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If your first introduction to iron Sport gym came through its popular Youtube rebuttal to the planet Fitness ads, you might think the owners were simply trying to position their gym as an alternative to faceless corporate chains. in truth, iron Sport is—and always has been—the opposite of the modern “health club,” a throwback to what real gyms are supposed to be: a simple cement building filled with the basics: barbells, dumbbells, and a ton of plates.
Located near the Philadelphia airport, the 7,500-square-foot Iron Sport Gym is the default destination for movie stars, athletes,and wrestlers traveling through the area who want to train hard. Virtually every WWE superstar, including John Cena, the Undertaker, and Stone Cold Steve Austin, have been here, not to mention Jose Canseco and legendary strongman Magnus Ver Magnusson.
While that lineup clues you in to Iron Sport’s decidedly hardcore leanings, the gym remains an affordable neighborhood spot (just $45 a month and $35 for students) that welcomes all types. “Everyone thinks you have to be some kind of gigantic mastadon to work out here, but that’s not the case,” says Iron Sport owner Steve Pulcinella, a former World’s Strongest Man competitor. “We have plenty of women and high school kids here. It just happens to be a real gym.”
It’s ironic when you realize that the facility run by a strongman—with its monolift, Olympic platforms, reverse hyperextension machine, and top-of-the-line power racks—is the one whose doors are open to everyone, and not the corporate chain down the street. However, Pulcinella does admit that when a Planet Fitness opened nearby a few years ago, he was initially worried.
“I was like, ‘How the hell am I gonna fight these guys?’ ” he says. “But I realized that you don’t fight them. I actually raised my prices. You’ve got to let people make their mistakes and realize that you’re going to get what you pay for. They celebrate mediocrity over there, and if you want to be a part of that, it’s your business. If you want to actually accomplish something, the door here is always open.” And you won’t need to sign a contract to get in.
IRON SPORT GYM
505 S Chester Pike