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Entries in MZR Fitness (5)


Club Owner Selectivity


Mike Z. RobinsonBy Mike Z. Robinson

Last September, I made the point that, while I love going to industry conventions, conferences, seminars, and trade shows…as the owner of a club, with more responsibilities and demands on my time that I can possibly count, I have to be very selective about those I actually attend. I’ve just finished reviewing the program for IHRSA’s 31st Annual International Convention and Trade Show, which will be held next month, March 14-17, in Los Angeles, and I’m pleased to report that…you’re definitely going to see me there!

IHRSA events nearly always wind up on my “have-to-be-there” list, and IHRSA 2012 clearly qualifies for inclusion. This year, the schedule, from start to finish, beginning to end, features some amazing presenters. There will be countless opportunities to learn from industry experts—people like IHRSA’s Joe Moore, Club One’s Bill McBride, ACE’s Dr. Cedric Bryant, master trainer Todd Durkin, Active Voice owner Amanda Vogel, and others.

It’s always great to hear from individuals at the top of their game because we’re all on this journey together and can help one another move to the next level.

I feel that IHRSA does an excellent job of focusing on the business side of things, bringing those issues to the forefront and keeping them there. Year after year, it provides club owners and other fitness professionals with quality information and innovative ideas. The experience never gets old—there’s always something new to learn, whether you’ve been a part of the fitness industry for three months or 30 years.

…and I haven’t even mentioned the outstanding keynote speakers, the endless networking opportunities, the rewarding social activities, or the annual BASH for Augie’s Quest

So, when you’re mulling over the dozens of industry gatherings that take place each year, IHRSA’s convention and trade show should, I’m convinced, be at the top of your list. It inevitably winds up at the top of mine!

I hope to see you in Los Angeles!

- Mike Z. Robinson is the owner of MZR Fitness, in San Luis Obispo, California, and can be contacted at


‘Out of the Mouth of Babes’

Winners all: Armin Rassipour, 7, Mike Robinson, Brooke Larson, 9

By Mia Coen

Mike Robinson, the owner of MZR Fitness in San Luis Obispo, California, is used to teaching adults how to lose weight and stay fit at his personal training facility, which he describes as “a life enhancement and fitness center.”

Recently, though, he’s been paying a lot of attention to the younger population.

Given all the alarming statistics and headlines about the health of children—ones documenting such things as epidemic obesity, the increased incidence of diabetes and other chronic medical conditions, and, even, reduced life spans—it’s a welcome development.

It’s also one that a growing number of club operators are participating in.

MZR offers a Fit Kids Afterschool Fitness and Learning Program that, Robinson explains, is specifically designed to give youngsters a chance to “experience level-appropriate fitness workouts…(while) learning how to be fit in their lives, and how to incorporate that into the classroom.” Among the benefits the program can confer, he notes, are: greater knowledge about fitness; improved coordination, stamina, endurance, and strength; increased mental focus; greater self-esteem and self-confidence; and better grades and personal behavior.

 Last fall, in September, which was also National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Robinson conducted an essay contest open to kids between the ages of 6 and 10, urging them to submit one-page essays describing why exercise was important. Robinson then selected the winners—one boy and one girl, Armin Rassipour, 7, and Brooke Larson, 9—who were rewarded with four free personal training sessions at MZR.  

In his essay, Armin wrote: “I love to exercise because it makes me feel smart. This year, my mom put me into an exercise program, and, ever since then, my grades have gotten better. My mom says that’s because I’m more fit and able to concentrate more. Fitness is also about eating better foods (like more fruits and vegetables) to help give me more energy and to be a happier little boy!”

Brooke, for her part, wrote: “Fitness is not just for adults. It is also for kids. Actually, it is for everybody, because we all need to exercise to feel better about ourselves inside and out. Both of my parents exercise often, and, on the weekends, I usually work out with them. We have a great time getting fit together. My Dad always says, ‘The family that exercises together stays together.’”

The kids’ workouts with Robinson include calisthenics, cardio, and variations on push-ups, dips, jumping jacks, gate swings, crunches, jump-roping, power jumps, lunges, squats, lower-back extensions, planes, and fitness games, such as Red Light/Green Light.

“We do a combination of exercising at MZR and exercising at a local park,” says Robinson. “Fitness is just like anything else—the younger you start, the better it is. If you’re 30 years old, and you’re trying to learn how to swim, you’re going to have a pretty hard time of it. But if you learn how to swim when you’re 5 years old, then it’s going to be second nature for the rest of your life.”

“It’s my hope that other trainers can embrace this idea and adopt this sort of approach,” says Robinson. “We need to fight the good fight and raise public awareness about childhood obesity.”

Mia Coen is a former associate editor of CBI.


Ride the Jumping Jack Wave!

By Mia Coen

If you don’t know her already, you should know social media guru and fitness expert Karen Jashinsky, founder and owner of O2 MAX Fitness, a youth fitness media company based in Santa Monica, California. She’s always rolling out innovative programming for children, young adults, and families. I’ve written about many of O2 MAX’s great offerings in the past year: MAXprom, MAX U, and 12 Days of Fitness, to name a few.

Of course, Karen is always in the loop, and the first person to jump on board for National Kids Health month. (Did you know there was such a thing?)

Next week, on Tuesday, I urge you to find a site (or sign up to host one) and participate in…drum roll…

Let’s Jump!

The Most People Doing Jumping Jacks in a 24-hour Period!

You bet, it’s a Guinness World Record event, and Karen’s company has teamed up with the White House and the California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (CAHPERD) to break the world record.

So on Tuesday, October 11, a jumping jack wave will sweep the nation as part of National Kids Health month. As an extension of the Let’s Move! campaign, First Lady Michelle Obama will be kicking off the event at the White House at 3pm (EST) on Tuesday. Other people and organizations participating in the event include National Geographic for Kids, National PTA, Jamba Juice, the President’s Council on Fitness Sports and Nutrition, and the family of Jack LaLanne.

Between 3 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, and 3 p.m. (EST) on Wednesday, approximately 10,000 people per state and nation will be doing at least one minute of jumping jacks (without stopping) to qualify for the Guinness Record.

But there’s a whole other element to this world record attempt…

Social media. People from all over the country can submit photos and videos to O2 Max Fitness’ Facebook page to show their participation in the event. It’ll connect people and networks from all over and encourage them to get up and move! Footage of people doing jumping jacks in front of landmarks, schools, gyms, signs, and companies will be compiled into a bigger media project that will showcase all the people and organizations that “jumped” on board.

Do you want your club to jump on board? It’s easy!

Here’s how:

Schools, teachers, students, corporations, fitness professionals, and businesses can get involved by becoming host sites and leaders, responsible for capturing pictures and videos, and signing off on the number of participants.

To register and host a minute of jumping jacks and help break the record, visit CAHPERD’s website or email:   

On October 11, you can visit the O2 MAX Facebook page to add to pictures and videos of jumping jacks, which will be captured and compiled into a bigger media project.  

Post pictures and videos to O2 MAX’ wall by sending a picture or video to or post directly from the wall! Or submit via email:

Last weekend, on October 2, Karen led a jumping jack warm-up at the 6th Annual Santa Monica 5000 Race, an athletic endowment to help fund sports and athletic programs for Santa Monica and Malibu schools. Mike Z. Robinson, our trusty industry resource was there, too! You might recognize him as a contributor to CBI and CBI Unbound.




Fitness Nerds: Join the Herd!

By Mike Z. Robinson

Let me start off by saying that I've been to nearly every major conference that exists in the fitness industry and that I absolutely love attending conferences! I'm pretty much a "fitness nerd." I love to learn anything and everything regarding fitness, and conferences are always great because there are so many different courses that cover a wide span of topics to keep you learning. Conferences also present an unparalleled opportunity for creating new relationships, strengthening old ones, and learning from some of the top prefessionals in the field. I remember going to my first conference several years ago and I was so excited when I returned home because I was able to apply so much that I learned—from new exercises to new business tools.

However, nowadays I don't attend as many conferences as I used to, mainly because they're several days long and I have my facility, MZR Fitness, to run. Back in the day, I would leave for a three-, four-, or five-day conference. But now, I realize that, as a business owner, I'm losing money if I attend these conferences for the full duration. So now what I do every year is pick a select few conferences that I believe would be the most beneficial to me (and not too far in location) and attend it for a day or two at the most. The conferences that I regularly attend are IHRSA's International Convention and Trade Show, IDEA World Fitness Convention, and the ACE Symposium (which I will be speaking at for the first time this year!).

I still believe in the full value of conferences and definitely encourage all those up-and-coming trainers out there to go to as many of these as you can. Maybe some day it’ll pay off for you like it did for me.

Mike Z. Robinson is the owner of MZR Fitness in San Luis Obispo, California, a personal training facility known as a "lifestyle enhancement and fitness center." Robinson is a certified Personal Trainer through the American Council on Exercise (ACE), and a member of IDEA fitness organization. He also writes a monthly fitness article for the Central Coast Family Newspaper and is a Media Spokesperson for ACE. 


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.