Real gyms don’t typically look like big chain, global, or commercial gyms.
We opened Capacity Fitness & Nutrition in 2020 on less than $5,000.
Now, $5k isn’t much to start a gym. Most gyms cost at least 100 times that much (that’s $1.5 MILLION). But the small budget was actually an advantage: Instead of focusing on the chrome and mirrors that attract newbies to gyms, I was forced to buy ONLY what worked.
I knew I wouldn’t have a marketing budget. I would have to depend on my clients spreading the word about Capacity Fitness. And that meant I had to get RESULTS. That’s what real gyms are about.
So when I made my shopping list, I bought dumbbells and kettlebells. I bought big rubber bands. I bought four machines, skipping ropes, punching bags, and ski ergs. I bought two boxes and a couple of medicine balls.
On the day the equipment arrived, I thought, “This is all I need.”
And it was. For a full year in that little 600 square foot space in an old garage on Key Highway East, we got people VERY fit. No mirrors, no chrome, no fancy stereo system. We made a lot of noise.
These days, I can afford to buy more equipment. But what I buy is more of the SAME equipment: rowers, dumbbells, pull-up bars and boxes. You still won’t see pec decks or cable crossovers or leg extension machines. Instead, you’ll see people doing squats and push-ups and pull-ups. Because that’s what actually works. That’s what real gyms do.
Very fit people know that a large variety of equipment is a red herring. Most gyms sell comfort: padded machines, oiled stacks, polished chrome. But truly fit people—or people who NEED to lose weight, perform, or are desperate to fix their bad backs—avoid that stuff. People with skin in the game know they don’t need more choice; they need more work.
Almost everyone who comes to Capacity Fitness & Nutrition has been to other gyms. And almost to a person, they say, “I just didn’t get anywhere.” They looked for the cheapest option. Or the largest. Or the one with the most machines. But eventually, when they decided they needed results, they went looking for a coach amongst the real gyms like ours.
And coaches don’t use that stuff. Professional, career coaches, whose livelihood depends on getting results, use barbells. Boxes. Squats and push-ups and food plans. Forced to choose what works, professionals choose the basics.
Many new clients who book a No-Sweat Intro tell me, “This just looks like a lot of open space.” It’s true: You need space when you’re going to move a lot. And if you want to get fit, you’re going to move a lot. Fitness requires no chair, no padding, no seat belt. That’s a hallmark of real gyms.
Everything you need. Nothing you don’t.
No wasted space. No wasted time. No wasted effort.
We see plenty of local gyms stocking up on the latest equipment to entice people away from other gyms. The fact is that neither of those gyms will produce long-term health benefits as long as they are chasing fads, fancy equipment, and fighting over the same clients who could care less about how healthy they’ll be in 20 years. That’s how we separate ourselves at Capacity Fitness & Nutrition. We play the long game of results and community because that’s what real gyms do.
In hindsight, I’d buy less. The GHD I bought for Capacity in 2020 now sits in our back area, available but unused. Instead, under the bright LEDs, our clients are doing burpees and snatches; running 400m intervals and smiling. They’re far more fit than they were back then. My coaching has improved tenfold. My equipment hasn’t changed at all.