MOST FIT JANUARY 2008 – At the peak of his game

At 45, Ralph Rajs has been a health club industry power player for a long time. But he’s been committed to a healthy lifestyle even longer. Meet the January 2008 Most Fit Health Club Professional in America.

With his hectic schedule as the Vice President of Operations and Wellness for Leisure Sports, Inc., it’s amazing that Ralph Rajs has time for breakfast, much less IronMan competitions. But for Ralph, his job is just an extension of his passion for health and fitness.

“I believe that being fit and healthy makes you better at all the parts of your life,” he says. “It makes you a better worker, a better father, a better husband, a better person. Keeping your body strong gives you the strength to pursue your passion.”

Ralph fell into the health and fitness industry during his college days, when he was studying nutrition and working at a hospital. He started working in a health club and was immediately struck by the connection he felt.

“The members were friendly, and they loved to talk about the healthy lifestyle,”Ralph says. “They were positive and upbeat and excited, and I just knew this was where I wanted to be.” Ralph has been working in the health and fitness industry ever since. He joined Leisure Sports, Inc., in 1990 and served as general manager of ClubSport Pleasanton before his promotion to Vice President in 2005.

Now at 45, Ralph might just be in the best shape of his life-and he’s glad if his healthy life inspires other people to live healthier lives, too. “Now that I am 45, I think people see that I’ve been able to maintain a level of fitness, that fitness is something that they can maintain, too. When you’re in your 20s, people see you’re fit and kind of think, sure, you’re 20, of course you’re in good shape. But being able to maintain that level of fitness is something anybody can do if they’re willing work at it.

Ralph often works out as his own club, which he says is a big plus because he gets to experience things exactly the way his members do. “I’m doing laps in the same pool, showering in the same locker room-it’s easy to understand what members want or where something could be improved because I’m not just overseeing the club, I’m actually using it.”

Ralph is modest about inspiring other people, but he’s serious about being his own inspiration. “I’ve got to inspire myself to have the discipline to work out every day. That’s how you stay fit-you get out there every day, when it’s dark, when it’s rainy, when your legs hurt. You just have to push yourself to take the step, to make the commitment and stick to it. I remind myself how good it makes me feel, my body and the way I feel about myself. And I get out there and do it.”

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