Garage becomes home to training facility

Household garages can be used for much more than parking cars. For example, it’s always a great place to keep all that stuff you don’t really want, but also don’t really want to part with. But what about running a business out of your garage?

A Gannon University graduate student has done just that with his home gym.

Rich Chessario started at Gannon as an undergraduate in business, but when he saw an ad in The Gannon Knight from an alumnus who was looking for a college athlete to train him, he jumped at the chance. He eventually left Gannon without completing his bachelor’s degree in order to start working as a personal trainer.

From there, he said, everything else fell into place. He gained more clients, and the gym in his garage has been his sole source of income for the past 10 years.

“It’s always been successful,” he said. “I’m definitely not complaining.”

Chessario did eventually go back to Gannon to complete his undergraduate education in entrepreneurship. He is now a first-year graduate student in physical therapy, and he plans to use his graduate degree to better his work in personal training.

Chessario’s gym is run out of his three-car garage at his home on West 29th Street. He originally started the gym, however, out of the two-car garage at his old apartment.

He said he started collecting equipment when he played baseball in college. He said he didn’t want to train in Gannon’s Carneval Athletic Pavilion, so he picked up a few things here and there to aid him in his own training.

From there, Chessario has collected a plethora of tools to use for personal training, including Indian clubs, kettle bells, climbing ropes and gymnastic rings. He also has a whole body vibration machine, which he said is used to warm up all of your connected tissue, and is good for bone density.

While Chessario said the gym has been an honor and a privilege to run, he’s also looking forward to bigger and better things. He said that he, along with two chiropractors and a physician he knows, have plans to open a big wellness center in Seattle after his schooling is done.

This way, he said, he’s already been offered a job right out of school.

“That’s the plan,” he said. “It’s hard to project out that far.”

Chessario said that regardless of exactly where he takes his career after graduation, he will always have his experience in personal training.

“I’m always going to make this a part of what I do,” he said. “It’s a good job.”

A good job that, he said, he can work around his school schedule. While he’s taking classes, Chessario said he does group training in the garage early in the morning and at the end of the day.

While he’s always happy to get new clients, Chessario stressed that it’s not the kind of thing that anyone can just walk into. Because of his limited schedule, he only offers group sessions at this time, and prior consultation is required.

One of Chessario’s current clients, John Hodges, said he heard about the gym through a friend who had been training and experienced good results. He said he began training with Chessario after he hit a standstill in his progress working out at a couple of local gyms.

“The first four months of training had the most impact for me with weight loss,” he said. Hodges lost 40 pounds in that time. “Since then, I’ve been successful in maintaining the ideal weight and have become much stronger and fit,” he said.

Chessario said he really enjoys helping people in this context, and he’s lucky to have this kind of job. “I think a personal trainer is in a unique position to really turn a person’s life around,” he said.

At the same time, Chessario said, the work isn’t a piece of cake. Personal trainers work one on one with people, and are in some ways responsible for their well being. “It’s kind of scary to have that much control over people,” Chessario said.

Hodges said Chessario controls the group training sessions by customizing his advice based on the trainee’s specific goals.

“His sessions are different each time, which breaks the monotony of a workout,” Hodges said. “Generally we work out in small groups, which creates a social atmosphere, but also some competitiveness to push ourselves.”

Chessario said finding the time to work and go to grad school came more easily than you might think.

“Since I came back to school it’s been on autopilot,” he said.

That’s not to say, though, that the work doesn’t take its toll.

“Truth is I don’t own a TV,” he said. “That probably has a lot to do with it.”

Hodges said he would definitely recommend Chessario to anyone who is having trouble attaining his or her weight loss goal.

“So long as you are committed to following his advice,” Hodges said, “he can motivate you to attain your goal with a safe approach.”

Anyone interested in a group training session is welcome to contact Chessario at [email protected]



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