Ep. #6 - Dave Rafuse on Sales Skills, Starting a Gym & Why Team is the Most Important Thing


"...one diet is not perfect for everybody. One workout routine is not perfect for everybody and you know everyone's got different goals and there's a lot of testing that comes into play when it comes to like how we get people to their goals. But at the end of the day like the two common factors that you know are needed no matter what your goals are is that the actual training aspect - like the time that you spent in the gym - it's hard, like it never gets easier. So you've got to put the hard work in. And on the nutrition side, which is probably 80 percent of the answer, no matter whether your goal is performance-based or you want to lose weight or whatever it may be. You know what do you do in the kitchen's the most important thing" - Dave Rafuse

This episode’s guest is Dave Rafuse, the owner of Blended Athletics, a primarily CrossFit gym in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Dave is a graduate of Saint Francis Xavier University with a Major in Human Kinetics and a Minor in Chemistry, and began his business career at Pitney Bowes in Halifax, where he spent two years doing outside sales. 

He then moved to Vancouver and continued his career with Johnson & Johnson as a Territory Business Manager, where he won National Rookie of the Year, and later the President’s Club Award in 2011.

In 2013 he decided to blend his passion for business and fitness by opening Blended Athletics. Blended Athletics offers personal training, CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting in a 9600 square foot, state-of-the-art training facility. 

He was recently accepted in to the Entrepreneurial Leaders Program of the Wallace McCain Institute at the University of New Brunswick (ELP10).

In this episode, we cover Dave’s beginnings in sales, some of the habits that made him successful in that field, why he started a gym, and why he’s passionate about fitness and business.  

Joining Dave is my longtime friend Matt Taylor, who introduced us, and is now a trainer at Blended Athletics.

Where you can find Blended Athletics

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Where you can find Dave & Matt

Selected links from episode

Show notes

  • Where Dave grew up, and what he was like in high school [2:07]

  • Why Dave chose to study kinesiology and chemistry at St. FX [3:25]

  • Where Matt grew up, and his time from high school to today at Blended Athletics [7:26]

  • How Dave & Matt met, and how Dave developed coaching and team leadership skills [8:22]

  • How Dave got into sales after university [14:09]

  • Dave's experience moving across the country to work with Johnson & Johnson [21:13]

  • Why Dave decided to move back to Nova Scotia and open a gym, and his preparation [28:10]

  • What the first few months after opening was like at Blended [33:01]

  • How marketing for Blended has changed over the years [38:43]

  • The metrics the marketing team tracks [43:12]

  • Dave's advice for those thinking about setting up a gym or new business [47:38]

  • Matt's experiences playing high level rugby [48:57]

  • Why Matt was attracted to Blended, and the role Dave played in recruiting him [53:27]

  • Some of the obstacles Dave encountered when expanding Blended [56:57]

  • Dave's vision for Blended, and their current focus [1:02:06]

  • Favourite out-of-gym activities for Matt & Dave [1:05:17]

  • How Matt and Dave start their days [1:05:57]

  • Dave and Matt's favourite recent purchase under $100 [1:08:25]

  • The worst advice Dave and Matt hear being dispensed in the fitness industry [1:10:54]

  • A failure that set Dave and Matt up for later success [1:14:28]