Name Of Gym: Iron Asylum Gym
Name Of Owner: Tom (TJ) Slomka
Address: 16600 Lorain Road Cleveland, OH 44111
Number Of Members: 300
Square Feet: 6000
Gym Phone: 216-671-7505
TJ's Cell: 216-392-0981
Hours: M - F 6AM - 10PM, Saturday 8AM - 6PM and Sunday 10AM - 4PM
Number Of Trainers: 3
Founders/Owners: Tom Slomka
[ Q ] How did the gym start and why did you decide to begin (or work within) the gym business?
It has been a lifelong dream of mine to own and operate a fitness facility, and in 2008 the opportunity came along. I have been interested and involved in weight training/fitness since the age of 13. I played sports my entire life and a gym has really always been an interest.
I am a local guy. I went to St. Edward High School and the gym is in my neighborhood where I grew up, so it just made sense. Plus, this facility is really the last of a dying breed of what is typically called "hardcore" where free weights are the main focus and we have more than any gym in the area...and from what I am hearing, throughout the country.
[ Q ] Can you give us a description on what went into opening your awesome establishment?
This gym had been around for about 10 years or so and the previous owners really let it go, in a really bad way. There were next to no members left, there were broken machines/equipment, and just a real aura of negativity.
I bought the place at the right time because it allowed me to put my stamp on it and revive it. The name came about through a partnership with my good friend Jerry Beck. He had the Iron Asylum clothing line and had built that up in the industry for some time. We got together and thought that the name fit the facility perfectly...thus Iron Asylum Gym.
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I Bought The Place At The Right Time Because It
Allowed Me To Put My Stamp On It And Revive It.
[ Q ] What makes your gym different?
We are really like a family. You don't get corporate high pressure sales at all! You come in and do your workout, grunt and yell if you want, use chalk, all those kinds of things. Our place allows members to be themselves and train the way that best suits them. Also, we are near the top with the amount of free weight equipment. We have an atmosphere like no other and a clothing line that has the items printed right on sight. Yes, we do have our own print shop.
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We Have An Atmosphere Like No Other And A Clothing
Line That Has The Items Printed Right On Sight.
[ Q ] What sort of people do you attract into your gym?
Most of the members are serious about training and that is the main reason they are there. Not to socialize and mingle but to train...hard.
[ Q ] What inspires people to train at your facility?
I think the atmosphere is what gets people. I have had people walk in not knowing what to expect and as soon as they see the 175lb dumbbells, graffiti on the basement wall, they know it's time to get to work and my place is the place to get it done.
[ Q ] Do you have any top trainers, and why are they so good?
We do have a female trainer who has placed 1st in natural figure shows along with another male trainer who is a natural pro bodybuilder.
[ Q ] What special services do you provide?
A clothing line printed on site and you can customize your shirt any way you like.
[ Q ] Who are your most notable present and past members?
[ Q ] What was the hardest part about operating your gym?
Attracting members. This is not a mainstream place so there is an intimidation factor for some people. I think once people get in the door, they see we are serious but not intimidating.
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This Is Not A Mainstream Place So There
Is An Intimidation Factor For Some People.
[ Q ] What makes you competitive over the other gym chains?
We offer a niche that is separate from the corporate Fit Works, Fitness 19 and all these other places that are really about high pressure sales, what the girl on the treadmill is wearing, and when the next spinning class takes place. You don't see a lot of guys deadlifting, squatting and doing reverse-hypers in those places. And we even have a mono-lift which is unheard of in corporate facilities.
[ Q ] How have you been able to remain so successful and how do you hope to remain so?
We have stayed true to our identity and have not wavered from it at all. Sure we could load the place up with fancy cardio and get rid of some free weights but then we compromise not only what we believe in but what actually works.
Most people are sucked in by the big chains and all the fancy machines and cardio equipment that requires an engineering degree to operate when the reality is the way to changing you body is to add muscle. I hate to get into the specifics but really you need to change your body composition if you want to keep results...thus you need and must weight train.
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