Professional Athlete to Entrepreneurship Parallels with Margaux Alvarez
It’s a harsh reality that you can’t be a professional athlete forever. For a variety of reasons, competitors see their way out of the landscape after some period of time, and have to pivot to a different form of income, and truly overall identity, as they navigate forward. However, some begin planting the seed for this transition sooner than others. Becoming a coach and launching a program are common avenues to take to remain connected to the CrossFit community, but not the only option.
For seven-time Games athlete Margaux Alvarez, it was a decision that began shortly after the 2015 season. Following her first finish inside the top ten, she spent time getting clear on her next strategic move — whether she had the time, energy and resources to invest in trying to make a run for the podium, or if diversifying her revenue streams was the next best step.
“But then, I thought to myself, what am I going to do once I finish competing? Because I’m not going to be an athlete forever. And so I wanted to be able to blend, no pun intended, the fitness and the wine — the two passions that I had,” Alvarez said. “…I love the physical labor of being on the farm, harvesting the grapes, (and) pulling the wheelbarrows to the sand. And so for me, I had to figure out how I could kind of build a business and structure around that.”
G.O.A.T. Wine was born out of Alvarez’s passion for the beverage and years of home wine production skills, appropriately so given that she’s named after Chateau Margaux (a famous wine-growing estate in France). The company was formed in 2018 with the all-encompassing slogan of “Work Hard – Wine Down”. And while there’s a plethora of hurdles and nuances in the alcohol industry that Alvarez didn’t anticipate (including trying to keep product in stock), the process of launching and growing the business has largely paralleled her CrossFit career.
“We spend more time on the journey than achieving the end goal — whether that’s standing on the podium or opening your business or getting that degree, whatever it might be,” she said. “You spend so many hours of the day in the gym trying to work towards getting stronger or losing fat, building muscle, getting a stronger core…it takes time, it takes a process to get there.
“It’s not just going to happen in one day. (The) same thing with the wine making: I have to plant the grapes, harvest them, I have to let them age in the barrel, then let them age in the bottle and the process by the time I finally open that bottle and enjoy it with friends and family — it’s the same thing. Like by the time you get that muscle up or you snatch a hundred pounds where you make it to a competition, it’s a process.”
In addition to the time investment of reaping rewards in the gym and in the fields, it’s the long days, dirty fingernails and sweat equity that feel familiar in both facets of Alvarez’s life.
“That’s something I feel like I pride myself in, in terms of the hard work and the consistency, and the ability to be hit with a no or have a door shut my face and say, all right, maybe that’s not the path I was supposed to take. Maybe it’s supposed to go this way,” she said.
“I feel like being resilient, pliable, understanding and being kind to yourself is important because that will help you receive that struggle or embrace that struggle and then figure out — how do I respond to this and then how do I take that understanding and that learning lesson and apply it going forward?”
Since launching the wine company, where initial start-up costs were largely fueled through prize money and sponsorships during her competitive run, she’s also used to her 14 years of fitness experience to launch an app, Celeste by MA, complete with programming, workouts, nutrition tips, instructional and challenges — with the first one kicking off at the beginning of December.
And, as her resume continues to grow, so does the breadth of her fitness aspirations. As a former Titan Games participant and a current woman to watch in the Tactical Games field, Alvarez is maintaining an emphasis on fitness that supports her athletic endeavors.
As for the future of her entrepreneurial ventures? The hope is to eventually build a facility in Las Vegas (her current place of residence) that serves as both a gym and wine bar. Furthermore, she hopes to build G.O.A.T. Wine to “have national and eventually worldwide distribution, and then be able to sell my brand and label to a larger company. There’s a lot more intricacies that I want to do underneath that, but that’s the end goal,” she said.
While every athlete’s journey into and out of the CrossFit world may vary in some way, there’s an overlap between what happens during their athletic career and what happens next; hopefully one that speaks to them personally. And perhaps, that’s something to embrace in its own right.
“I worked with a life coach for a good number of years a while back, and she was saying kind of with the agricultural ground, like every seven years or so is when you lay the ground and bring fresh soil back in. And that made me really think that has a great parallel because there was a period of time where I was kind of figuring out what I want to do next, and where am I going?,” Alvarez explained.
“But the seasons have changed, or the seasons of life are huge, because it does speak to who we are as individuals. We are going to grow. Change is guaranteed. So it’s exploring within ourselves or our environment (and asking), what do we want to do?”
For more on behind the scenes on Alvarez pivoting her focus from athlete to business owner, tune in to our live Coffee Break Conversation from November 18th. These weekly interviews with industry leaders are exclusive to Morning Chalk Up Rx members, and you can join here for just $1.