Anthony Renna cut his teeth in the fitness industry at Equinox in Scarsdale many years ago. He later went on to develop one of the country’s first facilities dedicated to golf fitness, Five Iron Fitness, back in 2008 in White Plains. With the success of this business, another business blossomed — an educational platform to help those in the fitness industry. Most recently, his book, “Be Like the Best — A Guide to Reaching the Top of the Fitness Profession,” debuted. Anthony chose 50 top fitness professionals from across the country to provide their insight on how to succeed in the industry. I was fortunate enough to be on the list. I recently sat down with Anthony to discuss the book:
What inspired you to write “Be Like the Best”?
“Being in the fitness profession for 15 years and witnessing so many trainers come and go really bothered me. The industry was losing so many amazing people who do so much to help people change their lives.
According to some of the industry research, there is a 40% turnover rate in the first year.
Trainers are well-intentioned but because of the nature of the profession (long hours, split shifts and low pay), being a trainer can lead to burnout.
But it’s not only the profession’s fault. Too many people are drifting without any clear path or vision about their future. That’s like driving to somewhere across country without a GPS. You just drive around and hope you run into your destination. That’s not the best plan.
A few years back, I made it my mission to help fitness professionals achieve success and make an impact in the world.’Be Like the Best’ is one way that I am helping them get on that path.”
Were there any common themes among the people you featured?
“First, the best of the best have a clear vision of where they are going, the impact they want to make and the legacy they want to leave. It’s their ‘life roadmap’ and it’s one of the things that separate them from the pack.
Second, they all had some kind of a goal-setting process — as informal as just writing them down and not even looking at them to really a formal process of setting, reviewing and adjusting. This is more of their ‘daily roadmap.’
Third, they all understand the impact that they are making on people’s lives. Part of the problem with average trainers is that they really don’t see how important they can be in someone’s life. We all want to live with purpose. Understanding that impact is a game changer.
The last one is that they all worked their butts off to get where they are. There are no shortcuts.”
What would be your advice to fitness enthusiasts based on the book?
“Set specific goals quarterly that will challenge you. Don’t just say, ‘I want to lose weight.’ It has to be specific and challenging.
It should read, ‘I will lose 10 pounds and 5 body-fat percentage points by March 31.’ It has to be a little out of your reach to make it exciting.
Make a list of three to five reasons why you want to achieve the goal and put it somewhere you will see it frequently. This will help you get through the tough times.
Celebrate when you get there. When you set the goal, plan the celebration. ‘I will celebrate by going to my favorite restaurant.’ Make it something you really want and don’t reward yourself if you don’t make it. Save it for the next goal but don’t beat yourself up over it if you don’t achieve it.”
What would be your advice to people in any field based on the book?
“My advice for people in any industry is to be intentional about the process of designing your life. I love the Abe Lincoln quote, ‘The best way to predict the future is to create it.’ If you start to figure out and write down what you want your legacy in life to be, what you want your life to look like and what your core values are, it will lead to developing goals that will put you on a path to the life you want to live.
There’s a famous 1979 Harvard MBA study on goal setting that when asked ‘Have you set written goals and created a plan for their attainment?’ only 3% of the class had both written goals and concrete plans. Ten years later, that 3% was making 10 times as much as the rest of the class.
Get a notebook or planner and write it all down and review it constantly. It’s why I developed a workbook as a companion guide to ‘Be Like the Best.’
It’s that important.”