Has any family member inspired you in your professional path? Yes, my step-father certainly did. He was a marine who piqued my interest in military and service to my country. And my dad inspired me with an ironclad work ethic, that “never say die” approach to what I’m trying to accomplish.
A Conversation with Randy Hetrick, TRX
What has been the greatest lesson you learned while a Navy SEAL that benefits you in your TRX business now? Why?
Where did you grow up?
Probably, if I had to give just one, it is the value of leading from the front, leading by example. I use that every single day in my business now. I’m always striving to have my teams see me, executing the things they watch me do, delivering the kinds of behavior and disciplines that I do. That is what I hope my team emulates. And the value of a highly motivated and diversely assembled team, because that is what the SEAL community is all about.
I grew up in Southern California, near the beach.
In which way do you consider yourself as an innovative creator?
Do you think your background has influenced the building of your TRX program? If so, what specific element in your background is most pervasive?
I think I’ve always been a bit of an agitator for productive change, so finding solutions to problems that present themselves has always been a part of my nature. I have an innovative, optimistic view of life. I think when you marry the organic sense of agitation and eagerness to embrace change with an optimistic view of the possibilities, you have the stuff for good innovation.
When you were a child, what did you want to become? Like most kids, I thought I would become a professional athlete. In a way I did, by becoming a professional tactical athlete in the SEAL games, and somewhat of an athlete in the business world.
I think being an athlete all through my life was certainly a large factor that influenced my development and interest in physical training. In college I majored in history, which is what got me interested in the military. Then serving 14 years as a SEALs commando definitely influenced me and made me want to develop a company that was focused on physical and tactical training. My time leading the SEALs gave me a lot of business training. Is there one thing you have done that you would consider your greatest masterpiece? There’s no question that my greatest achievement is my 11-year-old son. Nothing comes close to that.
Are you ever afraid you will run out of inspiration and creativity in your job? Well, I have my moments during some weeks when I feel like my inspiration may need a little kick in the pants. But, no. For the most part it’s not so much a problem of running out of inspiration or new ideas, as it is just not enough hours in the day or bandwidth on my team to accomplish the things we see as new opportunities.
What is the most difficult part of your job? One of the most difficult parts is trying to accomplish a lot with perpetually limited resources. And the other is maintaining great communication throughout the organization as it grows. That is a challenge. What is the most fun part of your job? Everyday we come to work with the opportunity to write a new story. The opportunities are limitless at TRX, so everyday is something new for us. How do you expect the fitness industry to change in the future? I think that people are coming to the realization of what you donâ€™t need. Great fitness can be had anywhere if you understand what your goals are and how to build a program to achieve them. In the past, there was the view that you had to go into the gym and have certain machines or cardiovascular training platforms, like treadmills, to be able to get a great
workout that delivered results. That was a myth largely created by the gym industry to try to get members in the door. I think now there is a certain democratization of training knowledge, a proliferation of small, functionally-oriented resources that allow people to get a great workout anywhere. Fitness and life are merging in a way that never existed before. Do you think in the future you will attribute even more with a positive influence towards the healthcare obesity crisis in the world? Absolutely. Our mission at TRX is to democratise world-class training. Thatâ€™s our mission. This means making the same tools and know-how which serve the most elite athletes available to anyone, anywhere. By doing that, of course we expect to influence the populationâ€™s general wellness, a portion of which is obese and another portion whose functionality is declining as a result of aging. We want to contribute to an overall good sense of wellness throughout life.
“Keep making your body your machine!”
Do you have any plans for the creation future masterpieces? Well, we have many future masterpieces on the whiteboard, but those I will keep a secret for the moment. There is one, thought. I don’t know if we’d call it a masterpiece, but maybe a masterstroke when we achieve it. We’re bringing together the different segments of our business: government/military, fitness/ training professionals, commercial fitness clubs and home users. What we’re starting to do now is use technology to bring all those users together in a way that is beneficial to all of them. For example, when a home user buys the TRX equipment, we can then get them in touch with a TRX trainer in their area who will give them a free introductory lesson to help them become successful. We can also make them aware of gyms in their area that are offering TRX classes, so that they
can experience a group environment. So we’re trying to bring together the various customer bases that TRX serves so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Do you have a favorite innovative creator — in food art, performance art, photography, music, design, etc? If so, why is that? What special quality do you like in his/her work? Like many, one of my favorite innovators of all time is Steve Jobs from Apple. What he accomplished was so remarkable on so many levels, with such amazing innovations that have fundamentally and permanently changed multiple domains of human activity for the better. I’m not sure there’s ever been anyone in modern time who has had a greater impact on so many different areas. He was a visionary who saw what could be for tomorrow.
Would you like to collaborate on a project with another innovative creator or do you have a favorite company with whom you would like to work?
Do you follow any philosophical or psychological approach in creating your masterpieces in your TRX business or with other inventions?
Yes, there are a few. I love the Virgin brand and really admire what Richard Branson has done. I think it is an incredibly strong brand and one that we did work with in the Virgin athletic clubs in the UK. I also very much admire Kevin Plank, founder of Under Armour, one of the leading, upcoming sports brands. Also, Lululemon has done an incredible job with their brand and we would love to expand our relationship with them.
Iâ€™m not sure I follow a psychological approach. We tend to spend a lot of time in the market place, talking to our customers a lot, which reveals the need and inspires solutions. If there is one philosophy we follow it is to be very responsive and very flexible in serving our customers. We are committed to making our customers happy, and sometimes that is not so easy to accomplish. But we remain committed to it. At the end of the day, that commitment has a way of coming back around to you in a positive way: your customers become your greatest ambassador and marketers.
Is there a particular personal or professional dream that you would love to see realized in the future? My aspirations on a personal level are to continue to be the best dad that I can be while I continue to build a company that brings a lot of great things to people all over the world. And to give the members of my team an amazing, fun, happy place to work each day.
If your students would ask you “What is stronger: the mind or the body?,” what would you answer? The mind, for sure. The brain is the strongest muscle in the body. Without a strong mind, the body is nothing. What are the positive outcomes of the TRX program? From a mental standpoint, TRX is generally a completely different approach by being technical and allowing you progress. Your first day is your worst day, but every day you improve. You never master it, you only practice it. I think there is an element of mental and emotional engagement that should be incorporated into a physical workout, otherwise you’re just plodding through exercises. You miss the whole point because you should be exercising the mind, body and spirit all at once. TRX offers all of that.
What is your favorite hotel? I’m in Las Vegas right now and I really like the Aria Hotel. But I tend to be more of a boutique hotel fan. What and where would be your ideal home? There are so many great places in the world, but I think I should choose a place that is reasonable to my life. I think I live in one of the greatest places ever— the San Francisco area. I recently moved across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. I think it is the most beautiful place I could imagine living because of being by the sea, the mountains and nature. Is there anything else you would like to add to this interview? Keep making your body your machine!