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The Truth About Gym Jones

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Training Director Rob MacDonald on personal and physical transformation.

By Ryan Nail

70_jonesWhen they hear of Gym Jones, most people think of the cult, but not when it comes to training. Gym Jones pretty much set the industry standard for being and looking in shape on film. You will recognize their work in the popular movies 300, Man of Steel and 300: Rise of an Empire, as Gym Jones trained the cast members for these movies.

To follow the Gym Jones lead when it comes to fitness, you must drink their Kool-Aid to adapt successfully through the training programs. I personally have always been in shape and have had a rigorous exercise routine, but going from my own disciplined regimen to the Gym Jones workouts was fun but challenging. In a way, it peels layers of weakness like an onion not just from your body, but also from your soul.

When faced with a difficult exercise, you get gut-checked, but when it is topped with the task of performance, any insecurities you might have in your life or problems that might be going on will surface and at that present moment, you are faced with either defeat or the opportunity to overcome the challenge.

I recently did an interview with Rob MacDonald, a former UFC fighter, current Ring of Fire light heavyweight World Champion and the general manager and training director for Gym Jones. Since I have had a self-defining journey in to Gym Jones, I wanted to know how his personal journey was from being a UFC fighter and having a strict training regimen himself to adapting to the Gym Jones training. His response was that Gym Jones is not just some philosophy that people can use to classify workouts, routines and classes.

“The mind is primary and the way we workout is really an adjustment learning period, and that adjustment for me was fun, challenging and exciting,” he says.

When I asked MacDonald how teaching others and sharing the beacon of knowledge that is Gym Jones has been for him, his response was,

“Teaching people is rewarding. It holds an intrinsic value, healing people, and helping people get new PRs [personal records], which can all translate in to them being a better person and father, living a better life or even helping a marriage. These are all results from living healthy in a gym, and to know that’s what is happening feels good to me and all of this makes me proud of what I do.”

We continued on to discuss personal stories and inspirational moments. When I asked MacDonald if there was a specific moment that stuck out to him when he had been training either one person or a group that became inspirational to him, he replied with a story about a man who trained at Gym Jones named Rob Jones, who lost both of his legs fighting in the military in Afghanistan (his story can be found on Although a double amputee, he worked out at Gym Jones with two prosthetic legs.

70_jones2MacDonald went on to say, “Watching how hard he worked out showed how remarkable of a human being he was. He never complained or felt sorry for himself. He didn’t come here looking for a handout. It put in perspective the things we complain about in life really don’t matter compared to what he was going through. We complain about being sore or being stiff and we make all kinds of excuses when we workout, but compared to him, none of those excuses matter. Things today are made to be easy and all of this can be problematic when it comes to health. There are even moving walkways on the floors of airports because we are lazy and don’t want to walk the distance. Out of pride, Rob Jones wouldn’t even take those walkways, and seeing that mentality at Gym Jones really just puts things in to perspective.

“Gym Jones takes pride in not just getting doctors and lawyers to look good, but it’s more. We take pride in educating others without compromising our ethics, brand, integrity or our message. Gym Jones was created to be a beacon of knowledge where people can learn and grow.”

My personal journey of going to their seminars and doing their workouts has changed not just my life, but the lives of my clients. I have dedicated myself to attending the rest of Gym Jones’ seminars, with the goal of being certified as an official Gym Jones instructor by the end of this year. The process isn’t just educational; it screams quality. The exercises I’ve learned from them have been fun and exciting, but more than anything, it’s been an adventure of a lifetime.

I will leave you with the Gym Jones definition of how the mind is primary: The mind drags the body— struggling behind it—rarely the opposite. When spirit increases, improved physical performance is a consequence, and as performance improves, spirit soars, confidence evolves and character develops.

Gym Jones was founded by Mark and Lisa Twight. Ryan Nail is the owner of CoreFit Training. Photos by Gym Jones & Mark & Lisa Twight.



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