Story by JK Devine
Photos by David Barnes
Carlos Lopez decided to give Elevation Fitness a trial run even though he was a member at another gym in Gainesville. It is a decision he is glad he made.
“It was different than what I was used to, and I feel in love with the place,” the 40-year-old Gainesville man said, pointing out to the spaciousness of the gym along with its whirlpool, sauna, steam room, spin room and multiple cardio options.
Recent additions and upgrades at the gym off Thompson Bridge Road have made Lopez appreciate his selection in the place even more. Elevation Fitness renovated its newly acquired storefront to add a few brand-new amenities including E-bar, which is set to open in September.
E-bar will provide healthy premade foods for members to grab on their way in and out of the gym. Options will include healthy sandwiches or smoothies full of vitamins and minerals that will replenish a person before or after his or her workout.
“It’s more of meal-replacement-type options,” Elevation Fitness general manager Mitch Townley said. “You can get all of your vitamins, proteins and carbohydrates all in one shake instead of a meal.”
He said the idea arose from conversations with customers in conjunction with expanding on its “Elevation: the next level of fitness.” Townley said Elevation had invested in the physical shape of its clients but not in their general health.
“The actual training of the body is one-sided with any gym,” Townley said. “It’s about treadmills, weights and a pool. We love that aspect, but if you really want to invest in health and wellness of members, then you have to offer healthy options as part of their diet.”
Elevation Fitness plans to do that with its E-bar.
“Physical activity is great, but to be healthy and lose weight and gain muscle and working out is 30 percent,” Townley said. “What you eat is 70 percent. And if you are eating healthy, working out will come easy.”
Lopez said he looked forward to the addition since it reminded him of shake bars inside New York gyms.
“It was great before or after your workout to sip on a fruit drink that had protein in it,” he said. “You have got to get extra protein and I love fruit.”
Opening the E-bar was not a possibility until late last year when the space in front of the building at 1210 Thompson Bridge Road became available.
Townley said, “we jumped at it,” and started renovating the space. But the E-bar was not the only improvement in the plan.
At the entrance, Elevation created a porch setting with tables and chairs.
“Inside it has a lounge area to sit down to relax along with USB connections,” Townley said, adding he hopes to eventually offer gourmet coffee and espresso. “It will be a fun atmosphere.”
Other portions of the gym received a facelift, too. The bathrooms were relocated, and the color and decor have changed. The office space also has been torn out, making room for Elevation’s newest program called E-Fit.
Launched June 19, E-Fit is a program with an instructor for no more than six people, providing more one-on-one interaction for gym members. Townley said it’s between having your own personal trainer and participating in a regular fitness class.
“It’s like crossfit, but not,” Townley said. “You’ve got someone there to push you and a team environment.”
Creating a better environment for Elevation’s clients is part of its mission. Lopez said Elevation is succeeding.
“Everything looks new,” he said. “You go into gym and the space just opens up. You get the feeling that it’s a brand-new gym.”
One thing will remain the same: the friendly atmosphere created by Elevation employees.
“I have never been to gym where I know everybody by name, but here they always stop to chat,” Lopez said. “They are all friendly and all smiles.”