Metro-East News

Belleville man runs two gyms and concrete business

Rob Staack, 52, of Belleville, who owns Rob’s Concrete, has owned Fitness Zone in O’Fallon for many years. He recently opened a gym in Freeburg, which has 25 to 30 clients so far.

His O’Fallon gym has a couple hundred members, Staack said.

A membership at Fitness Zone is $38 a month, and Staack doesn’t have customers sign contracts; he allows people to pay as they go.

Staack said there are three trainers who work with clients at the Freeburg location, which is about a mile from his house, and six trainers who work with clients at the O’Fallon location.

“People are inspired by the results they see from other people,” said Jenny Staack, Rob Staack’s wife. “We have so many people that will … see before and after pictures and they’ll go ‘How did you do that.’ He does very little advertising because it’s all word of mouth because these people are walking advertisements for the gym because it’s a family environment and they see the results and they want to be a part of it.”

Some of his gym members have gone on to compete in body-building competitions.

Rob Staack recently spoke with the Belleville News-Democrat about his fitness business.

Q: Why did you want to open a second location?

A: Me and my wife bought the building, and we were kind of sitting on it to lease it out, and we started doing the build out. One thing led to another and I started bringing in extra equipment that I had … One thing led to another, (and) it just started coming together. Three or four months later you’ve got a gym.

Q: What’s the atmosphere like?

A: It’s friendly. Everybody helps everybody. I think that’s important. Psychologically, you’ve got to have the mindset to go in. ‘Hey, I’m going to stick to my diet, train hard.’

Q: What is the success story? Is it being built? Is it being in shape? Or is it confidence?

A: I would say it’s being healthy. Definitely being healthy. If you’re healthy, everything else works. It’s about learning how to eat, learning how to work out when you have a personal trainer, or even if you don’t have a personal trainer. It’s about feeling better about yourself.

Q: Why is it important to you to work out?

A: I don’t work out as much as I would like to, because I’m busy repairing stuff or building stuff. As you get older, the body starts breaking down, ... you see your parents go to hospice, and you realize ‘I need to start taking care of myself, start eating right.’ I think that’s important.

Q: Why do you have the model of not having people sign a one-year contract?

A: I’m a 100 percent confident when people come here, they won’t quit. I don’t have to have to rope people into two-year contracts. They’re going to stay. And if they quit, a lot of times they come back. They’re like ‘Hey, you know what, I want to get back to where I was when I was at the gym.’

Q: Do you train people?

A: I really don’t between the upkeep and maintenance and taking care of the business and the concrete company, but I like to think I provide a nice place to for these guys to come and train people. I try to keep everything repaired and up-to-date.

Q: I know you said you’re trying to get back to working out. How often do you get to work out when stuff is going on?

A: I’m hoping to work out every day. A lot of it is diet. That’s probably the first battle when I go home. OK, Is it pizza or a rice patty? Don’t forget the chocolate chip cookie. I think a lot of it is motivation. Getting out of bed, as you get older, it gets harder.

Q: Were you afraid you were going to make this your personal gym?

A: It is my personal gym. I live here … I think we live about a minute and half down the road. Yeah, I’m here, so there’s no excuse to get up in the morning and go to the gym. The cardio equipment is my favorite cardio equipment.

Q: What equipment do you have in here?

A: We’ve got the Life Fitness treadmills, the 546 Precor cross trainer, a recumbent bike and a stair master; 45 minutes on that, and you got it. As far as everything else, I hand selected it. There are Hammer Strength, Flex, a lot of it is plate loaded, a lot if does two or three different things. It’s pretty basic stuff, but everything works. If it doesn’t work then it’s gone. Everything gets used.

Q: How long do you workout?

A: For me, it’s an hour or hour and 15 minutes, maybe longer I try to 45 minutes on the stair stepper and then do a half hour on the cross trainer. Or a I run a couple miles, but you have to be in decent shape to run a couple miles.

Q: Some of your customers even go to shows. I know you don’t train them, but they trained at your facility. How does it make you feel that people who trained at your facility do well at body building shows?

A: It makes you feel great. They’re accomplishing this, and they’re part of the gym. It’s the atmosphere. It’s the equipment, it’s the knowledge, it’s the people, and it’s the trainers. That’s what it’s all about.

Learn more

  • For more information about the gym, call 618-632-8619.
  • Fitness Zone in Freeburg is at 1000 N. State St.
  • The O’Fallon location is at 916 Talon Drive Unit D, in the rear.
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