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Fast Company - - Contents - Sarah Robb O’ha­gan CEO, Fly­wheel Sports

For­mer Equinox pres­i­dent Sarah Robb O’ha­gan takes cy­cling com­pany Fly­wheel Sports in new di­rec­tions.

When the in­door-cy­cling startup Fly­wheel Sports asked Sarah Robb O’ha­gan to be its new CEO in 2016, she didn’t have to think long about her an­swer. “I was like, ‘Ab­so­lutely not,’ ” re­calls the ex­ec­u­tive, who had left her job as pres­i­dent of ex­er­cise chain Equinox (par­ent com­pany of Fly­wheel com­peti­tor Soulcy­cle) ear­lier that year. At the time, she was writ­ing her first book, and she wasn’t ea­ger to re­turn to the C-suite. But as Fly­wheel con­tin­ued to pur­sue her, Robb O’ha­gan grew more im­pressed with the brand’s fo­cus on fit­ness, tech­nol­ogy, and per­sonal growth. Fi­nally, she took the job.

Al­most six months later, the New Zealand na­tive is steer­ing Fly­wheel in new di­rec­tions. This fall, the com­pany is mov­ing into Pelo­ton’s ter­ri­tory and launch­ing its own line of sta­tion­ary bikes, which come with tablet de­vices that let rid­ers stream classes at home and com­pete against other rid­ers’ stats. “You’re part of this global com­mu­nity of avid Fly­wheel­ers, and wher­ever you are, you can par­tic­i­pate,” says Robb O’ha­gan, who is also plan­ning to open 5 to 10 new lo­ca­tions an­nu­ally over the next few years (Fly­wheel cur­rently has 42 stu­dios around the coun­try).

Robb O’ha­gan did fin­ish her book, Ex­treme You, which Harper­collins pub­lished in April. Fea­tur­ing in­ter­views with An­gela Ahrendts, Con­doleezza Rice, and oth­ers, it urges read­ers to em­brace their faults. “Our cul­ture cel­e­brates ev­ery­one for their ac­com­plish­ments,” she says. “But when we don’t show the strug­gles, the fails, and the years of self-doubt, we make it im­pos­si­ble for the next gen­er­a­tion to be­lieve they can get there.”

HOW SHE STAYS PRO­DUC­TIVE “Morn­ing work­outs let me clear my head, get alone time, and think about what I want to ac­com­plish that day.”

BEST RE­CENT TECH DE­VEL­OP­MENT “I’m a swim­mer, so I love the Ap­ple Watch Se­ries 2. It’s so cool when you fin­ish swim­ming and it sponges the wa­ter out.” WORST TECH DE­VEL­OP­MENT “There are so many ‘fit­ness track­ers’ that are re­ally just ac­celerom­e­ters and sleep mon­i­tors—they’re not bring­ing any­thing new to con­sumers.” AD­VICE SHE’D GIVE HER YOUNGER SELF “Re­lax a bit! Ev­ery­thing that hap­pens in your ca­reer will add up, so don’t stress so much on the jour­ney.” SOURCE OF IN­SPI­RA­TION “Nelson Man­dela’s Long Walk to Free­dom. It’s an ex­tra­or­di­nary story of hu­man­ity and re­silience, and it gives you a gi­ant dose of per­spec­tive.”

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