The Own It founder talked with Athletech News about his need to make a difference using his past experiences in the sport of hockey and focus on personal health
Wouldn’t life seem much easier truly understanding the data from your Fitbit, WHOOP, or any other fitness tracker? Well, Own It founder Justin Roethlingshoefer has given us a way to do just that in order to live healthier and well-informed with his digital platform. Athletes from the University of Miami’s football program implemented Roethlingshoefer’s Own It to turn results from their fitness trackers into having better results with their on-field performances, and non-athletes can do the same in order to improve exercise routines, recovery, and sleeping habits.
As the visionary of his ‘8 Controllables’ system and best-selling author, Roethlingshoefer took his own experience of “feeling the frustration of not getting the answers for my health” along with his childhood dream of being an NHL hockey player and strength coaching background (NCAA, NHL, AHL) to develop a platform of health empowerment and knowledge. This became Own It. Since its creation, Roethlingshoefer’s purpose to impact others became reality and as he tells Athletech News, the potential in doing so “is what provides me that maximal motivation every single day.”
“Every decision I made was for a reason. It was meant to teach me something, and everything happened exactly as it was supposed to,” he adds.
Keep reading this latest edition of CEO Corner to uncover Roethlingshoefer’s origin story from NHL hopeful to Own It founder and motivational entrepreneur.
Athletech News (ATN): Tell us about your background.
Justin Roethlingshoefer: I grew up in Canada and my life’s goal was to be a hockey player and play in the NHL. At 13 years old I was playing with 16 year olds and for the first time [in my life I] wasn’t standing out. My father said something to me that changed my mindset forever. He said, “Son, talent will get you noticed, but consistency will get you paid”. From that moment on, I was on a quest to become the most consistent version of me and that meant leaning into what I could control — sleep, nutrition, fitness, environment, mindset, hydration, and stress management.
I began reading medical journals, studies, white papers, nutrition books, [while] sleeping and training with heart rate monitors, brain sensors, and pulse oximeters at the age of 13. I became my number one research and test dummy. [Eventually], I was able to play junior hockey in Canada, play for a national championship, secure a hockey scholarship to the NCAA, and become a practice player in the AHL for a brief stint. This also spurred my educational career, receiving an undergraduate degree in Exercise Science and Nutrition, a Masters degree in Human Development with a concentration in Sport Performance, and post graduate work in HRV, Sleep and Recovery Science.
As I retired as a player and got into the coaching world I began to see a couple things. One- I still treated myself like a high performing athlete. Two- working with the best athletes in the world at the NCAA and NHL level (I was a performance coach and director for the next 15 years for two NCAA institutions and three different AHL and NHL hockey teams), it became apparent that what worked for one athlete did not work for the other. The other thing I noticed was that even though I had a great amount of knowledge from school, there was a large gap in being able to apply in real life, one being me [and] two, being my athletes. So I went off script. I began to take data, personalized testing, and bloodwork to figure out each person’s blueprint to create action steps that created real change. The athletes saw improvement in resiliency, energy, and recovery times; I saw changes in health (bloating, headaches, and fatigue) that every doctor told me was “normal” and to just deal with it (only to find out that if I had not made a change, [this] would have led to colon cancer by the age of 30).
After a 15 year career doing this for the best athletes in the world, I wanted to make these same strategies and systems available to people who want to find answers and improve their physical/mental being, but don’t know how to do it. [I] take this holistic and complete solution only accessible behind the walls of professional sport to now being available to the entrepreneur, executive, and general public [in order] to curate their personalized high performance lifestyle.
ATN: Please tell us about your current company and how either your role or the company (if you are a founder) came to fruition.
Justin Roethlingshoefer: Like most things, OWN IT became what it is out of need. During my two seasons in the NHL, I began to feel really restless. I wanted more and wanted to impact more people. I had the mind of an entrepreneur but was in a structured team setting that shunned and punished that type of thinking, so I call my time in the NHL as my ultimate failure, success without fulfillment.
I had the luxury of seeing Magic Johnson speak — he talked about his last contract with the Lakers [and how] he got the emails and phone numbers of the season ticket holders with floor seats. He took each one for lunch over the course of that year, with the intention of creating relationships and finding business mentors. It ended up earning him 20 business partners he still has today. So, it inspired me to do the same, see where I was as a blessing. I met with 65 different business leaders on our road trips last year learning more than I could have ever done reading books, but also what I found was when they learned what I do and how I do it from a health optimization space, they asked if I could help them. [I] wound up with 50 clients, but more importantly, a realization that there is a need for access to this in the business and everyday world.
There is a disconnect and hunger for a different approach. Performance can not be realized until health is optimized. This led to the formation of OWN IT.
ATN: What was your journey like to get to this point?
Justin Roethlingshoefer: The journey [in] leaving the NHL to becoming an entrepreneur was not easy for me. I had to overcome a whole lot of imposter syndrome, thinking I was trying to do something that I was not qualified to do [and] build a business, as I was not a businessman. The best decision I made was get[ting] a mentor. This person changed my life and helped to continue to keep me on track and be aware. One of those people I hired, the other I engaged with as much as possible: Ed Mylett [and] Sharran Srivatsaa. They helped me to overcome a lot of those beliefs and continue to trust my vision, mission and purpose.
The other thing that began to manifest was my wife, who was a VP at Christian Louboutin. [She] began to have a desire to take her skills and talents [in order to] have a bigger impact. We were blessed that six months into OWN IT, she was able to take over the CEO role, build a team, and establish a foundation that would make OWN IT a leader in the wellness industry, but [also] create a new category in coaching: truly personalized health optimization that not only provides information, but a team of high qualified docs, nutritionists, strength coaches, sport scientists [and] naturopaths to walk with you and guide your journey.
ATN: Where do you accomplish your best work?
Justin Roethlingshoefer: My best work happens in my office. It has been set up so that it is bright, has space for me to move and stretch but also runs at 68 degrees. I love to be cool, almost on the verge of cold.
When I need to ideate and create vision I go [to] one of three places: the steam room or sauna, I workout, or float in the lake or bay. Water and sunlight get me into my flow space and allow for certain neural pathways to become hyper-focused. It is where I do my best thinking, ideating and creating.
ATN: Talk about your failures? What have you learned from them?
Justin Roethlingshoefer: The first large one was chasing things. Titles. Money. Worldly things. I tried to climb the mountain of success as quickly as I could, and the moment I arrived I was left with [the question], “Is this it?” [I felt] this level of disappointment because I still felt empty inside. The external achievements were just things and did not actually satisfy my need to serve and be in alignment with what my true purpose was. It was serving my ego more than serving people outwardly.
The second is more operations focused and it came from a desire to serve everyone. If you don’t have a focus, you serve nobody. So, making sure that as a team we have a diligent focus and are disciplined not to deviate from it, so we resonate with the target audience, is key.
Thirdly, [going] back to a business I started, I did not have the skillset or awareness of what it meant to delegate. [I had] a phenomenal business that was very successful, a six-figure company for only eight weeks of work, but because I was unable to delegate and felt I needed to run it all, it led to my burning out and creating an environment that could be seen as stressful
I [learned three things]: One, I needed to be aligned with my core values, and knowing that being committed to something larger than myself and the process is what creates fulfillment. The journey is the gift, not the destination. Two, if you try to speak to everyone or you try to be for everyone, you will speak or be for no one. Focus is freedom. Three, being willing to put your ego down allows true potential to be revealed. One person’s problem is another person’s purpose, so identify your problem and then seek the person.
ATN: What charities are important to you? What does philanthropy mean to you?
Justin Roethlingshoefer: Underground Railroad and Operation Christmas Child. Anytime you can impact children is amazing. They can’t make decisions for themselves and are sometimes at the mercy of their circumstances. So being able to play a small role in improving those, knowing our youth, what humanity will one day rely upon, is a worthwhile endeavor.
ATN: What makes you stressed? How do you manage stress?
Justin Roethlingshoefer: This is something I have been working on for a long time. Stress is something we manifest. It is all worldly. Being able to trust the plan that is laid out for our lives helps us to alleviate stress, and stress manifests negativity in our bodies. This doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen and it doesn’t mean I don’t get stressed. But the awareness of this allows me to come back to a centered point.
I have a very diligent meditation and breathwork practice. I do [the] morning with my sauna or redlight, but also leave a 10 minute gap every three hours of work so I can walk around, clear my mind and re-center.
ATN: What would be the title of your biography?
Justin Roethlingshoefer: “One More Time.” How to get back up one more time when the world knocks you down millions.
Candace Cordelia is a Pennsylvania-based journalist and on-camera broadcaster/host, with a reporting background in wrestling, entertainment, and lifestyle. Her reporting work has been featured on websites and in publications such as Bustle, Pro Wrestling Illustrated, New York Daily News, am New York, ABC News, Yahoo!, Good Morning America, Madame Noire, Sister 2 Sister, etonline.com, Diva Dirt and The Everyday Fan. Her favorite workout influencers include Chloe Ting, Cassey Ho, Pamela Reif and Mary Braun. She still can’t stand burpees and Rebbl Dark Chocolate Immunity Elixir is one of her favorite post-workout protein sips. You can follow Candace on Twitter @CandaceCordelia and on Instagram @thatgirlcandace16.