Meet Aaron Smith, the creative power behind the KX Group. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have heard of the marvelous KX brand, a dynamic group of workouts for the modern fitness lover. Aarons flare is in formulating unique boutique workouts using traditional exercise programs and fusing it with a modern and creative touch.
Can you tell us a little about you?
Born and bred in Melbourne I’m the youngest of 5 from VERY Catholic parents. But they always gave us choice and let us live our own lives. But thanks to my older siblings I got it pretty easy growing up and I should thank them for paving the way to me getting away with everything!
I went to St. Kevin’s College in Toorak and then onto Monash Uni where I completed a Bachelor of Science double majoring in Exercise Physiology and Pharmacology, and at the same time got my Personal Training Certifications and starting working in gyms. After I finished Uni I took off abroad to search for something different that I could bring back to Australia. First it started with 2 years back and forth in Colorado, US and then led me to London for just under 3 years where I came across Dynamic Pilates. Using travel as my freedom I travelled to 38 countries in 3 years and had a blast. In regards to Pilates, I instantly I fell in love with the studios over there and saw the potential for growth in the industry but thought I could add my touch to make things better. One day I woke up and decided enough was enough. I left everything there – my friends, my gf and a great job. I arrived back in June 2009 and 6 months later KX was born.
Currently, I live in Sydney with my partner (and now business partner) Andi. We moved up in April this year to open the flagship KX studio together in Surry Hills in October, and it’s already pumping! We plan on being there for at least another 12 months to grow the business and open more studios / KX franchises in Sydney. Then who knows which state next!
What projects are you working on at the moment?
Currently we’re still perfecting and developing the franchise systems and the whole KX experience – something that I believe we will always strive to improve, whilst at the same time still growing and tweaking KX Barre and KX Yoga. We’ve also just relaunched KX Retreats and put Iririki Island on the schedule for next year which I’m looking forward to. Every day brings a new challenge! I’ve started to write my first book on the journey of KX which should finished in the next few months as well.
At this time in your life, what does ‘living’ mean to you?
Living to me means eating clean and staying fit and healthy. Spending time with my Andi (although we now work together), and taking time to enjoy family and friends. Slowing down and enjoying the hard work that has been put in over the years and just enjoying life.
How would friends and family describe you?
Ambitious, confident and that I have a very positive outlook on life. I’m also told I can be pretty selfish at times, but I believe it’s important sometimes to put yourself first, although it can certainly be a bad trait as well!
Have health and fitness always been important to you? Was there a defining moment where you choose to make a change?
Yes and no. I have always been active and grew up playing a lot of sport, but I also ate a lot of crap as a kid (remember being the youngest of 5 I was quite spoilt). Health and fitness only came to me when I was 18. At 17 I had a knee reconstruction and put on 15 kgs. I called myself ‘big boned’ but looking back at photo’s I was definitely a fatty! That’s when I started in the gym and became obsessed with weight training, exercise and eating clean. I went from a fat 104kgs to a ripped 86kgs.
It also led me to detour my Science degree to a more fitness focus, as I was fascinated by the human body and what you could do to it / put into it to make it change. It was also that time when my PT Career started too as seeing my change I wanted to help others change for the better as well.
There is nothing more powerful than standing in front of the mirror and being utterly disgusted and upset with what you see in the reflection and say ‘enough is enough.’ At 18 I made that choice to change and have never looked back. And that change literally changed my life.
When do you feel most balanced?
Although I don’t do it as often as I would like, I feel completely balanced after a Vinyasa Yoga class. I feel revitalized, refreshed both physically and mentally. It’s not that often that I get to tune out of my manic world, but I notice the difference when I do.
What does a typical day in the life of Aaron Smith look like?
Busy! I’m up around 7am and usually head straight to the gym or go for a walk / run. I then clear my emails before meetings start. I spend a lot of time in cafes AKA ‘my offices’. Best thing is my office changes daily. If I’m not in meetings I’m resolving top tier issues in one of the 8 company studios, writing articles or blogs, replying to emails or getting a new franchise set up. Keeping my current franchisee all nice and happy or viewing properties for new KX sites! Building my network is a constant time filler too. I finish up around at around 7pm when we have a rule that laptops get closed at that time and then dinner with Andi (she’s an amazing cook by the way) and watching a bit of TV to zone out so I can eventually sleep!
What do you believe is the most significant change people should make if they want to be kinder to their bodies?
I believe there are 3 key changes need to be made:
Firstly, make time every day for yourself. Whether that’s reflection time, meditation or just stopping and being grateful for everything in your life. Too often, we are busy trying to please others when we first must start from within. Too often, we are working our butts off for someone else.
Secondly, take processed sugar, processed foods and white carbs out of your diet. It will control cravings, decrease bloating, give you sustained energy and make you feel amazing.
And the third is to move more! They beauty of all these different styles of fitness studios popping up is the variety that they bring and the more chances you will enjoy exercise! At the very least it will add variety to your training. Try new classes, new studios, or just go back to basics and enjoy the outdoors and go for a walk.
Do you think social media is the key to getting a healthy message out there?
Yes! As long as it’s a healthy message you are portraying! On a business front I believe social media is really important. It’s great for getting your business message and brand awareness out there and connecting with clients. It’s also great for building your personal brand and building/ communicating with your followers.
On the personal front, it’s a great tool to connect with friends and loved ones (especially when travelling and with OS friends) and share your lives with each other. BUT people need to understand that personal social media projects an unrealistic perspective on one’s life with people only putting the best parts of their lives on their pages. I also don’t like how people live through their social media. We need to put down our phones and get back to reality. Society has become obsessed.
Lastly, what advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own business?
Make sure you are passionate about what you are going into business for and then just start. Action and consistency are key to success. Stop thinking of all the reasons why you shouldn’t and just do it. You’re going to make mistakes and it’s not going to be easy. But if you believe in it, commit to it and are prepared to work your absolute ass off to get it then it’s yours.
Apart from the fact I knew I was a decent trainer, I had no idea what I was doing when I started KX. You will learn along the way; never stop learning. Never stop asking questions and find mentors who you can learn off.
Also, don’t be afraid to fail, as the saying goes – successful people are only more successful than you as they have just failed more times than you.
Why did Aaron bring the dynamic Pilates workout to Australia and what motivates him? To find out more about this incredible brand, read our “A look inside the KX Group with Aaron Smith“.
Plus head over to People + Profiles to get to know the real Aaron!
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