The name “Outlaw” conjures up images of Stetson-wearing cowboys bearing grit and grime. And while owner of Geoff Wade, will whip you into shape with ropes and sandbags, this taut and muscular trainer has a softer poetic side.
“They symbolize the story of my life,” says Wade, 36, referring to the body art that adorns his body, much of it a reflection of painful loss and lessons learned throughout his life.
The design of a cherry blossom tree shedding its flowers is emblazoned on Wade’s arm as a signature that life is ever dropping the old and renewing itself. On his torso is a Japanese woman kneeling over a bucket and wringing a wet towel, symbolically rinsing away error.
“My mother always taught me that if you learn from your mistakes, good things will eventually happen,” says Wade.
More tattoos decorate his back and arms.
Two samurai masks on his shoulder blades guard over Wade. A Cleveland Indian (for his brother Gerald who was a huge fan) and a Penn State Nittany Lion (for his dad George, who grew up nearby the college and was part of the culture), are sentimental treasures stamped on his arms.
Wade grew up in a family as the youngest of four boys in Woodbury.
“Being the youngest, I would see my older brothers involved in physical activities,” explains Wade.
Yet, it was Gerald, eight years older than Wade and who had been a wrestler that had the most influence on Wade, encouraging him to pursue the sport.
When Wade was 16, the unthinkable happened to this close-knit family. Gerald died in a car accident at the age of 24.
“It was a very tough time," remembers Wade. "But I saw how my family stayed really strong. That was inspiring for me."
During his college years at Gloucester County College, Wade continued wrestling and also had a stint at boxing.
After college, Wade started working at Eddie Bauer as a sales representative.
“I think I worked in every mall around here at one time,” says Wade, of his time in retail. Around this time, Wade’s dad, “a real modern cowboy and nonconformist,” was diagnosed with cancer. He died three years later at the age of 60.
“That was another tremendous loss.”
When the economy started to crumble, Wade, who had worked his way through the ranks to area manager during his 15 years with the clothing giant, found himself out of work due to market downsizing.
Unemployed and with more time on his hands, Wade started working out more, garnering some training at area health clubs and seriously began to consider opening his own facility. It had always been a dream, he says, to offer a variety of effective ways to get people on the road to fitness and a healthy lifestyle.
Armed with certifications in personal training, nutrition consulting and post-injury training—as well as being the head trainer for patients undergoing weight loss procedures at the bariatrics department of Cooper Hospital in Camden—Wade opened Outlaw, with its bandanna-masked face logo, on Sept. 12, 2011.
“My goal is to have everyone train not just their body to its fullest, but to train their minds. I want everyone to succeed,” says Wade, who stills lives in Woodbury and arrives at the Broad Street gym most days at 5:30 a.m.
Even though the name of the facility might imply male-dominated programs, that’s not the case. Outlaw offers a variety of classes and workout styles to fit women, men and even children.
Wade says he has a high retention rate of clients, and he’s added trainers and coaches to keep up with the 15 classes offered weekly (starting at $10), up from only four during his first year. Plus, interest in personal training sessions has tripled as well, with Wade and his staff leading nearly 100 a week.
Since its opening, Lauri Rosania, 48, of Cinnaminson has been working out at Outlaw and says she’s improved her cardio, become more tone, and feels better all round.
“My oldest child has special needs,” says Rosania, who is the mother of three boys ages 12, 9, and 8. “The exercise clears my mind. It’s a warm environment here.”