BY Molly Congdon
CLIFTON PARK — Glenn Brown wasn’t always in shape, ripped with muscles.
In high school he was actually overweight. “Being overweight in high school is a very humbling experience and it changes you; one summer I worked out really hard and lost 40 pounds and went back to school and it was like a movie, no one recognized me. Everyone was like, ‘Who is that?’ “ Brown said. “I started experiencing life as a thin person and what a different life, people look at you differently and that ignited the spark for fitness.”
About a month ago, Brown opened a gym that he hopes will give members a more personalized experience: The G-Box, located at 22 Clifton Country Road.
“This is an old-school straight-up gym with hardcore training; the equipment isn’t fancy, it’s big, bulky, but it’s Olympic standard so an athlete at that level could come in here.” Brown said. “No crazy rules, just come in, work out and have a good time.”
You can drop weights after your last rep (don’t sweat it, there is no lunk alarm). “Our biggest thing here is to bring out your inner leader and that everyone feels confident,” Brown said. “In my opinion that’s the hardest thing for a person to achieve.”
One Stop Shop
This gym has a little bit of everything: punching bags hang from the ceiling in the back left corner for boxers; weightlifters have almost limitless possibilities; and there’s an area for CrossFit workouts with green turf to aid in sports-specific training including calisthenics and agility.
“The best part is that we have something for the stay-at-home mom who wants to lose some weight and get in shape to the professional athlete,” Brown said.
He believes it is the culture that sets them apart from other gyms. “It’s the way we treat each individual client; we don’t treat them as a number here,” he said. “We want everyone to achieve his or her goals, whatever it is. This is the Cheers of gyms, where everybody knows your name.”
Brown did his research prior to opening The G-Box. “I’ve pretty much been to every gym there is, and I took the strengths and left out the weakness and replaced them with what gyms were missing such as legally binding contracts — you’re not leasing a car — the lack of personal attention — you feel like an ant in an ant farm — and scattered or overcrowded layouts,” Brown said. “Here we have no contracts, no startup fees and no cancellation fees, just $40 month and that’s it. You can also freeze membership for as long as you want; college kids can come here without worrying about being committed.”
Brown grew up in the area and graduated from Scotia-Glenville High School in 2006.
Inspired by the Ninja Turtles movies, he started fighting when he was 8 years old. “I started off with taekwondo and got a black belt, then I got into fighting and began competing all over the country at different tournaments,” Brown said. In 1997, he won the gold in his weight class in taekwondo in the Junior Olympics. Evander Holyfield presented him with his medal, reporters surrounded him and trainers from all over wanted to train him for the actual Olympics. However, the preparation for that prestigious event would have involved a move to California, and at the time, he just wanted to stay with his friends.
His mother, Elvita Veglio, is part owner of Paul Mitchell School in Schenectady, but used to be a personal trainer. “We are very alike in the sense where we have two sides of our lives: sports and arts,” Brown said. “I have an artsy fartsy side, and a jock sport side.”
He designed the walls of The G-Box, all of the business cards, the website and also specializes in video production.
His father Glenn Sr. is pro golfer who played on Hooters Mini Tour.
After high school, Brown headed to Orlando to attend the University of Central Florida, obtaining his bachelor’s degree in sports and exercise science in 2012.
While in college, he began his own personal training business, and it was that venture that evolved into The G-Box.
Brown put together a team, each specializing in different areas. Chris Henry is the guy to go to if you want to get big, really cut or if you’re preparing for competition in bodybuilding. Marcus Cronin focuses on sports-specific training, anything with athletics. Ryan Amodeo concentrates on injury prevention. “He’s like a magician if you have an injury,” Brown said. “He’ll pull out one of his toys and then you’re like, ‘Oh my God, I can feel my arm!’” Gena Gerstner has two master’s degrees, one in exercise science and one in public health. She is also a certificated health coach, personal trainer and yoga instructor.
For The G-Box, this is just the beginning. “This is the first step, when I’m done here it’s going to get much bigger and greater,” Brown said. “There will be classrooms, a half court for basketball, a larger boxing area, an MMA ring, massage therapy and go all out.”
He’s constantly trying to improve and build strength, just like an athlete should.