Recent surveys show that more than 70 percent of people who set fitness goals as a New Year’s resolution end up abandoning their efforts. Craig Garkie can tell you why.
“Put simply,” Garkie says, “most people don’t know how to work out.”
They also set unrealistic expectations.
“Achieving your fitness goals is not an overnight process,” Garkie adds. “It’s going to take three to four months to see results.”
Garkie owns Fitness Together in Lake Forest, one of a national chain of private workout studios that create self-tailored exercise plans for individuals looking to improve their overall health. His approach to helping clients get results is rooted in personal connections.
“We spend a lot of time with our clients,” Garkie says. “People come to us because they care about us and we care about them.”
He puts a premium on his staff having the social intelligence to fully engage with clients. “The workouts are secondary,” he adds. “What’s important is allegiance and confidence.”
Garke grew up in Quincy, Illinois and thought about working in the medical field until his entrepreneurship instincts took over. Still, he emphasizes the importance of medicine when it comes to getting and staying in better physical shape. All of the trainers at his studio have degrees in kinesiology.
These qualities are particularly important for potential new clients who’ve never hired a personal trainer or who have previously had bad experiences. “We know people have probably been thinking about hiring a trainer for up to six months,” Garkie says. “They’re a little nervous.”
According to Garkie, it’s all about finding the right fit. “Sometimes we have to say, ‘this probably isn’t the right place for you,’” he says. “We have to work with new clients to hash out realistic goals if we’re going to be successful.”
After collaborating on a plan, Garkie says he starts new clients on a “seven out of 10.”
“We are not the trainers that run you to death and make you puke,” he says. “We’re there to be your wellness coach. That’s our duty to you.”
Growing up in a small town, Garke also feels a duty to bring a sense of community to the North Shore and to Fitness Together’s work.
Which is why on July 13, Fitness Together is hosting a “Row-Raiser” to benefit Lymphoma and Leukemia research—a disease which has claimed the lives of some of Garkie’s Fitness Together associates.
Up to eight teams of rowers will row a total of 50,000 meters (on land, of course) with the aim of raising $5,000, and Garkie welcomes all members of the community to an open house party at the studio’s location at Deerpath and Oakwood in Lake Forest.
“I have a lot of respect for the Lake Forest and Lake Bluff community and we want to contribute to the overall well-being of the area,” Garkie says.
In addition to running the Fitness Together studio, Garkie also sits on the National Leadership Board for the Fitness Together Corporation and speaks at national seminars on science and training topics designed to improve Fitness Together studios across the country.
It’s all part of Garkie’s passion for providing the best possible service for clients, rooted in connections and friendship. “I spend more time with my clients than they do with some of their friends,” he says. “You’re here, right here with me, and we care about each other.”
For more information about Fitness Together and its July 13 fundraiser, call 847-283-6060 or visit fitnesstogether.com/lakeforest.