Railyard Fitness owner Douglass Lawder has been a Santa Fe personal trainer since 1993. After he shut down Railyard Fitness on Jan. 28, Lawder’s clients helped him reopen. “He’s been there for me all these years. It was the least I could do,” said David Heath, who contributed about $30,000.
Douglass Lawder has trained James Bond and Indiana Jones, but that wasn’t enough to keep his Railyard Fitness afloat a few weeks ago.
Lawder shut down Railyard Fitness on Jan. 28, but pretty much the next day, two real-life superheroes stepped forward with checkbooks, and Lawder reopened Feb. 3.
“We were going 365 days for 13 years,” Lawder said.
Even the early months of the pandemic didn’t shut him down — even if he lost all 250 members.
“We were doing black market personal training in back,” he said.
Lawder has been a Santa Fe personal trainer since 1993 and occasionally works with movie stars as they film in and around Santa Fe. Lawder said he trained actors Daniel Craig (Bond) and Harrison Ford (Jones) as they filmed Cowboys & Aliens in Diablo Canyon in 2010.
But since October, he said he was forced to reduce his space at 703 Camino de la Familia from five units to three because another tenant was expanding, and in mid-January, his lease rate more than doubled.
The reduced square footage forced Lawder to cancel all 100 memberships he had rebuilt since late 2020 and rely entirely on personal training, where he built his clientele to 75 people.
The rent increase was the death knell, he said.
Lawder and business partner Sabah Peach on Jan. 14 sent out emails and a newsletter announcing the Jan. 28 closure.
Just a couple days after the closure, he heard from a half-dozen benefactors, who ponied up about $50,000 to restore Railyard Fitness. David Heath put in about $30,000 to cover rent “for a few months,” and Sara Montgomery offered about $15,000.
“I’ve been training with Doug since 2001,” Heath said. “He’s been training me forever. It’s a premier facility. He’s a wonderful person. He’s been there for me all these years. It was the least I could do.”
Montgomery has been training with Lawder for seven years.
“Douglass is an amazing fitness trainer,” Montgomery said. “I have a number of neurological problems and he has researched them. He had adjusted his training to fit my personal needs.”
Montgomery and Heath supplemented their words of praise with cash.
“We wanted to be able to support Douglass to stay open,” Montgomery said. “We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t have such trust in Douglass. He’s very loyal to his customers.”
With this lifeline in place, Lawder last week reopened memberships at Railyard Fitness, but he plans to cap memberships at 100 people. He also personally trains 75 people.
“I was shocked,” Lawder said. “I’m still shocked. I didn’t expect it. It’s generosity without anything expected in return except the service I have always provided.”
The other tenant has moved out, and Lawder anticipates increasing back to five units by March 1 and possibly adding a sixth soon.
Membership “off the street” is $150 per month. Membership for personal-training clients is $60 per month plus $70 per half-hour of training.