Rayne Herzog lives in a perpetual state of motion. And, he’ll tell you, that’s precisely how he likes it. He is the owner of LifeTrak Personal Training and RaceVermont, and the general manager for Shelburne Field House. Here, Rayne slows down to talk career history, personal motivation and more—including power naps, Warrior Conditioning and his beloved black lab, Jaxson.
Q: You brought the first gym to Shelburne, Vermont when you founded Shelburne Athletic Club [now Shelburne Field House]. How did you get the idea to start the club?
Rayne: I founded Shelburne Athletic Club in 1998 on Shelburne Road. It was 8,400 square feet. One day I saw a fireside cartoon in the paper. There was a guy going up to a receptionist at a health club and the line was: ‘The dues are 10,000 dollars and every time you come in, we pay you back 25 dollars.’ I remember seeing that and turning to my business partnerand saying, ‘You know what, I think we need to build a health club.’ She looked at me like, ‘you’re frikkin’ crazy, what are you talking about?’ And I said ‘Seriously. If you look at the demographics, Burlington has a bunch of health clubs and then
there’s Middlebury, so there’s this big gap in-between. Why don’t we open it up in Shelburne?’ There were 4,500 residents in Shelburne at that time. Within two weeks of opening Shelburne Athletic Club, we had 250 people join. It was nuts. They just came swarming in. It was incredible.
Now you’re the general manager at Shelburne Field House on Athletic Drive.
We moved over to the field house in 2005. It’s 80,000 square feet. Originally, it was a big factory warehouse for Blodgett Ovens who made pizza ovens. But they had moved to Burlington so it sat idle for a number of years. We renovated it, turned it into a sports complex and then moved there.
You’ve always been an athlete. What sports did you play growing up?
Soccer, lacrosse and hockey. But soccer was my big sport. I actually played two years for the University of Colorado and was the captain. (I went to the University of Colorado for two years, then did two years at the University of Vermont, where I graduated in 1984). I also lived in Aspen for a couple years and played soccer for the town of Aspen. During the summertime, soccer and rugby are huge attractions to the town. And when you play soccer for the town of Aspen, you’re like a celebrity. You travel all over Colorado playing at Vail and Steamboat and all of that. It was kind of like semi-pro soccer; These guys I played with were all Europeans. It was so much fun.
You’re an AFAA certified personal trainer. How did you get to that point?
I took a bunch of physiology classes at the University of Vermont. My real major was agriculture of all things. But I took knowledge from my courses at UVM, took more courses, took my exam and got my certification. I’ve been training people one-on-one since the early 90s. I ran a master swim program, I put together a triathlon team, and things like that, so I had a lot of experience in training people. I got the official certification in 1998.
How does the process work when someone hires you to train them?
We start with an hour consultation where I have people fill out a health questionnaire. Based on that, we’ll talk about how I can meet their needs. The last question asks you to name three goals. I look at what those are to see if what I do as a trainer and who I am as a trainer will fit your needs. 99 percent of the time, I can tailor my training to meet someone’s needs. I’ve trained people from ages 8 to 92.
What are the most common goals people have?
Weight loss is one. Overcoming injuries is another. And generally just being more functional in life: being able to do day-to-day activities more easily, whether that’s gardening or riding your bike or running.
What do you like most about being a personal trainer?
It’s very satisfying to improve someone’s physical condition to the point that they really feel much better in their life. I like to see the results that people get.
You’re a former triathlete.
For about 10 years of my life, ages 30 to 40, I did a lot of short distance and Olympic triathlons throughout the northeast. I did quite well. I was one of the top triathletes in the state of Vermont. Now I enjoy keeping myself in great shape so I can do triathlon coaching. Every summer for 10 years now (this is the 10th summer coming up), I coach a 10-week triathlon training program for beginners and intermediate triathletes.
Let’s talk about RaceVermont. You’re the owner and race director.
One of the critical things to know about owning a gym is that for at least three months of the year—June, July and August— it’s a pretty dead time. Membership drops off. Sales drop off. So I created my race series, RaceVermont, to make up for that revenue I was potentially losing in the club. Today, our season runs from February to November and we put on 5K, 10K, half-marathon and triathlon events. Visit racevermont.com to see our next event!
As a group fitness instructor at Shelburne Field House, you teach Spinning and ‘Warrior Conditioning.’ Warrior Conditioning is a class you invented.
I do Spartan Racing for fun (rope climbing, obstacles, crawling through mud, throwing spears…). One day I just sat back and said to myself: ‘I should combine obstacle racing and boot camp to make a class!’ I wanted to put something together that was extremely unique and totally encompasses a full-body workout. And I wanted to make it safe and really try and change it up a little bit. That’s how I came up with Warrior Conditioning. It’s a hybrid group fitness class including everything from crawling to stair running to dragging and flipping tires to hula hooping and more. I hold 10-week sessions at 5:45 a.m. on Friday mornings at Shelburne Field House. Interested? Contact me for more information.
Where does your motivation for health and fitness come from?
The reason I’ve gotten so involved in sports and athletics and everything is because these things are literally what helped me to survive in life. My parents passed away when I was very young and so I didn’t have a lot of direction. The direction that I got in my life came from sports and coaches. It was a way for me to expand energy that probably could have taken me in another direction—drinking and drugs, or whatever it could have been. The avenue I took has always been about health, and being healthy, and keeping myself in good shape. Now I love helping other people get healthy and create healthy habits in their life. That’s really important. I would say all my clients really are very good about focusing not only on their exercise, but also on their eating and their sleep.
Speaking of sleep, you say you believe in a mid-day power nap.
Oh God. Yeah I do. For 15 minutes every day. Usually from 12:30 to 12:45 p.m. I try to make it pretty regimented. I literally lay on the floor. I set my phone for 17 minutes: It takes me one minute to get ready and one minute to get out of it. So 17 minutes: That’s what I give myself. When I get up, I’m refreshed, I’m like OK: I’m ready to go!
What hobbies do enjoy when you’re off the clock?
Hiking, biking, running, swimming. I’m a surfer. And I love tinkering around my house. I have an 1880 farmhouse, so there’s a lot of tinkering that needs to be done. I do a lot of projects around there. I play with Jaxson.
Everyone who knows you knows Jackson.
Such a good boy. [Jaxson is Rayne’s almost-three-year-old black lab.] Jaxson and I do a little hiking together. We play Frisbee together. Oh yeah, big time. He loves his Frisbee.
What drives you every day?
I like to be productive. When I go to bed at night, I like to think about what I accomplished that day. And I love people. I love being around people. But on the other hand, I like quiet and definitely like my down time. And that’s OK. You gotta take time for yourself.
Do you have any final thoughts to share?
Whatever success is, however you equate that, I like to think of myself as successful.