Friday, February 6, 2009

The AntiGym?

The article about Michael Karolchyk and the his gym, the AntiGym, in the latest Men's Fitness magazine was by far the most interesting part of the magazine. Apparently, he's made quite a splash in Denver, on Fox News, and just about anywhere else he graces with his presence. His ads on teeVee latenly insult fat people (CHUBBIES). His web site is hypersexualized. His company motto is: "Have sex with the lights on!" He walks around with a t-shirt that says, "NO CHUBBIES". He throws cupcakes, rubber fish, and twinkies at his clients who he thinks aren't putting their all into their work at his gym. People who don't put meet goals get put on "the Jimmy Dean Sausage List." With his bedside manner, he sounds like a reincarnation of Vince Gironda.

Check it out: http://www.theantigym.com/index2.html

Frankly, this guy intrigues me. I've watched a few interviews and this guy, in case you haven't figured this out already, is a no bullshit kind of guy. If you're fat, then he tells you. He actions aren't motivated by people's feelings. He's wants results and he'll get them any way he deems necessary. If you read or listen to what he says, it's hard not to realize that he's a smart guy.

Still, there is an obvious question: does his borderline-abusive methods of motivation help or hurt people? Many observe that his training has a drill instructor feel to it. I have a friend who was a drill instructor and he explained that there is a reason why drill instructors are so hard on trainees: They need to be broken down so they can be rebuilt in a manner that ensures success. People usually won't change themselves that radically without being prodded and forced to do so. Now, DI's are rebuilding people to function in war. Karolchyk does this so people learn to live healthier and better.

It may sound excessive since his clients aren't going to war but Karolchyk is hitting at a core issue: people need to realize that they need to abandon their lifestyle. Bad lifestyle is dangerous, expensive, and degrading. Maybe Karolchyk's penchant for telling fat people that they won't get a spouse if they're overweight ("You'll never get a hubby if you're a chubby!") is degrading but how does it compare to diabetes, cancer, arthritis, clinical depression or impotence?

This isn't to say that I agree with Karolchyk. If he threw a twinkie at me, I'd throw a punch at him. I don't generally like to fixate on the physical and carnal pleasures of getting in shape (except in a joking manner). I see a higher calling to being in shape than just getting laid. I think that, as a whole, this guy does more good than harm. I think that people need to grow a thicker skin, start being accountable for their actions, and start doing what it takes to get their bodies healthy. All told, I think this is what Michael Karolchyk has in mind.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're a litle late. The IRS seized Mr. Intriguing's gym last week. That, an eviction notice for not paying rent (second time he's been evicted in the last year), and a couple of lawsuits from former employees, and Mr. Intriguing skipped town with his tail between his legs. But only after dumping client files in a dumpster were a TV swtation found a whole bunch of confidential client information. The guy is a fraud and a psycho.

Justin_PS said...

Wow! When did this go down? I guess we'll have to catch up with Mr intruiging in Brazil, huh?

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

Anonymous said...

The anti-gym's problems have been mounting since early 2008. Since then, the business has been slowly disintegrating. It's a long story and that's not worth the ink necessary to tell it fully, but the short version is that Michael Karolchyk appears to have figured out that in this country it's easy to get attention by being loud and obnoxious (can you say Andrew Dice Clay?). The attention he generated with his ads, tv interviews and website provided a short term boost for the business, and as you say he definitely took Denver by storm. But it's pretty fundamental that a business built on outrageous behavior isn't likely to last very long, no matter how much attention it generates. Predictably, the business began falling apart in early 2008, when he closed his second location because he hadn't paid rent and had misled the landlord about the nature of the business. Then he was outed in a local magazine as having mistated his background, among other things. Then former employees started suing him. Then most of his key employees quit. Then his clients started to quit. Along the way he stopped paying taxes. He had no money to advertize for new clients, and as the old ones quit his revenue declined. Ultimately his longstading tax liened wiped out the gym when IRS agents raided the place and seized the gym. At aroudn the same time an eviction notice (nonpayment of rent) was posted on the door of his apartment above the gym, and the business collapsed. Whatever brilliance he may have brought to the model of training and motivating clients got lost in the mess he created with his behavior, and he announced that he was leaving Denver (which didn't "appreciate" him) to move to California. His crack about Denver's lack of appreciation is ironic and hilarious coming from someone who marketed himself as "the most hated man in Denver." In any case, he's sure to make a splash in his new home, but we'll see how things work out for him there and, in particular, whether he learned a thing from his stop in Colorado. His published comments on the way out the door aren't encouraging.

Justin_PS said...

I think that something can be learned from everything. I saw merit in his approach. It's just a shame that he went too far over the top (although it's funny to watch, I admit) along with being a deadbeat and tax cheat. It certainly degrades the positive things he might have done.

Hey, I've got a request. If you're going to post here, could you please leave some kind of a name? I don't care if it's your first name or the handle that you use when you post at forums. Let me know who you are. I'd appreciate it.

Thomas said...

Justin,

I noticed that you called Mr. Karolchyk a "no bullshit" kind of guy. For the record, he is an "all bullshit" kind of guy. The only time he tells the truth is when he calls a fat person fat and that's done in a cruel and unhelpful way. Mr. Karolchyk has misrepresented his education, his certifications, and his experience. There is a reason why the military screens young people before torturing them with high-intensity exercises. There are claims of injuries among past Anti-gym clients. Mr. Karolchyk cares about only one thing - himself. Anti-gym has an "F" rating from the BBB. The amount of media coverage he has gotten is shameful - especially the Men's Fitness article. No one should legitimize this guy or his methods and the writer from Men's Fitness did not do her fact checking.

Justin_PS said...

Thomas, I've read more stuff about him and frankly, I pretty agree with you. Unfortately, I went with the information that I had at the time and it wasn't enough to give a clear picture.

I just wish that the debate about the obesity problem in the USA happened with more honesty and blunt talk. Karolchyk certainly offered that, even if it he's a highly tainted package.

Oh well, live and learn!

Andrea said...

Hi Justin, the Anti Gym just opened in San Diego and after hearing the ads I had to write my own blog post about it. I agree that being healthy and in shape should be more important than getting laid...
What worries me is that his degrading, bullying type of training does nothing more than make people feel like shit about themselves and encourages self loathing. Perhaps that's what he wants for clients to keep coming back.
I'm certified with ACE and an advocate for healthy body image and self esteem. I think Michael Karolchyk is a creep.

Anonymous said...

Here is the way I feel about it. He says things a lot of people find rude and crass. BUT there is a large number of people that still call the number. A vastly amount are women! If you don't like his approach, that's fine, but it isn't like you will be suckered into it. He warns you and even makes you sign a waiver before you ever step foot in the gym. If it isn't your cup of tea, keep walking. While you may not agree with his words, I don't agree with seeing lap band ads everywhere misleading people. To me, that sends the message it's okay to be unhealthy and eat what you want, as long as you are skinny. All you need is a quick fix it and you never have to change your habits. Personally, I think more people should take a hint from Mr. Karolcheyk and speak their mind. To sum it up, you don't have to like it. Not everyone is going to agree with every approach and there isn't one way that is the right way. The people that call him, might need a twinkie thrown at their head. Some people like me need to be reminded of our goals to get that extra pull up or mile. Bottom line... IT WORKS and I am living proof!

Anonymous said...

i train with mike and after three years and 141 lbs lost, he is the BEST decision I have made. After I starated losing weight on my own I decided to call this person with some crazy ads. The call back from Mike has changed my life and I am so glad I signed up. He figures out each clients' strengths and weaknesses. he breaks up the bad and builds up the good. he is such a talent. such a resource for the San Diego community. He loves to get us healthy. So he had a run of bad luck in Denver. He was young and had leeches around the poor guy. He is a FAIR man. luckily he has a beautiful, equally talented and motivating partner now and I wish people would give them a chance and judge them only from PERSONAL experience. they are GOOD people.

Anonymous said...

michael is a thief!!! He came to san diego and ripped me off!! He took a bracelet of mine to hold as collateral and he never gave it back! this wasn't just a little gold bracelet, it was a diamond tennis bracelet. I thought I will be training with him, I'll get it back! I have been trying for the past year now to get it back after jumping through hoops, getting the receipt and everything....now he won't return my calls. the last call I had with him, he was trying to hand me a line of bull that he had cancer and has been really trying to get back with me. well no calls since!! I hope he is dead!

Anonymous said...

I went to the Anti Gum and loved it. He maybe be a psycho but aren't we all. For all the haters out there you should go and see for yourself rather than just talking crap. I lost 70 lbs in 3 months. Its not about anyone else but you being tough enough to commit yourself to leaving a better life rather then sitting at home judging other people.

Anonymous said...

By the way. Our government is more of a fraud and psycho then Micheal.