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HEALTH & FITNESS DAVID BARTON The New York gym guru tells Magali Robathan how working out


saved his life, why filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy has been a positive move, and about opening his first gym with a bag full of cash


avid Barton grew up in Queens, New York and opened his first gym in Chelsea, New York in 1992. The fash-


ionable, design-led club was an instant hit, attracting fans including Sandra Bernhard and designer Thierry Mugler


with its tagline of ‘Look Better Naked’. It was followed by a second club in New York in 1995, and a third in Miami the same year. Further clubs followed in New York, Chicago, and Seattle, and celebrity clients included Renee Zellwegger, Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig. However, last year David Barton Gyms’ parent company, Club Ventures,


filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to restructure an estimated $65m of debt. The company emerged from Chapter 11 earlier this year, after teaming up with Meridien Sports Club in an operational partnership to open two new gyms in Los Angeles and one in Las Vegas this summer. Here, David Barton answers our questions about the highs and lows of his career so far.


How did you first get into health and fitness?


I stepped into my first gym when I was about 11. I went to this real hardcore basement gym with the boyfriend of one of my older sisters. It was this dank, sweaty basement; I could smell the iron rusting and muscles being ripped apart. It was just this incred- ible place; cops working out next to drug dealers. I fell in love with it and didn’t ever want to leave. There was this camaraderie in the gym; it didn’t matter what you did on the outside, it was just a matter of how strong you were. It was an amaz- ing sort of democracy, and a little counter-culture of people who were into lifting weights.


Going to the gym became very


important to me. I was getting into quite a bit of trouble and I think work- ing out really saved my life – that’s why it means so much to me today. It made me healthy and gave me focus and discipline. Working out is a real foundation for my way of life.


David Barton started his career as a personal trainer 56 Read Leisure Management online leisuremanagement.co.uk/digital


Tell us about opening your first gym. How did that come about? I graduated from Cornell University and got a job as a personal trainer, which paid me very little. I realised that I wanted to figure out a way to spend my time in the gym, so I started my own


ISSUE 3 2012 © cybertrek 2012


PHOTO: MICHELLE HOOD


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