Ten questions with Jeff Riney, the vice president of operations for Fitness Formula Clubs.
1. What drew you to the health and fitness industry? I actually fell into the industry by chance. I was a college athlete and took a job in a club a few months after graduating, to get out of bartending. While nothing drew me to the industry, what kept me was the mix of hospitality, fitness and the energy of the club setting.
2. Throughout your time in the industry, what is one of the biggest changes or evolutions you’ve seen? The general acceptance of fitness as a lifestyle and a legitimate industry by people outside our industry. Wearable technology, significant private equity investment and cross industry marketing at the levels we have today weren’t even a thought 20 years ago.
3. What is one accomplishment you’re most proud of? I’ve been fortunate enough to see many people make a career out of succeeding in this industry. Any small part I may have played in that is humbling, but makes me proud for sure.
4. What gets you most excited to come to work every day? Enhancing people’s lives through health and fitness — making a positive difference.
5. What is one lesson you’ve learned that other health club professionals can learn from? This business is about relationships. Look at things through the eyes of your staff and your customers. The only person who cares about your vantage point is you.
6. What is one key thing you think Fitness Formula Clubs does great that other clubs could learn from? We don’t consider other clubs, gyms or studios competition. If someone doesn’t find value in what we provide, they’re not our member. There’s plenty of business to go around in this industry.
7. What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome? Government-mandated expense increases.
8. How did you overcome that challenge? It’s a complex exercise, but you have to test your price elasticity and hyper-analyze your expenses regularly. We’re always in the midst of it.
9. If you weren’t at your current job, what occupation would you have? My parents were both teachers, and my father was a coach. I guess I always wanted to follow in their footsteps. There’s many aspects of leadership that allow me to flex those muscles, so to speak.
10. Tell us one fun fact about yourself that others may not know. This is not so fun for me, but it may be fun for others to know that I have an irrational fear of birds.