TAMPA — When personal fitness trainer Chris Gonzalez left LA Fitness in the summer of 2012, he had a handful clients and not a lot of certainty about his future.
But things happened quickly. With the help of friends and family he was able to open Truly Fit Studio, his own small space about a mile away from his former employee. His client roster grew. And a former colleague eventually joined him.
Now a little over a year later, the 47-year-old is on the grow again.
Last month, Gonzalez moved to a larger space at 12749 W Hillsborough Ave. The new Truly Fit Studio is almost five times larger than the original location.
Growth and the market competition necessitated his new location.
"We had to stay competitive with all the new fitness options available in the area," said Gonzalez, who has been a personal trainer for a decade. "It was do or die. Take the plunge or get lost."
Gonzalez dived into a 6,000-square-foot space, which includes a large group fitness room, Crossfit cage, circuit training equipment, treadmills and space for expansion. He hopes to add punching bags soon and incorporate boxing into his workout offerings.
"It's very exciting," he said.
Gonzalez now has a roster of more than 100 clients, taking part in either personal training, boot camp and group fitness classes. Among the gym's highlights are Les Mills group fitness classes led by well-known instructor Shawn Becklund.
At his larger location, Gonzalez can implement his vision of fitness more fully. His approach to fitness focuses on both the client's inside and outside.
"Being truly fit doesn't mean you have the best body or look like an Adonis," he said on a recent day. "It means your back doesn't hurt, you're sleeping better and you have a better quality of life.
"It means you'll be around for your children."
Truly Fit Studio is open from 5:45 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Visit trulyfitstudio.com
Lululemon Athletica apparel available at Westchase area gym
Speaking of fitness …
Tampa Bay Athletics, a gym near Westchase, now carries Lululemon Athletica, a high-end yoga and fitness apparel brand. Gym owner Jimmy Myers recently became a strategic sales partner with the Canadian-based company. The coveted role allows Myers to sell Lululemon apparel at his gym at 13740 McCormick Drive.
More brand availability in Tampa is of special note considering Lululemon is not sold at any Tampa area department stores. Prior to Tampa Bay Athletics, the only place to purchase the apparel was at a Hyde Park location at 727 S Dakota Ave., or online.
The front of Tampa Bay Athletics has been transformed into a pop-up Lululemon boutique of sorts. About a half a dozen racks of yoga pants, tops, bra-lettes and shorts are available. Some menswear will also be sold. The most recent merchandise includes darker shades like plum and magenta. The store's items will change frequently, Myers said
Myers is the only Lululemon strategic sales partner in the Tampa Bay area. There are about a dozen Lululemon stores, including outlets, showrooms and retail stores in the state.
Tampa Bay Athletics holds classes and training from 5:15 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:45 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday. Visit tampabayathletics.com.