleton and his team helped him get right back to where he left off after serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“His program really helped me to get my legs back after my mission. His program works,” said Harris.

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