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Lee Benson
Blake Robinson, fitness guru

SALT LAKE CITY —

It’s nearly the end of January, and fitness guru Blake Robinson has some advice for anyone whose New Year’s resolution was to drop 20 pounds and is now resolving to instead drop the resolution.

STOP FOCUSING ON THE WEIGHT!

“I love New Year’s resolutions; I’m in favor of anything that gives people an excuse to change,” says Blake. “But the fatal flaw in making resolutions is people look at the wrong things. They focus on what they can’t control instead of what they can.

“To lose weight, for example, there are three factors you can’t control: gender, age and genetics. All three play a major role in how much weight you can realistically lose, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about any one of them.

“What you can control are your actions, and that’s what you want to focus on — what you put in your mouth and what you can do day to day with exercise. Those are things you absolutely can do something about.

“Don’t think of the scale. Focus on the actions, not the outcomes.”

The payoff: You’ll probably drop the 20 and then some.

Blake dispenses this kind of advice, and plenty more like it, at the gym he runs in what was once a boat manufacturing warehouse next to the 600 South freeway off-ramp on the west side of Salt Lake City.

He opened Evolve Fitness (evolvefitness.club) five years ago and has stayed in business ever since without any significant advertising and marketing. He doesn’t even have a sign out front.

If you didn’t know better, you’d think he wanted to stay hidden.

And yet, membership keeps climbing — to the point that this month Evolve is expanding into a second workout area across the hall from its original space.

The lure, Blake believes, is the exact opposite of high-volume workout clubs that are indifferent, at best, about whether you show up or not.

At Evolve, on the other hand, if you don’t show up, they’ll cancel your membership.

“You have to commit to 85 percent attendance,” says Blake.

And if that doesn’t happen?

“Then we have a conversation about why it is you’re here.”

He claims that they’ve only had to dismiss two people in five years. Which means calling them in, explaining it’s just not working out, and refunding their money.

Name another club that does that?

They’re not fitness fanatics at Evolve, Blake insists, they’re just serious about what they’re doing. Their emphasis is on four things: training, nutrition, motivation and accountability. Do those and “you’ll protect the most valuable asset you will ever own — your body.”

“We’re not elitists,” he says, smiling. “We’re just committed.”

Blake got hooked on fitness when he was a kid playing soccer in his hometown of Littleton, Colorado. His mother wouldn’t let him play goalie if he didn’t do strength training because, as he tells the story, “she was afraid I’d hit the pole and knock myself out.”

His older brother let him tag along to a strength and conditioning summer camp, and a lifelong passion was born.

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He got a degree in exercise science from Utah State University in 2008 and spent time working as a trainer at clubs in Logan (Sports Academy & Racquet Club), New York City (Equinox Fitness in Manhattan) and Salt Lake City (first at the Alta Club, then at The Gym at City Creek) before some clients asked him to break out on his own and start Evolve in 2012.

He has three other trainers besides him, a physical therapist, and his wife, Tigan, who manages the operation and is the reason, Blake says, “the walls are still up.”

He’s most proud of the longevity of his clientele. Over 90 percent of his members have been at Evolve 18 months or longer — each one of them living proof that resolutions really can turn into reality if you focus on the day to day and not on the pie in the sky.