March 2017
Vol 6 | Issue 109

Q&A with Jay Cardiello

Health Strategist, Fitness Expert & Entrepreneur

Principal Series:

Family Office Insights sits down with health & fitness expert, Jay Cardiello, to discuss his mission in the wellness sector and his plans to change the way individuals address weight-loss, focusing on internal, behavioral, and environmental change.

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Tell us about your background and how you got into the industry.

While spring training as a track-and-field athlete at the University of Arkansas, I came down wrong on a drill, cracking my tailbone. I had 13 surgeries and was in a body brace for 6 months. That took me off of the law school track and I decided that I wanted to do strength and conditioning for athletes.

In 2005, I got a call from 50 Cent’s manager to train him for a movie, although the movie didn’t come to fruition, I continued to train him and we have been like family ever since. Since then, my business has been in the sports and entertainment realm, working with celebrities at their homes, hotels, or traveling with them. I am a strength and conditioning specialist, though others also call me a health strategist.

How did your business evolve over the years?

In 2013, my career changed. I was approached to develop a social program for obesity. I created a 12-week program that really focused on the root of the problem, not just the symptoms of those fighting obesity. I always believed it was important to figure out why people do what they do, before anything else.

How are you different from other health and fitness experts out in the market?

Like many other health and fitness experts, I published a book, a workout series, and trained celebrity clients, but I also have a unique perspective on everyday people’s concerns and the desire for realistic effective life changes from being the Editor at Large for Shape and a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, Men’s Health, and Men’s Fitness. I am also a Committee Member for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

What really separates me is that I construct all of my health programming from a behavioral and environmental, not physical perspective. Thus, creating both sustainable outcomes and ROI for the individual or company by focusing on the root cause and not the effects. My aim is to be fired, to create self-actualization, not for the client to become dependent on me to be their source of fulfillment.

You also help people get into their best shape. If you don’t believe in diets, what do you believe?

I like to say that we always live before we die. What I mean is that people always wish they did this and that at the end of their life, but we already have all the answers now, but we don’t act on them until we have a health scare. Diets don’t work as a sustainable lifestyle. For instance, in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, you are not given organic drugs and gluten free alcohol in place of regular drugs and alcohol; the specialists intervene to figure out why you’re addicted first, and then create a habitual program to a better life. Using that method for weight loss is important. We need to focus on making people feel good about themselves better first, and why they are maintaining unhealthy practices, so that they can create warmth within themselves.

We heard you’re doing a TEDx talk. What point are you trying to get across?

I believe in behavioral and cognitive intervention to stop negative patterns. I want to highlight that diets make you fat, how unsustainable that is, and how to create strategies to get you on the road to take advantage of the life you already have. I also plan to share my findings on why people are not making the right decisions, what the truth is behind FDA regulations, and recreating the corporate health sector.

What’s next for you and your brand?

I am currently working on creating a destination in New York City for those who want to change their mind, body, and spirit. I call it “immersion fitness,” where we tailor each individual’s goals by taking into consideration all medical aspects like assessing thyroid and blood levels, teaching classes on cooking better, and exercising smarter not harder. It’s elements of hospitality, rehab, and a wellness spa in one, tailored to each client’s needs.

Who are your competitors in this space?

Canyon Ranch is an example of a destination that helps people get their lives back on track. Like Canyon Ranch, we will serve a similar demographic, be similar in size, and be at the elevated price point. But, I want it to be more specific to each of the client’s needs. I also look to Tony Robbins for his influential, life-changing speaking skills. He is not a direct competitor, but we have a similar approach when it comes to making people feel good about themselves so they change their ways from the inside out.

Who is your ideal investor?

I am in the process of finding the right investor. The ideal investor is passionate and smarter than I am— those who have been through the war themselves and have the knowledge on building a business. Ideally someone in the hospitality and real estate space as those are key access-points that I will need for my new venture.

Jay Cardiello

Jay Cardiello is an industry-leading Health & Fitness Expert, respected in both the fitness and medical communities. He has worked with notable clients like Jennifer Lopez, Kate Beckinsale, Ryan Seacrest, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Sofia Vergara, Julianne Hough, Kevin Love, Dakota Johnson and teams in the MLB and NFL. He is the former Fitness Editor at Large for Shape, a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, Men’s Fitness, Eat This Not That, Men’s Health, OK! And People magazines, and a member of the Advisory Board for Dr. Oz’s ShareCare. Cardiello is the co-founder of “Off the Scale,” a healthcare intervention program to help slow, stop and reverse the progression of chronic illnesses and diseases associated with obesity. He is also the founder of JCORE, which offers his multi-faceted wellness program, hailed as “one of the hottest at-home celeb workouts” by US Weekly and the “Workout Taking Over Wall Street” by Bloomberg TV. Cardiello is the author of Cardio Core 4 x 4 (Rodale 2012). Jay co-starred in ABC television show “My Diet is Better than Yours,” and will be speaking at TEDx Worthington in March of this year. Jay’s bio includes much philanthropy, as he works as a Committee Board Member to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, striving to win the battle against cancer. Jay resides in New York City with his son Max.

For more information, please reach out to Jay via email at