Gym Of The Month: Gym State Strength And Conditioning

There is a difference between throwing dumbbells for show and dropping and 600-pound deadlift. Gym State members get the difference.

Gym State Strength and Conditioning has an indoor place to flip tires, slam battle ropes, swing sledgehammers, push and pull prowler sleds, and, of course, practice strongman events.

This is the sort of place with a designated deadlift platform, and they provide community chalk. "We respect the gym, weights, and other members, but understand that we are here on a mission, with real goals and real results," Owner Nate Tuttle says.

Yes, this is a safe haven for people who want to move heavy weight in multidimensional ways, but it's also a place for regular weightlifters who want to get stronger. Everyone can benefit from strength training.

How did the gym start and why did you decide to begin (or work within) the gym business?

I started the gym out of a desire to have the ultimate performance and training facility. From strongman and powerlifting to bodybuilding and sports performance, I want to provide the best atmosphere to get results.

Can you give us a description on what went into opening your awesome establishment?

A lot of painting! The warehouse we are in is about 100 years old, and in order to get the look I wanted, we painted every inch of the place. Finding the turf was a chore, and then piecing the equipment together to get good quality pieces on a budget was a bit of a trick.

What makes your gym different?

Atmosphere. This gym is about mindset. This is the place that you can really come in and get after it, kind of like having your own personal garage gym, without having the wife nag you to take out the trash, and without having to shuffle equipment and cars around to use your equipment.

What sort of people do you attract into your gym?

Obviously athletes of all calibers would definitely benefit from training here, but as for the percentage or normal health- and fitness-minded people walking through the door each day? Most of our members are competitive lifters of some sort: strongman, weightlifting, powerlifting, bodybuilding, etc. Almost all of my training clientele are females, ages 30-50 years old who are looking to gain their strength back and, of course, burn off some excess fat.

What inspires people to train at you facility?

When a person walks in to this place, they either feel totally intimidated, or they have love at first sight. That's OK, and we want people who are serious enough about their results that they "get it."

What special services do you provide? You have some turf, batting cages, and a pitching machine?

We do speed and agility training, as well as pre-season conditioning for any sport. I also train young baseball players with hitting, pitching, and catching lessons.

You have some crazy equipment such as circus dumbbells, atlas stones, and other strongman pieces. Do you get a lot of people coming in that train for strongman specifically?

We have a regular crew of strongman competitors, but a lot of our people dabble in all the competitive lifting events from time to time to keep training fun. The only time we dial in specifically is for big competitions.

Who are your most notable present and past members?

Mel Weil is an old-school powerlifter who has set world records in several classes for the bench press, with a best raw bench of 503 pounds at 220 raw, and sets records now in his master's classes. Rachel Pyron is an up and coming strongwoman who was invited to the Arnold Classic and competed there in March. Blake Turner is a strongman competitor who has only been on the scene for two years, but has the determination, commitment, and guts to really do something in the sport. He has transformed from a 175-pound weakling to a 230-plus pound animal. We have a few other competitive lifters, and some guys who used to compete and just miss the old school atmosphere, so they train here although they don't compete anymore.

Is there a specific sport that you see is a doing more training sessions each week over other sports?

We have a pretty balanced clientele, with a good mix of basketball, baseball, football, volleyball, and track athletes. Our strongman and powerlifting competitors spend about equal parts in the gym; it just depends on who is peaking for what competition.

What was the hardest part about operating your gym?

Marketing! Getting the word out to the people who are interested in a hardcore training facility like what we've got here.

What makes you competitive over the other gym chains?

I try to build a community of members who all know one another and are around to help push each other in whatever goal they have. One day we had people running circuits in a boot camp, as our powerlifting crew was benching in the 500s. The beautiful thing was that everybody was working hard, and that's the key. I know all members by name, and I try to make myself available for them to ask questions, bounce programs off of me, do form checks, and just be a resource for them to reach their goals.

How have you been able to remain so successful and how do you hope to remain so?

Great members and friends have helped me build the business, while keeping up with training and reaching goals.

Does your gym have any special charities/community outreach organizations you raise money/volunteer for?

We support a few local high school sports programs, namely the ones in which our athletes participate.

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