Fitness Professional Jay Dang on Why Confidence Is the Key to Success
In this series called Member Showcase, we publish interviews with members of The Oracles. This interview is with Jay Dang, founder of 5 Star Fitness, an in-demand fitness training facility in Arizona. It was condensed by The Oracles.
Who are you?
Jay Dang: I’m a personal trainer, lifelong athlete, and the founder and owner of 5 Star Fitness, a top personal training studio in Arizona.
I graduated from Northern Arizona University, where I studied finance. I was fortunate to earn a football scholarship and set my sights on playing in the NFL. When a knee injury brought those dreams to an end, I shifted my focus to building a career in business. I later realized that money doesn’t equal happiness and decided to quit my steady job with the family business to pursue my dreams in the fitness industry.
What is one of your proudest moments?
Jay Dang: One of my proudest moments was winning professional status in the International Federation of BodyBuilding & Fitness. I competed for the challenge and joy of it, so it was a pleasant surprise when I learned that this was a highly sought-after and prestigious award held by fewer than 1 percent of personal trainers.
I’m proud of this accomplishment because you can’t get this title by simply working a certain number of hours, passing a test, or buying it. You have to earn it. It’s especially meaningful to me because it validated that what I was doing for my 5 Star Fitness clients was working. While the majority of them are amazing everyday people who just want to lose weight and body fat and transform their health, we’ve also had many clients compete and even place in the top five.
What excites you the most about your business right now?
Jay Dang: What’s most exciting is our clients’ transformations. I love seeing the look on someone’s face when just 12 weeks ago, they couldn’t imagine doing these exercises, losing 50 pounds, or having energy to run around with their kids. That makes it easy to wake up every day and motivates me to be my best.
I’m also excited about our ability to grow with social media and technology. It has never been more fun or streamlined to grow a business. Software can do much of the heavy lifting while we do what we love: training and growing. With social media, we get market-quality programs to the right people at the right time and help them reach their goals and surpass their limits. We can motivate others and share our message with more people than ever.
What book changed your mindset or life?
Jay Dang: “The School of Greatness” by Lewis Howes helped me define the life I want to live and had a huge impact on my goals. The book is really motivating and helps you move forward with intention.
Lewis walks you through an exercise where you break down your ideal day by the hour. This helped me become crystal clear on what I’m working toward and set targets to get there, so I have tangible goals for myself and my team to work toward.
What was your biggest, most painful failure?
Jay Dang: My biggest, most painful failure was a knee injury that ended my aspirations of playing professional football. I studied, practiced, and loved the game for 17 years. When I tore three ligaments and completely destroyed my meniscus, I was devastated; my dreams were officially over. I felt lost and didn’t know what to do with my life.
I learned that life doesn’t always go according to plan. There will be challenge after challenge, and as you level up, the challenges level up too. That injury changed my career path and helped me learn to deal with adversity. Now when things don't go according to plan, I don’t let mishaps slow me down. The next time you feel like you failed, just know that the next opportunity is already on the way. You just have to be positive to see it.
How do you define great leadership?
Jay Dang: Great leadership is defined by great results. Great leaders have three key qualities: strong communication skills, a positive mindset, and being an example.
Leaders must articulate their thoughts in a way that will be well received so others take action. Leading by example is cliché, but it’s important. You can’t hold others to a standard you don’t hold yourself to. If you want the team to be on the same page, you have to be optimistic and bring good vibes. No one likes working with a negative Nancy. With these characteristics, there is no other option but to succeed.
How do you hire top talent?
Jay Dang: What’s cool about 5 Star Fitness is that 80 percent of our team is hired from our clientele. We’re all family. We’ve seen that people who have experienced 5 Star Fitness firsthand believe in the product and stand behind the brand 1,000 percent.
We also have a trial period with tests to make sure someone is a great fit before offering them a full-time position.
How do you prevent burnout?
Jay Dang: We can all get caught up working on exciting projects, so I’ve committed to making my health a priority. If I ever feel like I’m running on empty, I’ll take off a whole day (or three) to recharge. I’m in it for the long run. Eventually, I’ll want to step back from the business, but right now, I’m stepping on the gas.
I’ve found that traveling two weeks every quarter is the perfect amount of work-life balance for me right now. After two weeks in another country or state, I’m ready to get back to my family, friends, and gym.
What are three things you would like to be doing in three years?
Jay Dang: I want to continue to grow my brand’s impact, whether that’s through licensing, franchising, or opening more private studios. That’s how I’m going to impact the most people. I want to have locations in all of my favorite cities, like Sydney, Australia; Barcelona, Spain; and Tokyo, Japan.
I also want to travel the world with my inner circle. I’ve had really memorable experiences traveling and I want my friends to experience the same thing.
What do you want to be known for, or what do you want your legacy to be?
Jay Dang: I’d like to be known for impacting millions of people, achieving high levels of success, and enjoying every minute of it, while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
I also want my team at 5 Star Fitness to carry out my legacy. I want to continue helping others gain confidence in their minds and bodies, and inspiring them to go after what they want in life.