Michael Karolchyk has built his unorthodox fitness brand by offending nearly everyone. He calls himself the health conscience of America, but is he really trying to help you, or is he more interested in helping himself?
Michael Karolchyk is mired in the same ironic game he has so successfully played against others, the "chubbies" and phonies he rails against. People with common insecurities—under the toxic influence of our "Biggest Loser/Fat Actress" celebrity- and fitness-obsessed culture—go to him, willing to be humiliated, to be transformed into someone new. They don't like what they see in the mirror, and Karolchyk preys on that. Yet for all his bluster, he remains a loyal friend and a devoted, effective trainer and businessman. "I truly hope for him that he doesn't lose the Anti-Gym concept with all this sexual stuff," Pelster says. "He should get credit for being a marketing genius, but he'll always get you to lose weight."
Karolchyk has the thick neck, the knotted shoulders, the women, the car, the loft, and the business: ample evidence of his professed standing as the health conscience of America. But what does he see in the mirror?
Shortly after I stopped hanging out with him for this article, I received this e-mail: "Atlas media corp CEO called me for [an] hour today. They want me to do a five minute film for them to give the networks and then come out to NY to meet with some of the network boys. They think me and the antigym are perfect for a reality show. Ha! What a fucking crazy world."
Fed up with his lies, tired of being a pawn in his manic circus, this was my chance to expose him. I called a spokesperson at Atlas Media, and couldn't believe my ears. "We love Michael," she told me.
This time, his story appears to be true. The tireless pitchman keeps pushing his obnoxious message. And we, perpetually dissatisfied with the image staring back from the mirror, we keep buying it.
Robert Sanchez is a staff writer at 5280. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.