Keefer Dondaneau owned and operated a gym in Slave Lake in northern Alberta, but jumped at the opportunity to move his business interests back to his hometown.
The result is Golden’s Gym, the town’s newest fitness facility and one that bills itself as success-driven and focused on retention when compared to large chain facilities in bigger centres.
“We changed our business model from volume, like a Goodlife or a Gold’s, to a private model…retention and client care is a big part of it,” Dondaneau said.
“Most people fail because they just have no idea how to work out. It’s like any sport, body building and weight training is like hockey or football, it’s specialized. There’s a way to do it.”
With a full membership, Dondaneau offers both workout and nutritional programs to help gym rats and newcomers learn how to workout and how to make real progress.
“It’s set up like a circuit. So if you have zero idea how to train you can come in and use it without any help whatsoever. You just do legs, back, arms, whatever,” he said.
Dondaneau is also available to offer tips and interactions on each of the facility’s machines. If a user happens to be working out after hours – the gym is open 24 hours a day for members via keycard – Dondaneau plans to have QR codes on each machine that will link to instructional videos.
Dondaneau spent the last three years away from Golden before moving back and opening the gym in September. His heart never really left the town where he grew up.
“It’s home. The mountains, the family, the community. You go to the grocery store and you know everyone. There’s something to be said for a hometown feel. You’re not alone in a crowd in Golden,” Dondaneau said.
He says he got serious about his own personal fitness during high school. Now, he’s an avid outdoorsmen and enjoys many of the sports that Golden is known for. He’s also a body builder and plans to compete at this year’s provincials in Kamloops.
And while Golden is known as an outdoor sports kind of town, that doesn’t mean that athletes should neglect the gym, Dondaneau says, as it’s important for balance no matter what activity you’re into.
“For people that do play outside year-round, they’re often unbalanced. (You) can get a lot of weird injuries especially from being front or back heavy or top to bottom heavy. We work a lot with injury prevention.”
For more information, visit Golden’s Gym 24/7 on Facebook.