Paul Rosenberg wraps his hands around ropes as thick as aerosol cans and pumps his arms up and down, out and in, back and forth, slapping the walls with perfect sine waves.
The Roots play on the sound system. Pop. Boom. Pop. Pop. Boom. The snap of the rope mixes with the kick of the bass. And somewhere in the mix, you can hear the slap of boxing gloves.
The Real Results gym in downtown Las Vegas doesn’t look or sound like your typical Globo Gym. The brick cube sits on the corner of Commerce and California, looking as much like a gym as any one of the auto shops or bail bondsmen it neighbors.
The inside is a work in progress. The gym, which opened four months ago, has all the standard equipment, including treadmills and Olympic weights. But its lobby consists of an empty display case and a full-size refrigerator. Rosenberg and his partners haven’t hired a receptionist yet.
The lack of a bleach-white smile and a branded welcome mat at the front door shouldn’t be barriers to noodle-armed novices. In fact, the whole point of the gym — aside from the obvious one — is to create the kind of community that downtown is known for.
“We want to make it like a family,” Rosenberg said.
To that end, there are monthly outings like indoor skydiving, and regular cook-outs. The building also houses a nonprofit, the Jump 4 Joy Foundation, which promotes physical activity in the fight against childhood obesity. Every month, Jump 4 Joy hosts a free workshop for kids and families. While the kids learn about an activity like dancing or mixed martial arts, the parents get a lesson in nutrition.
But enough about the feel-good stuff. Community outreach and weekend events aren’t the only things that set Real Results apart from all the LVACs and 24 Hour Fitnesses. The gym itself looks a bit like a training room crossed with an industrial warehouse. It has ropes, tractor tires, sledgehammers and kettle bells. Several treadmills sit against a wall. It doesn’t have rope lights, neon, TVs and mirrors.
“You come here to work hard, not to impress people,” Rosenberg said.
It’s not a warehouse for weights and exercise machines. It’s a clubhouse for fitness geeks.
That’s not exactly true. The Real Results program applies to everyone, from beginner to advanced. The gym holds yoga classes for the hippie set and does boxing for the would-be fighter.
And if you like music as much as you like building muscle, then you’ve got another reason to dig this gym. A spiral staircase leads to a loft above the gym floor that’s outfitted with a leather sofa and a couple of decks. Rosenberg and his friends, including DJs who work at prominent downtown bars, take turns spinning tunes above the sweat and the heat.
Of course, spinning records at a gym poses its own set of interesting questions. What kind of music motivates the person lugging a tractor tire? If your answer is Justin Bieber, this might not be the place for you.