Henry Richardson is Houston’s own Clark Kent, with his piercing blue eyes and jet black hair. This beauty is more than brawn, though; he is the inspiration and imagination behind the DEFINE studio brand, which has taken Houston’s fitness scene by storm. We asked him which activewear lines are really worth their price tag and what athletic accessory he can't live without.
Houstonia: You always look so fresh as though you’ve just rolled out of bed with a good night’s sleep! What is your secret?
Richardson: Honestly, it takes work: I try my very best to follow a routine and practice balance because I am the type of person that will run myself ragged by forgetting to eat and going to bed too late at night. We have been super busy with DEFINE these past few years, so I have made taking care of myself a huge priority. My go-to most efficient way of taking care of myself, is my meditation practice. I keep it very simple, but it gives me the fuel and clarity that I need in all areas of my life.
I love food, so I try to always have nourishing snacks around. My favorites are fruit and any nut butters. I also learned that “swimming in your own lane” is something that is very important for me to remember. I remember having friends in college that could survive on five or six hours of sleep at night, and I learned quickly that I am a seven-hour sleep person! If I could get eight, I would be in heaven! It’s definitely not all genetics, it’s something I work hard at. I’m very proactive about taking care of myself and sticking to things like my meditation practice because they make a huge difference in helping me keep up with my schedule.
As a franchise owner of multiple gyms, you are pretty much required to be in amazing shape. How much working out actually needs to happen to maintain your physique?
You hear me talk a lot about effective, efficient, and fun at DEFINE because those are very important components to my approach to health and wellness. I see myself more as a client than a business owner because I love the classes we offer at DEFINE. With that said, I am always wanting to make sure that our workouts are results-driven—I want to be sure it is the best use of my time, and I for sure want to enjoy the process with movements that feel good, people that are inspiring, and an atmosphere that makes you want to come back!
But staying in shape isn’t about the quantity. It is all about the quality of the workout. If people really want to see results, spend time doing strength training, cardio, and flexibility work. This is the perfect recipe, and I try to incorporate a little of this every single day. Right now, you will find me jumping on our mini-trampoline with our five-year-old son. If you ever struggle with a bad mood, a cranky child, or an argumentative friend or significant other, the mini-trampoline is the surest fix! Get one for everyone in the house!!
You must own at least one piece of athletic wear from every company ever invented. Who has the best quality?
Here’s the thing: There are finally more options for really good men’s activewear lines. There is Nike, Under Armour, Reebok, and Adidas brands that are all great, but my favorite brands are lululemon and a new Paul Smith 531 line that has them all beat. I, along with most of the United States, have a lot of lululemon because they have a great product. They are constantly growing their men’s line, and they have fun stylish cuts and colors for their shirts, shorts, and jackets. Paul Smith 531 has recently come out with an activewear line that I am totally digging. Their colors, their fit, and the element of luxury that goes along with this UK brand has so many fun elements that I can’t help but mention them.
It has been really fun watching our industry grow into what it is today. Thirteen years ago, when I stated working in this industry, I always struggled to find the type of clothes that represented my style. Now, I can easily match a great pair of shorts with a stylish tee and throw one of my favorite lululemon jackets on top.
What athletic accessories could you not live without?
Without sounding like I am selling DEFINE (but then again, what the heck), my favorite accessory is the DEFINE mind ball. I am a huge believer in it. It acts like a foam roller, but in a spherical shape that allows the ball to be even more versatile. The ball shape is more effective for the muscles, and I use it every night to roll before I go to bed. If for some reason I have traveled and decided not to bring it, I better have a huge water bottle that I can put my hot water inside. I live on warm water because I find it keeps my muscles vibrant and feeling their best.
You recently opened a studio in Dubai; what is it about the city that spoke to you?
It’s so funny that Dubai is finally opened. We have been working on this deal for over two years. We had moments where we gave up on the project, but we found the perfect group to help us get this opened. When we were first approached about Dubai, I was a little unsure because people called it the Las Vegas of the Middle East. I am not a Las Vegas guy, so this wasn’t the most appealing description. However, I was asked to take a visit, and I couldn’t believe the amazing experience I had. Dubai is a family-oriented, beautiful city with people from all over the world. It feels and operates like a western city, but it also has the international feel that gives it an additional element of interest. While I was visiting we happened to find a space that was in an amazing location in The Marina of Dubai. We have a rev room (our version of indoor cycling) that overlooks the marina. And, we have a body room that is filled with sunlight that shows off the beautiful city skyline. DEFINE: Dubai opened in late May and it has quickly started to operate as an amazing store for our organization.
What is your favorite plate at a local restaurant?
Tell us about your go-to look when you hit the town.
I would say my style is clean and classic, and I’m always looking for fun ways to incorporate my favorite colors with some flare. I will often mix something simple from Zara and then steal a Hermès belt from my partner, Monsour, to jazz it up. It must be comfortable. The fabrics must feel good, and just like I like my exercise classes, my fashion must be effective (meaning I like it), efficient (meaning the cost is worth it), and fun (specifically the colors)!
If you created a playlist that defined your life’s personal journey, what songs would you put on it?
All things Coldplay. I’m actually wanting to do a birthday party Rev Ride that is all Coldplay music called “Sky Full of Stars.” Music is one of my favorite parts of my job and as far as music goes, I really love anything that makes me want to get up and dance or take a deep breath. I have been in a ‘take a deep breath’ phase for a while now, so you will hear me playing a lot of Coldplay in my house!