Our story is a humble one. It began with a childhood dream, took flight on a beach in Australia, was thwarted by three rejection letters, redirected by an inspiring mentor, fueled by Applied Functional Science, validated by a group of athletes willing to try something new and formalized by falling in love with a consultant.
Since rehabbing his beloved puppy's leg in 8th grade, Michael Hughes, middle child in a family of five boys, wanted to become a Physical Therapist. While he loved sports and strength training in high school, it was the dream to fix broken bodies that catapulted him to Fresno State to study Kinesiology.
While studying abroad in Australia, Michael sat on a beach with a friend contemplating what his next move would be. His childhood friend said, "What about SLO?" Sold. He packed up his room and moved to SLO weeks later with no house, no job and no plan.
After standing at Kennedy Club Fitness handing out business cards to generate enough clients to convince the manager to hire him as a Personal Trainer, Michael had put down some roots in San Luis Obispo (SLO). Still passionate about Physical Therapy, he applied three separate times to leading PT schools. He was rejected each time.
In a meeting with his mentor Michael reconsidered the core of his dream, to heal people and help them recover from injuries, could still be realized. Michael determined to pursue his dreams and find another way.
After going to a seminar about Applied Functional Science (AFS), Michael was blown away by the impact Gary Gray was having in the physical therapy world. AFS empowered practitioners to step away from merely treating the symptoms and help them pin point the cause quickly and with greater results. Michael enrolled in the Fellowship of Applied Functional Science and started to integrate restoration strategies and three dimensional movement into his workouts.
With the recession in 2009, clients started to become more discerning about discretionary income. So Michael could save his clients money and better utilize his time by grouping athletes with similar fitness levels and goals together and create a group circuit for them. Starting with just 18 athletes, Michael started to build a small group training program which he eventually named Gymnazo. The name Gymnazo is from the original Greek word for Gymnasium, which in ancient times meant to "exercise so as to discipline one's mind, body and soul."
In 2010, Gymnazo was starting to grow and people were interested in joining. He started to wear the many hats of an entrepreneur and eventually met a small business consultant. Charming her from the beginning, Michael eventually fell in love and married Paden. Together they have built Gymnazo to where it is today. She runs the business and he oversees the evolution of Gymnazo's science fueled workouts and coaching staff quality.
Brand Established: Formerly known as Group Circuit Project, Michael decided his vision to make fitness more holistic and sustainable needed a name. He found Gymnazo (meaning "to exercise to discipline oneself) and rebranded his group training.
New Program Launched & Team Growth – It hard to address the needs in a single session of varying degrees of fitness and capabilities. With new guests walking in looking for a more welcoming introduction, to long term members wanting to make gains each time, Michael created two different levels of training. Today they are known as G2 and G3. This same year Michael grew his team from two coaches to five coaches.
New Program Launched & Gymnazo Incorporates – It became clear that a final fitness level was needed for the aging population that valued fitness but didn't want to just workout harder, they wanted it to be smarter. Michael created a third level for small group training, now known as G1. Through this evolution it became clear that working out smarter was a competitive advantage and all the programs started to see a greater blend of restoration mixed with fitness. At the very end of this year, gearing up to move out on our own, Gymnazo incorporated.
New Location & Nutrition - Gymnazo grew inside Kennedy Club Fitness as its own program, we referred to it as our incubator. But in 2013 it became clear that to grow we needed more space and to begin assuming the risks and rewards entrepreneurs crave. We found a location and moved in July to our own 6,000 square feet location. We also brought Lose It for Life with us and they offered nutrition to our members.
New Soft Tissue - Injuries happen and nagging pain plagues many athletes, but it always bothered us to not be able to provide a way to treat pain and prohibit injuries, so we added Soft Tissue to our services. This enables us to catch and treat movement pain and discomfort before it creates a larger problem.
New Location & New Program Launched - In spring 2015 Gymnazo moved into our biggest location yet, with 13,000 square feet, 40 yards or turf and 10,000 square feet of open floor space, we are better able to meet the needs of our growing membership and athletes.
New Locations – We are always looking for talented leaders who want to build something great in their communities. We believe what we've built in Gymnazo is designed to share with the world. If you are interested in joining this movement, please reach out to us.