I opened my gym in 2021 with $maybe $15,00 worth of equipment. Now if you think about it, $15k 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 a bunch of fancy stuff to attract newbies to, I was forced to buy ONLY what worked or what I thought would work for that matter.
I knew I wouldn’t have a marketing budget until later on. I would have to depend on my clients spreading the word about ZaroSports. And that meant I had to get RESULTS.
So when I made my shopping list, I bought barbells. I bought big rubber bands. I bought three cardio machines, a functional trainer with cables, skipping ropes, some mats and slam balls. I’ve since been able to make some other minor additions to make training more effective like our 3 in 1 hack squat leg press combo- but still, there is nothing nothing that you don’t need.
Since opening that’s what we’ve been working with and it has helped many people get fit.
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 ZaroSports 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.
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. We do also get a lot of compliments, people really like the black and red aesthetic in here – it’s a great place to workout in, if I must say so myself!
Everything you need. Nothing you don’t.
No wasted space. No wasted time. No wasted effort.
In hindsight, I’d buy less. The four machines I bought for ZaroSports in 2021 get used mostly for warmups. Instead, clients prefer to learn how to use the simple stuff like dumbbells and barbells. They’re far more fit than they were back then. My coaching has improved we’re getting better and better results. My equipment hasn’t changed at all.
Inspiration provided by Chris Cooper at Catalystgym.com.