Voted one of the top 10 Gyms in America by Muscle & Fitness and Muscular Development magazine, Bodybuilding.com would also like to highlight Quads Gym as one of the best on block. Known for its hardcore lifting attitude and friendly atmosphere, Quads is a gym that is to be noted and one that doesn't go unnoticed.
Name Of Gym: Quads Gym
Name Of Owners: Dave De Young
- 5:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. Monday-Friday
- 6:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. Saturday
- 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. Sunday
Number Of Trainers: 15
[ Q ] How did the gym start and why did you decide to begin (or work within) the gym business?
Tom and I had known each other all our lives. We became interested in lifting but there weren't any good gyms in our area, so in 1975 we started purchasing our own dumbbells and equipment, working out in Tom's basement. I was a pretty small guy then - about 120 pounds as a senior in high school - but happily gained 80 lbs. over the next 10 months. Tom was about 190 then, but at 6'5" he grew to exceed 250 pounds of muscle.
[ Q ] Can you give us a description on what went into opening your awesome establishment?
Other friends joined us and our little "basement gym" began to evolve. First our 3,800 square foot storefront space in Thornton, IL, then on to a 10,000 square foot space, spending about 6 years at each site. Continuing to grow in membership and equipment, we moved to our 46,000 square foot space in Calumet City - a southern suburb of Chicago - which became known as the "Land of Giants" where true bodybuilders trained hard.
We opened our second location on Chicago's North Side in 1988, gradually building up to another 40,000 square feet of which currently offers 115 pieces of cardio, 5 complete sets of dumbbells, kettle bells, 45 pieces of Hammer Strength, and hundreds of other unique pieces from Cybex, Paramount, Nebula, Strength Inc., Elite Systems and Sports Art. All of this as well as boards, chains, farmers walk handles, a log, and a deadlift platform. Boxing, pilates and martial arts all combine to make it easy for bodybuilders to train here along with your everyday fitness enthusiast.
[ Q ] What makes your gym different?
As one of our long-time members Dick Leitzow recently said, "At Quads, people take a personal interest in you. People who work here know your name. It's become a second home to me and I know I speak for many others too. If you want to learn how to use a particular piece of equipment, staff and trainers and even other gym members will give you a hand and answer your questions."
Quads is a place where people can connect with others. Many have been coming to our gym for years; we develop a genuine interest in them connection with them and they do with other members as well.
[ Q ] What sort of people do you attract into your gym?
All kinds of people workout at Quads - we're a pretty diverse group with regard to gender, age, race, sexual orientation, college grads and those who stopped at high school, underemployed and workaholics, serious bodybuilders as well as more casual folks simply interested in staying in shape, democrats and republicans, Sox fans & Cub fans...the list goes on the more you learn about our members.
[ Q ] What inspires people to train at you facility?
The supportive atmosphere, the attention given by the staff, the size of the gym and the equipment - both the variety and sheer number of pieces. As gym member Greg Sorrells says, "If you're serious about lifting, or if you want to be a power lifter in Chicago, you absolutely must come to Quads. Supportive atmosphere - everything you need to train is here. You can really get down to business, but it's respectful, people give us our space and we give them theirs. It's really given me a place to grow as an athlete, and Dave really likes it when we make some noise!"
Reviews on www.Yelp.com give a glimpse into how respected the place is, "As a former athlete, I needed somewhere to work out - with cardio machines, free weights and weight machines, and I found all that at Quads" says one member. Another reviewer calls it "a serious gym for people serious about exercise. Not many frills but what they do have is plenty of iron. People are focused on strength-training & exercise. If you're looking for a real gym, not a spa with dumbbells, welcome home."
Another 14 year member said, "I was greeted warmly and immediately noticed how unpretentious and laid back the place was. People are helpful at Quads. If someone noticed you could be getting more out of an exercise, or perhaps were puzzled about how to use a certain machine, they would take the time to give you a hand. That's the vibe there, and it really matters. Quads is a fantastic place not only for those who know exactly what they're doing in the world of bodybuilding, but also for the everyday folks who just want to stay toned and in shape."
[ Q ] Do you have any top trainers and why are they so good?
Trainers at Quads are fantastic because they're helpful and uplifting and kind - and educated! Not only are they certified and well-trained, most of them hold masters degrees in kinesiology.
[ Q ] What special services do you provide?
[ Q ] Who are your most notable members (past and present)?
Along with the world-famous Eddie Coan, who began lifting here lifting here 20 years ago, Quads members who took home trophies from the biggest contests year after year include:
- Pete Miller
- Jeff King
- The late Chuck Durr (Mr. America)
- Cynthia Barker (Ms. America)
- Laura Creavalle (Ms. Olympia)
- Anthony Watkins (Teenage Mr. America)
- Milos Sarcev
- Roland Kickinger
- Chris Cormier (Mr. Olympia)
- John Larrieu
- Larry Bernstein
- Mark Phillippi, now the Strength Coach at UNLV and winner of the Met-Rx Strong Man competitions.
- And so many more.
Simply put, anybody who wanted a serious place to train and get results came to Quads. And we've even had the pleasure of hosting Lou Ferrigno twice and Franco Columbo, who once stopped by to promote his book "Winning Bodybuilding."
Over the years a few pro athletes trained at Quads:
But by far the folks who generated the most excitement were actors Sean Hayes (Will & Grace) and Chris O'Donnell, musician Henry Rollins and the legendary - Michael Jordan. Long time gym members still talk about the two times he walked through doors as Dave insisted everybody else keep their distance.
[ Q ] What was the hardest part about operating your gym?
Probably one of the best parts about operating the gym is also one of the hardest. It's fantastic when I know I've met the needs of the people who come here to train - helping them with their workouts, giving nutritional guidance, help them get ready for shows, link them with a great trainer, getting the new piece of equipment they asked for, but then there will always be the challenges. One member might like a specific type of music, another may not. One may love the amount of equipment we have, another may say we have too much. I know we're not always going to please everybody all the time, but we sure do try our best.
Click To Enlarge.
It's Fantastic When I Know I've Met The Needs
Of The People Who Come Here To Train.
[ Q ] What makes you competitive over the large gym chains?
We care about people. Our prices are lower. We have no initiation fees or contracts. We have a hands-on approach; there's a closeness that develops. People say they can't believe we know their names. We've a lot of room and a lot of equipment, but we don't have 10,000 members so we can get to know people, and people seem to like that.
|QUADS GYM PRICES
[ Q ] How have you been able to remain so successful and how do you hope to remain so?
By listening to what the members want. By being a small "mom & pop" type of gym. That's important to people; some of our members have been coming here since we opened our doors. New members comment about it too - the friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
Please add anything (or more questions and answers) you wish as it will only be of benefit to your feature.
Among The Many Accolades Bestowed On Quads:
- Top 10 Gyms in America - Muscle & Fitness, 2005
- Top 10 Gym Haunts- Muscular Development, 2007
- Best of Chicago, Gym Category, The Chicago Reader, 2008
- 5 stars from Yelp and AOL
- Weightlifting home of Ed Coan - winner of 125 World Records in Power Lifting; 12 Senior National Championships and 12 World Championships a.k.a. "the Michael Jordan of Powerlifting"
Another really striking thing about working out at Quads is you're surrounded by more than 500 photographs. You'll see pioneers such as Steve Reeves, Bill Pearl, Larry Scott and George Eiferman on up to Sergio Oliva, Arnold and Lou Ferrigno. It's a real gym - but in another sense it's a museum devoted to the sport of bodybuilding. And what an honor it was about 10 years ago when Dave was among those selected by Fairfax Hackley to join the Board of Directors of the Mr. America that year, as he was privileged to work alongside the late Mr. Reeves.
Tom passed away in 2003, at the far-too-young age of 49. Friends since before they could walk, anyone who saw Tom and Dave working side by side knew they were having the time of their lives. Dave continues on now, without his best friend and partner, doing all he can to make Quads the best place it can be for those who come here. He does it not only for his members but for Tom and the dream they shared. Those of us at Quads who were privileged to know Tom help Dave keep his memory alive - remembering his laughter, his larger-than-life-presence, his generous spirit, his love for people, and his kindness.
Quads Gym is just about everything - it's hardcore, it's laid back, it's bodybuilding history, it's a place people call home, and it's still Dave and Tom.
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