Randy Hetrick: The Man Behind TRX Empowerment
Not long ago, in celebration of “the most inspiring, insightful, inventive risk-takers of 2017,” Entrepreneur Magazine featured a piece titled “50 Most Daring Entrepreneurs.” By my perusal, the list was a provocative mix of exceedingly influential business leaders, all hyper-busy changing their worlds for the better from whatever is their chosen vocation.
Some were early stage in their project’s development, others well along, and several others were global (and beyond) titans of industry. Their various pursuits were across the map and included: social media startups, media entertainment giants, various software applications, marketers, restaurateurs, coffee shop moguls, national and international retailers, alternative energy applications, rocket ships to outer space, etc..
And then there was a fitness guy on the list named Randy Hetrick, being acknowledged for the exercise equipment and training systems he’s developed called ‘TRX.’ Interesting. I wondered why this young man and his exercise gear should be considered amongst so illustrious a group of world shakers?
We were wise enough to ask and Hetrick was generous enough to carve out some time to answer. In truth, he gave us no “resistance” at all, saying he “enjoys helping out fledgling entrepreneurs.” That was a good early indication of the quality of the man. Following is the core of what we learned.
The basic concepts behind ‘Suspension Training’ using our own bodyweight for exercise, is as old as the earth. Often referred to in the category of exercise called ’functional training,’ a few early examples in the pursuit of sport would be: rope climbing, rock and mountain climbing, and gymnastics. We’d also point to fitness icon, Jack LaLanne, who advocated full body workouts using only two pieces of equipment, our bodies and the floor.
Who didn’t look at LaLanne’s supreme torso and biceps, or watch Olympic gymnasts holding their sculpted bodies statuesquely while suspended on rings and balance beams, and not feel admiration tinged with jealousy?
It’s clear that young Hetrick was paying attention (sans the tinge). His core concepts for TRX’s ‘Suspension Trainer’ have been in his head and evolving since his long-ago days spent traipsing through the muck as a Navy SEAL Squadron Commander.
In 1997, the same year another notable entrepreneur, Steve Jobs, had retaken the reigns of a nearly-failed personal computer company called Apple, this innovative SEAL had his pioneering vision already in development and was fashioning rudimentary versions made from available materials such as jiu-jitsu belts and parachute webbing.
The purpose was so that he and his SEAL team compatriots could stay exceptionally prepared by training more effectively, even with the limited space and absence of equipment that oftentimes accompanied their missions.
I suppose that’s how SEAL commanders are, always analyzing, over-preparing, improving their efficiency and effectiveness, striving for more and better. Every day better than the last, if only by a millimeter. That millimeter could be the difference between good and great, or, great and extraordinary (as perhaps the most extraordinary educator of my generation, Tony Robbins, often espouses).
This happens to perfectly describe TRX founder and CEO, Randy Hetrick. He earned his undergraduate degree at USC and, 5 years into his SEAL career, earned his first Master’s Degree (in National Security Affairs) at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. After 14 years in valiant service to his country, he left the Navy to complete his 2nd graduate degree by achieving an MBA at Stanford University. While in Palo Alto he was training, as usual, in this case by bolstering his passion for fitness with the necessary business skills to do something about it. Something big.
Meanwhile, day-by-day he labored tirelessly to improve his revolutionary fitness equipment and develop the supporting professional education and training programs which would ensure its success. When he felt ready, he rolled out the first model from the trunk of his car, called the “Travel-X: Complete Portable Exerciser”.
The TRX proposition was to take their scientifically-proven method of improving total body strength, balance, flexibility and core stability and introduce it world-wide. To do so, Hetrick realized he would need a larger team of industry advocates to help deliver his message. He soon launched training programs for professional fitness trainers, group fitness instructors, strength & conditioning coaches and physical therapists.
By joining ‘the TRX team,’ he preached, the professional’s own business would be enhanced, giving them an edge in the largely generic, overcrowded fitness business. And the fitness clubs would experience the same benefits. With a TRX Training Zone equipment station prominently displayed and personal trainers enthusiastically teaching its effective utilization, that club would be distinguished from the crowded field. At the same time, excited, newly-fit club members would willingly recruit their friends and colleagues. With the seeds planted, Hetrick’s vision began to take root.
By espousing this growth strategy, which is now studied at that same Stanford Graduate School of Business and many other business schools across the country, Hetrick has spent the past decade building an interconnected global team of fitness industry advocates who each have their own stake in the success of his business. His TRX products and services have become an integral part of the customization and enhancement of an entire industry.
As this process was in motion, he was also pursuing a pretty tough crowd, his former colleagues in the military. The TRX training system became avidly embraced with its ‘TRX Force’ training program now used across all branches of the military.
Soon after came the introduction of the ‘TRX Rip Trainer,’ adding to the suite of products of TRX Training, with a bar attached to a variable elastic resistance band for a completely different style of workout. Most recently, he entered the home market with his ‘TRX Home2’ Suspension Trainer model.
Based on the simplest of concepts, TRX has become ubiquitous, a world-wide phenomenon. Starting with two light, versatile, Suspension Training straps, Hetrick created a system with limitless functional training routines meant to “enhance human movement and empower
people to become better versions of themselves,” he says. “Fitness and training is now accessible to everyone regardless of ability, and if properly trained, it’s virtually impossible to get bored using the TRX Suspension Trainer.”
Value-added innovations continue to be rolled out regularly. Says TRX President, Paul Zadoff, “we are bringing the world’s best training equipment, work out programs and educational courses to even more team members with our on-line TRX APP.” Another tool recently added to the product line is ‘TRX MAPS,’ a digital scan of a person’s quality of movement in thirty seconds. “Together,” says Zadoff, “the trainer and client can follow a customized plan toward strength, balance, cardiovascular and mobility improvements. In addition, these MAPS screenings are great conversation starters for both trainers and clubs in recruiting and retaining members.”
As to the scope of the world-wide phenomenon, TRX is currently enjoying strong growth, and expects 2018 revenues well in excess of $50 million in sales of equipment, training programs and education courses, supported by:
- More than 100 full-time team members.
- 350 certified, and contracted TRX Master Instructors/Educators.
- Over 1500 live education courses delivered to some 20,000 newly minted training professionals each year.
- Hundreds of thousands of ‘brand ambassadors,’ including more than 40,000 participating health clubs and 250,000 qualified TRX Trainers.
- All branches of the US military and several allied militaries as well (TRX Force).
- High schools, universities, corporate health facilities adoption.
- The largest sports equipment retailers across the western markets.
- Tens of millions of individual club members, athletes and home fitness consumers.
- World-class, professional athletes in every sport who use and authentically endorse the TRX program.
That’s a big and thorough vision realized, we’d say. In his spare time, Hetrick lectures at both his alma maters (Stanford and USC) on entrepreneurship and leadership; hosted Spike TV’s ‘Sweat Inc. reality TV show; and helps out early stage entrepreneurs like Throomers.com.
We wish our readers the best of health and fitness and an inspired life. For a further boost, please click here to enjoy our exclusive Q&A with the revolutionary Randy Hetrick and visit www.TRXTraining.com to learn more about the company he created and leads today.