Every month, Club Solutions sits down with an industry expert to share in their wealth of knowledge. In the March issue, we sat down with Ori Gorfine, the president and COO of US Fitness Holdings.
1. How did you get started in the industry?
I played sports all my life but wasn’t intending to pursue a career in fitness. After getting my master’s degree, I realized life behind a desk wasn’t what I was looking for, so I partnered with an entrepreneur who had opened his first small club. We set our sights on redefining what a gym could be by introducing functional athletic training and a genuine commitment to building community.
2. What’s been a key to your organization’s success?
We take a “people first” approach to everything we do, and I’m most proud of how our members and teams have stuck by us through the past couple of years. While we continue to struggle convincing our politicians we’re essential and the only preventative health solution, our recovery has only been possible because of our people. As a growing company adding five to 10 clubs per year, it’s all about investing in and developing our people. I couldn’t be more excited about our future and the opportunities we’re creating.
3. What has been one of the biggest accomplishments of your career?
I can certainly highlight how US Fitness survived and is now thriving in this current environment, but I don’t want to only focus on COVID-19. I think for me the work being done with the National Health & Fitness Alliance and our new incredible CEO of IHRSA, Liz Clark, is transformative for this industry. Healthcare in this country is sick care and so using the past two years as a platform to redefine our industry is absolutely critical for all of us. A rising tide lifts all ships, and so uniting with other operators around the country in this common purpose is so rewarding. We all need to work together to elevate this industry.
4. What has been one of the biggest challenges you have faced in your career?
There were some extremely dark days in March and April of 2020, but the spirit of the team and their positivity through it kept me going. At one point we rented our equipment in the clubs to help our members, and seeing the way our general managers and regional managers banded together to execute this in the most difficult of circumstances was truly astounding. We all had to rely on the people closest to us. With both my family and my US Fitness family, we banded together and got to the other side successfully.
5. What are lessons you have learned other fitness professionals can learn from?
First, surround yourself with great people. There’s nothing that can replace having a team you can trust who are reliable and fun to be around. And secondly, I’ve come to recognize and appreciate that everything is solvable. It doesn’t help to overreact. With some patience, a clear mind and a team around you, you can trust all things can be solved.
6. Tell us one fact about yourself others may not know.
My life was changed six months ago when we had our baby girl, Charlotte. People like to tell you, “It’ll change your life,” but it’s honestly been transformative for me. There are highs and lows having a newborn, but the lows are pretty rare and the highs are better than I could have imagined — and last longer than I would have thought.
To learn more about Ori Gorfine, connect with him on LinkedIn.