LVAC: The Best Place to Get Fit in Las Vegas

by Marc Jay

As we all know, the summer is coming, and pretty soon the pool parties will be in full swing in Vegas. When it comes to this time of year, it’s all about looking good, which is why I’m here with Dustin, a personal trainer at the LVAC (Las Vegas Athletic Clubs). He is going to talk with us about getting in shape and how to work out the right way in Las Vegas.

Marc Jay: I actually know nothing about coming to the gym, as you can probably tell by looking at me, but you are a trainer here. How does it work, are there different programs? How long have you been doing this for?

Dustin Richter: I’ve been training for a little over seven years now here in Las Vegas and I’ve been working in the fitness industry for over 10 years now. There are all different sorts of people with all different sorts of goals, but here in Las Vegas, since it’s such a sunny climate and it’s a pretty aesthetically driven climate, people just want to look better. The majority of them come to me to lose weight, get in shape, get toned and get as muscular as possible. Most of the time everyone wants to lose weight, but some people want to get a little more muscular, a little bit bigger – generally the men. For the most part, people are just looking to get more toned and get that athletic look like they see in the magazines and on the covers and stuff like that.

Marc Jay: The LVAC is open 24 hours a day so people are literally here all times of the day or night?

Dustin Richter: Yes – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There are always people in here and it’s unlike any other gym you’ll go to, especially in this town because it’s the least busy in the morning and then gets busier and busier during the day until the night. At other gyms it’s more in the morning or at night, but seeing as Las Vegas is a 24-hour town, everyone is on a different schedule. There are people here all day long and it just gets busier and busier as the day goes on.

Marc Jay: When people sign up and join here they get assigned a trainer. Can they request you? How does that part work?

Dustin Richter: When people get memberships here they have the option to get a trainer once a month. Generally, not to take anything away from them, there are trainers who are looking to get established or be able to train here, whereas the independent trainers that don’t work for the club have already had their clients, put in the time, or brought enough members and when they started here as trainers, didn’t have to work for the club. So, if you want to work with the more experienced trainers, they’re generally going to be the independent, self-employed ones, who are able to pay their bills and stay busy without the help and assistance from the club where they work.

Marc Jay: My understanding is that you must work at multiple times because your clients may want you at 8 in the morning or at midnight. Do you work really crazy hours?

Dustin Richter: Yeah, I’ll start my first client at 4:30 in the morning. It’s generally between 4:45 and 5:00 that I start, but I’ll start as early as 4:30 if I need to and then I’ll finish generally between 7:30 and 8:00 at night and I make myself available all throughout the day and I train people all throughout the day. I’ve gotten people who have requested to train at 3 in the morning or 11 at night, but there are certain hours that I don’t work because I don’t need it that bad at this point, but there are trainers who will be willing to do that if necessary.

Marc Jay: I know you work with most of the cool people in Las Vegas. Tell us about some of the clients you work with here and who you train.

Dustin Richter: The clients I see here are all over the board, but generally it’s your successful business people, entrepreneurs, generally upper-middle class clients who are looking to stay in shape or get in better shape. Then you have a lot of service industry people. We get a lot of them here because they have to look their best in order to make the most money (laughs) because everyone knows you have to look good to be in that industry. Then I’ll get athletes, and some small-time celebrities. I’ve got a professional poker player I’ve trained for six years now. We get celebrities that come in and out all day long, too. Sometimes we’ll get people who are in town visiting because it is one of the best facilities here in Las Vegas, so we’ll get celebrity spottings every once in a while.

Marc Jay: Do any of the acts you see around Vegas, like Cirque du Soleil, come and train here or work out at these gyms?

Dustin Richter: Yes, there are some people from Cirque du Soleil who will come into the gym and train. There are different guys from the Excalibur shows, too. We get a lot of the male revue dancers and stuff from Thunder Down Under or the Chippendales. One of the Chippendales actually trains clients at the gym here, as well. But a lot of the Cirque du Soleil people don’t need a lot of training outside of their routines, but we get a lot of athletes in town, as well, when they’re training for boxing matches and stuff like that. They’ll come in and train here as part of their training camps.

Marc Jay: I watch this show “The Biggest Loser” – I’m a fan of it and I love the show and I just love the way people go from 250 lbs. to like 120 lbs. It’s remarkable. Do you actually see people make that much of a difference in their appearances?

Dustin Richter: Yeah, I’ve helped people lose 60, 70, 80 lbs. and I see people in the gym who will lose 100 lbs. on their own, as well. It takes a very, very disciplined, very motivated and driven person to be able to accomplish that and it’s not easy. That show is not realistic at all because they’re in a controlled environment working out eight hours a day with trainers there. Most trainers aren’t like that. I don’t like the show because the trainers on there are just unrealistic as far as how far they push the people. If you take the average person off the street and do that to them they’d end up in the emergency room and wouldn’t be able to move for a week. Just like all reality TV, it’s unreal.

Marc Jay: Let’s talk about the gym for a minute. It seems almost like a warehouse full of equipment – what is this main room that we’re in right now.

Dustin Richter: The gym that we have here is about 85,000 square feet. It’s got a full cardio room with over 100 pieces of cardio equipment, full TVs, interactive TVs that you can hook your iPod up to and run them through the cardio equipment. We’ve got free weights, machines, and then a full running track around the whole facility which is 1/7th of a mile. We’ve got a swimming pool – which is a lap pool and a regular swimming pool – a sauna, a steam room and a Jacuzzi.

Marc Jay: Wow. There also looks to be a little café/bar here, so I guess you could come here and spend all day here, and I’m sure some people do.

Dustin Richter: Yeah, you can. There are a lot of people who come here even when they’re not working out to get their favorite protein shake or smoothie or salad. They’ve got breakfast sandwiches, everything you could possibly imagine. The one thing you have to remember, though, is that the just because it’s from the juice bar at the gym does not mean it’s healthy.

Marc Jay: We all know that getting in shape isn’t all about going to the gym, it’s also about eating right. Do you also give people advice on what to eat and what not to eat?

Dustin Richter: I do a ton of work with people on nutrition. It’s something that I’ve followed very closely and paid very close attention to and work very, very hard at with my clients because it is a huge part of their success. I can do everything possible in a perfectly controlled environment when you come in to train with me, but then what you do outside of the gym, I have no control over. So, I have to make sure that you know as much as possible and I give you all of the knowledge that I have and give you all the tools necessary to make the right choices and eat properly because if you’re trying to change the way you look, that’s like 75% of your results right there.

Marc Jay: So they have to stop the midnight Krispy Kreme runs?

Dustin Richter: (laughs) Well, it all depends. If that’s something they have to do, then I can work it into their meal plan, too.

Marc Jay: Let’s talk about you. You aren’t originally from Vegas, where are you from?

Dustin Richter: I was originally born in Omaha, Nebraska but I’ve been out here for almost 25 years now.

Marc Jay: And how did you fall into the fitness world?

Dustin Richter: I started lifting weights when I was in the 4th grade, my dad got me into it. Then once I was in my early teens, I realized how much I enjoyed it and wanted to get into training and that’s when I started to do all my studying, reading college textbooks and stuff like that. By the time I got into college and got old enough to become a trainer, I had already been studying it, learning it, doing as much as possible for many years prior to that.

Marc Jay: Now, if people want to use you and contact you as a personal trainer, do they have to come to this facility or would you go to them?

Dustin Richter: Yeah, I visit clients’ homes as well. I’ve had people who have wanted me to train them at their hotels, I can train at different locations, if need be, as long as it works out for the both of us.

Marc Jay: How do we find you? Do you have a website or an email address?

Dustin Richter: Yeah, my website is, that’s HTH as in “Happiness Through Health” personal training and then my email is [email protected].

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