When considering Randy Lockwood, one needs to remember that he exists in two very different personas. One is embodied in the trash-talking, cocky antihero antics of Platinum Playboy Randy Shawn, a fan favorite of the independent professional wrestling circuit. When it comes to dispatching problematic opponents, this Randy relies on such strategies as a well-placed clothesline or a deftly secured pile driver to secure the three-count pin.
The other persona is not one of ring theatrics, but his focus and strategies have their own brand of intensity. As the owner of Danbury-based Platinum Fitness, Lockwood operates an independent gym in a business environment where national fitness club chains have muscled their way into industry dominance. Lockwood has studied both how the national chains work and how their clientele use them, and he has made it a point to go in the
“None of our programs in our gym have contracts,” Lockwood said. “If you don’t want to be here, I don’t want you here. And I am not saying that in a negative way as a business owner. I have the most dedicated people here — I don’t have to chase them down for their money. They’re here because they want to be here.”
Opened in 2013, the 4,200-square-foot Platinum Fitness on Kenosia Avenue accommodates 106 members. But Lockwood strives to engage his clientele as a community. “Every single one of our customers know each other’s name,” he said. “You can’t get that in a commercial gym.”
If anything, the gym’s members share a desire to be taken to their limits, and then a bit beyond.
“We probably push harder than any gym,” he said. “We have a 17-year-old high school athlete who is going to Syracuse for baseball and he says our boot camps are the most insane thing that he’s ever done. I have a guy who is a head football coach — he’s probably six-foot-two and 245 pounds and he says, ‘Oh God, dude, training with you for a half hour I feel like I’ve played 10 football games.’”
Lockwood is no stranger to pushing himself further. His initial career path was to become a chiropractor, but the challenge in pro wrestling took him on a different route. He admitted that while some people might view a few wrestling bouts on television and assume it is easy to jump about the ring, Lockwood said it is anything but.
“I don’t know how to describe it to people. You have to be an athletic person to do it, but also you have to be an insane athlete. It is definitely not what people think it is. I’ve been in training seminars with NFL guys who couldn’t last five minutes with us.”
Lockwood included professional wrestling training as part of Platinum Fitness since he began the business, which he has operated with an eye on economy. He said the startup costs were in the $25,000 to $50,000 range, and he has relied
heavily on social media and word-of-mouth to grow the business. “We haven’t done a single item of published advertising and we’re already at max capacity,” he said.
Lockwood has worked to keep Platinum Fitness fresh with new features, including the introduction this year of boxing classes hosted by Omar Bordoy Jr., a Danbury-based professional boxer, and boot camp-style fitness regimens. The latter inspired his female clients to channel their inner warriors while triumphing over the course’s challenges and
their male counterparts.
“When I started this, half of my clientele were men and they were like, ‘Oh, you’re an athlete, I want to look like you,’” he recalled. “And the women were like, ‘I can do that.’ Now, the gals have overwhelmed the guys at boot camp.”
Lockwood is particularly interested in helping the middle-aged and older customers reach their fullest fitness potential, and one octogenarian member has become an inspiration to him. “I tell her all of the time: I want to be you,” he said, with a laugh. “This woman is 86 and she’s pushing sleds, she jumps rope, she’s on Jacob’s Ladder.”
Looking forward, Lockwood is seeking to move Platinum Fitness to a larger space, although the idea of expanding his business plan into a franchise network does not hold appeal. While he has averaged 60- to 70-hour work weeks, he is growing his staff in order to allow himself more time with his year-old son and to consider touring offers from wrestling leagues eager to get Platinum Playboy Randy Shawn back in the ring. And while he hasn’t quite juggled that schedule yet, he admits inspiration from gym members who reached for the impossible in their lives and
achieved their goals.
“There are times that people break down and cry because of how hard they’ve worked out because they didn’t think they could accomplish it,” he said. “But they did.”