Fitness/wellness center targeted for Oct. 1 opening

GIBSON CITY — Come October, clients of Gibson Area Hospital & Health Services’ Elite Performance facility in Gibson City will have more space — and more things to do — during their one-on-one workouts with personal trainers.

Rob Schmitt, chief executive officer of Gibson Area Hospital & Health Services, said Oct. 1 is the target date for a new 23,000-square-foot Elite Performance facility to open at 619 E. First St.

For the past three years, Elite Performance of Gibson City has been operated out of a 7,000-square-foot space next to County Market. Prior to that, the fitness and wellness program was operated out of the basement of the GAHHS orthopedic clinic at 10 Doctors Park.

The need for more space led to the latest expansion, Schmitt said.

“There are times in the day, either morning or afternoon, when there’s so many people in there that you’re just tripping over each other,” Schmitt said. “So it was clear we needed more space.”

Elite Performance’s move to the former Alco store was preceded last November by the Gibson Area Food Pantry’s relocation to a 3,000-square-foot section of the same 26,000-square-foot building. Since February 2015, the food pantry had been operated out of the GAHHS storage building across from Gibson Area Hospital.

“That’s been a great location for them,” Schmitt said of the pantry’s new facility. “They’re self-contained. They’re completely separated from the rest of the space, and it’s just been a wonderful facility for that entire program.”

In the front portion of the other 23,000 square feet that will be the new home of Elite Performance will be 4,000 square feet of rooms, including “studio” rooms to accommodate such activities as yoga or kickboxing classes, along with office space for staff and men’s and women’s locker rooms equipped with showers, Schmitt said.

In the rest of the 23,000 square feet will be a half basketball court, which can also be used for wrestling or tumbling when mats are laid over the court; a batting/pitching cage for baseball or softball; and cardio and weightlifting equipment, Schmitt said.

There will also be a walking/running track around the middle of the facility.

“I’m not sure how many trips around the track will be a mile, but we’ll figure that out,” Schmitt said. “It’s for people who may just want to come in and walk in the winter or get out of the hot summer. I think that’s going to be a nice addition for everybody.”

The facility will also feature a section of turf, which will include a lane for “sleds” — which Schmitt said is workout equipment that can have weights added to it and then be pushed back and forth.

There is already a “sled” lane at the existing facility, but Schmitt said that with so little room there, “it’s kind of an obstacle course if there’s a lot of people around.”

“The space is the big thing,” Schmitt said. “When there’s a lot of people in there, it gets pretty crowded, and this should relieve some of that, although I would like to see our (attendance) numbers increase (with the new facility) and still get some good crowds in there.”

Schmitt noted that in addition to the extra space, amenities that are currently not in the existing facility include the locker rooms and half basketball court.

“We’re also going to have a lot more cardio equipment,” Schmitt said. “Right now, we’re limited in the space. We only have one treadmill; we only have a couple of row machines, things like that. So we’re going to be able to expand the number of cardio equipment (machines) there. We’ll also have free weights like we have now, and we’ll have the weightlifting racks like we have now.”

The existing Elite Performance facility next to County Market sees an average of about 2,500 visits per month, Schmitt said. He said he anticipates that number to rise once the new and larger facility opens.

Elite Performance also opened a new and larger facility in Paxton last February. There are also Elite Performance facilities in Fairbury and Cissna Park, and Schmitt said his organization is still trying to find a suitable site to use to expand Fairbury’s program.

“Fairbury is packed,” Schmitt said. “They need a new facility, and we’ve been trying to figure out where we might be able to expand our Fairbury space, but right now we can’t really find any suitable space to expand Fairbury.”

Elite Performance members can use any of the four facilities, Schmitt noted.

Elite Performance specializes in strength and conditioning programs that are specifically designed to address a person’s individual goals. Strength and conditioning experts perform an initial physical assessment on each participant to identify any weaknesses or areas that need improvement. An individualized plan is then developed based on the participant’s initial interview, goals and physical assessment.  After completing all Elite Performance sessions, each participant is reassessed and receives pre- and post-test results. The program also provides access to sports medicine resources, such as physical therapy, orthopedic care and athletic training.

“The prices are pretty reasonable for what you get,” Schmitt said. “The unique thing about Elite is you have a certified or personal trainer there with you. They create the workout for you; they sit down and talk about what kind of goals you have — whether it’s weight loss or you’re running a 10K or you just want to tone up some muscles — and then they write up a prescriptive workout for you to meet those goals and then they go through it with you so you don’t just walk in and decide, ‘I don’t know what to do today’ or ‘I’m not sure how to work this machine.’ There’s somebody with you there, so it’s a little bit different than just walking into a gym and stepping onto a treadmill.”

The one-on-one workouts usually run about an hour per visit, Schmitt said.

Elite Performance is open from 4:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday.

Schmitt said a grand opening celebration is being planned for mid-October at the new facility in Gibson City.

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