The doors to Philadelphia Private Gym will be open during an open house on Saturday, Feb. 9.
From 12 to 3 p.m., friends and family of clients, as well as people curious about what a private gym has to offer are welcome to learn more about the gym, the trainers and the perks of a private gym, while mingling and enjoying refreshments.
"Everything here is by appointment, so someone who trains in the morning never runs into a person who trains at night," owner Pondeli Hajioannou said. "Clients can bring friends and family and mingle. It's a social event, but also to come in and see what a private gym does."
A few differences of the private gym is that there's no membership fee, no sales people trying to get you to purchase an upgrade and no crowds.
The windowless room with only one of each piece of equipment feels more like your own home gym that comes supplied with a trainer, rather than a crowded, public gym full of gawking people making sure you're not spending more than the allotted 30 minutes on the elliptical.
"People are scared to go to the gym because they are scared of sales people and because they are embarrassed," Hajioannou said.
Most people don't want a sales person "hounding" them, or feel like people are watching them while they work out, he said, and those uncomfortable situations have been eliminated at Philadelphia Private Gym.
"This is kind of a sanctuary," Hajioannou said. "It has no windows and a private, front entrance for a reason."
Hajioannou said he wants people to be able to come to his gym, forget about the drama going on outside and focus on their work out and their goals.
Before someone can set up a workout with Hajioannou, his bodybuilding, personal trainer wife Marion, or another trainer, they must undergo an evaluation and then sign a safety waiver.
The evaluation is more of a medical program Hajioannou said. He checks resting heart rates, body mass index and so on. Prior to the evaluation, the potential client should not consume alcohol for 12 hours, and should not eat or consume caffeine for four hours, he said.
"Everyone follows my rules," he said. "And everyone must have a mutual respect for each other. Doing something inappropriate can get you kicked out."
He has rules so that every client can be successful, even if that means he has to be a little tough. Hajioannou—who is also the president of the Bensalem Business Association—said it's his way or no way, and if you don't like the way he trains, you can go somewhere else.
But he isn't this way to be discouraging. It's his way of showing that he doesn't mess around. His goal is to help his clients achieve their goals in a safe atmosphere, he said.
"As rough and boisterous or obnoxious as I may seem, I bend over backwards for people to help them out," he said.
Philadelphia Private Gym is located at 2636 Bristol Pk. in Bensalem. To set up an evaluation or to learn more about training packages, call 215-245-0802 or e-mail Hajioannou or his wife at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you'd like a look around, stop by the open house.
Editor's Note: Clients do not have to sign contracts at Philadelphia Private Gym. We regret the error.