Posts Tagged ‘garage gyms’

I used to run very large martial arts classes, up to about 100 people at once.

Over they years, I found it was much better to work with smaller groups


  • better coach to client ratio means more quality instruction
  • safety is improved
  • results are better
  • less overhead

When I transitioned to the strength and fitness world, I started out small, like many people do. Unlike many others, I decided to keep my gym small, “old school-style”.

Big fancy gyms are all over the place in  my area, like yours I’m sure.

So, if you have a small warehouse gym or other small gym, and love what you do,

here’s some tips to keep you up and running in the midst of all the monsters around you:

  • don’t be intimidated by the big chain gyms, they cannot offer what you do
  • plan before you spend, and spend less than you make
  • buy used equipment or make your own whenever possible
  • don’t buy what you want, buy what your client need
  • build your reputation by getting measureable results for your clients through excellent coaching
  • keep advertising to a minimum, it is often a waste of money (in fact, we don’t advertise our gym at all)
  • don’t take credit cards, the processing fees are way too high
  • small gyms don’t need software to track their clients progress
  • don’t buy expensive sound systems ( we don’t have any at all)
  • remember, no one person will make or break your gym
  • don’t chase after “super stars”
  • don’t follow fads
  • build on the basics
  • invest in your own training regularly
  • keep learning from credible sources

I hope you find this helpful!


One of the biggest mistakes the big chain gyms made is underestimating the power of thousands of small independent gyms.

Over the past decade, big gyms have either ignored small gyms or tried to annihilate them through huge advertising budgets, lots of shiny equipment, and $10 a month memberships.

Though they tried to crush us, we are still here,  and GOD-willing, we will steadfastly continue.

All across our nation and the world there are thousands and thousands of small gyms in garages, warehouses, basements, or outdoors.

These are the places where some of the best strength & fitness athletes train.


When you blaze your own path  there might be a few people “who get it” who might come along side you, but most often you go alone, This is not for the timid!

While you always seek out the best information you can, sometimes to just have to experiment with what fits you and your purposes. That you will not get from someone’s experience, that will be yours, good or bad.

Don’t be afraid to fail at something that is worthy of your effort. That is part of process. Some people will stop the first time that something doesn’t work like they think it should, that is their loss, not yours. Keep going!

Don’t concern yourself with what is popular, stick to what you know works best. Some of the strongest guys I know of trained in the back yards or garages or dingy warehouse for years with old rusty, used equipment. No frills, nothing fancy, just results.

They trained under the radar for years, even decades before others caught on to what they were doing and the results they were getting.

A few people come to  mind right away (though this is not a complete list)

  • Bud Jeffries
  • Zach Even-Esh
  • Jedd Johnson

I discovered these innovators around ten years ago while I was first going under the radar myself.

More recently I found a few more guys operating like that and getting incredible results

  • Dave Lemanczyk
  • Eric Fiorillo

Of course there are more I haven’t met yet, but look forward to learning from in the future.

While the general public favors the huge fitness centers full of shiny machines and mirrors; there is a small percentage of serious strength athletes who could care less about all that stuff. They don’t care about celebrity diets or six-pack abs; they just want to get crazy strong. Those are my kind of people!