Stacy Edwards had been in sales for 12 years when a series of events told him he needed to get back into the fitness industry.
Edwards played football in a Canadian league before training athletes at various box gyms. But when that ended, he got his degree and got “caught in the hamster wheel” of corporate life.
Then, seven years into his career, his best friend died of obesity-related issues.
“He wasn’t even 40 years old,” Edwards said, noting that his friend checked himself into the hospital and never went home.
“That got me,” he said. “He wasn’t like the people you see on TV who weigh 400, 500, 600 pounds.”
At that moment, Edwards thought about returning to personal training but he quickly fell back into reality.
A few years later, it happened again. A friend of the same group died of heart problems, all resulting from an unhealthy lifestyle.
“At that point I got serious,” he said.
Edwards looked into buying gyms, but quickly found out why so many struggle or fail. Although he continued to research during that time, the “thing that kicked him over the hill” was a concurrent introduction to GYMGUYZ and a health scare of his own that began in October 2016.
He had gone to his doctor’s office for his yearly physical and “stuff wasn’t looking good,” he said.
Although he had been eating a decent diet and exercising five-to-six times a week, his blood pressure was notably high.
His doctor asked about his professional life to which Edwards replied, “That’s a different story.”
Edwards had been in a high stress work situation for too long. His high blood pressure could lead to a stroke, his doctor warned him. But Edwards thought he could work himself out of the diagnosis. He upped his gym time to three hours a day and ate even cleaner.
So, he was surprised to learn his blood pressure had gotten worse when he returned to the doctor. It wasn’t until he was on a plane to Los Angeles for a business trip that he finally made the life altering decision to quit his sales job and open a GYMGUYZ in the Bellevue area.
About 30 minutes into the flight, Edwards began to experience a severe headache, a fluttering heart and was sweating profusely.
“I got off the plane and called GYMGUYZ the next day and told them I was in,” Edwards said.
Four weeks after the trip in January 2017, Edwards returned to the doctor, sure that his blood pressure would still be high because of the stresses of starting over in his career and the worries he had over paying bills.
It was the opposite, however.
His blood pressure was below normal, nearly perfect, he said.
Edwards successfully opened the Bellevue GYMGUYZ in August 2017 and has since hired eight personal trainers. Based in the Bellefield Office Park, 1150 114th Ave. SE, GYMGUYZ offers classes in yoga, pilates, bootcamp and more. But what’s unique about the franchise is their model of bringing the gym to clients. Through a van stacked with workout gear and equipment, GYMGUYZ personal trainers will meet anyone anywhere during scheduled appointments.
“For the vast majority of people, time is an extremely difficult commodity to manage,” Edwards said. “It is just tough.”
GYMGUYZ’s model takes away that excuse.
Of the 40 percent of people who have gym memberships in the United States, 67 percent have never used their membership one time, Edwards said.
With GYMGUYZ, he admits some clients have fear because the trainers are guaranteed to show up every time. Personal trainers are then tasked with helping their clients work through that fear to understand where it comes from so they are successful in their goals.
“If we can match a trainer with the right person, it’s a really beautiful thing,” Edwards said.
Since August, Edwards’ team has trained a diverse pool of Eastsiders including a man in his mid-80s, stay at home mothers and a young man who has autism.
Sessions are typically $50 a session and are modified to fit each individual’s goals.
For more information, visit www.gymguyz.com/eastside/bellevue-wa.