Episode #313: Brent Darden, IHRSA, Former Interim President & CEO

Episode #313: Brent Darden, IHRSA, Former Interim President & CEO

Brent Darden


Pete Moore:

This is Pete Moore wanted to officially announce the release of Time To Win Again: 52 Takeaways From Team Sports To Ensure Your Business Success. I wrote this book over the last year. I think you’re going to love it. Good to great meets wears Waldo, pick a ’em up for your team. Time to win in 2022. Happy to come to your club, your studio, your company, and talk about ways we can optimize business and win going forward. Go halo. This is Pete Moore on ha talks NYC on location, Dallas, Texas, with the honorable ex-president and chief of SA Brent Darden, a new close friend of mine and a man who took us through the pandemic. And now he’s allowed out, out to play again. So good to see you.

Brent Darden: Yes, thanks for having me. I appreciate the on honorable part. That’s honorable that’s. It’s very nice.

Pete Moore: Some Netflix show that I watch. It’s buried in the back of my Dropbox brain. 

Brent Darden: More relaxed today than I was just, I got to tell you

Pete Moore: Ago, kind of look it too, by the way. Yeah, you look like I still got accountability and responsibility, but not on my shoulder, someone else’s right. It’s like it’s so we’re going to spend next 20, 25 minutes talking about some of the silver linings that came outta COVID. I don’t think we need to replay the rollercoaster ride that we’ve all been on, but I think there’s some key takeaways, you know, that you were helping spearhead and you know, questionable whether, you know, we come out the other side and this might have been something that we needed to, you know, get our act together. So for the five people that don’t know who you are, you want to just give your quick bio and then we’ll riff away.

Brent Darden: Yeah. the quick bio is I’ve been in the health and fitness industry. My whole career got my degree in exercise physiology and exercise science and did a lot of work in the corporate wellness arena. Many of you may know, I live in the Dallas Fort worth area, which is one of the biggest places for fortune 500 companies. So there’s a lot of corporate wellness programming here. And I spent my early part of my career doing that for many of those companies. Then I went to the Cooper aerobic center as the vice president for almost a decade. And we,

Pete Moore: We just had Dr. Cooper on this morning. Yeah, yep. And he’s like 90 these day, and I’m like what, what kind of vitamins and supplements do you take? I’m going to start now.

Brent Darden: Yep. He’s he still can share the story. 

Pete Moore: It’s incredible. It really is incredible.

Brent Darden: And then owned a club called tell us fitness centers, which luxury brand here in Dallas mm-hmm and then I’ve also currently chair, many of the Rex round tables, which people are familiar with. Yeah, sure.

Pete Moore: Yeah. Well you know, just to, to reiterate, you know, you coming in and taking this on when you did, you know, it was like crisis management 1 0 1 and you got us to the other side, so, you know, thanks. Thanks again for, for stepping up. So let’s talk about some of the things that you saw evolve in that, you know, as of now you can look back and say, Hey, here’s a couple silver linings here, you know, from this whole COVID experience.

Brent Darden: Yeah. So let’s start maybe with the overall picture rather than just Oura specifically. I think, you know, we’ve lost here in the us, we know 25, 20 6% of health clubs closed permanently mm-hmm and many would say we were due for a market correction and I would be on the side of that. Mm-Hmm I think everyone I talked to as a consultant and with Rex over the last decade or so in acro around the world would say, wow, we’re just, there’s an option on every other corner right. Of fitness. And so I think this has been healthy after we get through it because it has decreased some of the market size as bad as that kind of sounds so that that’s one silver lining. I think that’s come out of it. Another is it’s forced everyone as crisis does all we say crisis breeds progress.

Brent Darden: It breeds inventiveness mm-hmm , it breeds creativity. It forces people to really look at their business, to get leaner, to get meaner, to be more efficient. And so I, again, I think coming out of it as harsh as it’s been and as difficult, we’d never wish that on anyone. I think the clubs are going to be healthier. Mm-Hmm I have the opportunity through Rex to meet with, you know, 60 club operators from around the country on a regular basis. And they all to a person are recovering well, mm-hmm, slowly, but well, and they’ve learned a lot of lessons going through this that are going to serve ’em well into the future.

Pete Moore: Yeah. For those who don’t know about Rex roundtables, I feel like there’s been, they’ve taken that this up a level, you know, the game that, that, that that’s being played now and the amount of connectivity between these operators, you know, all I hear is good things outta the Rex round tables and this knowledge and the sharing of right. You know, best practices. So, so hats off to you and to, to Eddie for really op optimizing that. Cause I think people needed education. They also needed support groups and they needed some little bit of business group therapy, you know, maybe a little misery loves company, but also misery loves, you know, recovery. Right, right. So good thing. So maybe just for pause for a second, tell us what you’re doing with Rex roundtables and what somebody would get out of that. If they were part of one

Brent Darden: Eddie’s running, I think we have he has, you know, 18 different round tables, not only in the us, but some international, I lead four of those for him. And they really are, as you said, already, their peer to peer is what it’s all about. Mm-Hmm so it’s not sitting and listening to a presentation or to my diet arrive about what people need to be doing. It’s really them sharing among themselves and facilitating those discussions, but the bonds they create and the sense of community that comes within those is what really you hear about. And some of these round home members like Joe Gainesville, health and fitness, he’s been in it 24 years. He’s never missed a meeting. Mm-Hmm

Pete Moore: And don’t expect that of him anyway, but yeah. And people

Brent Darden: Join and they get a lot of return on investment for us. So it’s a, it’s a great product.

Pete Moore: Yeah. I feel like this industry is very special when it comes to people being open about what’s working, what’s not working what their are, you know, taking advice from other people, whereas other industries, I think it’s a little more combative and competitive and like, Hey, you might steal some, a market share right here. I think it’s like, you know, maybe it’s because of, you know, we only got 15 to 20% of the population. So if we just get another five or 10%, everyone wins,

Brent Darden: I would agree with that. And one thing I would say, based on your comment right there, that kind of, we do only get about 20% of the population or some cases a little bit less, depending on where you are in the world, in the us we’re, you know, right there about 24% of the population belongs to a quote, Jim mm-hmm . So as we went through COVID and we redeemed sort of non-essential one of the points I would make with people is, Hey, how many people, if you talk to a group of 10 people on the street, 10 outta 10, want the restaurant open? Yeah. Eight outta 10, want the bars open for sure. Only two outta 10, give a crap.

Pete Moore: That’s a great point. I never or not. I didn’t think about it that way.