Remember That Time I Said I Never Wanted to Open a Gym?

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Some of you may recall an article I wrote years ago, not long after I left Cressey Sports Performance, where I demonstrably stated I would never want to open a gym on my own.

For those who need their memory jogged – or for those who missed it altogether – you can check it out HERE.

I just re-read it.

LOL – I was cute.

Tony Gentilcore, Gym Owner, Um, Nope

I joke, but there was a time where you would have been more likely to see the words “the next Bachelor” or “Kumite champion” or “vegan” next to my name before you ever saw the words “gym owner.”

To quote the article above:

“All of This To Say….

I have NO interest in opening or owning my own facility.

I’ve spent over a decade building my own brand and a “business,” but I am in no way, shape, or form a businessman.”

There’s still much I agree with in that article:

I still feel, strongly, that gym ownership can often be a facade. We’re programmed to believe that just because someone owns a gym that they’ve somehow reached the pinnacle in this industry, that they’ve “made it,” and that they read scripture to orphaned kittens and shit rainbows and stuff.

That they can do no wrong and they’re inherently better than us.

Pfffft, whatever.

I still feel, strongly, that many fitness professionals enter gym ownership for the wrong reasons.

I still feel, strongly, that as much as hard work, consistency, resiliency, and perseverance play a role in everyone’s success, that luck, too, is an often under-appreciated and under-reported factor.1

And finally, I still feel, strongly, my pecs can cut diamonds.

Alas, time has a funny way of making us eat our words.

I left Cressey Sports Performance in the Fall of 2015 to begin training people out of a small studio in Brookline, MA where I’d was sub-lease underneath another gym owner.

In the summer of 2016 I took over the lease and as a result…

…CORE was established.

It not so many words: I became a bonafide “gym owner.”

Now, I put “gym owner” in quotations marks because, while my name is on the lease, and while I am responsible for making sure the rent is paid every month, liability insurance is covered, and that the utilities are taken care of, I still don’t consider CORE a gym gym.

It sounds silly, but because it’s so tiny – 450 sq. feet – I consider it more of a “place where I happen to train people” more so than it being regaled as a gym.


Training Space?

Deadlifting Dojo?

I don’t know.

Gym just seemed/seems like a bit of a stretch.

Moreover, there’s still a degree of imposture syndrome that plagues and festers inside me. I’ve never considered myself a savvy business person. I mean, I still have to Google things like “the difference between net and gross income” or “in the black vs. in the red” or “will I be sued if I don’t wear pants to work?” on a regular basis.

There’s a reason I barely passed (business) economics class in college.

Suffice to say, despite my best efforts to besmirch and (de)aggrandize my success over the course of the past three years of gym ownership – it’s a personality trait I work hard to battle – things have gone quite splendidly.

So splendidly, in fact, that I am on the cusp of moving CORE to a larger location.


Excuse Me, That’s My Sphincter Clenching It’s Sphincter

If there was ever a more opportune time for Dramatic Chipmunk to make an appearance it’s now…


It’s still in the early stages and nothing is cemented yet, but an LOI (Letter of Intent) has been agreed upon and it’s looking as if I’ll be moving my 450 sq. foot “something-er-other” into a 3,500 sq. foot TECHNO & DEADLIFTING PALACE OF FISTPUMPS.™

(Excuse me while I go destroy the back of my pants).

A lot has gone into this decision, it’s been brewing for a while, but I felt it prudent (and a bit cathartic) to hash out and explain a few details that helped inspire this bold move:

1. My (New) Vision

As it stands now, I coach my own clients 20 hours per week out of CORE. I also have six other coaches running their own businesses out of the same space.

One coach, one space.

There can be only one.

Some, like me, follow a semi-private model (coaching anywhere from 2-4 clients at a time), while others use it solely to train their clients one-on-one.

Either way, each coach pays an hourly rate to use the space. They’re all coaches I know and trust, and who are very competent.

And what’s more to the point, the system has worked very well to help offset my overhead.

My model has proven to work on a small scale.

However, can I make it work on a grander scale?

As in, instead of one coach using the space at a time, maybe two, three, or four coaches could utilize the space simultaneously?

I love the idea of providing a space for other fitness professionals to grow their businesses & brands; a consortium of like-minded fitness professionals supporting and helping one another to create an environment that’s welcoming and inspiring to all.

One of the things I miss most about being at CSP is the camaraderie amongst the coaches; sharing and bouncing ideas off one another.

I also love the idea of actually having showers, changing rooms, a lounge area, and more than one squat rack (something CORE doesn’t have access to at the moment).


2) My Jerry Maguire Moment

This idea would only work if 1) I was 100% sure I had reached a tipping point in my own ability to accommodate clients and more importantly 2) the coaches who were sub-leasing under me currently would also be willing to take a risk and follow me to the new space.

So I sent an email a few weeks ago and it said…

“Who’s coming with me?”

I explained my umbrella theme for the new space, how things would benefit everyone – for myself AND them – in addition to outlining some baseline expectations.

They all said yes.

NOTE TO SAID COACHES: You can’t back out now. We pinky swore. WE PINKY SWORE.

3) Onward!

I’m scared to fail.

I’m scared to take a risk.

I’m scared to step outside my comfort zone just like everyone else.

But then I remembered 13 words my friend, Todd Bumgardner, uttered to me years ago when I was going back and forth on whether or not to leave Cressey Sports Performance. They punched me in the face and nothing has resonated with me so much:

“Scare the shit out of yourself. It’s the only way to do it.”

I have the support of my wife. I have the support of my clients and colleagues. And, seemingly, I have the support of my bank account.

The numbers seem to add up.

The move seems to make sense.

The timing seems to be right.

Tony Gentilcore, (real) gym owner.

Well, well, well. Who woulda thought?

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

I don’t share email information. Ever. Because I’m not a jerk.
  1. I.e., you’re not that special.

  2. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat.

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