The Evolution to Tucson Strength

Fast Food Fitness

The Evolution to Tucson Strength


Written By: Danny Sawaya

Fitness Sucks

No, Im not joking.  The Fitness Industry sucks. I am actually embarrassed sometimes that I am in it.  It’s industry with no licensing or standards.

You want to start a gym? Scrap up some money and go for it. Want to call yourself a trainer? Go for it. Guess what? There is no National Certification, no central credentialing source, and no laws really regulating it.

Pretty much do what you want, how you want it, and call yourself whatever specialist you want to be, and yes you can get away with it.

The fitness industry isn’t really fitness, it is a multi billion dollar sales industry that sells a “thing” called fitness. It is an industry that can sell people gimmicks, scams, and short cuts and people love to fall for it. They are willing to do it over an over again.

Fitness preys off people’s insecurities and dictates how they should look and feel at all times.

I think the fitness industry in general is dishonest, and shady. It is in the continual pursuit of turning fitness and  training into the fast food model.

Not a lot of skill is needed, just keep people entertained, and sweating and you can be successful. Lure them in with a challenge, some before and after pictures, and sprinkle some fat shaming and you have a recipe for success. It is like catching fish in a freshly stocked lake.  Also, sell them on the bogus science of muscle confusion and random acts of exercise and you are golden.

When I started Evolution over 6 Years ago I had a vision. I wanted a school of Strength, a place where people could come to learn the fundamentals of strength and the right way to do things.

Yes, there is a right way and wrong way to teach fitness and strength. There is more than 1 way, but what I  continue to see is every way to do the exact opposite of the right way(s).

We started in small spot with less than 1000sqft of usable gym floor and attracted a group of people that soaked up our message.

  • Train smarter, Not more intense
  • Move well, then build strength,
  • Don’t Train to failure: ALWAYS leave something in the tank.
  • Strength is awesome, mindless exercise that leaves you tired every training session is for the novice.

We quickly grew into a 6000+Sqft space and have seen a wonderful community grow.

Evolution has truly has been a dream come true and a huge blessing to myself, my family, and many others. Over the years we  have tried numerous  approaches of attracting business and offering different services to our members.  

I have admittedly made mistakes. In our past we have done things similarly to some of our competitors like offering weight loss challenges and done some marketing that is commonplace, but it never sat right with me because we weren’t living up to our core values.

Industry Forecast

Last week we were approached by a sales company that offered to take our sales system over from us. They would do all the selling, and I was promised 100 new members in weeks.

It sounded too good to be true. In this instance though, what this guy was offering WOULD work.  The problem is this, everything he would do to attract new members is exactly the opposite of  what Evolution Fitness has been about. His system is simple:

  • Spend a ton of money marketing.
  • Use his template website with tons of before and after pictures, testimonials(from his data base not ours).
  • Use ad copy that has the industry standard fat shaming verbiage, talk about love handles, muffin tops, and being high school skinny.
  • When people call the number they get his sales team and they literally hard close people over the phone to join a weight loss challenge for $500.  
kettlebell gyms tucson old school gym

Evolution Fitness November 2010..

This guy was ready to sign up my gym and never once did he ask about my training style, our results, our community, or our values.

It was all about getting that sale.

I politely told him I am not interested and he was a little shocked. I told him I am Tucson’s School of Strength not Tucson’s School of Skinny.

Signing up 100 members over night would pack my gym but also throw off the community we have built on our philosophy and our quality of instruction wouldn’t be able to be upheld.  

He was actually in Tucson signing up other gyms for his system. This is the direction the fitness industry is going. This is what we will be seeing more and more of. THIS is the Fast Food transformation of the fitness industry.  

The problem is they will sell you on Filet Mignon and give a quarter pounder with a side of fries that have been sitting under the heat lamp an hour too long.

This is the big box model being applied to the training facility model.

Fast Food Fitness

Strength is our Game and it is in our Name

Business is interesting. Competition is nothing new. Lowes /Home Depot, Pepsi/Coke, Verizon/Sprint/AT&T, McDonalds/Chik-fil-a. Each of these compete against one another for a market share and there are numerous other players in each field. We buy based on our preferences, how things make us feel, the results we get, price, quality, etc… 

I realized that, since day 1, we have always done things differently than the “fitness” industry, and honestly I refuse to be grouped with the others. We don’t do what others do. 


  • Train with Purpose
  • Care about proper Instruction and teaching our clients how to train, not just exercise them to an oblivion.
  • Have a guiding set of Core Values
  • Believe moving better and becoming Stronger is crucial to being human.

And after 20 years in this field I know we need to part our ways from competing with others. Those that are hungry for the best practiced methods and not easily swayed by the “fitness” industry will find us.

Now that I have a few years in owning my own business, the next thing we must do is evolve our business name.

Every time I hear the name Evolution Fitness I feel that it just doesn’t fit any longer.  Fitness is just a word now and doesn’t mean anything. There is LA Fitness, Planet Fitness, Orange Theory Fitness, Chuze Fitness, Anytime Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, and on and on.

Everyone is selling this thing called fitness, but IMO they are selling whatever they need to sell to get people in their doors.  After lots of soul searching and discussion with those close to our community, we are transitioning our name  to Tucson Strength.

Our marketing will look be, TUCSON STRENGTH: Home of Evolution Fitness…

I foresee in the future Evolution Fitness will show up  less and less in any of our marketing.

Tucson's Strength training facility
We  own the domain name and it is rerouted to our website already.

We want to help people become strong in the body and mind,  whether it is learning to squat by standing up out of a chair with out help, or with a bar on your back.

Whether you are training just to  have more energy to keep up the the kids, focusing to hit  a first pull-up, standing on powerlifting platform for the first time, or having the courage to learn a new skill like running, and entering your first race.

Strength is sticking to a goal even when you want to quit because things get really hard sometimes.

I am confident this direction is what we need to do to differentiate ourselves and attract those that will benefit most from our message.

We are not the next stop on the fitness club tour.

If you are looking to change your life and train with purpose we would love to have you. No gimmicks, no before and after 6 week challenges, no cookie cutter weight loss diets, and no random acts of exercise. Learn the fundamentals from a professional team, set a goal, and Train with Purpose at Tucson Strength.

The following two tabs change content below.

Jesus Acuña

I've been in the fitness field for over 10 years and while other fit pros specialize on very specific niches, I’ve managed to work with a wide range of people and find success. I’ve helped people lose weight, get stronger, get out of pain and recover post injury. Basically, if you have a goal in mind, I can help you get there. If you just want to workout, then that’s not really my thing. Take a look around and connect with me however you feel is appropriate for you.

Latest posts by Jesus Acuña (see all)

No Comments

Post A Comment