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Spotlight: Miller Essential Fitness

Skip the membership fees and see how one gym owner is training differently

15 minutes. That was the challenge posed to Bob Miller, trainer and owner of Miller Essential Fitness. “One of my clients said, ‘I only have 15 minutes a day to work out. Can we make that work?’ The answer was ‘Yes, absolutely.’ I created a tailored 15-minute workout that she could fit into her packed day.” 

With clients ranging from 13 years old to 80 years old, Bob designs a customized workout for each client, catering to their specific needs and goals. “I love teaching and giving people new skills they can use for the rest of their lives,” says Bob. “I want them to be able to keep doing the things they want to do and move through life a little easier.” 

Bob declared himself a certified gym rat from the age of 16 when he got his first car and was able to drive himself to the YMCA at Ridgedale. At 17, he started training at “The Gym,” a big power gym in Golden Valley competing in powerlifting and bodybuilding. He trained his first client back in 1984 when he was 19. “My first client was 13 years-old, and I helped take him to Nationals. I really loved it and had so much fun. I’ve been a trainer ever since,” shares Bob.  

While Bob certainly doesn’t expect all his clients to become competitive powerlifters, lifting weights is essential to his training. “I never put something on the bar if I think you can’t do it. I see many people playing with smaller weights hoping for progress, which rarely ever happens. The stimulus isn’t enough for the body to adapt to,” explains Bob. “You need heavier weights. I always call it a good stress.”     

Bob is prepared with two rows of dumbbell racks, ranging from five pounds to a hundred and fifty pounds. The 2,200 square-foot space in Wayzata is fully equipped with row machines, ellipticals, treadmills, and everything else needed to start your journey to health, including, most importantly, your personal trainer, Bob. 

“Your first time is on the house. We sit down and talk. Go through your goals, what you expect today, next week, in six weeks, and for the future,” says Bob. “We talk about what brought you here, where you want to go and go through a small workout.”

Bob’s love for what he does is contagious, inevitably wearing off on even the most reluctant gym-goers. “I love training people and want them to enjoy their workout so much that they don’t really realize how hard they’re training. If you don’t like something we’re doing, we can pivot and change it. And I’ll never judge if you went off the rails on Saturday with six beers and a pizza. I want clients to feel they can be honest with me. Then, I can get them where they want to go. I want to train them so I can send them off on their own and not need me. It may not be the best business model,” laughs Bob, “but I want my clients to be able to use these fundamental skills throughout their whole life.”  

The other unique business model at Miller Essential Fitness is no membership fees. Clients pay for private training sessions with Bob and then can come to the gym and train independently at no extra cost. “Most of my clients have keys to the gym,” says Bob. “They come when it’s convenient, whether it’s 5am or 5pm. It’s typically nice and quiet, like having a personal gym.” Unlike a commercial gym, when you train with Bob one-on-one or work out on your own, you can usually expect to have the place to yourself. 

“It’s just as important to me as it is to my client that they reach their goal. I’ll do everything in my power to get them there,” says Bob. “If you need a text in the morning and afternoon to motivate you, then I will do it. In the end, you’ll get an excellent workout and learn how to do it when I’m not around, learning these skills for life. That’s pretty powerful.” 

To start your fitness journey with Bob at Miller Essential Fitness, visit:

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