Mike Turkin , Certified Personal Trainer and owner of Atlas Personal Trainers in Baltimore grins and says, “I have a challenge for Baltimore–try my boot camp class for free, and tell me you are in shape.”
Nestled in the outskirts of Parkville, right on the entry of Carney is a small gym-like studio with all the amenities of a modern facility. Tucked in the back of a building, it’s almost hidden. One must walk down a small flight of steps and into a small basement entrance. Once you’ve entered, you are greeted with another world – where there’s so much equipment you probably would never be able to remember it all. Several rooms created for personal workouts, building muscle and losing weight. One would never do the same exercises twice. A quick glance around reveals weight benches, exercise bikes, treadmills, stair climbers, total gyms, leg presses, and a wall of free weights and dumbbells. Kettle bells and home-made contraptions on the wall indicate Turkin has some tricks up his sleeve.
“What we do here at Atlas is simple. You could call us personal coaches to help everyday people work out. This ranges from people who need to lose large amounts of weight, to those who are already in shape but want to tone up and build muscle. We design workouts for every individual person and workout one person at a time. Not everyone is motivated enough to go to a gym several times per week, and we understand that.” Turkin goes on to explain that almost two thirds of people who join gyms rarely go as they originally anticipated. He says, “We all need a little help sometimes.”
Turkin and his staff of Certified Personal Trainers began offering periodic free boot camp classes several times per year to “give back” and encourage Americans to be more healthy.. He explains, “This is something we do periodically where the public may attend a session for free come and try an old school “boot camp” workout with us and see how they fare. There’s no strings attached, we are just glad people come out and workout with us. They’ll see we aren’t messing around about fitness and hope we can encourage them to get back into working out again.”
At 49, Turkin has never felt healthier in his life. A “Bodybuilding Coach”, who often competes himself, he prides himself on eating and living healthy. His list of experience, knowledge, and credentials is as long as his private client list, which often forces him to work 7 days a week, 11 hour days. He says, “I don’t mind a bit, I enjoy what I do. I live my life this way, so to me, it’s just second nature helping others do it.”
Helping others he has, according to one client, Wayne M. Schafer, whose famous Big Fat Daddy’s barbecue beef catering business had him eating himself to death. ” I was on the road and working 70 hour weeks. When I started at Atlas I was 330 pounds, 45 years old tired all the time. My feet hurt, my leg hurt, and I had health risks associated with me having a past heart attack. My diet consisted of beef, fast food, and beer. Mike helped me develop goals, and got me eating things that helped me burn calories. It was hard at first, but Mike was with me every step of the way to encourage me to push myself. Two or three times per week seeing Mike changed my life dramatically.”
One year and a half later, Schafer is down to 250 pounds, built muscle and stamina, and has reduced his dose of some of his maintenance drugs. No longer going to Atlas, he now knows how to work out on his own. He explains, “Mike sent me down the road with the tools I needed to maintain my weight and do my exercises that target my own needs. I’m feeling better than I have in a long time. What I spent with Atlas I’m gaining back not having to have two monthly prescription co-pays.”
Personal Trainers sound expensive, and some may think only rich and high profile clients go here. “Not so, ” says Turkin. “Most of my clients are middle class people, and by making a few small changes in their life, they can afford to come here. ” Turkin explains that most of his male clients save money from the beer and fast food they used to consume before coming to him. He says his female clients used to tell him they did a lot of impulse shopping because they were depressed over their weight.. He grins, “In the long run, I think I’m saving them money on future health problems and teaching them the art of living healthy.” Sessions can range in price according to the size package you buy. Atlas works out a meal plan for you, and does body fat check ins, which also helps you hit your target goal.
Turkin downs modern-day gyms for several reasons. “One, they are taught and trained to hard sell you. You pay for a membership years after you stop going. Cancellations are hard, and sadly the whole point was to get yourself fit, which you have to go to obtain results. Even if you do go, and seek help of trainers, I don’t agree with their training mentality. Most are taught to train the same way. If no two clients are the same, why should their workouts be? I can’t stress enough how you have to target different areas, and continue to move target areas on the need of your clients. Working out in a circuit is useless if it doesn’t target your problem areas.”
One client, Otis Watts, has been coming for several years. He finds it more interesting coming to Mike than a traditional gym. “It’s never the same workout, and Mike always has something in store for me where I push myself to the next level. I feel good about my workouts and I don’t see myself going back to a traditional gym. “
Clients come from as far as Pennsylvania. Turkin says, “it helps I’m right off the main beltway. I’m close to Harford County, Baltimore County and Baltimore City.” Most of his clients are word-of-mouth referrals and he’s had to hire several trainers to keep up with demand.
Turkin says you may call or email the facility to be asked to put on their “free boot camp” list. They offer this several times per year, and will call you in time before the next class is available. Or you may look for periodic updates on their website, facebook page, or blog.
Turkin says, ” I wish I had more time for social networking, but I’m busy helping people achieve their dreams. Nothing compares to that..”
*For information on the “Boot Camp” classes, contact Dee or Mike at 410-256-3662.