We’re so grateful that Ro recently took the time to sit down with us. He shared his secrets for always seeing the bright side, how he overcomes challenges, his experience working in the fitness industry during a global pandemic, and what it’s like working as a host for BlackFilm.com.
Q: How did you get into your career at Crunch Fitness?
A: “I wasn’t originally with Crunch, but my cousin used to work for a gym. I was in college at the time and needed to pay some bills, so I got a front desk job. I was accountable, and people could rely on me, so because of that, I was able to move up. I went from the front desk, to a sales rep, then sales manager, and then kind of moved up from there. What brought me out to LA is that I got the acting bug. If anybody has ever been to Hollywood to be an actor, it’s a tough struggle, and you’ve got to pay the bills. So, I was like, ‘You know what? There’s one thing that’s been consistent in my life, and it’s fitness.’ So, I decided to apply to Crunch, and lo and behold, I’ve been with them now since 2011 – a long time.
I moved back to New York in 2016, and I’m happy I did. I’m currently at the Crunch Fitness location on 66th Street. It’s a different mindset now after COVID-19 because people are more conscious of being healthy, how they should be feeling and moving, and getting checkups annually. It’s a really interesting time to be in the fitness industry. You don’t have to fight people about their health now. They’re more likely to listen.”
Q: What are some of the most rewarding parts of your job?
A: “Seeing a member that is 78 years old, moving around with all this energy, that’s something that really makes you smile inside and out. Knowing that people are confident in their goals, that they’re healthy, and that they are inspiring other people. Those things really go a long way with me.”
Q: What excited you about fitness in the first place?
A: “I always played sports. I played basketball in high school. I did track, I played a little tennis, and I’ve never been injured – I think that’s because I was so active.
My cousin was a big fitness influence on me. He’s been in the fitness game for a long time as a personal trainer, where he used to train celebrity clients. He was always motivating me to make fitness a part of my lifestyle.
I recently had a bit of a health scare where my blood pressure went up to 160. I was like, ‘I got this, doc. Give me three months, and I’ll get it down.’ Three months later it had jumped to 185. So, I went on meds.
Now keep in mind, I juice every morning, I work out at least three to five times a week, and I play ball once a week – I’m active. But because I’m African American, I have to worry about certain things that other people don’t have to, such as blood pressure. It’s hereditary; my dad has high blood pressure, as well. These are things I didn’t think could affect me, but do, so I took the blood pressure medicine along with everything else, including cutting things out of my diet, and within a month, I dropped down to a blood pressure level of 132. Healthy living and mindset are a big part of my life, and I try to encourage anybody towards the same. You have to take care of yourself if you want to start a family, see your kid get married, and have grandkids.”
Q: What other things are a part of your routine to stay healthy and grounded?
A: “Relationships and friendships are a big part of staying healthy and grounded. If anybody will say anything about me at work, it’s that I’m either singing or dancing. That’s something that I think is electric – the energy passes down throughout the gym. I remember an old manager once told me, ‘You don’t understand how powerful you are. If you’re in a bad mood, the club feels that, and if you’re in an amazing mood, the club feels that, too. So, know how powerful you are.’ I always try to remember that.
Working in a gym, there are not that many people that have an outlet where they can work out and feel better, work out when they have a stressful day, hit a punching bag, run fast on a treadmill, or lift some weight. We have an outlet right in front of us, and a lot of people don’t have that, so I don’t take that for granted. I am reminded of that every day when I walk around the gym and interact with people.
The last thing I’ll say is the five-foot rule. At another gym I used to work at, we had a rule that anything within five feet, whether it’s a member or an object, you have to either say hello, pick it up, or take care of it. That’s something I’m always mindful of.”
Q: How did you cope, both professionally and personally, when gyms and fitness studios were closed during the pandemic?
A: “At Crunch, they really took care of their sales team and staff during the pandemic.
Personally, during that time, I was really into Rosé. So, I started a show called Rosé with Rouget. This show was awful, but I learned a lot. I interviewed people that really interested me, and one of them was my friend Patty. She’s one of the top sonographers in the country. At 35, she taught herself to play bass guitar, started an all-girl band called Girls, Girls, Girls, and opened up for the actual band on tour that inspired her all-girl band!
I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ So, thanks to my show, I recently started working with BlackFilm.com. One day I got a call like, ‘Hey, man, I like the way you interview. We want to interview you to be a co-host, and I joined – I am a co-host on BlackFilm.com. We interview black actors and talk about black show reviews, and black movies that are coming out. It was really cool because it was something I never even thought about, but this door opened for me because I started a corny show about Rosé. Now I have my own show, Rewind with Ro on Thursday nights.”
Q: How do you stay so positive? What’s your secret?
A: “I believe in the rule of threes, meaning that three bad things can happen. In doing that, it prepares me mentally that, hey, if one thing goes wrong, more things may happen, but I’m already mentally prepared to overcome them. So really, my rule of threes is, like, stuff can happen. You never know, but you have to prepare yourself mentally to overcome those things.”
Q: What’s your morning routine like? Tell us about it!
A: “I recommend not being hungover (laughing). That’s the best way to figure out your day. I start by doing 20 minutes of stretching in the morning, and then I have my juice. The difference in my energy is night and day.”
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