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Old 08-30-2014, 02:07 PM   #1
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Default Soldier's gym saga continues

At first I was planning to attempt to start a training facility/gym when I got out of the Army. But now I'm planning to start small, in my garage. The expense should be negligible, and I'll actually be saving money because I won't need a gym membership. At first the whole design was built around training high school athletes in group classes, and I still want to do that, but I realized that I could also offer personal training, either one on one or with small groups. That's where the real money is, helping soccer moms lose 20lb and get "toned". My wife is also interested in getting in on it in the hopes that her beachbody business will develop to the point where she won't have to take a full time job. She's a certified PT, as well as a specialist in nutrition and a specialist in physical therapy, so she's got the pretty letters behind her name.

With this in mind, I'm looking into more "reputable" and professional looking equipment to lend the gym credibility, which is unfortunately important when doing stuff like this. I want to avoid shipping cost, so I went to Dick's the other day and took a look at their power rack, the "Fitness gear pro full rack." This is what it looks like-



It actually feels pretty solid. I bounced up and down on the safeties and all seemed well. I also like the pullup options.

I also think that some sort of cable/pull down machine would be a good idea. Not everybody wants to use all free weights and if we are doing personal training we need to be a little more accommodating. To be honest I like to do some cable work as well, especially if I'm going to be training exclusively at home. I think a machine that has both high and low pulleys and is plate loaded like this is the way to go-



This machine is just over $300 new. Seems reasonable to me. This is all still at least a couple years away, but I'm enjoying the process of researching and thinking about what I want to do with my time while I'm finishing school. Thoughts?
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Old 08-31-2014, 02:43 AM   #2
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In order to cut costs you may be able to make some of these or buy them used. There are lots of DIY blueprints for various things on the internet and there's Craigslist. I think the only downfall of making stuff yourself is that it wouldn't be as easy to break stuff down and transport it but it would be cheap.

I used to live in a big Navy town (Norfolk, VA) and it was a great place to buy "dude" stuff off of Craigslist because these sailors would come home with a fat paycheck and buy up all sorts of stuff new. Then when they had to go out to sea again they'd be selling all kinds of cool stuff. I got a basically brand new stereo system for my car (amps, subs, 6x9s, tweeters etc) for about $300 back in the day. I'd imagine you'd be able to do the same thing with gym equipment.

Anyway, just a thought on cutting overhead costs.

Another thought is how would you advertise your gym? I guess I'm also curious as I'll be coming back to the States in about 3 months after being away for about 5 years and I have no idea how to find gyms like yours (i.e. garage gyms).
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Old 08-31-2014, 07:02 AM   #3
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$300 seems pretty good for that unit. I've seen some on New York Barbell for $360 excluding shipping. If it looks like it would take a beating I would do some further research and see if you can find any reviews online.
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Old 08-31-2014, 07:52 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobbyMac View Post
In order to cut costs you may be able to make some of these or buy them used. There are lots of DIY blueprints for various things on the internet and there's Craigslist. I think the only downfall of making stuff yourself is that it wouldn't be as easy to break stuff down and transport it but it would be cheap.

I used to live in a big Navy town (Norfolk, VA) and it was a great place to buy "dude" stuff off of Craigslist because these sailors would come home with a fat paycheck and buy up all sorts of stuff new. Then when they had to go out to sea again they'd be selling all kinds of cool stuff. I got a basically brand new stereo system for my car (amps, subs, 6x9s, tweeters etc) for about $300 back in the day. I'd imagine you'd be able to do the same thing with gym equipment.

Anyway, just a thought on cutting overhead costs.

Another thought is how would you advertise your gym? I guess I'm also curious as I'll be coming back to the States in about 3 months after being away for about 5 years and I have no idea how to find gyms like yours (i.e. garage gyms).
Actually I'll be building quite a bit of my own stuff. I'm an amateur fabricator who doesn't mind getting his hands dirty. Originally I was going to build everything, including a crossfit style rack/pull up rig that would mount into the wall. I was going to build two racks, but I think having one real power rack would make people feel more comfortable and give more implied value.

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Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
$300 seems pretty good for that unit. I've seen some on New York Barbell for $360 excluding shipping. If it looks like it would take a beating I would do some further research and see if you can find any reviews online.
I actually found an outlet equipment site that has the pulldown unit for $200 refurbished. I'm sure it doesn't hold that much weight, but anyone who would need lots of weight wouldn't be on the machine anyways. I'll definitely find all the reviews I can though.

Hopefully after a couple years I'll be looking at moving into a real facility and upgrading some of the equipment. I know these cheaper units won't last that long. The underlying goal is to actually build the business to the point where I can do it full time and avoid working for the man, lol. I'd rather work 80 hours a week for myself than 40 for someone else.
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Old 08-31-2014, 08:22 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Soldier View Post

I actually found an outlet equipment site that has the pulldown unit for $200 refurbished. I'm sure it doesn't hold that much weight, but anyone who would need lots of weight wouldn't be on the machine anyways. I'll definitely find all the reviews I can though.
Yeah for training use I can't see you needing insane quality for that type of machine. I have a hard time using more than 120 pounds at the gym of V-bar pulldowns.
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Old 09-18-2014, 03:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soldier View Post
At first I was planning to attempt to start a training facility/gym when I got out of the Army. But now I'm planning to start small, in my garage. The expense should be negligible, and I'll actually be saving money because I won't need a gym membership. At first the whole design was built around training high school athletes in group classes, and I still want to do that, but I realized that I could also offer personal training, either one on one or with small groups. That's where the real money is, helping soccer moms lose 20lb and get "toned". My wife is also interested in getting in on it in the hopes that her beachbody business will develop to the point where she won't have to take a full time job. She's a certified PT, as well as a specialist in nutrition and a specialist in physical therapy, so she's got the pretty letters behind her name.

With this in mind, I'm looking into more "reputable" and professional looking equipment to lend the gym credibility, which is unfortunately important when doing stuff like this. I want to avoid shipping cost, so I went to Dick's the other day and took a look at their power rack, the "Fitness gear pro full rack." This is what it looks like-



It actually feels pretty solid. I bounced up and down on the safeties and all seemed well. I also like the pullup options.

I also think that some sort of cable/pull down machine would be a good idea. Not everybody wants to use all free weights and if we are doing personal training we need to be a little more accommodating. To be honest I like to do some cable work as well, especially if I'm going to be training exclusively at home. I think a machine that has both high and low pulleys and is plate loaded like this is the way to go-



This machine is just over $300 new. Seems reasonable to me. This is all still at least a couple years away, but I'm enjoying the process of researching and thinking about what I want to do with my time while I'm finishing school. Thoughts?
When I opened my gym 7 years ago, I went with a lot of Legend brand equipment. It's held up very well so I would give them some consideration as they're not quite as expensive as the huge brand names.
I also would consider acquiring used equipment. Craiglist is a good resource as is a company in CA called used gym equipment.

http://www.usedgymequipment.com

I've never used them but know folks that have and they're happy. They also have reasonable shipping rates.
If you buy any cardio machines, go heavy duty and new. Otherwise they will quickly become the bane of your existence.

Lastly, I'd also suggest that when you buy any type of cable equipment, see how many pulleys there are and where. Too many and it's a fluff machine and is useless to almost everyone as old ladies will easily stack it...

If you're catering to the general public, I'd suggest finding something in the middle with a heavier option for the serious/big dude crowd
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Old 09-18-2014, 07:14 PM   #7
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Thanks again Andy. Since I started this thread things have changed again a few times. Now I'm back to getting a real facility instead of going the garage route. I've also spent lots of time thinking about and researching my equipment options. I've found a rack that looks like it will fit the bill as my main power rack;

http://www.titandistributorsinc.com/...l#.VBRVQKZ0zIU

I'm thinking 2 of these bolted onto homemade platforms made of 3/4" plywood finished with a few coats of urethane. I'll also build a couple deadlifting platforms with horse stall mats along with a homemade pull up rig that will also have numerous anchor points for band and suspension work. CAP and Rogue bars and a few Prowler knock-offs for pushing and pulling out in the parking lot, then all I'll need is about 80 or 90 45lb plates and I'll be good to go.

Oh, and a couple sets of Oly DB handles with a ton of 10lb plates to load it up, along with some homemade plyo boxes.

All in all I'm only going to need about 500-700sq ft of space as long as I can go outside for the sled work.
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Old 09-28-2014, 03:00 PM   #8
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Yeah I think so BendtheBar.
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Old 10-18-2014, 12:59 AM   #9
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Gidday Mate,

If it is any help to you, I built my own power rack. My rack is more than strong enough to cater for even the biggest Gorilla.

I have loaded 400k onto the safety bars and nothing even looked like bending.

If you want, I can draw you some plans up, take some photos, ect.

Its pretty good, it based on the flash six post big boy models.

Its easy to build, providing you have a welder handy.

Chur
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Old 10-18-2014, 01:35 AM   #10
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For a place where others are paying to have you coach them, I recommend buying equipment rather than making it. In case of liability issues, you want the company to wear it rather than you.

We have a double-garage, we use half of it until it gets busy enough to persuade my wife her car does not need a bedroom. I have all bought stuff, mostly new. 4 barbells now - a cheap one good enough for squats, one with tighter knurling for BP/DL, a pendlay for quick lifts, and a women's barbell for those with light presses or who prefer a narrower bar. 280kg of bumpers and 15kg of fractionals. A chinup bar. Bunch of KB. And foam roller, ab wheel, that sort of thing. CD player and barbeque.

Not counting the KB which I got years ago, this was about $3,300 all-up.

It's enough for my lifters at the moment, of which we have about a dozen (a few come from interstate only every now and then so not sure if I should count them). We have 3 stations, my rule is "only one moving bar", but that applies mainly to the adjacent ones. Technically we can have 6 people in there if they all rotate through efficiently, really 4-5 is the limit.

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