Jeff Halevy is the CEO of Altis Movement Technologies, a venture-backed technology startup that will bring its AI Personal Trainer to consumers in 2021.
Jeff Halevy is one of the most well-known and respected fitness experts in the United States and has been bringing his healthy lifestyle message all around the world for nearly a decade, helping people understand how they can take greater control of the way they think, the way they eat, and the way they move.
Jeff Halevy is an award-winning entrepreneur and fifteen-year veteran of the health, medical, fitness, and technology industries. His career counts successes and exits in verticals including health clubs, education, and content creation, insurtech, television and media, and public health advocacy.
Jeff Halevy is regarded as a thought leader and innovator in the health and fitness industries, which has earned him distinction in the mainstream media, with features by CNBC, Fox, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and Women’s Health, as well as trade publications like Club Solutions.
Jeff Halevy gained national prominence as a Health & Lifestyle Correspondent for NBC’s “Today Show,” and from other media and television appearances.
Where did the idea for Altis Movement Technologies come from?
Starting Altis Movement Technologies was really the result of a number of different factors — some of which I had been aware of for a while and some of which were emerging.
One was the fact, that computer science and exercise science had not yet converged in a meaningful way to deliver value to end users – people who want to get in shape.
There was no personal training product out there. There were apps, there were classes, and then Peloton, but there was nothing that delivered the personal training experience: a knowledgeable coach who understands you and is able to create custom programming for you, your goals, and your capabilities.
I also had been tracking the progression of computer vision for several years. I remember when the Kinect with X-Box came out and thinking, someone’s definitely going to use this to create a killer training product. And that just never happened. I think it’s because the technology just really wasn’t there, the Kinect just didn’t work all that great.
I have become increasingly interested in machine learning and the implications that artificial intelligence (AI) would have on many industries, but particularly fitness and exercise instruction.
I saw AI as being a solution to democratizing the elite fitness offerings that I was able to give my club’s members for years — at a fraction of the cost. And with much greater reach.
I also tracked the rise of Peloton and the rest of the connected fitness category. And my observation was that these products are pretty great providing a whole new experience to users at home, but they were still missing something. They were connected to the Internet, but they were not connected to the user. They didn’t see the user, they didn’t understand the user and they didn’t personally instruct the user.
So based on all of those factors, I really thought there was an opportunity to do something unique, bringing together computer vision, machine learning, and an expert exercise science team to create an in-home product that really delivered a true personal training experience.
I was fortunate enough to meet Altis co-founder Constantine Goltsev in early 2019 and shortly after sharing my observations and interests with him about connected fitness, he believed his background as a technologist in machine learning and computer vision could help turn my dream into reality.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Meditation. I definitely stick to my meditation habit, and not because I even enjoy it. I think that’s one of the biggest misconceptions about meditation is that it’s supposed to be enjoyable or calming. The truth of the matter is most of the time, I do not enjoy my meditation. Most of the time, I’m thinking about wanting it to be over or I have upsetting content that comes up in my meditation. But I believe that there is an intrinsic value to not only having the discipline of setting aside the time to do it and sticking to it — but it builds a competency. And I don’t even know what I’d call this competency, but it teaches the mind, body, the nervous system to just sit and be with something, to just sit and live and experience things exactly as they are. I mean, I could talk about the vagus nerve, but I’d digress.
And while that may sound really trite and maybe even easy – sitting with yourself I mean — I think that’s actually one of the hardest things to do. I think that generally speaking, human beings are very good at doing, about staying busy. We’re good at staying busy. We’re good at reacting. We’re good at planning. We’re not as good at just sitting with things as they are, just being. And it seems like since I’ve taken my meditation habit very seriously — which has only happened in the past couple of years, even though I’ve been studying meditation for nearly 20 years at this point in time — it’s really only been the last two years that I had this incredibly deep commitment to it, that I really feel like I’ve gotten something out of it. That I’ve truly been transformed in some way.
How? It’s still hard for me to even quantify exactly what that is. I can’t quite put my finger on it. I just know that I experience life a little differently. But I do find myself strongly advocating for meditation with nearly everybody that I know. I think that meditation actually is a true panacea and it does help with everything from physiological health indicators like blood pressure and heart rate to managing anxiety and depression to optimizing your productivity. So I’m a huge advocate of it.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I think one of the things that have helped me in business the most from a very high-level strategy standpoint is that I like to test things and I like to see whether something takes off or fails very quickly. So I try a lot of different things. I run a ton of experiments. And if I have validating feedback about a business, about a business idea — that could be a strategy within a company, maybe a marketing or sales strategy — if it works, if I’m able to validate it, then I just run with it. If it fails, I like it to fail quickly and either recalibrate or completely scrap it.
And I think what that’s done is it’s probably saved me, I’d say in time more than anything, although money probably goes along with that. But I think it’s saved me time that I might have spent otherwise on “bad” ideas, so to speak, that I was emotionally attached to, versus just formulating concepts, seeing if they stick, if they work — and if they do, trying to figure out what it is that’s working and growing it. And if it doesn’t, deciding whether it’s something that’s salvageable or something that I should try a different way, or I should just scrap it altogether. So I think that that’s probably helped with my efficiency, and that’s something that I’ve used across the board from putting together a deck and shopping it to potential investors all the way down to reconfiguring design elements on a website.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One? I can’t even keep track of them. And I’ve certainly have had failures within successes and successes within failures. So it’s kind of tough for me to even answer that question with the way it’s been asked. That said, I think one of the biggest failures that I’ve had without pointing to a specific business or project is being emotionally attached to businesses. I’m a really passionate person. And when I get into something, I just want to see it succeed so badly. And in the past, that actually has been to my detriment because I want something to work so badly that even if it’s not, in the past, I’ve continued to pour resources into it to try and make it work. So I think I’ve really learned over time to emotionally distance myself, to remain passionate, but at the same time, emotionally distance myself from outcomes.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A business idea. Honestly, one of the random things that’s come up for me since I’ve been spending more time in Florida… and this is very specific… is that there’s a ton of pool maintenance companies in South Florida and a ton of pools. And I think that it’s a market that’s just ripe for consolidation, which actually will really benefit the consumer because I think that the service level will improve and so will the price. So if anybody is feeling entrepreneurial and passionate about pools, maybe that’s a good business idea for them!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
What immediately came to mind is the last $100 that I spent, where I actually took out $100 and gave it to someone. I don’t know that it’s the “best $100” I ever spent, but I recently had to take a flight into New York and go all the way out to East Hampton on business. And I ended up spending about seven hours in the car with the same driver and I ended up tipping him above and beyond with $100 in cash. The reason I did it is because he was just absolutely exemplary. I could tell that he really took pride in everything that he was doing from the way he maintained his car to his comportment. And he jumped to be sure that he’s able to open the door for me, just all these little things that kind of came up, and I was really appreciative of it. So I was very happy to hand that $100 bill over to him.
What is your favorite quote?
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” – ― Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967
- We’re good at staying busy. We’re good at reacting. We’re good at planning. We’re not as good at just sitting with things as they are, just being.
- If I have validating feedback about a business, about a business idea — that could be a strategy within a company, maybe a marketing or sales strategy — if it works, if I’m able to validate it, then I just run with it. If it fails, I like it to fail quickly and either recalibrate or completely scrap it.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.