ILION – Movement Strength and Fitness is not your typical gym full of treadmills and weight machines. It is a gym focused on helping each individual meet their fitness and performance goals through highly tailored classes and workout sessions.
Owners Justin and Liz Hoffman opened Movement Strength and Fitness, located at 70 Otsego St., next to Beer Belly Bob’s, on Dec. 14.
“Movement is medicine and you’re rewarded in every aspect of your life,” said Liz. “It sets the tone for your day to be active, eat better and make better health choices.”
The gym offers a variety of classes Monday through Saturday that cover a range of intensities and fitness levels. Sundays are by appointment only. Classes include “Evolve,” a highly adaptable, low-impact circuit training class focused on balance and coordination. There’s “Sweat,” which involves high reps to maximize calorie burn. There is a “Mini Ninja” class, which is a play-based obstacle course for kids. And there is a “Happy Hour” class after which of-age participants can walk next door to Beer Belly Bob’s for a cold reward.
If classes and group workouts aren’t your thing, Movement Strength and Fitness offers private sessions and personal training.
“We really have something for everyone as far as goals, fitness level and budget,” said Liz. “We are kind of outside the typical gym model and everything can be tailored to the individual.”
“We gear things specifically toward the needs of our athletes,” Justin added. “We’re here to help you perform better at whatever you want to do, whether that is build-up strength and muscle, improve your performance in a certain sport, work on overall fitness, lose weight or feel better.”
Both Valley natives – Justin is a ’97 graduate of Ilion High School and Liz a ’98 graduate of Herkimer – each went out into the world following graduation. Justin pursued a career in athletic training, personal training and coaching at both the high school and collegiate levels. Liz went into sales and marketing. Both bounced around New York and Massachusetts, crossing paths here and there until finally getting together and marrying in 2015.
After 15 years living outside the Mohawk Valley, the couple often talked about moving back.
“After each visit home we’d ask ourselves, ‘So when are we moving back?’” Justin said. “I love this area. We wanted to come home to raise our children and make a difference here. Make it a better place.”
The two talked with friends in the area and learned there were few gym and fitness options without traveling to Oneida County.
“Finally, one day I got a bee in my bonnet about a year ago,” said Liz. “I said, ‘Let’s do this!’ So we rolled the dice and put our house on the market and it worked out in our favor.”
The couple, along with their two young children, Rowan and Arden, packed up, moved from their home in western Massachusetts and returned to Ilion, making short work of setting up their gym.
Initially, having a background in sales and marketing, Liz wasn’t sure how involved she’d be in the gym, thinking perhaps she would maintain another job outside of the couple’s endeavor.
“I thought maybe I’d be more of a behind-the-scenes person,” she explained. “But this is really fun. It’s super fun. So here I am.”
“Working out can be a lot of fun, especially when the workouts are made for you,” she said. “I just think that people need to come in and give it a shot.”
Movement Strength and Fitness can be contacted through Facebook at facebook.com/movement-strength-fitness, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through the Vagaro app on a mobile device or online at https://www.vagaro.com/movementstrengthandfitness