Meet Greg Hahaj
How I Got Where I Am Today
Hard work,focus on excellence, and an open-mind. ; I went from being a professional soccer player in Europe as a teenager to becoming a championship body-builder here in the United States, by working hard everyday. At each step of my athletic career, I learned from some of the worlds best coaches, doctors, trainers, and from my own experiences about how our bodies work, how to achieve maximum physical performance, and how our physical well-being can often determine our mental well-being. As the years went by, I noticed that so much of what I was learning was the OPPOSITE of what was being sold by gyms, supplement shops, infomercials, and talk shows. I saw that the fitness industry is more of a marketing business than a health business and I decided to do something about it.
Creating the GH Personal Training Studios
I have worked with hundreds of personal training clients over the years, including CEO's, doctors, politicians, academics, cancer patients, drug addicts, recent moms, and grandmothers. At first, I trained clients in public facilities like Golds Gym, Ballys and Chicago's exclusive East Bank Club. However, I found it nearly impossible to educate my clients about their bodies and their health when surrounded by the normal noises of the gym. My clients were getting such amazing results that I was interrupted all the time by people wanting to sign-up, and I frequently had to turn-away people who needed my help.
So in 1997, I opened my own 9,000 square foot personal training studio and gym in the Chicago suburb of Mount Prospect. There, I created an environment dedicated to personal training excellence where I was able to continue helping my clients change their lives while also developing a curriculum and program where I could take a small group of talented trainers and turn them into personal training and nutrition powerhouses. What we offered was unique and highly effective so with minimal marketing and a lot of client referrals, the Mount Prospect location flourished and in 2005 we opened up another 4,000 square foot location in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood.
The GH Personal Training Studios were awesome and allowed me to continue growing as a personal trainer and health professional. I got increasingly more effective with my clients becoming what I like to call a maestro of the human body - and I learned how to compose and conduct the righty symphony for each of my clients. I developed an unsurpassed training program for my own team of trainers and taught them how to achieve excellence. I developed the GH Personal Training Systems, a set of over 400 proprietary personal training work-outs that my trainers would use as a starting point towards crafting a customized and effective program for each client.
I stopped being a personal trainer and started being an educator.
My team of personal trainers become increasingly more effective and as our business grew, I began wrestling with the limitations of being just a personal trainer. I realized that leading clients through customized work-out programs was only one part of our job. However, the rest of the job was EDUCATING. Educating clients on how to take control of their own physical health, making them aware of the changes in their own energy levels and happiness that was resulting from their training, teaching them about their nutrition and the impact of their food choices, helping them understand that their muscles were indeed like musical instruments and teaching them how to "play" each instrument so it contributed to the beauty of the symphony. When we not only helped our clients exercise but focused on educating them about themselves and their bodies - we reached an entirely new level of effectiveness. At some point, I realized that I was no longer a personal trainer but I had become an educator to my clients -- and the master of the curriculum for my trainers.
The GH School for Healthy Living.
Once I realized that client education was the most important ingredient in changing our clients lives, I knew I needed to go deeper into education to see how it could further improve GH and what we do for our clients. In 2007, I opened up the first GH School for Healthy Living as a private classroom where I could focus on developing a system for educating clients as effective as the systems we were utilizing for training clients (the GH Personal Training Systems). This first school was only for me and my students, an elite, exclusive, 2,400 square foot classroom where I could expand my work as an educator and develop the GH educational curriculum.
I experimented with many strategies and found the right way to combine verbal communication with experiential learning and empowering clients to become more self-aware of their health so that they could become real partners in their own progression. I don't just teach perfect weightlifting form, I teach how each exercise should feel so that my clients could start making sometimes imperceptible changes to their form and get better results. I don't just tell clients what to eat, I go to their house, meet with their spouse, and talk about what is already in their pantry. Then we go to their grocery store together to find better alternatives, and I go back to their house to demonstrate how to take their healthier ingredients and prepare them properly. The more I experiment, the more I learn how powerful the concept of education is alongside personal training and I'm determined to remake all of GH Personal Training locations into Schools for Healthy Living.