Education and training to execute the plan — what education and/or training (and certifications) do you need to achieve your goals? Just liking something or wanting to do it does not make you able to or qualified to do it.
The global health and wellness market is worth more than 1.5 trillion dollars. So many people are looking to improve their physical, mental, and emotional wellness. At the same time, so many people are needed to help provide these services. What does it take to create a highly successful career in the health and wellness industry?
In this interview series called “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In The Health and Wellness Industry” we are talking to health and wellness professionals who can share insights and stories from their experiences.
In this particular interview, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Jeff Meeks.
Jeff Meeks has 18 years of experience in the Fitness Industry. He started by partnering to bring the first premier sports performance franchise to California in 2003. He fell in love with the industry and has been hooked ever since. He’s enjoyed escalating leadership roles from Product Manager at Star Trac Fitness to Category director at Motorola Mobility (Fitness wearables), then VP of Marketing at BH Fitness and currently is a Partner / VP of Sales & Marketing at EnergyFit.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you grew up?
I grew up as a multi-sport athlete and that is how I defined fitness for a long time. I went to school for engineering and followed that with business school a few years later. Armed with an MBA and a strong set of partners I helped open a sports performance center in California.
Was there a particular person or event that inspired you to live a wellness-focused lifestyle? Can you tell us about your main motivation to go all in?
There is a well-known sports performance and track coach that taught our coaches about training, but taught me quite a bit about diet. I don’t exercise a ton so my wellness-focus is primarily diet-based.
Most people with a wellbeing centered lifestyle have a “go-to” activity, exercise, beverage, or food that is part of their routine. What is yours and can you tell us how it helps you?
As ironic as it is given my fitness industry experience, I far prefer playing sports than typical exercise routines. From a diet standpoint I’m not terribly rigid, but practice moderation for the most part. I do tend to minimize sugar and simple carb intake as a general rule though.
To live a wellness-focused life is one thing, but how did it become your career? How did it all start?
My first fitness-related role was as a Sales, Marketing, and Operations manager at a sports performance center where I learned a ton about that side of the industry. I transitioned from that into a commercial fitness equipment leader as a Product Manager aided by my engineering, business, and fitness experience. From then on, I was confident the fitness industry would be my career field of choice.
Can you share a story about the biggest challenges you faced when you were first starting? How did you resolve that? What are the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
My biggest challenge in getting started within fitness is that my education and work experience to date was focused elsewhere. Change is difficult of course as is acceptance from those already entrenched in the industry one is breaking into. I overcame it by immersing myself in the industry on a daily basis and becoming a sponge to learn from the talented people around me.
Can you share with us how the work you are doing is helping to make a bigger impact in the world? Can you share a story that illustrates that?
We offer opportunities for people to better themselves from their home. Making a big impact on the world is about making big impacts for individuals. Providing people with a way to get healthy in a place where they are comfortable, in their own time and budget is a great way to help all of us grow.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
We developed and sell a product called the SKI-ROW which combines two cardio modalities into one machine. It’s a SKI-ERG and Rowing machine in a single compact footprint. Creating a first-of-its-kind machine is exciting, but it is helpful to many because it allows people to expand their fitness goals and plans without adding additional machines and taking up more floorspace. It also saves them money in comparison which everybody loves.
You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Confidence would be the first. Leaving a secure career at a large company for a startup in a new industry was a bold move and I credit my lack of fear to self-confidence.
Not quite sure this is a character trait but I’ll use it anyway, I aim to be impactful. I learned from people much smarter than me to focus on impact versus activity in my work. It’s easy to get caught up in the minutia or busy-work because it delivers quick hits of accomplishment, but passing on that is often the best move.
Resilience is the third. I’m not ashamed to say that like many others I’ve been laid off multiple times. There are any number of reasons this happens to talented people, but my experience is that dismissing the misconception that it is the same as failure is the first step to a new opportunity.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. Let’s begin with a basic definition of terms so that all of us are on the same page. Wellness is an incredibly broad topic. How would you define the term “Wellness”? Can you explain what you mean?
Wellness is an incredibly broad term with a simple definition. It is the state of homeostasis amongst body and mind.
As an expert, this might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to expressly articulate this. Can you please share a few reasons with our readers about why focusing on our wellness should be a priority in our lives?
While focusing on wellness can lead to a longer life, more importantly it leads to a happier one. A person who is healthy (in both body and mind) is able to find more joy in the everyday. It’s that simple.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increasingly growing understanding of the necessity for companies to be mindful of the wellness of their employees. For the sake of inspiring others, can you share steps or initiatives that companies have taken to help improve or optimize their employees’ mental and physical wellness?
Being intentional and communicating with your employees is incredibly important. When employers understand their employees’ needs, and the employees feel cared for, work environments really have the chance to prosper.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In The Health and Wellness Industry”? If you can, please share a story or an example for each.
- Goals — in what segment of the Health and Wellness Industry do you want to pursue a career? At what level in your chosen field do you want to operate (player, coach, manager, owner)? They are all distinctly different and being good at one does not make you good at another.
- Plan to achieve those goals — at what level are you at now? Based on your goals how do you plan to achieve that level? Create an actionable plan with milestones and support needed.
- Education and training to execute the plan — what education and/or training (and certifications) do you need to achieve your goals? Just liking something or wanting to do it does not make you able to or qualified to do it.
- Mentors and partners — seek guidance and support from people who have done what you want to do. They started where you are and are likely willing to give you support. The Health and Wellness industry is rather unique in that way, healthy and happy people tend to support and uplift others. Remember, you will likely be a mentor one day as well…
- Flexibility — things change…the world is crazy right now and has forced change, but change can come from you as well. Your goals may change as may your plans to achieve them. Education, training, mentors, and partners may cause change and you need to continually adapt and overcome to be successful. When we all look back, nobody can truthfully say that their life went exactly as planned.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would promote the most wellness to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Make healthy foods less expensive than “un-healthy foods” (technical term I know). It’s no secret that the high cost of healthy food alternatives is a huge barrier to healthy eating for a large part of the world’s population. It’s an idealistic goal and I’m aware of the economic factors involved, but most of us understand that dietary changes can have the most dramatic effect on people’s health and well-being, even more than exercise. Beyond that the associated costs involved with the treatment of an unhealthy population are astronomical.
We are blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!