He’s a former EMT and fireman for the military, a master personal trainer with over 27 years of experience, a pre- and post-partum coach who’s also certified in injury rehab therapy, who, most of his life, has had one dream and vision: to open up a women’s-only gym.
After working at “almost every club in San Francisco” and training out of his apartment, coach Charlie Byes decided it was time for him to fulfill his dream.
“That’s always been my dream since I became a trainer, to have an all-women’s gym,” said Byes. “That has a lot to do with my mom, because she was overweight, she raised nine kids by herself, and I just saw the look on her face when we were little and she wasn’t able to play with us.”
Byes said that having a women’s-only gym is a tribute to his mother. “My mom pushed me,” he said. “She’s passed away, but she’s always in the back of my head, and if I had this gym, or if somebody had this type of fitness back then, she probably would’ve been healthy, and been able to play with her kids. So I want to make sure women today can play with their kids.”
Today, Byes is the owner of ‘N Motion Fitness, in addition to being the club’s lead trainer and instructor. He runs the gym, which boasts around 300 members, entirely on his own, teaching around 42 classes a month.
Byes said he’s worked with women for a long time and feels extremely comfortable in doing so. “I’ve always been told that a women’s-only gym would never be successful, because I’m cutting out half of the population, but I’m OK with that,” said Byes. “My business is doing well without having men in the classes.”
Lindsey Pitt has been a member of the gym for three years and thinks the major benefit of a women’s-only gym is that women are more likely to stick with the program. “Charlie has clients who have been working out with him for a decade,” she said. “We have a core group of regulars, and it’s refreshed by new people, many of whom ultimately become regulars. There’s a sense of camaraderie that I enjoy.”
Pitt also added that after moving to the U.S. from the United Kingdom, ‘N Motion Fitness helped her gain confidence. She owes it to the supportive environment of women, versus what she imagines to be a more competitive male environment. “I didn’t even know the names of exercises, I called jumping jacks, ‘star jumps’ for instance,” she laughed. “I wanted the combination of cardio, strength and core work that Charlie offered. I didn’t know what I was doing if I tried to workout solo at the local gym.”
Along with cardio, strength and conditioning, Booty Fit and cardio classes, Byes has private sessions with couples, pregnant women or just individuals. “I knew in owning a women’s gym I’d have some pregnant women, and I needed to be certified and know how to provide exercise programs for them as they progress through their pregnancy,” he said.
Being a father himself, Byes hopes that all women, everywhere, can have a full life with no limits due to physical injuries, so they can enjoy their life and quality time with their kids. “I want to make sure all women, anywhere, have a full life, with no physical limitations,” he said. “I’ve seen what aging and injuries can do to people, it’s a sad thing, and you’re watching people who are prisoners in their own bodies. That’s not how I want to live, and I’m sure no one else does either.”