An Old-School Style Interview with BodyRefinery Owner, Michael Luongo

Q: When did you open BodyRefinery?

ML: Just over fifteen years ago on April 1, 2001.

Q: Tell us about the journey to get here.

ML: I worked with a personal trainer, Elliot, when I was in college back in New Jersey. I not only loved what Elliot did for my body, but I loved what he did for work. Elliot said to get certified and he’d hire me, so I did and went to work for him. The concept for creating a private-training studio came when I worked at one in New Jersey. I had my own ideas of how I would do things differently, and I wanted to build my dream studio where I wanted to live – San Diego.

Q: How do you account for getting from concept in New Jersey to successful business in San Diego?

ML: I graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and worked in in alcohol and drug rehabilitation. Understanding people from the inside out, what makes them tick and not tick, is essential to being a great fitness trainer. To be a successful one, I needed not only a good location for a studio, but clients to fill it. The best way to build clientele in this business is by word of mouth, so I began by working in a large local gym. I had a good client base before I opened BodyRefinery.

Q: What was your biggest challenge over the years?

ML: I’d have to say learning to grow from my mistakes, being human, and knowing that evolving personally is a HUGE and never-ending lesson. I’ve actually learned to like the word “failure” because it is through them that I learn something. Behavioral failures are the worst and best opportunity to grow.

Q: Choose one big success that is meaningful to you and tell us what it is.

ML: I had an 80-year- old couple that came in to start training together for the first time in their lives. Their son forced them to come in for training. This year they are 94 and like to remind me that they wouldn’t even be alive today without the fitness program at BodyRefinery.

Q: Any life-long personal goals?

ML: Oh yes. Around the age of ten, I wanted to have dinner with Madonna.

Q: Did you accomplish it?

ML: Yes!

Q: Well … that’s going to be a great story for a future blog post, isn’t it?

ML: Stay tuned!