When gym members enter Blinn Fitness in Woodinville, oftentimes Tank the Rottweiler will greet them with a tail wag or a few kisses.
“Everyone at the gym knows him. Tank’s really lovey and sits on everyone’s lap,” said Brandon Blinn, owner of Blinn Fitness. “Tank doesn't leave my side, so he’s a big part of the gym.”
The doors to Blinn Fitness first opened about a month ago at a new location in Woodinville. Tank has been with Blinn since his business first started in 2018 at an Everett-based location, he said.
Blinn said he hopes his gym can promote an atmosphere where all members can feel comfortable and stay safe when weightlifting.
“The goal is to create a facility that's one of the top facilities in the state,” he said. “I want it to be recognized as a reputable facility where people of all skills and all ages are welcome.”
Blinn Fitness is home to 10 trainers as well as a masseuse and chiropractor, Blinn said. Members can participate in group fitness classes, massage therapy, one-on-one training, cupping and nutritional services.
The trainers include Tate Donley, Haley Anne, Dan Stephenson, Danielle Love, Elijah Jordan, Ricky Scarberry, Josh Smith, Kirt Terry-Springs and Haylee Semays as the massage therapist. Dakotah Fitzgerald will soon join the team as a medical spa technician, Blinn said.
Blinn said the gym also provides 24-hour access to the facility. Long-term contacts are not offered because every membership is month-to-month, he noted.
“I want my gym to be a place where you can go and be part of a community that's not going to take advantage of you,” he said.
Blinn’s interest in health and fitness sparked as a student at Cascade High School in Everett, he said. At age 14, he became fascinated with his physical education classes as well as playing on the football team.
During one of his football practices, Blinn said, his coach pulled him aside and offered to train him outside of practice to demonstrate certain movements designed to make muscles stronger.
“I started falling in love with fitness because I enjoyed the whole aspect of getting stronger,” he said.
With the help of the coaching staff and his dedication to football, Blinn said, Chadron State College in Nebraska offered him a scholarship to play on the team.
His interest in exercise science eventually became more of a priority than football, he noted. Blinn decided to quit the team during his senior year in college in order to work at a small gym no larger than 1,000 square feet, he said.
While working at the front desk, he said, he would consume books and magazines about weightlifting and exercise. After Blinn felt like he understood the basics of lifting, he offered to train clients for $20.
“I did that for a period of time, and it actually became quite successful,” he said. “If I could do this in a small town, then I could make it work in a bigger city.”
After college, Blinn said, he moved back to Everett and started training clients out of a public storage unit with equipment he bought from Craigslist. However, during winter, he was forced to close his business because the unit was not heated.
Blinn ended up renting space from Xtra Fitness as a trainer, he said, and his schedule soon became full of clients.
“I witnessed a lot of people getting taken advantage of in the sense of fitness,” Blinn said, referring to his experience working at other gyms. “I watched a lot of people struggle financially and not get the quality of training they deserved.”
Once he became booked out enough, Blinn decided to expand. He opened his first gym in January 2018 in Everett, he said. Then, his business moved to a larger building about a year later.
In addition to operating the gym, Blinn is the head strength and conditioning coach at Cascade High School. He also competes in power-lifting meets such as the Emerald Cup physique show.
“Powerlifting is something I thoroughly enjoy,” he said. “It's also a way for people to gauge progress off their numbers on the bar versus the number on the scale.”