Imagine this: Instead of you going to the gym, the gym comes to you, arriving at your home or office at the appointed time, with an energetic personal trainer ready to put you through a workout.
That's the concept behind GYMGUYZ, a "gym to go" service. The founder, longtime personal trainer Josh York of Plainview, used $15,000 -- most of his life savings -- to launch the company in 2008. He had one employee (himself) and one van.
He now has 636 clients, most of them on Long Island, a staff of 15 certified personal trainers and a fleet of Ford E-250 cargo vans. He hopes to franchise the concept around the country.
York, 30, got the idea while training one of his clients in a health club in New Hyde Park, which is also where he grew up. "She said, 'I wish you could come to my house, but I have no equipment,' " he said. "The lightbulb went off. I said, 'This is so simple,' but the best ideas are simple."
Actually, said exercise physiologist Walt Thompson of Georgia State University, a spokesman for the American College of Sports Medicine, personal trainers have been meeting clients in places other than the gym for decades. But in recent years, they've become even more mobile and innovative. "Personal trainers are very entrepreneurial, and they've got to be in 2013," Thompson said. "So many people want to be engaged in fitness but can't because of time, lack of available equipment or because they just don't want to go to a gym. Bringing the gym to the client . . . it's a great idea."
York equips each of his vans with a smorgasbord of contemporary gym toys: balls, bars, hurdles and trampolines, as well as more traditional free weights and dumbbells. "Anything you can think of in the gym we have, except treadmills and elliptical machines," he said.
Michael Resnick of Upper Brookville, a client of York's, said that he used to fall into the common pattern of joining a gym in January, going regularly, and then petering out by spring. Easy to blow off the gym -- not so easy to ignore a van pulling into your driveway at 6:30 in the morning. "When you know he's going to be there, outside your house," said Resnick, "what are you going to do?"
The answer: Exercise, which Resnick, 70, does twice a week, for an hour each time, with York or one of his trainers, Fridays at 6:30 a.m. and Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m.
There are other local services, such as Smithtown-based Mike's Mobile Gym, or the mobile arm of the NYC-based Super Slow studio, Inform Fitness, which offer gyms set up in their trailers or buses, as opposed to GYMGUYZ, which takes out equipment from its van as needed for a particular workout, and sets it up. Also, many personal trainers will bring at least some equipment with them to clients' homes.
One-on-one trainers who come to your house and local "gym to go" services cost, on average, about $65-$95 per hour.
For more details: gymguyz.com, mikesmobilegym.com, informfitness.com