Why restaurateur and fitness influencer Brian Mazza is building a fitness empire
Ainsworth restaurants creator and fitness celeb Brian Mazza is hosting a three-day wellness retreat this weekend.
Years of experience in the erratic food and beverage industry taught Brian Mazza an important lesson: You don’t necessarily need a large contingency to pull off a grand-scale event.
The restaurant titan is keeping his newest fitness venture, High-Performance Lifestyle Training (HPLT), at a minimum — sort of — by capping this weekend’s HPLT retreat — a mix of meditation, muscle and mind expansion — at 30 fitness enthusiasts.
But for fitness star power, Mazza shot for the stars and landed one of the most sought-after motivational speakers in the country, Navy SEAL and ultramarathoner David Goggins, to headline the event.
“I wanted to get someone that I follow, someone who has helped me with motivation, get through days I wanted to give up or don’t want to fight hard,” Mazza says. “That was David Goggins.”
Mazza’s built a multimillion-dollar restaurant empire with his successful and popular Ainsworth restaurants, but this weekend will be about sun salutations atop the Empire State Building, along with the nearly three dozen like-minded workout warriors — from college students to CEOs to pro athletes — who shelled out $2,500 for the event. “They’re a total mix of people willing to invest in themselves,” he says.
A former college soccer star, the 34-year-old has been featured in most fitness magazines, including the cover of Men’s Health magazine, in part for his well-documented workout regimen.
The retreat will also serve as the fitness and wellness brand’s official launch, according to Mazza, which has plans to expand to online fitness coaching, a brick-and-mortar facility in the city, as well as HPLT gear.
Mazza’s idea for HPLT, he says, is to reinforce a message that positive habits, people and mindset are the recipe for continued growth and a healthy life.
“It’s not just about fitness. It’s about aligning yourself and putting yourself in positions to win,” Mazza says. “It’s about doing all the small things that get small wins that ultimately lead to huge victories.”
The weekend retreat is more than just yoga and high-intensity workouts (“But there will be plenty of physical challenges,” Mazza says). HPLT will host a fitness who’s who panel discussion held at the Ainsworth in Chelsea (which, separate from the retreat, is available to 200 people — tickets can still be purchased at hpltraining.com) that includes former NFL wide receiver and Purple Heart Daniel Rodriguez, former NFL safety and fitness trainer Omar Bolden, CNN Host and Anchor Brooke Baldwin; serial wellness entrepreneur Amanda Freeman, Performix House trainer Devon Levesque, Women’s Health editor in chief Liz Plosser, Juice Press Founder Marcus Antebi, and pro lacrosse superstar Rob Pannell.
But turning HPLT from event to fitness-palooza was the addition of Goggins to the panel, who will not only be Saturday’s keynote speaker, but will lead the 30 retreat members on a run over the Brooklyn Bridge following the discussion.
Goggins, the author of “Can’t Hurt Me,” is the only U.S. Armed Forces member to ever complete SEAL training, Army and Air Force Tactical Air Controller training. Goggins has also completed 60 ultramarathons (including one in which he broke every small bone in both feet and suffering stress fractures in both legs), triathlons, and ultra-triathlons, and once held the Guinness World Record for pull-ups, completing 4,030 in 17 hours.
“We poured our heart and soul into this to make this event as special as we could, and obviously to hear David speak, he’s such an epic human being,” Mazza says. “But I’m most excited for the 30 people trusting me to put on a really awesome event for them.”