In 2010, I had a client in a little spot called the Domain. The Domain at the time was pretty small, but today it’s known as the 2nd heart of Austin, TX with over 100 up-scale retail spots/restaurants and a foot-print of 300 acres. For a 26-year-old, being a personal trainer in a high-end area like this was pretty awesome and prestigious, but there were a couple things very wrong with this scene.
First off, I would sneak into the gym on my own. It was rather easy. Why did I do it? I did it to be ready for my client, just like any good trainer would. The security measures for many of the fitness facilities in luxury apartments are weak. This is not because of poor management or planning, it’s more because the facility itself is an underutilized asset. The gym in the apartment space can easily be exploited or trespassed simply because it’s off the radar. This invites theft, all kinds of shady activity (I can touch on that in another blog post!), or even unauthorized, very ambitious trainers like myself.
Secondly, once I was in the gym (during prime-time hours of course), there were 3 or 4 other trainers in the gym doing the EXACT thing that I just did and was trying to do. They didn’t live there, they were training clients that maybe lived there, and they were taking over the gym. Having 3-4 personal trainers who don’t know each other and in the same space, invites a lot of territory tension and competitive spirit. All of this created a perfectly unpleasant atmosphere for those residents who actually did live there.
Lastly, the apartment gym has this “thing” about it that makes it an apartment gym. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the combination of cliche equipment, terrible layouts, people in flip-flops (obviously getting their "swole" on to go to the pool), the smell, and probably most importantly… the culture and perception.
Why is it this way? Does is have to be this way? Can I be part of changing the game? These are the thoughts and questions that went through my mind before I would start the company known as Gym Studios.
So literally a week or so after this moment of reflection and spark, I decided to pitch the 2nd apartment community that popped up in the Domain. I created a brand with the little money I had, Vista printed some cards, and cold-walked into the leasing office.
“Hello! I am a personal trainer. I’m looking to manage your facility and take care of it as it was my own. All I would like is to train clients in your gym and serve your residents." – me
“Actually… that sounds like a great idea.” – property manager
“Well… ok!” – me
You may be surprised on how easy this was. I sure was! It’s beyond me how the opportunity landed. All I knew was that I was on to something huge and I was excited to provide a solution to real problems in the fitness apartment space that few understood.
Gym Studios today is a fitness management company that acts as a 3rd party for luxury apartments and corporate settings. We provide an onsite fitness staff that manages the facility, but these managers just happen to be some of the best and most experienced personal trainers in TX and AZ. We also provide onsite fitness classes as well as host and manage events for the community. Our services as a whole protect and control the gym space, extends the amenity to the entire community, and contributes to a unique culture and perception to the fitness facility.
Why do I continue to run Gym Studios, almost 10 years later?
I love it. What excites me most about what I do is that I provide real solutions to real problems in the multi-family fitness world. In the recent years, I have become a consultant for apartment developers, providing a turn-key solution to the fitness amenity. We design it. We build it. We manage it. The best plan, the best equipment, and the best staff… that’s what makes innovation in the “apartment gym”. Gym Studios is part of changing the game.