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Endurance Athlete to Entrepreneur: The Riley Rogers Story

Endurance Athlete to Entrepreneur: Riley Rogers Founder of SALT Electrolytes for Run Tri Bike Magazine
Riley Rogers
Year started: 2006

Do the worlds of endurance sports and entrepreneurship intersect? This is a question that Riley Rogers answers as he has gone from endurance athlete to entrepreneur. Riley discusses the harmonious balance between pushing physical limits and navigating the challenges of business. As an endurance athlete and the founder of Salt Electrolytes, Riley has discovered a unique connection between the grit required for running and the determination needed to build a successful business.

Getting Started:

Riley’s journey into endurance sports began 17 years ago when a friend challenged him to take up running. During our conversation, Riley reminisced about his initial reluctance to running, a sentiment many can relate to. He shared, “I avoided it in junior high P.E. class… But by the time I started getting into my late twenties, I was starting to put on some weight and wasn’t liking what I was seeing.” The turning point came when he realized that climbing a small hill to grab a frisbee made him out of breath.

The Birth of Salt Electrolytes:

Riley knew he need to start running and getting in better shape. Running, however, came with its own set of challenges, particularly dehydration. Riley’s struggle with staying hydrated during long runs led to the inception of Salt Electrolytes. The light bulb moment occurred during a grueling 12-mile training run where a lack of water caused severe dehydration. This experience sparked Riley’s curiosity about electrolytes and their role in hydration. He recalled, “I wondered what this is about… What are these things doing in the body? Why do they call them electrolytes?” This curiosity planted the seed for his venture into the business world. He was off and running in his journey from endurance athlete to entrepreneur.

Juggling Business and Jiu Jitsu:

As Riley delved into the world of entrepreneurship, he continued his journey as an endurance athlete, transitioning from running to martial arts, specifically Jiu Jitsu. The challenges he faced in the sport, such as intense training sessions and weight loss through sweat, unveiled a new dimension of dehydration. Riley discussed a specific incident during the 2020 shutdowns. He came to realize the severity of his dehydration after a two-hour Jiu Jitsu session resulted in a staggering nine-pound water weight loss. This experience intensified his commitment to addressing the hydration needs of athletes.


Lessons from Running and Business:

In his interview, Riley drew parallels between the incremental progress required in both endurance sports and business. He shared insights into his mindset, stating, “The incremental progress is very attractive to me… It’s a little at a time.” Reflecting on his background, Riley emphasized his inclination towards tackling challenges deemed “impossible” by others, a trait that propelled him into both entrepreneurship, endurance sports and Jiu Jitsu. The adage of 1% improvement is evident in Riley’s discussion of getting better at business and sport.

The Intersection of Hardships:

We chatted about social media and the difficulty of staying grounded while growing your business. The growth of a business was also a metaphor for getting better at running and Jiu Jitsu. Riley addressed the common narrative of social media highlight reels by acknowledging the unseen challenges that accompany every success. He stated, “We see our faults. We see our day to day. We see the hard parts. But I know they have hard parts, too.” Riley’s pragmatic view on success and the challenges it conceals serves as a reminder that every entrepreneur and athlete faces their share of struggles.

Teaching and Beyond:

As Riley nears the achievement of his Jiu Jitsu black belt, the question arises: What’s next? The answer lies in imparting knowledge and experience to others. Riley expressed his eagerness to transition from intense personal training to teaching the art. Drawing parallels with his entrepreneurial journey, he emphasized the beauty of building something over time, appreciating the wisdom gained in the process. Riley focused on how he can help others through the lessons he has learned along the way.

Riley Rogers embodies the concept of endurance athlete to entrepreneur and being both. From the sweaty days of running to the boardrooms of business, Riley’s journey reflects the relationship between pushing physical boundaries and overcoming entrepreneurial challenges. As he continues to navigate the winding paths of both worlds, Riley stands as an inspiration for those seeking the delicate balance between endurance and enterprise.