Rich Gaspari returns home to New Jersey to the very first gym where He trained, Apollon Gym.
With California in the memory books, Rich heads home to New Jersey to check out Apollon Gym. Apollon holds a special place in Rich’s heart because it’s the first hardcore gym where Rich trained when he first started bodybuilding.
But, it’s been a few decades since Rich was a young hungry bodybuilder. A lot can change. Have the times and technological improvements changed Apollon Gym? Is it still the same no-nonsense hardcore gym that Rich remembers from his youth? Apollon claims to be one of the last remaining hardcore gyms in the country. We’re sending Rich in to find out.
In this episode, Rich meets up with Gaspari athlete, IFBB Pro Jamie “The Giant” Christian-Johal. Having traveled all the way from the UK, Jamie got here just in time to meet Rich in his old home gym. What a treat! Rich pushes the gym and Jamie to their limits with an all-out epic training session at the gym that started one of the most decorated bodybuilding careers in the business.
What’s it like to come back to the gym where you first trained?
RG: “It’s an incredible experience. Returning to a place that was so familiar and so important in my career. It’s like returning to the home where you grew up. There’s something about it that’s so ingrained…. You go right back. Like I never left.”
Is everything how you left it? Same equipment?
RG: “Yes and no. There’s some holdover pieces that were special then and they’re still special now. Like the belt squat machine. You do a squat movement with a belt around your waist attached to the weights. So there’s no bar on your shoulders. This is a very leg intensive gym. We trained legs back in the day. The beginning of my career my legs overpowered my upper body.”
Did you end up training legs with Jamie “the Giant?”
RG: “Yeah… It takes him so long to do a squat. Hes so tall!”
So, does your alma mater gym hold on to its hardcore heritage?
RG: “This place is still the gym where Dorian Yates trained when he came to America. Some serious pros trained here. This place was was legendary. Now it’s got a new vibe, a different energy, but its still as hardcore as ever. It’s cool to train here. Hardcore is back.”