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Jarrod Saracco: The Bottom Line

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Jarrod Saracco

Every month, Club Solutions sits down with an industry expert to share in their wealth of knowledge. In the October issue, we sat down with Jarrod Saracco, the COO at World Gym.

1. How did you get started in the fitness industry?

I had my first job as a fitness attendant at 17 years old, during my senior year of high school. I worked an evening shift on Wednesdays and did the all-day Saturday shift. The gym was about an hour from my house, so I commuted an hour each way for my first job. I was definitely committed. I would leave right from school when class ended on Wednesdays and worked until close, which was around 10 p.m. 

2. What’s been a key to your organization’s success? What are you most proud of?

As a brand, we’ve been around for 45 years. I think that speaks volumes as to who we are and what we’ve stood for. Granted, I’ve only been with World Gym for just over a year, but our rich legacy of being a serious fitness brand has stood the test of time, and it’s about to get even stronger. Right now, I would have to say I’m most proud of the resiliency of our franchisees and their dedication to bouncing back in a big way after a year of this madness we have all faced. I’m proud of them and how they have fought, responded and innovated to stay alive and to keep serving their communities.

3. What has been one of the biggest accomplishments of your career?

Taking on the role of COO for World Gym is at the top. To be at the helm with the CEO of one of the world’s legacy fitness brands is truly an honor, and I am committed to making the most of it for the brand, its franchisees and our industry. Having my own consulting company for as long as I did prior to this opportunity really provided some great moments, too. I’ve been able to do some awesome things during my career. I love being a presenter. But to be honest, the thing that really gives me the most joy and satisfaction is seeing people I have coached and mentored being successful and doing great things. That’s just the best feeling in the world, knowing I may have had a small part in that.

4. What has been one of the biggest challenges you have faced in your career? And how did you overcome it?

One of the biggest challenges in my career was when I had my own gyms. I was young and had just ventured out on my own as a gym owner at 22. I had a business partner and due to some bank issues, we had to bring on a third partner who I really didn’t trust. Turns out, my instincts were right. He really caused the business and myself some harm. Financially, I took a major blow, but I never lose — I win or I learn. And learn I did. To this day, working through it all and figuring things out during that very difficult time only served to make me better at what I did moving forward. I can’t tell you how many times that experience played into advice I gave to clients.

I overcame this through patience, persistence and hard work. I refused to let that person take away my integrity or my career. I refused to be beaten and I figured things out and was able to recover. My consulting business was born during this time, and I have never looked back.

5. What is one lesson you have learned that other fitness professionals can learn from?

Don’t allow your life or your business to be defined by mistakes. Those things happen. They always will. But the question is, do you learn from them, or do you keep making the same mistakes over and over? I see plenty of executives and others who are afraid to make decisions because they don’t want to make a mistake. Taking calculated risks are necessary in business. Yes, you will not get it right 100% of the time. But you will always learn from those decisions, and it will make you stronger and better in the long run. 

6. Tell us one fact about yourself others may not know.

I can swing dance a bit. That “skill” has served me well through the years. 

To learn more about Jarrod Saracco, connect with him on LinkedIn.  

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Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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