The Luxuria Lifestyle Interview: How This Retired Navy Seal Turned his Second Act into a Multi-Million Dollar Business Empire.
As a Navy SEAL Squadron Commander, Randy Hetrick was a member of the most elite fighting force on the planet. While on deployment overseas in 1997, he was looking for a way to keep his body in peak condition. Using only parachute webbing, a jiu-jitsu belt he accidentally packed in his bag and his body weight, Hetrick devised a workout system that is now the global leader in fitness known as TRX. Used in more than than 60,000 clubs and training facilities worldwide, this suspension-training workout system has become a multi-million dollar fitness phenomenon. Luxuria Lifestyle sits down with this innovator and visionary to find out more.
What did your experiences in the military teach you that helped you grow your business?
Most of the things I know about how to grow a business came from my experiences in the Navy SEAL Teams, learning how to organise a group of ordinary individuals around a common mission to accomplish truly extraordinary things.
And along those lines -how is ‘accountability’ one of the most important things you took from it?
Accountability is a thing found in surplus inside elite combat units. Everyone wants to man the wheel and is eager to own the outcome. Soldiers are steeped in accountability and ownership from the day they enter service and it only increases as they rise up the chain. I haven’t found that basic truth to apply as broadly in the civilian marketplace—especially when a plan hasn’t worked as well as might have been hoped.
But when you think about it, basic accountability—the desire to run one’s show and own one’s results—is the fundamental building block of accomplishment in ANY organisation of humans. With accountability, the organisation can promulgate approaches that work and it can diagnose and fix those that don’t. Without accountability, you’re just a block of driftwood bobbing along in the tide–with a few worried rats clinging to it, hoping to make landfall–and blaming each other for how they all got there, to begin with.
How has our modern fitness culture and the influence of filtered ‘fit-spiration’ stars on Instagram set us up for unrealistic ideas about what it means to be fit?
Look, the great thing about true fitness is that it is highly personal and NOBODY has a monopoly on it. While I appreciate that some super-fit cats work hard and want to show off the results of their efforts, I do have misgivings that their posts may alienate the majority of ordinary people (ie. People with real jobs and family responsibilities) who see them.
The reality is that the vast majority of freakishly fit, super ripped fitness influencers in Instagram are: 1) Single; 2) Marginally employed, and 3) Hungry. In my humble opinion, being fit means moving one’s body on a regular basis, eating as healthfully as one’s life accommodates, and feeling good about the investments in time that one dedicates to exercise. At the end of the day, the only thing we REALLY own is our body and our ability to move through the world doing what makes us happy for as long as possible. Shredded abs and body-builder muscle definition are ephemeral for all humans. Fluid, confident, pain-free movement and full functionality well into old age is the long-game that’s really worth playing.
What is it about TRX that makes it for ‘everybody’?
While we all come in different shapes and sizes, everyone has a body. The TRX Suspension Trainer harnesses the weight that we each carry around on our two feet and lets us use it as the resistance to power literally thousands of exercise movements and variations–simply by leaning back and lifting our bodies against gravity. At TRX we’ve gotten really good at putting together workouts for people at all different levels of fitness—from seniors to people recovering from surgery to regular folks trying to stay fit, to Olympic athletes gunning for the next world record—we all have the opportunity to choose the movement and level of challenge that is just right for us as individuals. And the TRX works literally anywhere: in the gym, at home, or out in the park. As we’ve been saying for years, our straps enable anyone to “make your body your machine.”
One of the aims of The ANYBODY, ANYWHERE campaign is that it is inclusive and works to ‘build a sense of community’ – how important is that – teamwork – when you’re trying to get people to commit to a workout routine?
The best possible environment for a workout routine is to exercise with other people who you enjoy. And the TRX does that, inside the gym or out in the world. But the real key to feeling the inspiring results from exercise is doing it regularly. 20-30 minutes per day, 4-5 times per week is a great place to start. So you have to pick a place and time that works with your life. The great thing about the TRX Suspension Trainer is that it goes wherever you want to go and it’s ready whenever you are. By removing the traditional barriers of geography, expense and fitness-level we’ve unlocked fitness for everyone, everywhere. And that’s a pretty cool thing.
What do you think intimidates people about the idea of ‘suspension training’? what do you wish they knew about it?
When you see world-class athletes training on a piece of kit, you can assume (in this case, wrongly) that the tool is only for those at the elite end of the spectrum. Ironically, many of our biggest advocates in the world of professional sport learned about the TRX from their physiotherapists when they were recovering from an injury! The reality is that our customer base is roughly 54% female and the ages stretch from 9 to 90. TRX has become one of the most popular forms of senior fitness in North America. I didn’t anticipate that when I created it but I’m sure happy that they found it! And if they can do it, so can everyone else with a body.
What are you most proud of in your professional life?
I came into the 50-year old health & fitness industry with a crazy strap and a surplus of belief that my team and I could positively influence the lives of tens of millions of people by democratising access to world-class fitness. 15 years later, we’ve accomplished that. And we’re really just beginning to hit our stride. That makes my parents proud, which makes me proud too.
What would be your top advice to anyone who is looking to build a business based on an idea as you have so successfully done?
1) Create a product that provides a solution to a real problem. I can’t tell you how often I see people trying to hawk some “solution” that’s desperately in search of a problem.
2) Focus on innovation rather than imitation. Innovators always win in the end.
3) Surround yourself with great mentors and work to build a strong network
4) Never quit. When people ask me for my “secrets to success” I always answer that I’m as resourceful as a coyote and as tenacious as a cactus plant. Those may be my only real talents.