Personal trainer's business is grounded in exercise science

ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Robert Jones III of Riley F.A.S.T. can be seen on Comcast On Demand fitness videos and his own DVD.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Robert Jones III of Riley F.A.S.T. can be seen on Comcast On Demand fitness videos and his own DVD.
Posted: August 13, 2013

R OBERT JONES III, 28, of East Falls, is a personal trainer and group-exercise instructor whose business goes by the name Riley F.A.S.T. Jones played hoops at Lower Merion High School and Immaculata College, and teaches health and wellness classes at Immaculata. He has appeared on Comcast On Demand workouts and marketed his own workout DVD, "Break Your Limits." In July, he worked at Kobe Bryant's summer basketball camp.

Q: How'd you get into the biz?

A: I grew up in West Philly, went to Girard College and transferred to Lower Merion in the ninth grade. I got interested in fitness and majored in exercise science at Immaculata. My first job was at a YMCA in Berwyn and later at one in Audubon. Then I started doing classes at gyms in the city and personal training at homes.

Q: What's the backstory behind the name Riley F.A.S.T.?

A: My daughter's name is Mia-Riley, and F.A.S.T is an acronym for "fitness and sports training."

Q: How many clients?

A: I have about 12. I also have three personal trainers who work for me as independent contractors. I get 30 percent [commission] on clients if I get the leads.

Q: Who are your clients?

A: Half are women, half are men, aged 20 to 50. Women want to lose weight and men want to get more fit. I have three clients now that I train who all play Division 1 NCAA basketball. I have one client I trained to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and for a triathlon.

Q: What do services cost?

A: For 30 minutes, it's $45, for 45 minutes it's $60 and for an hour it's $75. I also have training packages, so if you sign up for five, 10 or 20 sessions, you get a discount.

Q: What about group classes?

A: I do group classes, and usually those are $10 per person with five to 10 people per class.

Q: Tell me about Comcast On Demand and the DVD.

A: I did a lot of fitness events for PhillyFIT magazine, and one of the people trying to find instructors saw me in the magazine and contacted me. I had to do auditions and that's how I got on Comcast. I did that in 2011 and filmed eight videos for them, and they liked them and asked me to do two additional sets of four each. After that, I got calls asking if I had my own workout DVD. So I compiled five 20-minute workouts and each deals with a specific area of the body. I've sold about 400 DVDs [at $20 each] in 36 different states, mostly through my website and social media.

Q: What's been the biggest challenge growing the business?

A: Personal training is a want as opposed to a need, like food. It's something people might want but can't always afford.

Q: How big a business is this?

A: It's small but I'm growing. We'll do about $50,000 [in revenue] this year.

Q: Where do you see the business in five years?

A: I want to do more workout DVDs. I also want to teach and train kids and seniors and get involved with fitness trade shows.

On Twitter: @MHinkelman


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