Latest
issue
GET HCM
magazine
Sign up for the FREE digital edition of HCM magazine and also get the HCM ezine and breaking news email alerts.
Not right now, thanksclose this window I've already subscribed!
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
Follow Health Club Management on Twitter Like Health Club Management on Facebook Join the discussion with Health Club Management on LinkedIn
FITNESS, HEALTH, WELLNESS

Secure your spot now
Super early bird ends in

features

Life lessons: Sarah Luna

Appointed president of Xponential Fitness when she was only 34, Sarah Luna attributes her career success to the grit, determination and stamina she honed as a dancer by day and Pilates teacher by night. She talks to Kath Hudson about how owning her choices has given her the resilience to take on one of the top jobs in the US fitness industry, while also raising a family

Published in Health Club Management 2024 issue 5
Luna has been president of Xponential since 2021 / photo: Xponential Fitness
Luna has been president of Xponential since 2021 / photo: Xponential Fitness
Either get on and do the job you’ve signed up for and deal with the good, the bad and the ugly, or get out of the way

The biggest influence of my career came while I was dancing professionally in Chicago in the early 2000s and I still draw on the lessons learned from that time.

There were five professional dancers in the company and five understudies. I was one of the understudies and it was a strange time, as we were all waiting for our break, which would only come if someone else was injured or retired.

As understudies we would learn, and rehearse all the choreographies so we could jump in if needed. It was 40 hours of dancing a week and completely unpaid.

To make ends meet, I taught Pilates from 4.00pm until 10.00pm every weekday and all day on Saturdays.

Because I wanted to be a dancer so badly I pushed myself really hard and ran myself down.

One day I felt a sharp pain in my abdominals, which felt like a knife. When I told the artistic director the message was: “You don’t sit it out, the show goes on.”

Next up was a 12-minute high intensity piece and about half way in I felt an excruciating pain. The woman dancing opposite me said my face went ghost white. Afterwards I discovered I’d ruptured a cyst and my abdominal cavity was full of fluid. I ended up taking the next two days off to rest and recuperate.

At that point it dawned on me that I had a choice. I could either get back in the fight and go again, or I could lay low or I could step away altogether…

I decided there were tons of people lined up for that opportunity and although the experience had been very painful, it was also short-term and it did pass. At that point I made the choice to keep showing up and get the job done.

Ultimately that’s the life lesson I've taken with me for the rest of my career. When the going gets rough, I evaluate whether it’s a short-term pain and whether that short-term pain is worth continuing to be in the fight.

Own your choices
Our life is a series of choices. It's common for people to say they hate their job, or a certain aspect of their life, but I subscribe to the idea that if you don't want to do it, there are tons of people who will, so either get on and do the job you’ve signed up for and deal with the good, the bad and the ugly, or get out of the way.

This mindset gives me a sense of control when times are hard.


I've got two young daughters and one is in the middle of teething and the other one hasn’t been sleeping, so I’ve been getting by on two to three hours of sleep each night.

At the same time there have been challenges at work. It's been very stressful on a lot of different fronts. There have certainly been a couple of times when I’ve felt defeated, that everyone wants a piece of me and I don't know how I can be successful.

But then I give myself a talk. I remind myself that I wanted my daughters and I love them to death. So even though it’s painful that they want to play and eat bananas and learn to walk in the middle of the night, I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything. I made the choice, I wanted to have children and sleepless nights are part of that deal. On the work side, periods of intensity come with being a public company, you just have to work through it.

What I learned from that dance company experience allows me to take a breath and tell myself that I recognise this low place, I recognise this exhaustion and this feeling of defeat and I also know how to get myself out of it.

Lesson two from that experience was that it taught me how to manage my health better, be more in tune with when I need to slow down and when I can accelerate, rather than always being pegged at the high end of the range. You can’t constantly operate at high velocity and expect your body to keep up. I’ve certainly had to learn how to throttle energy and mental capacity. Although my husband says I like to keep it at 100 per cent!

The experience also gave me the confidence to say yes to opportunities. My break came, in 2015, while I was working as a Pilates instructor at Equinox. Former Xponential CEO, Anthony Geisler, came to one of my classes because he was planning to buy Club Pilates. I had an MBA and knew how to sell Pilates so he offered me the job of national sales director of Club Pilates.

After a couple of years, I became senior VP of operations for the brand, before becoming president of Pure Barre and then president of Xponential in 2021. I just kept showing up every day and getting more responsibility and then walking through the doors as they opened. I've had a non-traditional career path, but it's been exciting and enjoyable.

Xponential franchises boutique studio concepts / photo: Xponential Fitness
Xponential franchises boutique studio concepts / photo: Xponential Fitness
The company bought metabolic health brand Lindora late in 2023 / photo: Xponential Fitness
The company bought metabolic health brand Lindora late in 2023 / photo: Xponential Fitness
Xponential bought Kinrgy and has extended it from digital to physical locations / photo: Xponential Fitness
Xponential bought Kinrgy and has extended it from digital to physical locations / photo: Xponential Fitness
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2024/967384_607016.jpg
Appointed president of Xponential Fitness in 2021 at the age of 34, Luna talks about life and the industry experiences that have helped to shape her and her career
HCM magazine
When retailer, the €11 billion-a-year Colruyt Group, decided to get into the health club market, the plan was to fully integrate its entire business using customer insight data. The results are remarkable
HCM magazine
From payments to virtual classes, software integrations can take your operation to the next level. Providers tell us about their most in-demand offerings
HCM magazine
AI has the potential to support people in making healthy lifestyle changes if its algorithms can be updated to understand the different stages of motivation, as Jodi Heckel reports
HCM magazine
Immediate rewards can motivate people to exercise more, according to new research, reports Kath Hudson
HCM magazine
Appointed president of Xponential Fitness when she was only 34, Sarah Luna attributes her career success to the grit, determination and stamina she honed as a dancer by day and Pilates teacher by night. She talks to Kath Hudson about how owning her choices has given her the resilience to take on one of the top jobs in the US fitness industry, while also raising a family
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
Sydney Swans team members were impressed by previous BLK BOX installations such as those for Manchester United and Loughborough University
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
A major refurbishment of Sport Ireland Fitness by Technogym has created a world-class public gym at the home of Irish sport
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
Sustainability in the fitness industry is coming on in leaps and bounds as more operators refurbish their gym equipment to save money and the planet
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
We all know we need to stand more. Now an exciting new partnership between Physical and Teca Fitness expands this thinking into UK gyms and beyond
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
Life Fitness has reimagined cardio with the launch of its Symbio line which has been designed with advanced biomechanics and offers deep levels of customisation
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
Coaching workshops from Keith Smith and Adam Daniel have been designed to empower your team and transform your service
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
Operators, prepare to revolutionise the way members connect with personal trainers in your club, with the ground-breaking Brawn platform.
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
Epassi, a provider of workplace wellness benefits, is creating a fitter and more productive workforce, one membership at a time 
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
Nuffield Health has worked with ServiceSport UK for more than ten years, ensuring the equipment in its clubs is commercially optimised
HCM promotional features
Latest News
Belgian retail giant, Colruyt Group, is challenging the status quo of the fitness industry in ...
Latest News
According to a year-long study, offering financial incentives to people to encourage them to lose ...
Latest News
Xponential Fitness has appointed sales and franchise expert, Mark King, as CEO, to take the ...
Latest News
Fitness influencer and karate champion, Anna Lewandowska, has announced the launch of a multi-concept boutique ...
Latest News
The Health & Fitness Association (formerly IHRSA) has announced Singapore-based attorney and international industry advocate, ...
Latest News
With the UK General Election imminent, industry strategist, Martyn Allison, says it’s time for the ...
Latest News
More than 20 organisations have joined together in the UK to form the Swim Alliance, ...
Latest News
According to a number of recent studies, semaglutide weight-loss drugs can be effective in treating ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Elevate announces new aquatics and active kids theatres for 2024 event
The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), the Swimming Teachers Association (STA), and Swim England have teamed up to sponsor an aquatic theatre at Elevate 2024.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Explosion of passion for fitness at RiminiWellness 2024 and record success for Panatta
The passion for fitness and bodybuilding reached new heights at the Panatta stands during RiminiWellness (30 May – 2 June 20204) – the largest fitness event in Italy – which this year exceeded the 100,000 visitor mark.
Company profiles
Company profile: Keepme
Keepme is the industry innovator delivering AI-integrated sales and membership solutions to fitness operators globally....
Company profiles
Company profile: Parkwood Leisure
As a family-owned business built on strong family values, Parkwood Leisure takes pride in offering ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Jon Williams
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Safe Space: Delivering the vision
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Featured press releases
Zoom Media press release: Zoom Media UK partners with Your Personal Training to expand rewards platform to PT clients
Zoom Media UK, the leading provider of digital media solutions for fitness facilities, is announcing an exciting new partnership with Your Personal Training (YPT), the UK’s foremost Personal Training brand. This collaboration marks the first time Zoom’s rewards platform will be directly available to the clients of YPT trainers, offering unique incentives to enhance client engagement and retention.
Featured press releases
ABC Trainerize press release: How RockBox Fitness is energizing members with fitness challenges powered by ABC Trainerize
RockBox Fitness, a leading franchise known for its dynamic boxing-based fitness classes, has revolutionized member engagement with a new partnership with ABC Fitness and the implementation of ABC Trainerize throughout its franchise network.
Directory
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Cryotherapy
Lockers
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
Snowroom
TechnoAlpin SpA: Snowroom
Property & Tenders
Cleveland Lakes, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire
Cotswold Lakes Trust
Property & Tenders
Loughton, IG10
Knight Frank
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
03-05 Sep 2024
IMPACT Exhibition Center, Bangkok, Thailand
Diary dates
08-10 Sep 2024
Wyndham® Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs™ Resort, Lake Buena Vista, United States
Diary dates
19-19 Sep 2024
The Salil Hotel Riverside - Bangkok, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
Diary dates
20-22 Sep 2024
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
01-04 Oct 2024
REVĪVŌ Wellness Resort Nusa Dua Bali, Kabupaten Badung, Indonesia
Diary dates
09-13 Oct 2024
Soneva Fushi, Maldives
Diary dates
10 Oct 2024
QEII Conference Centre, London,
Diary dates
22-25 Oct 2024
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
24-24 Oct 2024
QEII Conference Centre, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2024
In person, St Andrews, United Kingdom
Diary dates
04-06 Feb 2025
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
11-13 Feb 2025
Fairmont Riyadh , Saudi Arabia
Diary dates
10-13 Apr 2025
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
07-07 Jun 2025
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
28-31 Oct 2025
Koelnmesse, Cologne, Germany
Diary dates

features

Life lessons: Sarah Luna

Appointed president of Xponential Fitness when she was only 34, Sarah Luna attributes her career success to the grit, determination and stamina she honed as a dancer by day and Pilates teacher by night. She talks to Kath Hudson about how owning her choices has given her the resilience to take on one of the top jobs in the US fitness industry, while also raising a family

Published in Health Club Management 2024 issue 5
Luna has been president of Xponential since 2021 / photo: Xponential Fitness
Luna has been president of Xponential since 2021 / photo: Xponential Fitness
Either get on and do the job you’ve signed up for and deal with the good, the bad and the ugly, or get out of the way

The biggest influence of my career came while I was dancing professionally in Chicago in the early 2000s and I still draw on the lessons learned from that time.

There were five professional dancers in the company and five understudies. I was one of the understudies and it was a strange time, as we were all waiting for our break, which would only come if someone else was injured or retired.

As understudies we would learn, and rehearse all the choreographies so we could jump in if needed. It was 40 hours of dancing a week and completely unpaid.

To make ends meet, I taught Pilates from 4.00pm until 10.00pm every weekday and all day on Saturdays.

Because I wanted to be a dancer so badly I pushed myself really hard and ran myself down.

One day I felt a sharp pain in my abdominals, which felt like a knife. When I told the artistic director the message was: “You don’t sit it out, the show goes on.”

Next up was a 12-minute high intensity piece and about half way in I felt an excruciating pain. The woman dancing opposite me said my face went ghost white. Afterwards I discovered I’d ruptured a cyst and my abdominal cavity was full of fluid. I ended up taking the next two days off to rest and recuperate.

At that point it dawned on me that I had a choice. I could either get back in the fight and go again, or I could lay low or I could step away altogether…

I decided there were tons of people lined up for that opportunity and although the experience had been very painful, it was also short-term and it did pass. At that point I made the choice to keep showing up and get the job done.

Ultimately that’s the life lesson I've taken with me for the rest of my career. When the going gets rough, I evaluate whether it’s a short-term pain and whether that short-term pain is worth continuing to be in the fight.

Own your choices
Our life is a series of choices. It's common for people to say they hate their job, or a certain aspect of their life, but I subscribe to the idea that if you don't want to do it, there are tons of people who will, so either get on and do the job you’ve signed up for and deal with the good, the bad and the ugly, or get out of the way.

This mindset gives me a sense of control when times are hard.


I've got two young daughters and one is in the middle of teething and the other one hasn’t been sleeping, so I’ve been getting by on two to three hours of sleep each night.

At the same time there have been challenges at work. It's been very stressful on a lot of different fronts. There have certainly been a couple of times when I’ve felt defeated, that everyone wants a piece of me and I don't know how I can be successful.

But then I give myself a talk. I remind myself that I wanted my daughters and I love them to death. So even though it’s painful that they want to play and eat bananas and learn to walk in the middle of the night, I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything. I made the choice, I wanted to have children and sleepless nights are part of that deal. On the work side, periods of intensity come with being a public company, you just have to work through it.

What I learned from that dance company experience allows me to take a breath and tell myself that I recognise this low place, I recognise this exhaustion and this feeling of defeat and I also know how to get myself out of it.

Lesson two from that experience was that it taught me how to manage my health better, be more in tune with when I need to slow down and when I can accelerate, rather than always being pegged at the high end of the range. You can’t constantly operate at high velocity and expect your body to keep up. I’ve certainly had to learn how to throttle energy and mental capacity. Although my husband says I like to keep it at 100 per cent!

The experience also gave me the confidence to say yes to opportunities. My break came, in 2015, while I was working as a Pilates instructor at Equinox. Former Xponential CEO, Anthony Geisler, came to one of my classes because he was planning to buy Club Pilates. I had an MBA and knew how to sell Pilates so he offered me the job of national sales director of Club Pilates.

After a couple of years, I became senior VP of operations for the brand, before becoming president of Pure Barre and then president of Xponential in 2021. I just kept showing up every day and getting more responsibility and then walking through the doors as they opened. I've had a non-traditional career path, but it's been exciting and enjoyable.

Xponential franchises boutique studio concepts / photo: Xponential Fitness
Xponential franchises boutique studio concepts / photo: Xponential Fitness
The company bought metabolic health brand Lindora late in 2023 / photo: Xponential Fitness
The company bought metabolic health brand Lindora late in 2023 / photo: Xponential Fitness
Xponential bought Kinrgy and has extended it from digital to physical locations / photo: Xponential Fitness
Xponential bought Kinrgy and has extended it from digital to physical locations / photo: Xponential Fitness
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2024/967384_607016.jpg
Appointed president of Xponential Fitness in 2021 at the age of 34, Luna talks about life and the industry experiences that have helped to shape her and her career
Latest News
Belgian retail giant, Colruyt Group, is challenging the status quo of the fitness industry in ...
Latest News
According to a year-long study, offering financial incentives to people to encourage them to lose ...
Latest News
Xponential Fitness has appointed sales and franchise expert, Mark King, as CEO, to take the ...
Latest News
Fitness influencer and karate champion, Anna Lewandowska, has announced the launch of a multi-concept boutique ...
Latest News
The Health & Fitness Association (formerly IHRSA) has announced Singapore-based attorney and international industry advocate, ...
Latest News
With the UK General Election imminent, industry strategist, Martyn Allison, says it’s time for the ...
Latest News
More than 20 organisations have joined together in the UK to form the Swim Alliance, ...
Latest News
According to a number of recent studies, semaglutide weight-loss drugs can be effective in treating ...
Latest News
German health and fitness operator, LifeFit Group, has found a new investor – Waterland Private ...
Latest News
More than 200 organisations and athletes in the UK have signed an open letter to ...
Latest News
Diversity, equity and inclusion in the European fitness industry is examined in a new report ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Elevate announces new aquatics and active kids theatres for 2024 event
The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), the Swimming Teachers Association (STA), and Swim England have teamed up to sponsor an aquatic theatre at Elevate 2024.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Explosion of passion for fitness at RiminiWellness 2024 and record success for Panatta
The passion for fitness and bodybuilding reached new heights at the Panatta stands during RiminiWellness (30 May – 2 June 20204) – the largest fitness event in Italy – which this year exceeded the 100,000 visitor mark.
Company profiles
Company profile: Keepme
Keepme is the industry innovator delivering AI-integrated sales and membership solutions to fitness operators globally....
Company profiles
Company profile: Parkwood Leisure
As a family-owned business built on strong family values, Parkwood Leisure takes pride in offering ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Jon Williams
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Safe Space: Delivering the vision
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Featured press releases
Zoom Media press release: Zoom Media UK partners with Your Personal Training to expand rewards platform to PT clients
Zoom Media UK, the leading provider of digital media solutions for fitness facilities, is announcing an exciting new partnership with Your Personal Training (YPT), the UK’s foremost Personal Training brand. This collaboration marks the first time Zoom’s rewards platform will be directly available to the clients of YPT trainers, offering unique incentives to enhance client engagement and retention.
Featured press releases
ABC Trainerize press release: How RockBox Fitness is energizing members with fitness challenges powered by ABC Trainerize
RockBox Fitness, a leading franchise known for its dynamic boxing-based fitness classes, has revolutionized member engagement with a new partnership with ABC Fitness and the implementation of ABC Trainerize throughout its franchise network.
Directory
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Cryotherapy
Lockers
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
Snowroom
TechnoAlpin SpA: Snowroom
Property & Tenders
Cleveland Lakes, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire
Cotswold Lakes Trust
Property & Tenders
Loughton, IG10
Knight Frank
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
03-05 Sep 2024
IMPACT Exhibition Center, Bangkok, Thailand
Diary dates
08-10 Sep 2024
Wyndham® Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs™ Resort, Lake Buena Vista, United States
Diary dates
19-19 Sep 2024
The Salil Hotel Riverside - Bangkok, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
Diary dates
20-22 Sep 2024
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
01-04 Oct 2024
REVĪVŌ Wellness Resort Nusa Dua Bali, Kabupaten Badung, Indonesia
Diary dates
09-13 Oct 2024
Soneva Fushi, Maldives
Diary dates
10 Oct 2024
QEII Conference Centre, London,
Diary dates
22-25 Oct 2024
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
24-24 Oct 2024
QEII Conference Centre, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2024
In person, St Andrews, United Kingdom
Diary dates
04-06 Feb 2025
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
11-13 Feb 2025
Fairmont Riyadh , Saudi Arabia
Diary dates
10-13 Apr 2025
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
07-07 Jun 2025
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
28-31 Oct 2025
Koelnmesse, Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
Search news, features & products:
Find a supplier:
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
Partner sites