POP INTERVIEW: Mansion Fitness Owner Darren Misaresh Blends Stellar Decor and Exercise
Did you already forget about your get in shape New Year’s resolution? Darren Misaresh, the hip LA gym’s co-owner along with Derrick Inglut, will put you in your place back on your workout! Working out is not only something you do, it ought to be fun. With that in mind, he and Inglut modeled their gym after Versailles, adding in glow in the dark lighting and an ornate but modern living room atmosphere. The top notch trainers are pretty awesome, too.
Why did you want to create a grand, almost Guilded Age feel for the gym when so many gyms have other looks? They’ve done modern and the plain, old gym…and there’s the typical hipster gym. So why this style?
The concept of Mansion Fitness can be described in three words – glam, private and sexy. These days it seems as though if you can think of it, someone has already done it. So how does one overcome this obstacle? The way that we wanted to differentiate ourselves from the competition is to do something completely and utterly unique. The fitness industry is overwhelmingly focused on function over style and experience. Mansion Fitness brings function, style and experience together in a way that gets results with the added component of a luxury feel. When shaping the Mansion Fitness concept, the idea was to make the client feel as if they were training in a mansion in the Hollywood Hills rather than the traditional corporate gym environment. Most people spend their days working in an office, why would you want to go from one fluorescent lit, cookie cutter environment into another one to get your training in for the day? We feel as though training can be glamourous, private and sexy – it’s all in the experience.
You have a very strict trainer screening during hiring sessions. What do you do that makes you hire very few trainers out of all the eligible candidates? What criteria must they meet?
When it came down to hiring the training team for Mansion Fitness, it was a difficult task to say the least. We interviewed around 70 candidates to hire a staff of just 5 full-time trainers. The process consisted of initial interviews, follow-up interviews, speaking with previous clients of the trainers and actually having the candidate demonstrate their training style in action for the owners. The most important criterion for hiring our trainers is that training had to be their career, not simply a source of income while pursuing another career; additionally they needed to have not just one certification, but several. The major problem with the training industry in general is that there is a very small percentage of trainers that actually take the profession seriously and an even smaller percentage that really know what they are doing. Our top trainer, Lars has over 17 years experience and has trained in several different countries which gives him insight to many different training styles and techniques that most trainers have not even heard of or seen in action. At Mansion Fitness, we take training very seriously and have a passion always giving our clients the most individualized attention to get the best results.
Your gym hasn’t been open for very long, just celebrating its one-year anniversary back in January. With that in mind, how do you plan to avoid the short shelf-life that so many businesses fall victim to when so-and-so determines, “This place is way cooler?” When you have a gym that looks spectacular, you have to worry about someone else copying your idea and doing it better.
Whenever you have an innovative idea or business concept, it is inevitable that people will want to copy that concept. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, in the business world however, it is a formidable threat. The way to prevent someone from “stealing” your idea is to always be two steps ahead, not simply one step ahead. Since we opened in January we have already done a remodel of our downstairs training space and upgraded several pieces of our equipment; we also have equipment that you will never find in the traditional corporate gym. The concept behind Mansion Fitness has a firm structure, however the higher concept is continually evolving and getting better. We will always be the original pioneers of the Mansion concept and we already have plans for the next phase of expanding the brand and further improving the West Hollywood location.
Let’s talk about the actual fitness, as that is the second half of your gym’s name! What can hardcore fitness fans find at Mansion that is unique to your gym? What is appealing about it for people who have never stepped foot in the gym or give up working out until the next New Year’s resolutions?
We are equally passionate about the design of Mansion Fitness as we are about the fitness component. The most unique aspect of our gym when it comes to training is that we exclusively cater to personal training clientele. Everyone in our gym is with a trainer – we do not sell day passes or memberships. When you come in for your training session we are dedicated to you for the hour. Say goodbye to fighting for machines and weights with people too busy having a cell phone conversation while they sit on a machine. Those 60 minutes from start to finish of your session are going to be used the most effectively as possible because your trainer will be able to use that time training you rather than seeking out the next available machine or area in the gym to do functional exercises. The fact that everyone is with a trainer gives even the most inexperienced client the ability to meet their full potential through instruction and dedication from our staff. For those hardcore fitness fans, we have the widest range of equipment available and the techniques to take each and every one of our clients to the next level The fact that we do not charge membership fees in addition to personal training fees means that even if you are training solo at another gym, you can still get your personal training here without any added membership costs to worry about. Let’s face it, times have changed and we all want the most bang for our buck. Here at Mansion Fitness we remove the obstacles to reaching your goals!
Speaking of resolutions, what can people do to completely change their entire bodies positively? The complaint I read online is too many people go nuts with the cardio and don’t build up enough muscle, which leads to eating away all the good muscle, which in turn leads to…ew, cankles. And I mean, for men AND women! Yikes. What can people do to instead look damn fit in the best means possible versus a flailing, sickly beanpole?
When it comes to resolutions, often people try to make too much change too quickly. Sustained change and improvement comes through realistic goals and the support and tools needed to reach those goals. Changing your body completely will not happen overnight and the expectation that it will is a recipe for failure. Over-expectation leads to disappointment and disappointment leads to a loss of motivation. Realistic goal setting is key! When it comes to weight loss and muscle building there is only so much that can be done safely and done in a way that it will last. When we meet with a potential client, we tell them the facts. Those facts are powerful in making challenging yet achievable goals. The common problem with fitness is that people often focus on the desired result without taking into consideration the roadmap to get there. We give each and every one of our clients a roadmap. This roadmap lets our clients know how to reach that desired result. We give our clients a diet plan as well as educate them on what are good foods and what foods should be consumed in moderation, note that we are not saying they should be avoided completely. It is most important to note that being on a diet does not mean you cannot live your life! Most diets tell you to avoid sweets and alcohol completely. How is that a realistic diet for any person with a social life or a sweet tooth? Fact is, that you can eat anything with our diet, the key is moderation. A common issue with people looking to make a life change is that they focus on the cardio component of fitness to burn calories. Cardio is excellent for heart health and to burn calories, but in order to burn calories you need to be doing the cardio work daily. At Mansion Fitness we focus on building lean muscle as the core and cardio as a supplement. When you build lean muscle mass, your body actually burns more calories throughout the day without any additional effort. The easiest way to understand the concept is to think about it as if your body were a car and muscle is the engine for that car. A sports car with a huge engine will burn more fuel than an economy car with a small engine. Now you might be thinking, of course a sports car burns more fuel because you drive it like a sports car however, let’s say you drive that sports car leisurely to the grocery store just the same as you would drive an economy car to the grocery store – would they burn the same amount of fuel? The answer is, no. The sports car would still burn more fuel because it has a larger engine. The same holds true for the human body. The more lean muscle mass on a person, the more calories they will burn on a regular basis and the more calories they are able to burn during a workout. It’s a win-win to have more lean muscle mass on your body and there is a difference between a skinny person and a fit person even though at the surface they may look identical. We strive to make our clients fit! At Mansion Fitness we believe in giving you the tools and improving your body for changes that will last for life.
I’m a big fan of women getting in shape, be it at home or the gym. Every woman of every age, color, background and financial means tells me they don’t want to look like men as much as I say, “This is not humanely possible for women unless they take male hormones.” What are you working on at the job to tell women that first, working out is great and second, how they can work out? What are you doing to get women in the gym to begin with when they seem terrified?
First off, it is a myth that women will become bulky and have a “guys” body from simply working out. It would take very high protein consumption combined with a workout routine of low repetitions and high weight to become even remotely bulky considering that women have far less testosterone in their system than men. This is something that women should not be concerned with. A way to ensure that someone will only build lean, toned muscle mass is to simply increase the repetitions and reduce the amount of weight used. At Mansion Fitness we use a variety of techniques that not only use weights, they include resistance bands and medicine balls as well as other pieces of functional equipment to get your body the way you want it to be – fit, sexy and healthy.
Are there any myths you want to shut down regarding stupid workout sayings like that? What about anything regarding men’s workouts?
There are so many workout and diet myths out there. When it comes down to it, you just have to take them all with a grain of salt. At Mansion Fitness we focus on what is tried and true and most importantly what works for one person’s body type and personality does not mean it will work for someone else. We take the time to get to know our clients so we can make their program tailored to what works best for them. People are all unique and our training programs are as unique as you!
What are the challenges of running your gym, and why do they help you make it a better place?
The main challenge of running Mansion Fitness has been that we as the owners (Darren Misaresh and Derrick Inglut), just two guys with a dream, are trying to compete with larger gyms with large investor pools and deep pockets. While this is a challenge, it also makes us that much more dedicated to doing the absolute best job we can at making this brand unique and one that will last. When it’s your own money and reputation on the line, that is when passion and drive enable a company to go far.
Mansion Fitness is located at 7912 Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood. Their website is MansionFitness.com for more info!