Throughout his years in powerlifting and as owner of elitefts, Dave has spoken to many lifters interested in opening powerlifting gyms. He's seen many facilities succeed and he's seen many facilities fail. While every gym has its own story and unique obstacles, there are many common challenges that every owner will face. The better prepared you are for those challenges, the more likely you are to succeed. For today's Table Talk, Dave responds to a question about how to open a powerlifting gym:

"What is your advice for starting a powerlifting gym?"

Dave says that, despite what many think, the first step to opening a powerlifting gym isn't making a list of equipment you need or scoping out lease prices on prime real estate. It's asking yourself a question: where do you see your gym three or four years from now? This might seem simple, but spend real time thinking about it. When you answer the question, you may find that what you really want is just a place for a group of lifters to train seriously together, in your garage or a similar space. Or maybe you want a large powerlifting gym that hosts meets and has three or more training groups per day. In either case, once you have this answer, you can start to work backward. Start thinking about what you'd need to make this a reality and on what timeline you can achieve it.

Most people who want to open a powerlifting gym are experienced in the sport of powerlifting, so Dave suggests using the concept of a meet training cycle as an analogy. Serious powerlifters know that training for powerlifting is more than 12 or 16 weeks getting ready for a meet. The most successful powerlifters think three or four years into the future, decide where they want to be, and then determine what they need to do to get to that point. Dave uses himself as an example of this: when he first arrived at Westside, he and Louie sat down and decided what Dave was going to accomplish in the following four years. They knew what his bodyweight would be and what his total would be, and then they figured out how they were going to make it happen.

Think about your powerlifting gym like this. If you want to open a powerlifting gym, your first approach should not be, "I want to open it by this summer." That's not a thought process or a plan; that's just making a poor decision. Think about where you want to be in four years and work backward from there. This will help you avoid making shortsighted decisions and enable you to use your time and finances most intelligently.

For specific parts of the process, like equipment selection and facility design, Director of Sales Matt Goodwin and Executive Equipment Specialist Nate Harvey are your go-to guys. They can help you fill in the gaps with the nitty-gritty aspects of opening and running a successful facility. But upfront, you need to have your goal in mind several years in advance. What do you want your facility to be? What environment are you trying to create? Who do you want training at your gym? If you answer these questions, you'll avoid a lot of mistakes and start on a better path.