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Truly Personal Training

By Mia Coen

Mike Z. Robinson opened his gym in the small town of San Luis Obispo, California, with a remarkably different approach. MZR Fitness is dedicated to the member who doesn’t want to feel like just another number. He is able to do this by offering truly personal training by means of using equipment you wouldn’t normally see in a gym, but above all, by creating an intimate, friendly, personalized atmosphere where the client’s goal is the main objective.

For Robinson, money and sales goals are not a priority. Helping his clients achieve success is the most important thing.

“With my type of facility, we don’t need 1,000-plus members to get by, so our focus is on the member and their results—not just increasing our membership totals,” says Robinson.

Different from traditional personal training studios, MZR Fitness has a large facility with a staff of seven, who dedicate their hours to customizing fitness programs to clients to help them reach their goals. Whether they’re training for triathlons or high school sports, attempting weight loss or a lifestyle change, members of MZR get their money’s worth out of their experience.

Sessions range anywhere between $79 per month to $599 per month, depending on the training package.

“Sure it’s more expensive for people to come to my facility, versus going right up the road to a commercial gym where they’ll pay only $39 per month. But here at MZR Fitness, people know that they will get more for their buck. They get personalized attention, more motivation, and increased accountability.” Robinson says his members are very results-oriented and will rarely blow off a session.

Due to the different levels of training that go on within MZR, Robinson equips his facility with a variety of pieces to ensure he is able to accommodate his clientele. He uses TRX suspension-training equipment, ropes, power slides, drive sleds, tires with ropes, rebounders, boxing equipment, power bands, medicine balls, and so much more. This type of equipment allows Robinson and his trainers to engage their members in functional training. “In my opinion, it’s the best way to train, along with various dynamic drills that include bodyweight exercises, plyometrics, calisthenics, free-weight training, and, of course, cardio,” says Robinson. In fact, it’s exactly this form of training that’s helped many of his clients succeed.

Suzanne Hiltbrand from San Luis Obispo wrote a heartfelt letter of recommendation about Robinson, lending credit to his personal training methods after he helped her lose over 100 pounds. “Mike has a passion for healthy living and sets the standards to follow. He has become a credible and valued friend,” she wrote. “Even on days when I don’t train with him, I think about him when faced with daily challenges and temptations. Consistently, I pull strength from all that he has taught me. I will never be able to thank him enough for his inspiration, faith, and tolerance.”

Being part of a small community also helps Robinson connect with potential members on a daily basis. “Our membership base is around 200 people, which is much easier to manage,” he says. “We work with individuals from all walks of life. Most of our personal training/semi-private clients are baby boomers, mostly between the ages of 45-60, and happen to be mostly female. However, our group programs are specialized. We have a program for seniors, high school athletes, collegiate athletes, bikini body training for women, etc. We try to cover as many niches as possible and have successfully reached a lot of people with this model.”

The success of MZR came from Robinson’s unique approach to fitness and his passion for sharing it with others. His first experience with personal training was at the age of 15, when his parents hired a personal trainer to give him an edge over the competition in high school. He played basketball, football, and ran track. It was at this time that Robinson realized what he wanted to be when he grew up. “Almost immediately, I fell in love with all that my personal trainer stood for and just the uniqueness of his job. He obviously loved it, was helping people, and it was profitable. Those are three traits that I think most people seek out when choosing a career.”

After graduating from high school, he became certified in personal training and began working at several local gyms while pursuing a business degree. In 2009, MZR Fitness became a reality. “The idea of my business came from my dream of opening my own facility,” Robinson explains. “I knew that I wanted something more intimate and personalized because I felt that it best matched my personality and I wanted to help people reach their goals. Having a personal trainer in my life years ago was incredibly significant and I just wanted to share that experience with the world. I truly feel as if I was born to do this.”

Robinson is not just active at work, though—he’s active in all sorts of events and charities in his area. Cindy Jones, a member at MZR, testifies to Robinson’s outreach. “Mike incorporates a philosophy of giving back to the community with participation from his many clients and friends,” she says. “Some of these local events include: Miracle Mile for Kids, Hunger Walk 5/10K, Central Coast Cancer Challenge, and hosting blood drives at his fitness center. He also offered free Saturday community fitness classes this past summer. He generously gives of his time doing volunteer work and is an advocate for children and individual fitness, and promoting healthy lifestyles.”

She also adds, “Everyone who knows Mike really likes him. Couple this with his great fitness program and you get success!”

For Robinson, the success of MZR is not just about one-on-one personal training—it’s about being involved with community, people, and lives in order to make a difference.

Reader Comments (3)

Congratulations on promoting amazing well being to the members of your community!
The one-to-one approach is definitely going towards people's need nowadays where we spend too long hours in "virtual" relationships.
Also I believe in results first then money will come naturally.

I appreciate professionals like Mike that think quality instead of quantity!

God Bless you and your business!

M Novo.

November 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarcia Novo

What a way to think outside of the box! In this cookie cutter world, it is rare to find individuals who can dream bigger and do something truly unique. MZR Fitness is clearly not just about working out, it is about developing a passion to live a healthy lifestyle. Hopefully MZR Fitness will expand to other areas outside of San Luis Obispo so people like me can take advantage of the vision of Mr. Mike Robinson.

November 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterD. Davis

That was truly a great and inspirational piece. I particularly find this article motivating because I have always wanted to open my own facility but just for some reason have never took the plunge. I've come up with every excuse in the book but reading stories like this helped me to realize that nothing will happen unless I just go for it.

On a side note - Although I'm not sure that he remembers because it was probably 3 or 4 years ago, I've actually met Mike very briefly at a conference in NYC and he truly has a magnetic personality and was so pleasant with just about everyone in our section of the room. Great overall guy....

November 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStacey Austin

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