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Kory Angelin has been in the HALO sector for over 10 years. He began as a trainer and worked his way up with organizations like 24 Hour Fitness, Lifetime, Equinox, F45, and is currently the COO of Volofit. "I think I've been in every position along the way," he jokes.  On the culture of an organization, he says, "A business is made or broken starting with the owner or ownership group. You're setting the tone at the top . . . the relationship between you and the customer, even before they become a client, has to be genuine and honest." He and Pete go on to discuss sales, sales training, marketing, the power of not discounting because it devalues the brand. (Apple never discounts, but they provide a gift card!) and more.  Angelin stands firm in his belief that the industry-especially now post-COVID-needs to think very hard about doing things differently. He quotes Simon Sinek, "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it."   Angelin believes everyone is a salesperson, and it's important to work hard to lose the dogma / stigma some hold around that term, how roleplaying (a favorite tool of his) can help facilitate that, and more. At the end of the day, "People want to talk about their goals, they don't want to be sold," he says. Angelin has been in the trenches and many of the tips and techniques he lays out here make this a must listen for those in the HALO sector. Click here to download transcript. 
Katie Webb was in digital partnerships for 11 years while also working as a fitness trainer and group exercise instructor. She ending up spending a lot of time at GNC and slowly started to learn the supplement industry. "I couldn't really find any formulas that were leveraging food ingredients over ingredients I've never heard of (never mind the 300 grams of caffine!) and a lot of my female clients felt the same."  That frustration eventually led to her starting Aila, the Scottish/Gaelic word meaning "from the strong place." She's raised a small pre-seed and is now moving to their next stage.  She and Pete discuss the (lack of!) quality control around the (mostly) unregulated supplement industry,  which was one of the key reasons Aila is all plant-based, They also supply all their ingredients directly from the US and do multiple rounds of third party testing. "We're doing everything we can to rebuild across the stigma this industry has. There are only 8 ingredients in all of our formulas, and everything is something you recognize, so we're doing our part in trying to make things a little more transparent," Webb states.  Aila is 85-95% female and women make up about 70% of supplement sales, so she is most certainly in the right place, with the right product, at the right time. This is most definitely a brand to keep your eye on!  Click here to download transcript. 
Rachel Raymond served as COO for five years at Indigo Ag--one of the fastest growing companies in the space--and it was there where she found inspiration to start Purpose, "A mental wellness company that leverages the science of the microbiome to help us improve our mood." One of their biggest goals is to help the consumer gain visibility into their mental wellbeing in a way that best serves them.  "What you eat impacts how you feel. That's intuitive," she states. "But one of the many reasons for that that may not be intuitive to your listeners, is because the microbes in what you eat interact with all the other systems in your body." Mental wellness is as important to manage as your physical health-- perhaps even more so--and Raymond goes on to discuss the relationship between mental wellness and stress, how the two interact, and why (a little bit) of stress could be highly beneficial.  An experienced entrepreneur with a great track record, she also touches on uses of capital, creating value to the consumer quickly, scaling properly in a multi-billion dollar industry, balancing the science with the need to get out a minimum viable product (MVP) as soon as possible, and more!  Click here to download transcript. 
A computer scientist by training, Ross Lauder, Founder of Single Focus Talent, went through an IPO with Hubspot and has ". . . worked the roles I hire for!" he states. Single Focus is a boutique executive search & career specialist for the SaaS / computer software & technology driven industries, with a focus on sales, operations and leadership roles across the EU and USA. Lauder also hosts the Global Tech Leaders podcast.  "You've got to go inches wide, and miles deep . . . and there's way too many generalists out there, they're not actually getting people the roles in the space." He and Pete discuss the current state of hiring ("there's an absolute war on talent right now!"), how he thinks about candidates, the landscape of executive search, thoughts on what to look for in new hires, a few "do's and don'ts" for interviewing, and more!  Click here to download transcript. 
Dr. Michelle Segar is author of the forthcoming The Joy Choice-How to Finally Achieve Lasting Changes in Eating and Exercise which will be released April 26, 2022. Her extensive academic research (and time "in the trenches" as a health coach) focuses on creating and maintaining sustainable "self-care" behaviors such as exercise, eating well, getting enough sleep, etc. Anyone who is in any way connected to the HALO sector needs to read this (heavily cited, well-researched & extensively documented) book. It is that powerful. Her advice is something our industry must heed if we are (finally!) going to be able to reach that 80% of the population who do not exercise or have a health club membership.  "This is a time of reckoning for the fitness industry," she states. "We need to step out with new messaging that will help that 80% rethink, relearn, and reexperience physical activity." She provides some easy, immediately actionable tips for clubs to consider implementing quickly.  Segar goes on to discuss her four TRAP's (Temptation, Rebellion, Accommodation, and Perfection) which serve as drivers (or disrupters) for certain behaviors. Take the free quiz on her website now to learn more.  An example: "In theory, people would call joining a gym to lose weight a "driver," but it actually winds up being a huge disrupter to their daily decisions to actually make it to the gym and exercise," she says. It is critical that individuals understand what their disrupters are, and that communication coming from our industry reflects that accordingly. She also briefly dives into her "POP" decision tool. (Pause - Open Up - Play - Pick the Joy Choice!) which can help us learn how to make better choices while not beating ourselves up either.  Dr. Segar's voice is a most welcome, (and critical!) one that we must all heed if we hope to actually effect real changes in our space rather than going back to "the way things have always been." The timing of this work couldn't be more fortuitous.  Order before April 26th and you'll also receive access to her live book club and some other fun bonuses!  Click here to download transcript. 
Formerly in finance at investment banks and a hedge fund, Paul O-Reilly-Hyland is currently the CEO and Founder of ZEAMO. Zeamo, "simplifies and enhances the relationship between fitness partners and fitness consumers with a digital-first approach that meets the evolving needs of the fitness industry while staying true industry partners." Currently in 2,000+ clubs, they conducted a test with McKinsey in 2018/early 2019. Currently with 100 employers on the platform (some with 40-50K employees!), an integration with Virgin Plus, and slightly over 1,000 studios on the platform, Zeamo is on track to meet Paul's goal 5,000 by the spring. "Platforms like us weren't necessarily popular. We were thought of as a discounter, and we're definitely not. We're out there to solve a problem for an employer, but it wasn't easy to do . . . We make it easy for a company to subsidize employees healthcare. We pay the clubs in usage and allow employees to actually join, and reward employees every time they go to the gym." Hyland discusses the challenges of creating and managing a marketplace (they count Echelon, Les Mills, and others as partners), how they use gamification, growth plans for the next 3-6 months, the lessons he's learned from actually running a business versus being on the banker side, and more!  Click here to download transcript. 
We're pleased to announce the recent merger of The Athlete Book into GamePlan!  "This is a huge strategic initiative for us," states Max Wessell, Chairman of the Board.  The industry leader in the space, GamePlan was founded nearly 14 years ago with the idea of helping athletes get jobs. Currently with 300+ athletic departments, over 100,000 athletes averaging ~1,400+ e-learning courses a day, GamePlan counts the NBA, NHL, MLB, NFL and others as partners. "We help an athlete move through their entire journey experiencing campus," states McCaffrey. "What better place is there than the HALO sector for an athlete to land?"  "We are Mission aligned, with Ryan" says Wessell. "We're trying to improve the student athlete experience, and a big part of that means a better outcome after college, and having employers value their athletic experience in college."  Ryan Drummond, Founder of the Athlete Book, has appeared on HALO Talks twice previously (interviews here and here) and is now part of the GP team. He touches on the (very substantial) number of benefits recruiting college athletes, "According to the National Association of College of Employers, over 80% surveyed said the number one trait they want in candidates is the ability to work in a team!" The challenge has always been, how employer brands could find their way to get in front of these prized candidates. "It's far more than just a transactional, job board approach," he continues. "It's building the relationships with the right employers who see the benefit of a proactive, long term, pipeline strategy to bring athletes into their organization and educate them at the same time."  To that end, in the summer 2022, GamePlan will launch GamePlan Academy focused on career development skills with two courses--the first on B2B sales, and the second on management training with more already in development.  There is nobody else in the market doing what GamePlan is doing and no better opportunity for HALO sector brands to tap into this incredibly driven talent pool from the beginning of their college years and beyond.  Contact Ryan Drummond now (ryan@theathletebook.com) for more information and to explore all available options.  Click here to download transcript. 
Many in the HALO sector already know Lee Hillman. What they may not know however is that prior to entering the space, he was a partner in one of the Big 4 accounting firms. He left in 1991 to serve at Bally's as the CFO, even before it was solely a health club business. He worked with Bally's until 2002, helping grow it to nearly a billion dollar company and is now and an Owner/Partner in Power Plate.  Lee has also been a director for public and private companies and is a self-professed "turnaround and distressed assets" guy. He chats with Pete about what he looks for in a new business opportunity, how you stay psychologically motivated in a distressed situation, how much runway you need, and more. Power Plate has gotten incredible traction over the past few years, and he discusses the strategy behind that as well. "I'm not coming to Power Plate as a zealot. I truly believe this is a product that can change people's lives for the better, and those around me are also just as passionate. We're here on a Mission. It's a product that, once experienced, will help improve people's lives and they'll find a way to use it." Lee concludes mentioning their 10+ year relationship with Mark Wahlberg, the research behind the product (which they never pay for), and more!   Click here to download transcript. 
Dr. Layne Norton jokes, "I describe myself as a meathead who loves science or a geek who lifts heavy things!" A highly prominent figure in the direct-to-consumer fitness and nutrition space, Norton attended the University of Illinois (perennially in the top 5 for Nutritional Sciences) where he earned his Ph.D. He went on to earn his pro card in natural bodybuilding, and became a world record holder in powerlifting, all while authoring, "conservatively over 100,000+ posts on bodybuilding.com and other various forums." With a "six figure business" coming out of graduate school, Norton is currently the founder of Biolayne, Outwork Nutrition,  Carbon diet coaching app, and author of a good number of books. And he does all of this while--much to enjoyment of his very extensive audience-- naming names and calling out the nonsense so utterly pervasive in his space. When asked how nutrition got so complicated for the general consumer he states, "There are tons of voices out there vying for your dollars. If you're doing it the right way, it's going to take time . . . and people are very impatient, so they start making bold claims because that's what gets attention."  He continues, "If I want to get healthy, if I want to change the way I look, it takes months and months, so people are always asking, 'What's the hack? Where's the trick in there?' Behavior modification is devoid in the fitness industry. We make people out to be X's and O's, but people are messy." Norton closes with thoughts on why he doesn't necessarily think government intervention into the nutrition world is the best idea, the state of fitness in the USA, serving sizes, marketing, modern news media, scaling his business, how he defines success, and more.  There are relatively few people in the D2C space that are as qualified as Dr. Norton, never mind his willingness and obvious passion to continuing to myth bust, name names, and educate those who have found him. This is a must listen, but with a caveat: Be prepared to examine your own beliefs because, as Norton is often fond of saying, "Data is greater than your feelings" and not everyone likes to hear that.  Click here to download transcript. 
Now with 15 years in the HALO sector Founder of YBell Fitness, Aaron Laurence, found his calling and career relatively late at 35 years old.  He jumped immediately into small group training. "The one challenge I faced was around the equipment I was using," he states.  "Setting up a whole lot of stuff in the morning for 30-40 people was quite a bit of a challenge!" Host Pete Moore has stated many times that the best businesses / solutions are often born from a Founder's frustration, and the YBell's genesis (and quick scale!) are proof of that. Industry veteran and seasoned marketing & advertising executive Mark Livingston explains how YBell has managed to actually grow in the middle of COVID and how they've increased business internationally. "We were one of the only companies that actually had product," he states. He continues and chats about how, in certain ways, the pandemic has even made them a better company! This extremely ingenious piece of equipment (with top-notch content provided as well) deserves strong consideration from everyone to distributors, club buyers, fitness professionals, and more.  Click here to download transcript.
CEO & Co-Founder of Boutique Fitness Solutions, Julian Barnes joins a rare club of HALO Talks guests making their second appearance! (First one here.) We're proud to join him at BFS's 4th Summit, April 28-30, 2022 at the Westin Times Square.  In a quick "state of the industry" after 2 years of COVID, Barnes tells us according to IHRSA, 30% of the studio market is now closed unfortunately. He discusses why that is and more importantly, what those studios who've remained (and in some cases, thrived) have done differently.  In terms of some thoughts on the future, Barnes states, "Digital isn't going anywhere. We're very much at the beginning. Virtual is not intended to be a national brand. Most studio owners aren't trying to compete with the Peloton and Daily Burn's of the world. They've realized that the role of virtual in their business model is to support existing clients . . . 80% of the industry is run by studios with 3 or fewer locations."  The BFS 2022 Summit has tracks for CEO's (their invite-only CEO Summit) as well as for Managers and other employees all under one roof with top speakers from across the country. Register at the links above, and hopefully we'll see you there!  Click here to download transcript. 
Jared Hanley is the CEO and Founder of NatureQuant, a company that "quantifies" nature in a sense. In a nutshell, their tech assesses and promotes nature exposure. Hanley's background was in finance using big data, analytics, and machine learning . . . but he's always been passionate about the outdoors. "I wondered why do we feel so good when we get outside? I wanted to apply my skill set in that area. Nature never had any real data attached to it, it never had any kind of measurement, and I thought it was a huge opportunity," he states.  They have found very strong associations between certain natural elements and many positive (or negative) health aspects. "Nature prescriptions" have existed for a long time in many Asian and European countries, but only recently are starting to gain traction in the USA.   Listen now to learn what the most influential environmental factor is, possible uses for the HALO sector, their upcoming app (NatureDose), how policy makers, insurance companies, and others are beginning to realize how important nature prescriptions are to the healthcare continuum, and much more. This is a fascinating company and a must listen for anyone in the HALO sector.  Click here to download transcript. 
Keith began his career in the HALO sector from the ground up working as a commission-only salesman at a Powerhouse Gym in Augusta, GA. He slowly became interested in the tech side of the business as well--which was "pre-Windows" era when you had to connect computers with coaxial cables! Trawick became an evangelist for technology in the sector as the years went on. He states, "Tech companies now are trying to be too many things to too many people . . . Organizations should be allowed to have their own definitions and enact their own business processs around those definitions." He and Pete discuss the always-controversial topic of who owns what data, marketing trends that have come full circle, why we're still in the "bottom of the first" when it comes to tech compared to other industries, pricing trends (thankfully, it's no longer as much of a "race to zero" as it used to be) and more! How an organization should use tech is also critical, and is often overlooked. "Technology enhances and amplifies the core that's already there . . . and that can work to your advantage or against it, depending on how good your existing business processes are."  This is a must for anyone in the sector with an interest in tech. It offers definitive takeaways from a long time, industry veteran who has been there since the beginning. Click here to download transcript. 
Benj has had fascinating career path into the HALO sector. Currently the General Manager of the College Park Athletic Club, he's always been into sports as a kid (thanks in part to his Dad who coached in high school.) He lived in Sweden for a year and eventually became a Pastor for 7 years at a small church in Michigan. After returning east, his friend gave him a job in the club business, and he hasn't left since! On navigating COVID, Ecker states, "We're a program driven club as opposed to membership driven. Programs really drive our revenue. We stuck to the same price model we had all along." He continues on about the current trends in racquet sports (pickleball, tennis, paddle tennis), how they work internally to ensure tennis pros and trainers are on the same page, the lessons he's brought into the space from being a Pastor, the importance of addressing mental health issues in sports, why everyone should "learn how to lose and deal with failure," and more.   Click here to download transcript.
The former CEO of In-Shape, Schuler now serves as the CEO of the California Fitness Alliance, an advocacy organization working to galvanize all subsets of the fitness industry in California.  "It took this crisis to realize how important advocacy is, how hard it is to get heard in an industry that's just trying to get people healthy . . . and how much of a disconnect there is with policy makers," she states. The well-represented Alliance is also looking at other powerful, highly effective organizations (notably the National Restaurant Association) as models. As a life long marketer, Schuler opines on some critical issues which need addressing in our sector. "We need to focus less on vanity, and more on health! Google 'fitness' as an industry and it shows the top of the pyramid, which makes us look very exclusive and less essential," she states.  Anyone with an interest in where the HALO sector is going post-COVID needs to listen to this. Help support IHRSA in their Mission, support the Gyms Act, get involved in the CFA if you're in California! And perhaps most importantly . . . hold your local representatives accountable! Click here to download transcript. 
Ntiedo has had quite a career both in corporate America and as an entrepreneur. Originally from Nigeria and the Bahamas, he learned six computer languages before age 11, eventually made his way to McKinsey, founded FitGrid (originally called YourGuru) and, along with Julian Barnes (his HALO Talks here), co-founded Boutique Fitness Solutions, Etuk became interested in the HALO sector because his group ex classes helped cured him of his plantar fasciitis! However, he saw a big need that wasn't being met: "From a retention perspective, we believe that if you come to class, you're more than likely to keep coming back if you're connected to other people," he states. FitGrid is kind of an "automatic community builder," he continued. "Nobody had ever created a software that allowed you to leverage your entire community." Ntiedo discusses the challenges of building the platform from the ground up, how software should work with "real life" scenarios ("Software should help 'surface' what you need to do in person!") and more. He offers examples of other companies outside the industry he turns to for inspiration (and encourages others to do the same!) Listen until the end where he also gives us "the best business advice" he's ever received! Click here to download transcript. 
Joining us for his second appearance on HALO Talks (first interview here), Founder and CEO of Flexit--Austin Cohen--chats about rolling out their new virtual personal training platform mid-COVID and how it's been an "absolute game changer" for both their B2B and B2C customers. Virtual personal training "fits into a real white space in the industry," he states. Flexit built out their own system with features specific to the modality. Suffice to say, it's definitely not ZOOM . . . and they did so mid-COVID! Cohen discusses new revenue models he's seeing which are highly effective ("Clubs that compensate trainers the same for virtual that they do for in-person are having really good adoption internally"), as well as other metrics and best practices. "It's important for clubs to embrace how virtual now fits in with the future of bricks and mortar," he says. It should be clear to anyone in the HALO sector at this point that digital isn't going anywhere. It was coming anyway--and COVID simply accelerated that. This episode is a must for anyone who already has a digital/hybrid program in place, or for those continuing their research for a future rollout.  Click here to download transcript. 
Conor O'Loughlin, CEO & Co-Founder of Glofox, is a former professional rugby player who is taking his lessons learned on the field and finding great success in the business world. Glofox raised a "humble" $2M initially, and recently received another round for a total of nearly $25M. With a fast-growing team of approximately 200, Conor and his (initially) small team bootstrapped everything, started as a basic "professional services" company, and evolved from there.   Any entrepreneur (at any level of growth) can relate to what Conor is doing! He chats with Pete about how they came up with the Glofox name, the challenges of entering a very crowded US market from Ireland ("We came to the USA with a very narrow focus on the type of business we want to serve . . . we went, almost uncomfortably narrow"), and more.  He discusses use of funds ("We have 40% in R&D for long term planning,) thoughts on cash burn, why it's important to learn to stay no to "big fish" even if it's a great revenue opportunity ("You can do anything, but you can't do everything,") and more!  Click here to download transcript. 
An industry veteran in the sector since the early 90's, Paula Neubert has been with Club Greenwood for 19 years. A high end, massive, 150,000+ sq foot fitness resort in business for 34 years, Paula and her team have built something extremely unique in the HALO space. "We look at the competition as ways to make us better. I can say with 100% certainty that our club is built on referrals . . . it's like a family," states Neubert. She continues and discusses the critical importance of marketing messages and why, for example, they use words like "resort" or "club" versus "gym." With regards to expanding and remaining "small" she states, "Know what you do well. The more locations you have, the more opportunities you have to spread things thin, and mess up." Club Greenwood is very well known in the space, and Neubert continues to be a critical player in making that happen. This is a must-listen for anyone looking to take their facility-regardless of size-to the next level. Click here to download transcript. 
Pete Moore appeared on Matt's podcast in August, and we're excited to introduce him to the HALO Talks audience if you're not already familiar. Co-Founder of Escape Fitness and host of the excellent, Escape Your Limits podcast, Matt's company started in the UK, progressed into Poland, Germany, and 10 years ago came to the states. He trades stories with Pete about his early trade show days and how to stand out. (Hint: clothes from The Prodigy!) "We always asked ourselves how can we continue to innovate, move our company forward, and help the people we're working with? . . . The more value you continue to provide, the more likely you're going to be the obvious choice," he states. They continue on and discuss why receiving a large capital infusion too early on could be a big mistake in your company's growth, the significant challenges and differences doing business in multiple countries, where Escape is heading in the future, and more!  Click here to download transcript. 
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