We had the good fortune of connecting with Jonathan Aluzas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jonathan, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
The principle of continual growth and learning is central to who I am. Maintaining a constant hunger to learn, to expand knowledge, to grow, provides fuel for every area of my life. On a personal level, it enables me to practice introspection and self-awareness, to identify areas in which I want to improve, and then to allow that growth process to unfold over time. This contributes to a stronger self-relationship, a better marriage, and an always-improving and evolving relationship with the world around me. On a business level, having a growth mindset elicits the questions, “what’s next?” and “how can we deliver this more effectively?” Both of these questions stimulate innovation and continual improvement, which is important in any industry, because failing to evolve along with the marketplace will leave you behind and struggling. Growth-focus feeds human motivation, the desire for self-efficacy, and serves as a launch-pad for improvement and satisfaction in health, business, relationships, and every other facet of life.
What should our readers know about your business?
The strength of Arena Fitness, the business I have co-owned for eighteen years, is its community. We have a tremendous community of members who have stood by us through times of prosperity, times of loss and sadness, through pandemics, recessions, and who have celebrated with us during times of joy. They are the foundation, the strength of who we are. Arena Fitness is a wellness center with two locations in the San Fernando Valley. Originally conceived as a personal training and group fitness studio, we have evolved over the years to include whole-health wellness practices like nutrition and lifestyle coaching. Our personal training program was one of the first to feature semi-private personal training; small groups of people experiencing personalized strength and mobility training together, as opposed to the traditional one-on-one training model. Our programs integrate strength, cardio, nutrition, and health coaching, which represents total mind and body wellness. Owning and operating a business is very challenging. Competition is tough, Los Angeles doesn’t offer a very business-friendly environment, the economy is always in a state of fluctuation, and we’ve had many struggles along the way. Making it through the 2008 recession was one of the biggest challenges we faced, and we made it through by tightening our belts, leaning on our community, staying true to our vision, and gutting it out. I think one of the main things we business owners should focus on is continual innovation and evolution; constantly seeking out ways to improve and grow in the delivery of our services. When we become stagnant in our thinking, we fail the people we serve, we fall behind in the marketplace, and we put ourselves in the position of operating defensively instead of proactively. Operating with curiosity, with a constant hunger for improvement, is what drives our ability to meet the needs of our clients, and satisfy the innate desire for growth that resides inside of us all.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m probably the last person you’d want as your Los Angeles tour guide, because I’m not the kind of person to spend a lot of time out on the town! I’m perfectly content taking a walk with my wife and dogs, and then reading a book in my back yard. But I would probably take them hiking around the Rose Bowl, or trail running around Malibu. I love walking through Old Town Pasadena to do some window shopping, and then grabbing food at El Portal, or maybe pizza at Triple Beam in Highland Park or pho from Lemongrass in Eagle Rock, where I live. Since I don’t drink, I’d probably top that off with coffee at Found or Swork in Eagle Rock, which are both walking distance from my house, and a pass by Toros Pottery, which has amazing, handcrafted ceramics.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family definitely deserves credit for anything I’ve accomplished. My parents modeled work ethic when I was growing up, and have always been amazingly supportive, as have my brother and sister. My wife was integral in helping me start the business, get things rolling, and pay the bills! The Arena Community has played a critical role in the success of the business. Not only my business partner, Joe Garcia, but the team we’ve had over the years and the incredible member community who have become family.