We always get asked, "what made you guys open a gym & why?" Well, here's the answer:
Both Jason & I have always been in the fitness industry. We enjoyed working out & it was our passion. Jason was involved with the NPC (National Physique Committee) by training athletes in all divisions and he also competed himself. I never competed because I was too afraid to get onstage & fall in those high heels (eeks) but I've always enjoyed sports & fitness.
One day (back in 2018), outta nowhere, we started talking about gyms in the area & there weren't any besides the everyday corporate-type gym. We wanted something different. We spent time talking about it & decided to start searching for the "perfect spot" in the Leander area. When we made the decision to open a gym we wanted to be "different" in ALL aspects! We planned & researched for a whole year on what we were going to do that other gyms were NOT doing. So we set out to develop a gym that was a "one-stop" shop for everything. We focused on "unique/different" pieces of equipment that you wouldn't find in other corporate gyms. We hand-selected each piece to ensure our members get the most out of each workout. We didn't stop there. We visited a lot of gyms in Austin and surrounding areas and noticed no one was offering "recovery" services. This was a great addition to any gym. Recover after a workout! Just like professional athletes. It was such a great idea, other gyms followed & now they offer it in their facilities. We also thought...what else goes hand in hand after a workout? Well, why not offer "healthy meals." It's always great to have some protein after a workout so we decided on opening "The Fuel Bar" which includes a variety of healthy meals and custom-made smoothies. All these ideas came into fruition in April of 2019. Welcome to The Iron Plate Training Ground! Our dream come true.
Less than a year after opening, the World Health Organization declared Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic and businesses were forced to shut down (except those providing essential government functions, such as law enforcement and first responders. essential healthcare operations etc). We were not in that category and the nightmare for all began.
It was a disaster and we were terrified as to what would happen next. We were closed for almost 3 months and we were still responsible for all the bills, including rent, just like everyone else. We spoke to our landlord but he didn't budge! The rent was still due. We wrote letters to the local judge asking him to consider the gym as essential for people's mental well-being. We sent studies showing that exercise does help with mental & physical health but, unfortunately, it was denied.
Almost 3 months later, we were finally able to open the gym. It wasn't the same. We lost a ton of members due to COVID. People were not comfortable going out & being around other people yet. Many businesses had to shut down because there was no income coming in to pay those bills. Small businesses lost everything. They lost their dream. And we were not in a position to re-open either.
We had to make a decision. Do we stay open or do we give up and shut down? How could we make this work? It was our dream and we weren't quite ready to throw in the towel, not just yet. It took about 2 years to get back on track. It was a struggle and not an easy one. Both Jason & myself had to sacrifice our life, meaning there was nothing more important than work. We had absolutely no social life for a very long time because all we did was work to try and make this dream stay true. I own another business so I was in the same situation there. We both worked easily over 80 hours in a WEEK! Yes, I said "a week." Crazy huh? And yes, unfortunately, working all those hours makes someone moody (ex: Jason...lol) Can't blame him. He was working tirelessly from 5am to 8pm every day until I could come in and relieve him from my other job. We had no other choice if we wanted this to work. It was either putting in the hours and struggle with exhaustion or lose the business. We worked way too hard to let the business go so we did what we had to do to succeed. No matter what!
Fortunately, we survived the pandemic and three years later in July 2022 we expanded adding a new powerlifting section, turf, and some functional pieces.
Our goal was to be unique, have something for everyone, and not focus on being a bodybuilding type of gym but more of a “bodies are built here” type of gym. I think we accomplished that.
If you would like to read more, check out our story on VoyageAustin Magazine in the link below.
Please call 561-929-3907 to schedule a tour. Gym is staffed Monday thru Friday 3pm-8pm & doors are locked 24/7.