Gym Of The Month: Slash Fitness

Business is more complicated than fitness. Gains are not always predicated on hard work. When the two come together correctly, you get the best result possible: success.

Three disenfranchised trainers set out to build their own gym, the honest way. They plan, lease, work out of a garage, borrow, remodel, sweat, mourn, and scramble all in the name of Slash fitness.

In the end, they are rewarded by a loyal clientele and become the success story American entrepreneurialism is lauded for. They change a life or two, a thousand or two, and wind up on the web pages of ... well, us. We thank Slash Fitness /// Performance, for taking risks to share fitness!

Name of Gym: Slash Fitness /// Performance
Name of Owner: Austin Brock, Andy Sziraki, Joe Ardagna
Name of Person Completing This Form: Andy Sziraki, Joe Ardagna, Austin Brock
Address: 401 NE 2nd Street, Delray Beach, Florida, 33483
Number of Members: ~190
Square Feet: 2,000
Hours of Operation: 5:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
Number of Trainers: 6

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

We basically have a "rat in the cage" story here! We were all stuck at a point in our careers where we were maxed out with 1-on-1 training and wanted to do something really big in the fitness industry! Slash Fitness /// Performance came to be mainly due to our passion and progress in our individual personal training businesses, and from our dissatisfaction and overall sense of mediocrity and lack of professionalism within the fitness and personal training industry.

We "3 Monkeys," as we soon become known, each had our own personal training business. We were training under the same roof as independent contractors and came together. After a few workouts together, we realized we agreed upon many of the some principles of training (bodybuilding mixed with athletic performance). We agreed that we were all dissatisfied with just about every personal training concept out there. We believed we could change the direction of the industry and create an impact in the lives of many people ... and that's when the Slash Fitness dream began!

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

1 / Blood, Sweat, and Beers

We met just about every night for three months, deciding exactly what we did and didn't want to be about, and how we could make the biggest impact on the industry. We wanted to be the biggest and the best, but we were soon humbled by the costs associated with such a venture!

2 / Funding

We had to come up with the money to build the dream. Our initial facility plan was for 5,000 square feet and $200,000 in funding, but we ran into some major troubles getting loans as first-time business owners; banks were still recovering from the recession. We downsized, downsized, and downsized again. We realized it was time to get what we needed, not necessarily what we wanted! We needed 2,000 square feet and about a quarter of our original equipment, a humbling realization. We asked for and received a gracious loan by a mutual mentor, Mark Warren, who matched our personal investment. We started a budget priced beach boot camp that met three times per week to add to our startup funds, and clean trash off the beach!

3 / The House of Slash

We looked endlessly for the right location, and we found a 2,000 square foot retail location off the main strip of Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach. After a week tearing up wood floors, carpet, and scraping glue off the floor, we were ready to transform this rough patch into a house of fitness! We finally began building the dream we worked on for about five months! As soon as we started we faced more hurdles.

4 / Live, Liberty and the Pursuit of Fitness

It didn't take long for the word to spread around the beach. We signed the lease on a Friday and by the next Monday the commercial roof we trained under found out and made it uncomfortable for us to conduct business. One of us was even served a "bogus" lawsuit, presumably to try to break us up before we could get started. We told our clients the situation, that we'd be in our new place in about two months. One by one, we were forced to leave that studio. We had nowhere to go, nowhere to train. It was the middle of summer in Florida, 100 degrees outside, but we didn't give up! We built a temporary solution! We moved into Austin's garage at a house he rented a mile up the road. We had all the functional toys we needed and a select free weights. We could not prepare for what happened next. Against our best predictions client retaining our clients, every single client came with us! It was an amazing sight to see upscale clients roll up in Bentleys and Porsches to train in a garage! We knew then that we were blessed.

Everything seemed on the upside when another tragedy struck. Andy's brother, Cory Sziraki, a former Marine who served four tours overseas was lost to effects of PTSD. This was a heavy weight to carry in the middle of all the excitement with Slash set to open in a month, but with the positivity surrounding us all, we carried on. We rolled up our sleeves, laid the flooring, painted the walls, did a soft opening and officially opened our doors July 1, 2012!

What makes your gym different?

Personal programming, positive energy, and pure room!

Personal Programming: Slash has a wall of certifications and degrees our trainers obtained over the years. Our education goes into each program we run at Slash. We change the entire program every four weeks, just like an athlete's 52-week periodized strength and conditioning program. We believe that in today's fast-paced society, people need a quick fix. We offer what we believe is the best fitness product out there in less than an hour! We blend in the best components of fitness: Bodybuilding (strong lean physiques) and functional movement (athletic performance). In 45 minutes you will: burn fat/build muscle/tone muscle, and improve flexibility/balance/athleticism/endurance/strength and cardiovascular health! Notice all the Slashes? That's where the name came from.

We were not happy with the current trends in fitness. One concept tried to make everyone and their grandmother into a powerlifter, but became known more for its injuries than its benefits. One major part of our program was safety. At Slash, we have professional athletes, teens and seniors all in the same session. Our program is effective at changing your body. No one is left behind feeling like they cannot keep up. You have to see it to believe it. You see 80-year-olds next to 20-year-old fitness models, getting their slash on!

We disagreed with sticking people on treadmills for a half an hour and calling it personal training. When creating Slash, we wanted people to get the same quality training that our 1-on-1 clients received in a group setting. Cardio equipment is out of our programming! At Slash, your body is the machine. We progress, regress and invent on the fly during every session to accommodate every type of person. We appeal to everyone, with energy!

Positive Energy: People are drawn to us for another reason. We bring 'it' every single day. No matter the circumstances, we push positive energy as soon as the headset goes on! People come to us to get down to loud beats and positive, motivating energy at no extra cost. Entertainment at Slash is free of charge.

Pure Room: We treat our group clients like our 1-on-1 clients. We offer a health spa environment. With all the heavy traffic and perspiration going on inside a small training studio, we knew that cleanliness was a top priority. Slash teamed up with Pure Room, and had them apply antimicrobial and antibacterial product to our air ducts, walls, floors and equipment. They installed three state-of-the-art 7-stage air purifiers! Slash is one of the cleanest environments around.

What sort of people do you attract into your gym?

All kinds are attracted, from the nerdy type with zero coordination to professional athletes, from junior high kids to grandmas. We haven't had a single complaint about feeling left behind or unchallenged by our program!

What inspires people to train at you facility?

We are in this to help people and inspire them to attain their peak physique and a better version of themselves, to make everyone happy and shredded. Most people come to us looking for a change in their bodies, their group of friends, a new motivator, or a new life! Once change happens, they change their life by changing their body. The humble feeling keeps us hungry to push the envelope and make our mark on the lives of people who train with us.

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

We reach out to numerous groups: Wounded Warrior Project, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Help Our Military Heroes Charity, and just about every charity-linked adventure race out there!

We would like to thank all of our clients, most of whom we consider friends and family at this point, especially, a great mentor and friend of ours, Mark Warren. You made this whole thing possible. Thank you.

Do you have any top trainers and why are they so good?

The 3 monkeys aren't your typical meatballs. Our resumes are impressive and we pass our concepts along to everyone we hire. We have degrees in exercise science and kinesiology, and certifications from: NSCA, ACSM, IHP, COMBINE360 (IGNITE360), just to name a few.

Who are your most notable present and past members?

All of our members are worth mentioning. Everyone is like family to us. However, Jesse Levine, a professional tennis player (No. 2 in Canada) is a regular!

What makes you competitive over the other gym chains?

Our product and our trainers! We are bringing fitness a new product, a quality product.