Roger Schwab: Keeping Main Line Health & Fitness Going Strong

His fitness expertise has earned national acclaim during the past 35 years. So why aren’t more people listening to Roger Schwab?

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It’s not often that business necessitates world travel for Roger Schwab. But in October, the hands-on founder of Main Line Health & Fitness flew to Barcelona for the European Fitness Summit. There, he met with representatives of X-Force, a cutting-edge Swedish line of strength-training equipment that he wants for his 25,000-square-foot facility on Haverford Road in Bryn Mawr. After two years of sweating the details, he hopes to have the hardware in his weight room by year’s end.

Main Line Health & Fitness founder Roger Schwab. (Photo by Jared Castaldi)“It’s the finest available,” says Schwab. “We’ll be the first in the country to have the equipment. So, in my opinion, Main Line Health & Fitness will be the finest training center on the planet.”

Such superlative assessments aren’t uncommon for Schwab—especially when it comes to his club, which has been around in one form or another for 35 years. One of the few remaining privately owned fitness centers in the area, MLH&F must battle big-box powerhouses like Planet Fitness, Philadelphia Sports Clubs and LA Fitness—and it continues to stand its ground. At 66, Schwab is working harder than ever to stay relevant and competitive, so retirement isn’t an option. But he is in a reflective mood these days. “When we have that equipment, I’ll have realized my potential,” he says. “Then let the chips fall as they may.”

In a modern-day fitness industry overwhelmed by TV- and Web-based fads and “fun” alternatives to conventional exercise, is there still room for Schwab’s far less glamorous, common-sense approach? Some think so.

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