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Working Out Atop Downtown

By Jeannine Denholm
Published: Tuesday, September 15, 2009, at 05:29PM
Educogym Eric Richardson [Flickr]

If hitting the treadmill isn't high on your list of things to do, one trip to Educogym might change your mind. The gym, which is located on the 57th floor of the U.S Bank Tower and bills itself as the highest gym in America, boasts spectacular views of the city.

The facility, which opened in January, has a cult-like following because of its location and its ability to sculpt bodies in a very short time.

Wayne Dunne of Educogym recently gave me an inside look at why he feels the facility and its programs are so special.

JEANNINE DENHOLM: How does Educogym differ from other gyms?

WAYNE DUNNE: Educogym is a very unique concept. We are unlike any other gym facility and combine ALL the elements required to achieve any desired results.

We are a training studio with a unique emphasis on all over body conditioning through personalized nutrition plans, personalized exercise plans and mind focus.

At the first consultation, we will discuss our program in detail with you. Educogym offers a scientific approach to getting into shape allowing most average people to lose approximately 7 lbs of fat and gain 3 lbs of muscle in the first twelve days. However, not everybody wants or needs fat loss. Many of our clients come to us for body sculpting, muscle building, increased focus and attention. This is where the personal approach of the educo system really pays off. We do not have any 'one size fits all' program and our trainers will discuss your goals in detail with you. We will perform a full body analysis to determine all necessary measurements including body fat percentage, BMI and the latest addition to our treasure chest is our much sought after 'Bodygem' which allows us to accurately measure a clients resting metabolic rate. We perform follow up consultations periodically and full reanalysis of all measurements are performed in detail every 6 weeks to ensure goals are being met and reset.

JD: Why does your program have fewer and shorter workouts?

WD: Our training sessions are usually 20 minutes in duration. This is a very unique attribute of educogym and is something which catches people somewhat by surprise. Most people expect 20 minutes of exercise shouldn't be too much of a problem, especially 'gym bunnies' used to spending upwards of an hour and a half in the gym 4 - 5 times per week. All the research indicates however, that on average 10 minutes out of every 20 in a normal 'warehouse' style gym is spent walking from machine to machine, waiting on machines to become ready and social chats throughout the workout. The educo environment is very different indeed. All of your sessions are appointment based and done under the very attentive eye of our trainers. Your appointment is scheduled for 2 reasons:

  • To ensure you make that appointment. In normal gyms, it's very easy to have a bad day, week or month and simply decide not to go. The warehouse facility will pay no attention whatsoever to your attendance. With educogym, the appointment system ensures people attend. It's much more difficult to cancel a scheduled appointment because you may be feeling a little tired for example, if you know somebody is waiting there for you.

  • It allows us to keep groups in attendance at the gym at any one time very small to ensure you will never be waiting on a machine and that your trainer can dedicate the time and attention to you that you need.

The 20 minute sessions are usually very high intensity training which is the secret to our success. Once we teach our clients correct form on each exercise the focus will shift dramatically to the intensity at which each exercise is performed. Everything in educogym is designed around this very element right down to our educogym machines which allow you to move from exercise to exercise without resting. This form of intensive training will release a very powerful hormone into your system called growth hormone. Growth Hormone is primarily responsible for growth in the body but has some fascinating side effects such as fat burning, muscle building, leaning and toning.

The positive effects of this style of training with regard to increases in endorphins or metabolic rate for example are evident in the client for up to 48 hours after a session at the gym, compared to aerobic training which may only elevate metabolic rates for up to 2- 4 hours afterwards. This is how we can achieve such results with shorter an fewer training sessions.

One note on intensity however is that we can only work within the confines of an intensity level that our clients feel relatively comfortable in. Anyone thinking the educo high intensity training style is not for them will be in for a pleasant surprise. An explosive rate of training for an 18 year old will not be suitable for an older client in his/her 60's or 70's. This is again where the educo personal touch comes in and we will only prescribe each exercise and nutrition program for the individual, never the collective.

JD: Describe the perfect client for Educogym.

WD: Our gym is open to absolutely everybody. From our 10,000 clients we now have in our gyms throughout the world, we cater for everybody from as young as 16 to our oldest client who is 89 and everybody in between. Our staff are highly trained in nutrition and exercise and will personalize the ideal plan for every person that comes through our door based on desired goals and needs. Our perfect client in essence, is anybody who has a goal or desire to become or stay fit and healthy. As a bonus add on, they will look amazing too in a very short period of time.

JD: Why did you choose downtown?

WD: L.A. is very much considered the epicenter of the fitness world. It had always been in the business plan of educogym to bring our fascinating product to L.A. where we find people are incredibly health conscious already. I have no doubt we possess the best system in the world for getting into shape but more importantly how to stay that way. It just seemed right that the best system in the world to obtain or retain health, fitness, energy, vitality focus and energy belonged in L.A.

The downtown location was chosen as our flagship store following a meeting with the visionary Maguire Group who own the US Bank Tower where we now reside. Everything we stood for in terms of new energy and rejuvenation was so evident when we came to the downtown area and discussed our plans for educogym with the Maguire Group. The area was awash with a huge potential for growth, an amazing collection of residents and workers and we have been truly fortunate with the location we have chosen. A lot of our clients work downtown and live elsewhere but we have an ever increasing population of downtown-ers who are now very prized members of our facility.

JD: Are you planning on opening up any other locations?

WD: The downtown location will be the first of 50 educo facilities which will open in California over the next 7 years. Our next store will most likely be in the Century City or West L.A. area and will eventually spread from San Francisco to San Diego and everywhere in between. It's truly an exciting phase for educogym and an incredible period of time to be part of it.

JD: What are some of your success stories?

WD: Our success stories are many and we have the truly dramatic changes in weight for example to the amazing physiques which some people have achieved in a very short period of time. Some of my favorite success stories are always those of somebody who had almost given up all hope until they came through our doors. Most people think we are in the business of making beautiful bodies and its very true that that's something we do but what always amazes me is not just the physical change people go through but the mental change as well. To see somebody with very low self confidence and esteem come through the doors and transform into a high energy, bustling, fun person is always a huge reward.

In saying that however, I have to mention one of our clients who has become a great friend, Michael Barney. Michael joined our facility just a little over four months ago, and was 4 months away from turning the big 4-0.

He had gone through a series of personal mishaps from blood clots to spinal fusion surgery and was feeling out of shape, had low energy, high cholesterol and while he was far from being in bad shape, he was somebody who knew he wanted to be in amazing shape.

We set about getting Michael into the best shape of his life, not an easy task for a former navy guy, however four months later , I think even Michael will admit, he looks at his own body now and wonders who it is looking back at him in the mirror. His physique is truly amazing and inspirational to other gym members.

In Just 4 Months:

  • Lost 3 ½ inches from the waist

  • Bodyfat dropped by 6%

  • Lost 13 lbs of fat

  • Gained 8 lbs of muscle

  • Cholesterol Before: 219

  • Cholesterol After : 157

JD: Are people inspired to work harder because of the amazing view?

WD: Educogym is loacted on the 57th floor with a breathtaking 180 degree view of the city of L.A. which stretches from the Hollywood sign all the way to the ocean. It really blows people away when they come through our doors and we usually have to allow people about 5 minutes to stand at one of our huge windows and just take it all in before they actually get to why they really came to our gym. We have established that we now have the highest gym in the world, a title very befitting I like to think. It's really where we belong.

JD: Do you feel there are any challenges to having a business downtown?

WD: The challenges to owning a business downtown are very few and far between and are no more difficult or easy than owning a business anywhere else in the world. Every location will pose its own challenges from parking to advertising but there are always solutions. I believe when you have a truly unique product to offer and offer a true solution to a very real and evident problem, any geographical challenges to owning and running the business can be overcome. When you combine the right product , with the right team, the right vision and an amazing location, there is very little that can stop a thundering train like that.

Educogym / 633 W. 5th, Suite 5750 / 213.617.8229

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