Brendan Loyer, owner of Iron+Mortar, poses for a portrait in the front of the gym on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 in Yakima, Wash.

After 10 years working and coaching in other gyms, Brenden Loyer decided to go out on his own and create a gym that provided a middle-of-the-road option for people.

Iron+Mortar, which Loyer and his wife, Ashley, opened two years ago, provides small-group coaching for people of all athletic levels who are seeking to get into better shape. He sees it as an alternative to gyms that either provide little guidance to clients or intense coaching for people who are already committed to an athletic lifestyle.

A Cle Elum native and graduate of Perry Technical Institute in commercial and industrial electrical work, Loyer has certification in Olympic weightlifting, endurance training and other areas of physical fitness training.

Loyer, 28, and his wife have two dogs and two cats. The gym, at 2204 W. Nob Hill Blvd., employs three people.

What led you to open Iron+Mortar?

My wife and I opened the gym because there is a void in the fitness industry. Currently, there are lots of options for the “open gym” style of training which provides little guidance or actual coaching. Then on the other side, there are a bunch of options for already athletic people who were looking for a tough challenge. My wife and I had been a part of both of those types of gyms in the past and there was always something missing. We wanted to create an environment where people could get great coaching no matter what the level of experience they had and the ability to work specifically towards their own fitness goals. We offer free consultations to anyone who is interested in getting started in their fitness journey or is looking to transition to something that is there to help them get healthy and fit for the long haul.

Did you face any challenges in starting the gym, and how did you overcome them?

Let’s say we have had some great challenges. Most of our business’ life we have worked about 14-16 hours a day. To most people that sounds terrible, but I know it’s what is required. We are building a business that treats our clients with respect and appreciation, as well as setting our employees up for success. If that means we must put in long hours to build a strong foundation for our business, I am 100% on board with that. I know this stage will not last forever, but I also know paying our dues is part of the ownership journey.

What do you do to stand out from your competition?

A few things that separate us from other gyms in the area are illustrated in our onboarding process. We ask people to take advantage of that free consultation to really see if we are a good fit before ever committing. We are not trying to get 1,000 members to sign up for New Year’s and then lock them into a one-year contract and hope they don’t show up. We are here to help people as best as we can. Everyone is different in their wants and needs and limitations. We want to sit down and get to know each person who walks in our doors. We like to regularly check in with our clients to see how their progress is going and if they need help with anything.

Another big detail of our group class is that we have a cap for our classes. Up to 12 people with one coach, and that’s after they go through fundamentals of one-to-one work so our coaching staff has a solid understanding of the fitness and movement capacity each member starts with. If we are running a class and we have a new movement come up, our coach can teach each person that new move. It is continuous coaching.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started out?

The reason you started this business should be thought about every day. We want to help people, and it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day stresses of life. But if we can focus on the bigger goal, we are able to relate to our clients better and live better lives ourselves. It’s one day at a time. It’s OK for this journey to be slow. The ride isn’t that bad when you get to think about it.

Any advice you would give people who make a New Year’s resolution to go to the gym more often?

Ask yourself why five times, actually. Dig into why you want to go to the gym. We all usually start with losing weight, but why do you want to lose that weight? Do you want more energy? Do you want to play with your kids? Enjoy the outdoors more? If you can find out what your real desire is to join a gym, you will have so much more success. Also, never miss Monday. It seems silly but, if you can start every week off on a good step, it will be that much easier to be consistent, and consistency is where real change happens.

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