You’ve read our stories, seen our bylines and maybe even hung out with us at an event or two, but who are the people behind Club Solutions? Faces Behind the Features is a series to help you better understand the writers who bring you industry news and best practices daily.
Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Peake Media and the lead editor for Club Solutions Magazine. She manages Peake’s editorial office in Louisville, Kentucky. When not working, she can be found reading or on a walk at the park, her favorite pastimes.
How long have you been with Peake Media?
10 years. This was my first full-time job post college, after a short internship with USA Ultimate. When I started at Peake Media, we had just one brand and six employees. It’s been an amazing journey to see us grow to three thriving brands, four events and 16 employees. I know this is just the start!
What is your favorite story topic to write about?
I’d have to say leadership. I love hearing from leaders how they developed their viewpoints and strategies on leading a team of people. The best part is when leaders get truly vulnerable and share instances of failure or struggle. You learn more when things go wrong, than when they go right.
What is your favorite thing about the fitness industry?
How open and willing to share everyone is. There aren’t many “gatekeepers” in the industry, which is awesome. I also love how beneficial our industry is. Many clubs provide a service that is much needed and valued.
How do you live a healthy lifestyle?
In terms of my physical health, I love to walk — Louisville’s parks are my second home — and do reformer Pilates three times per week. I also prioritize eating whole foods — fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc. — over processed foods. However, I’m not obsessive over what I consume. I don’t count macros or calories, eat treats when I want to, and find that I’m overall a much happier and healthier person as a result. In terms of my mental health, exercise and food certainly help, but I also enjoy reading and singing. Healthy relationships help a lot as well.
What’s your process for turning a bad day into a good one?
Looking for things to be grateful for. Once you start focusing on the positives, it’s hard to maintain a negative attitude.
What are you currently reading?
“An Immense World: How Animals Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us,” by Ed Young and “The Priory of the Orange Tree,” by Samantha Shannon. I also just recently purchased The Chronicles of Narnia series and am revisiting those books, since I was a child when I last read them.
What’s your go-to podcast?
I LOVE podcasts. My favorites are Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, Armchair Expert, The Huberman Lab, and Smartless.
Share the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you.
Focus on what you can control. In the past, I’ve worried too much about what other people were thinking or doing (or not doing, in some instances). I find that if I focus on myself and the things I can control — what I consume, the work I’m doing, who I surround myself with — I’m much better off and more successful. I have my lovely husband to thank for this particular piece of advice.
What is something people in the industry may not know about you?
I wouldn’t say I’m an amazing singer, but I can carry a tune pretty well. Especially when I’m relaxed and feeling confident. I can solve a Rubik’s cube in two minutes or less. And, my husband and I are expecting our first child in December 2022. We are super excited.