It could take more than a year for gyms and fitness centers to reopen, according to Juan Teodoro “Teddy” Zabala, an online fitness coach and a former manager of a 24/7 gym.
Large gym chains, he told Lifestyle, easily receive an average of 500 to 1,000 members every day. Stringent monitoring of the foot traffic alone, to be consistent with the social distancing practice, would be a nightmare.
So, when the lockdown was declared in Metro Manila, Zabala came up with a concept that would bring the gym into Filipino homes. Operated under his company, PrimeFitness1986, Zabala quietly launched his brainchild: installation of customized home gyms.
“We customize home gyms based on your fitness goals, needs, wants and budget,” Zabala said. “There was a demand that needed to be filled, so we stepped in.”
A basic setup, with a squat rack, utility bench, bar weights, lifting bar and plates from 2.5 to 20 kilograms, could cost up to P60,000, or the equivalent of a two-year gym membership in a 24/7 facility.
“We fabricate equipment according to floor area,” Zabala said. “Except for the plates and other weights, we make things from scratch, like the utility bench and racks.”
Zabala is a stickler for quality.
Synthetic leather is used for the upholstery against commercial-grade material steel (up to 3 millimeters thick). Everything is powder-coated instead of using traditional liquid paint.
Powder coating is resistant to cracking, peeling, chipping, abrasion, rust and damage due to chemical exposure. It is not indestructible, but it can retain the color and gloss uniformly, and is a far more environmentally friendly option.
“If you use liquid or spray paint—and you keep racking up the weights as you do when you work out—scratches will soon appear on the surface,” he said.
There are floor options to protect the floors, such as the high-density mat used in commercial gyms. The high-density mat can go up to an inch thick to absorb the weight. If the loads are not so heavy or if the home floor is not as delicate, clients can choose the more affordable rubber. It’s not, however, as sturdy as the high-density mat, and will need replacing after some time.
The minimum space requirement is 4 feet x 4 feet, but with the rack, the space width must at least be 7 ft.
Cardio equipment, like treadmills and spinners—commercial or home grade—can also be provided upon request, but do not come with the package.As soon as orders are placed, Zabala requires photos and measurements of the space before he can make the recommendations. The home gym will be delivered in eight days.
The materials are designed in such a way that anyone can easily install them. He said his home gym is even easier to piece together than a typical piece of Ikea furniture. The rack, for instance, has only four parts. He also throws in a pair of wrenches with the order to make things even simpler for the new home gym owner.
“After you screw them on, it’s done,” Zabala said.
Since the lockdown, Zabala has installed 12 full home gym setups, and even more partial setups. INQTeddy Zabala, tel.