Lilburn Living, Volume 18, No. 9, September 2009,
"Submit to the Houe of Payne"
– Bob Rosentreter
To be consistently successful, any business, big or small, needs to know how to respond to challenges and possibly reinvent themselves. Steve and Rachel Payne own and manage Lilburn’s 28-year old Heritage Furniture Discount at 4565 Lawrenceville Highway. Last year, they watched with dismay as the nation’s housing market, the force behind their business, collapsed.
Instead of waiting to be another victim of the Great Recession, the Paynes huddled and decided to turn the 5,000 square foot furniture warehouse portion of their Heritage Furniture building into a fitness training facility. In case you are wondering, the Paynes are no strangers to fitness. Rachel Payne met husband Steve while a personal trainer at Main Event Fitness in 1990. A few years later, Payne provided personal training from her home, and this is where the clever phrase “House of Payne” was born.
House of Payne has vigorously sought to fill a niche in the Lilburn community. Children today don’t get the outside play time that prior generations did. House of Payne offers kids fitness camps for only $6 on Saturdays at 10 a.m. Home-schooled children are another market. Athletic participation has become highly competitive. House of Payne offers training for athletes of many sports. ALTA tennis teams attend their boot camps, for example.
House of Payne does not hassle its clients with long-term contracts, unnecessary frills and franchise requirements, and its pricing is reasonable. “We are flexible and accommodating,” says Payne. “Our role is to help people reach goals.” That means House of Payne helps clients trying to get in shape for an occasion as well as those in it for the long run.
Unlike the common gym, House of Payne’s equipment targets the fitness training crowd and is vast. Including Rachel and Steve Payne and partner Joe Clark, House of Payne boasts seven certified personal trainers and the number will soon be eight. A member of the Lilburn Women’s Club and Lilburn Business Association, it’s easy to believe Payne when she says, “It’s about the community.” For further information, call 678-641-9188 or visit www.trainwithpayne.com.
LILBURN: Couple exercises some flexibility, adding gym to furniture store
Couches, not potatoes: Fitness training bulks up bottom line as sales lag.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: Sunday, November 23, 2008
When Steve and Rachel Payne saw the economy taking a bite out of their family-owned Heritage Furniture Discount in Lilburn, they came up with a new business plan.
They exercised a downsize.
“The economy is really bad right now,” Rachel said. “The furniture business is a little slow.”
The Paynes and partner Joe Clark converted a large part of the store on Lawrenceville Highway into the House of Payne personal training center. The 5,000-square-foot gym was an easy fit for the Paynes, who both have a passion for fitness.
“I was a real estate appraiser in a former life,” said Rachel, a master certified personal trainer with 21 years in the business. “I was in the corporate world for a long time, and [while] working as a sales assistant at a gym, I was offered a job as a manager. So I took it and gave up the corporate world to go after something that I enjoyed more.”
As a manager, Rachel had to learn how to teach everything. That’s when she took up personal training. It’s a vocation that has grown on her, shaped her body and her life.
While working at Main Event Fitness, she met her husband. They married in 1996.
When their daughter Valerie was born a year later, Rachel stayed home. But, when Valerie began kindergarten, Rachel saw an opportunity to get back in the game.
“I decided it was time to get back into training,” she said. “I had a full gym in my garage at home [in Stone Mountain in southeast Gwinnett County]. I had all the equipment … and I trained a lot of people in particular who didn’t want to be in a gym setting because they didn’t feel comfortable.”
After several years, she went back to working at a gym but found it unfulfilling.
“Working out of another gym limited me,” she said. “There were things that I felt I could offer my clients, and I could work with kids. And those were two things that I really felt that I was led to do.”
Rachel keeps children prominent in her business. She is offering a free holiday boot camp for kids during the Christmas holiday break, Dec. 27-31.
“I like training kids,” she said. “I like spreading the message that fitness is fun.”
In her spare time, Rachel enjoys … exercising.
Last weekend, she participated in a five-hour adventure race near Toccoa, which included mountain biking, hiking and orienteering. Other times she competes in ballroom dancing competitions.
Last year, she competed at the Atlanta Open in the theater arts division. She scored a first rating.
“I did really well,” she said. “It was an Argentine tango. It was a blast.”
For Release 9 a.m. EST
September 23, 2008
Does the “Personal” in Personal Training Make A Difference In The Results?
LILBURN – SEPTEMBER 23, 2008 – “We think so!” says Rachel Payne, who, along with her husband, Steve, and Joe Clark have joined forces in partnership to bring an elite personal training facility to the residents of Gwinnett County. “We envision a facility totally dedicated to ‘Making a Difference in Every Body’, and we’ll assume this task by ensuring our clients, adults, kids, athletes or just the average person who wants to be in shape, learn how to make lifestyle transformations to become stronger, faster, leaner, healthier than they could ever imagine. We will strive to lead by example and be there to train, support, motivate and encourage each of our clients on their own journey.”
House of Payne Personal Training is located at 4565 Lawrenceville Highway, Lilburn, GA. The facility will encompass 5000 square feet of free weights, machines, and obstacle course training equipment. Our quality staff is comprised of six certified personal trainers with a combined 90+ years of experience. Not only do they have the knowledge to help you get results, but each of our trainers have personally achieved and experienced the rewards of training through sports and for each, it’s a way of life. “Our job is to share with you, and teach you how to train for results, to push yourself further than you ever thought possible and how to help you achieve a true lifestyle transformation. If we do that, we’ve accomplished our goal,” says Payne. Clark adds, “With a team approach to training we will establish a plan for each client because our objective is training for results”. House of Payne will offer a unique level of fitness training that doesn’t currently exist in the local area. We will be able to custom fit each client’s workouts and nutritional needs to ensure that they achieve the goals they desire.” In addition to Personal Training, Boot Camp Classes will be offered for speed, agility and conditioning, obstacle course training as well as Classes that are designed for specific teams, groups or organizations. Introduction to Weight Training Classes will also offered for adults and kids, home schooled students, groups or teams.
Rachel Payne is a Master Certified Personal Trainer. She has trained high school, college and, professional athletes as well as teams in a variety of sports. Rachel & Steve Payne are co-owners of Heritage Furniture. Steve Payne, also a Certified Personal Trainer has competed and placed in numerous body building competitions. Joe Clark, a flight attendant for Air Tran Airlines, is also a Master Certified Personal Trainer. He recently competed in an all natural body building competition, and trains a variety of clients. House of Payne Personal Training officially opens for business on October 1, 2008. Call (678) 641-9188 for more information or check out our web site at www.trainwithpayneonline.com.
FOCUS ON FITNESS:
Adults get own fit camp
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 05/25/08
I am jealous of Rachel Payne. A trainer at Fitness 19, she has the perfect marketing pitch —- "Train with Payne." Somehow, "Train with Haddocks" just doesn't have the same effect. But Payne offers a lot more than a catchy slogan. A trainer for 21 years, Payne will lead a Fit Camp at Fitness 19 in Lilburn beginning at 6:30 a.m. June 7. The camps will continue every Saturday through July 19, excluding the weekend of July 4.
The fit camps —- a one-hour fat-burning workout that combines resistance training, core, cardio and flexibility exercises —- will be followed by a healthy snack and a 30-minute presentation by Payne and Robert Pruni, a chiropractor and personal trainer. Topics will include training tips, nutrition, flexibility and how to stay motivated.Kids' summer plans often are filled with camps, Payne said, so she figured adults should have a camp, too (although kids are welcome). The cost is $200, and participants do not have to be members of Fitness 19. "It's a great opportunity to do something for the parents," Payne said. "The boot camp trend is real hot right now, and we wanted to put something together that gives people a feel for it."Campers will be taken through a circuit of exercises ranging from push-ups, curls, presses, timed cone drills, sprints and an obstacle course. Some of the drills will be individual; others will include team relays to add some competition and fun. In a nice addition to most boot camps, flexibility training will be added between sets. That will be led by Pruni, who is known as "The Stretch Doctor." "I thought it was real important to have a team approach," Payne said. "People have different areas of specialty, why shouldn't the clients benefit from that? Flexibility is so important to everything that you do, especially as you get older. If you don't stretch a muscle and go through its range of motion, you can lose it. It's real important to incorporate into a program." The 6:30 start time could be a stumbling block for some, Payne said, but it allows her to have use of the entire gym. Also, it's a great way to start the day, she said. Parents can be back home before the kids even get up.Payne will take only 20 clients for the camp, and slots are filling up fast. If there is great demand, another camp may be offered. Also, after the Fitness 19 camp she heads another one at 9 a.m. at Academy Ballroom Atlanta at Miami Circle in Buckhead. Payne emphasized that the camp is for all levels. "The exercises can be modified, so I don't want anybody, young or old, to feel that they can't come and be challenged and enjoy the camaraderie of the camp," she said.For more information, e-mail Payne at
or visit www.trainwithpayneonline.com. The phone number for Fitness 19, located on Five Forks Trickum, is 770-564-1948.
AJC Gwinnett News staff writer Robert Haddocks is a certified personal trainer with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Send any comments or questions to
'I want to walk the walk and talk the talk'
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 11/12/07
Don't let her diminutive size fool you.
Rachel Payne is only 4 feet 10 inches and weighs a mere 100 pounds, but that doesn't stop her from doing chest presses with 50 pounds. She's always up for the challenge of running Stone Mountain, and she's competed in biathlons and triathlons.
Determined not to slow down at 47, Payne has been a personal trainer for 20 years. At Fitness 19 in Lilburn, Payne has about 25 clients and typically works 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. As if 60-plus hour weeks weren't enough, she works weekends at the business she co-owns, Heritage Furniture Store.
I caught up with Payne and talked about females in the fitness profession, her training philosophy, nutrition and more.
Q: You've been in the field 20 years. What keeps you in it?
A: I really love what I do. I really do enjoy working with people and helping them push to get further than they think they can. That, to me, is what I enjoy doing most.
Q: Do you enjoy working more with athletes or the regular guy?
A: Every trainer would like to train the big star, but the majority of people aren't that. The majority of people are just average moms and dads and have kids and a busy schedule, and a lot of them are just trying to keep their blood pressure down and lose a little bit of weight. You have to look at that and know that, especially with the epidemic of obesity, that those are the people you can benefit most.
Q: You graduated with a degree in management information systems. How did you end up personal training?
A: That's a story. I was a real estate appraiser; that's what brought me to Atlanta. I was working in Buckhead and went to find a place to work. I went to Linda Curry Studios, and it was the toughest workout ever. I went on to become the manager of the club. I was the one that opened up at 5:30 and being the manager, it was my responsibility to know how to teach everything there. I went into personal training for myself after that. I took a cut in pay because I just hated the corporate thing, and I really felt good about doing health and fitness.
Q: I know it varies from client to client, but what's your general philosophy when it comes to training?
A: In general, my philosophy is to instill in clients that it's a challenge, but it's commitment and consistency that's going to make the difference. I try to get them to stay with it and reach their goals. A simple goal may be 10 pounds, but there's so much more that comes with that, and I try to help them achieve greater benefits than they ever thought about, whether it's losing weight or being able to bench press more or doing a mile on the treadmill. Whatever their initial goals might be —- hey, as soon as you meet one, it's time to set another one.
Q: Do you think it's any harder for a female in the profession?
A: To some degree, I do. For example, I had a client a few years ago who just had shoulder surgery, and when he first came to me he couldn't lift three pounds. I got him to the point where he was lifting so much I couldn't spot him anymore. I'm 4-10 and weigh 100 pounds. Size makes such a big difference, not so much that I'm a female. Once he reached that point, I gave him to my husband, and they became workout partners and good friends.
I've met with some people that it's difficult. A guy doesn't always want a female to train him, and it's hard to convince them differently. And some women, they might work better with more of a militaristic type approach. That's not my personality. I'll try and get it out of you, but I'm not going to beat it out of you. If you want that, you'll have to look somewhere else. Those are the limitations I perceive, more than the fact that I'm a female."
Q: I know you're big on nutrition. What are some of the more common mistakes or misconceptions you see when it comes to nutrition?
A: A few things come to mind: A lot of people believe that the no-carb thing is the way to go, and I try to instill in them the idea that carbs are OK and actually necessary to help you achieve weight-loss goals and fitness goals. I try to retrain their thinking from the advertisements and books. I'm a big proponent of Bill Phillips' Body For Life and taking it to the next level program from Physique Transformations. I'm a big believer primarily because numbers don't lie. I make people become aware of what they're taking in. It can be quite an eye opener. People need to get a better handle on what they're taking in and really figure out what they're eating.
A lot of people don't take in enough protein, and that's a big thing, too.
Q: How often does the trainer work out?
A: I'm 47, and I still feel like I can always improve my body; I can always work to be healthy, be fit, look better. All of that is important; I'm a trainer. I want to walk the walk and talk the talk. I've got to represent. I've got to represent my age group. I don't want to look 47. I just know that I can feel great and have energy every day.
Q: What are your immediate and future goals?
A: I have some aspirations down the road. I'd like to take some of my information online. I think that's a really good opportunity. I'd like to do more with Fitness 19. I'd like to take that to another level. In the immediate future, I'd like to help a lot of my clients reach their goals right now. I've got a great group of people I'm working with, and there's a lot of potential, and I want to see them achieve that.
> AJC Gwinnett News staff writer Robert Haddocks is a certified personal trainer with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Send any comments or questions to