Joel Corado

New gym lets you share a trainer, work out in a group that encourages and cheers you on

David Taffet  | Senior Staff Writer

If you’ve ever been intimidated by the idea of going to a gym but know you could benefit from some structured work outs, we may have found the solution.

Walking into a gym and just starting to use the equipment isn’t the answer. You may not know how to use it, or, even if you have some idea, you may not know how to get the most out of it.

So the alternative is to get a trainer. Great idea — until you find out how much that will cost.

And then, just how comfortable are you going to a gym that might be teeming with straight people judging you — or, at least, in your mind, they are judging you?

The solution? Corado Fitness on Oak Lawn Avenue.

Gym owner Joel Corado and his staff work with new clients to make sure they know how to properly and effectively use gym equipment (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

Owner Joel Corado has been in business six years. He was located on Inwood Road near I-35 in the Crate & Barrel Outlet center. His new Oak Lawn location holds its grand opening on Saturday, Jan. 20, from noon-3 p.m. Corado said that’s a great time for people to stop by, meet him and his staff and check out the LGBTQ-owned facility.

All new memberships begin with a consultation: What are your goals? To lose weight or to increase muscle mass or to lower your blood pressure? And what are your limitations? What medical conditions,  such as diabetes, do you have, and what medications do you take?

Corado said that initial consultation will help you and a trainer, working together, to set some goals and create a program that makes sense.

Most clients begin working with a class. Corado said small classes become a community where other members of the class encourage and help newer members. One trainer working with a small group is a way Corado keeps costs to a fraction of what hiring an individual trainer would cost.

Corado or one of the trainers on his staff assist new members with learning to properly use the equipment to reach their goals. But what if you can’t do the number of squats suggested or peddle the bike as long as you agreed when setting your goals?

“If you need to pause, do it,” Corado said. “Reset.” The next time you’ll build from there, and other members of your group will encourage you, he added.

Many people come in with one goal in mind — lose those extra inches from their waist. While that’s a good goal and can become a focus, Corado said, “We believe you have to work the entire body.” He called that functional training.

Corado said he looks forward to welcoming people to his new gym, remarking on the drastic difference from just a few years ago when he suddenly had to design classes on Zoom because of the lock down. He said when they started in-person classes again, everyone had to wear a mask, which made breathing and getting enough oxygen difficult for some members. In fact, it could have been dangerous for some of his clients, he said.

Corado’s come very far in just a few years from his humble beginnings before his Inwood Road facility opened, when he was running an exercise class in the parking lot of Cathedral of Hope as a fundraiser for the church’s hot meal program. Six participants wanted to carry on the class, which continued in the church parking lot until Corado was able to open his first gym.

Corado said a membership at his gym is less intimidating than elsewhere. Lots of his clients admit they’ve had memberships at other gyms that they never used because they were uncomfortable going. At Corado’s gym, he said, you’ll be working with an LGBTQ trainer surrounded mostly by other LGBTQ people.

Anyone is invited to start with a week of free workouts followed by a six-week challenge that you’ll create together. Corado described his gym as a “welcoming place,” and, he said, “We make it affordable.”                              

To make an initial appointment, contact Joel Corado at or on the gym’s Instagram or Facebook page. Corado Fitness is located at 2603 Oak Lawn Ave.