Gym Of The Month: The Old School Gym

In the weighty days of yore, the old school was living currency. Resurrected ideals survive at this Ohio gym, built to remind us of our iron roots.

Name Of Gym: The Old School Gym
Owner(s): Dustin Myers & Cory Gregory/Musclepharm Co-Founder
Address: 11091A National Rd,
Pataskala, OH 43062
# Of Members: 200
Sq Ft: 7000
Phone: 740-964-6662
Hours Of Operation: 4 a.m. - 10 p.m.
365 days/year
Trainers On Staff: 5

This is not the gym for weak hearts. This is a destination for the muscle-minded, a home that hearkens back to an earlier age of weightlifting, when gyms didn't have coffee shops and pedicure thrones.

The Old School gym was built by Dustin Myers and Cory Gregory, two young, but experienced weight trainers. These guys built it to mimic Dustin's dad's garage, where their teenage forms first felt the man-building effects of pushed iron. It looks like a nuclear fall-out shelter, but inside, weightlifting lives forever.

This was a serious no-brainer. The Old School gym reminds us of yester-year, and reignites the fury of our bodybuilding ancestors!

Without further ado, let's kick it Old School!

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

Cory and Dustin started lifting weights together during their sophomore year of high school (1995) and were always competitive and pushing each other.

We soon developed a strong bond based on our love for hardcore lifting and the golden era of bodybuilding, grinding out workouts in our grimy high school weight room and Dustin's Dad's unheated garage.

The workouts continued and while Dustin was still attending The Ohio State University, Cory opened his first training studio (circa 2000), the successful T3 Personal Training Co.

We both were training clients full-time, and in 2003 we finally took the next step and opened the original Old School Gym.

A true "hole-in-the-wall" facility at roughly 2,000 square feet, we soon outgrew the original spot and opened at our current location in 2008.

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

It was a lot of hard work, or as Cory's Grandpap likes to say "sweat equity." We spent about a year rehabbing the current gym while we were still running the old one and training clients full-time.

We spent many long nights and weekends running electric, building locker rooms, piecing things together however we could. A lot of the equipment we bought at auctions when other gyms would go out of business.

What makes your gym different?

The first thing that stands out is the atmosphere. Everyone who comes to OSG trains hard regardless of their fitness level. We never felt comfortable in corporate gyms and wanted to recreate the environment from Dustin's Dad's garage where we gave 100% whether it was 95 degrees or zero outside.

The next thing that stands out is the type of equipment we have. Any athlete is going to find the tools they need to improve their performance. We have all the traditional gym equipment, dumbbells up to 145 pounds, benches, power racks, treadmills, etc. - not a lot of unnecessary machines.

We have a Monolift Squat rack, Reverse Hyper, bands, boards, chains, and all the implements necessary to train in the West Side Method (we are actually one of the small number of West Side Certified gyms in the world). Some gyms don't even allow their members to deadlift anymore - we have a deadlift platform.

There are chalk bowls in every room. We have all the equipment to do CrossFit-style training: bumper plates, battle ropes, rings, rowers, Kettle Bells up to 106 pounds, etc. For our fighters, we have an MMA/wrestling room, heavy bags, boxing ring, and all kinds of functional equipment: sleds, Prowler, Tires, sandbags, sledgehammers, etc. There's something for everyone as long as they're ready to train hard in a no-nonsense atmosphere.

And last, the most important thing that stands out about OSG is the members themselves. When people picture a hardcore gym they may imagine it as an intimidating place. OSG is the exact opposite. Our members welcome new people in with open arms and are quick to share new methods and educate others.

What sort of people do you attract into your gym?

We attract people who are tired of all the fluff and filler at the corporate gyms.

The average member at a typical chain gym is there to socialize or try to keep a new year's resolution. Our members are dedicated to working out and training hard year-round.

We have competitive powerlifters, boxers, bodybuilders, MMA fighters, high school and college athletes, in addition to the average Joe who doesn't want an average facility


What inspires people to train at your facility?

We spend $0.00 on advertising, so all of our business is by word of mouth. Usually a new client shows up because they have heard that we are a "real" gym or they know someone who has benefited greatly from our personal training.

There is a real sense of community at OSG, everyone gets to know each other and learns from each other. We always say, you are not signing up for a gym, you are joining a family.

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

We have always felt that a trainers' real-world experience is more important than their certification. We have both been certified trainers since 2000 - but our experience began much earlier. We started lifting weights at age 12 (circa 1992) and were always active in sports.

Both of us competed in natural bodybuilding shows from 2001-2007 and did well. We felt the need to branch out and diversify our experience so it would reflect in our training. Dustin started doing Jiu Jitsu tournaments (he wrestled in high school) and we both did bench meets.

Next Dustin got into boxing and won titles at the 2009 Arnold Classic and Tri-State Golden Gloves. Cory went the powerlifter route and totaled 1,755 pounds (700-pound squat/480 bench/575 deadlift … he weighed only 208 pounds.

So having trained for so many different types of events, we are able to utilize various and unorthodox methods to push people beyond their limits. If you have only trained one way your whole life, chances are you will train all of your clients the same.

Between the two of us, we have 25 years combined experience as full-time trainers, and there have been a lot of great success stories during those years.

Another aspect that sets our training apart is the level of expertise from which we have learned. Dr. Eric Serrano, a well-known nutrition and training guru, has been involved with OSG for a long time and has mentored us and helped shape our training methods. Cory has also spent a lot of time learning from Louie Simmons.

What special services do you provide?

Our gym offers single and family memberships, 1-on-1 training (specializing in weight loss and body transformation), sports specific training (Dustin specializes in training wrestlers and fighters), speed training, boxing classes, and we hold in-house powerlifting events twice per year.

Who are your most notable present and past members?

Tommy Rowlands, 2-time NCAA Wrestling Champ at The Ohio State University, is training with Dustin in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Trials.

Travis Clark, undefeated Team Wolfslair fighter (6-0 pro, 12-0 overall) splits time between OSG and his other gym.

We have a lot of ex-West Side lifters, including Joe Bayles who recently squatted 1000 pounds.

Something that has become more common is for athletes and fighters who may belong to another gym/camp to seek our guidance and strength and conditioning as their competition draws close. Ronnell Green, a 5-0 pro boxer (7-1 MMA) has been coming in on the weekends.

Lance Palmer, undefeated Team Alpha Male fighter and 4-time NCAA All American at OSU, trains here when he's in Ohio. Brandon Lee Hinkle, UFC Heavyweight veteran, has been coming in.

What was the hardest part about operating your gym?

The hardest part about operating the gym, as with any business, is finding a good balance between work and family. Both of us are married with kids so we have to make sure the demands of running the gym don't take over our lives.

Luckily our wives understand the demands that come with being a business owner. As far as managing the gym and training clients, that's the easy part because it's what we love to do.

It is a true blessing to be in a position to make a living doing what we love: helping people improve their lives through training.

What makes you competitive over the other gym chains?

There will always be a much smaller segment of the population that is drawn to a gym like OSG.

Let's face it - people who want to work hard and be pushed physically and mentally are probably in the minority.

That's why the fitness industry has really gone soft over the last decade or so and it's reflected in the way big gyms are now "fitness spas."

But I think we are starting to see a backlash against the big-gym culture - the crowded, sterile atmosphere, the elevator music.

And when it comes to trainers, most big gyms employ a team of part timers with minimal real-world experience and questionable drive - basically salesmen with stop watches.

Our gym is a reflection of how we live our lives; being "Old School" is not a switch we turn off when we leave the gym.

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

The reason we are successful is because we help our members improve and be successful themselves. A satisfied customer is the best advertisement you can have. Whether it is a high school athlete trying to earn a scholarship or a middle-aged professional woman trying to lose weight and feel better about herself, we push everyone to improve.

We have always believed that training hard and reaching your goals in the gym carries over into every aspect of your life. Success is contagious, so when someone leaves our gym feeling great about what they accomplished, the people around them can see it and want to be a part of it.

Fun Facts About Old School Gym

  • The entire back room flooring is old coal mining beltline from the coal mine Owner Cory Gregory worked at, saving money to start his first business.
  • The Ohio Natural Bodybuilding federation, which Cory founded in 2003, is still running today by Nick Showman; it was started out of Old School Gym.
  • We host annual powerlifting meets at Old School and just move all the equipment out of the way set up chairs and make it happen; it's a great atmosphere.

For great motivation and work out tips, follow us on Twitter: @musclepharmpres@oldschoolgymOH