HULL – Just two years after his personal fitness journey, Hull’s AJ Vander Waal has made big gains.
The 23-year-old is the owner of Hull’s new fitness and fitness center, The Gainz Club.
Formerly known as Compass Fitness & Wellness, the gym has recently been renamed and owned to help Vander Waal put the fitness center at the center of his life.
It’s a bold new venture for Vander Waal, who only started exercising or attending a gym two years ago when he started lifting weights at Compass Fitness.
“I was absolutely obsessed with it to the point that I decided to stop trucking and focus on lifting,” said Vander Waal. “Everything has grown exponentially, everything happened so quickly.”
He credits his roommate and best friend, Ross Driesen, also from Hull, for getting him addicted. Dreisen worked at Compass Fitness, and a couple of months coming home after a stint at the gym sparked Vander Waal’s competitive streak.
When he started exercising regularly, Vander Waal said other benefits of exercising convinced him that he wanted to make fitness a bigger part of his life. He told the gym owners Lorilyn Van Dyke and Renae Calkhoven that he would buy the Hull gym if they ever wanted to sell it.
The company changed hands on December 1st and reopened under a new name: The Gainz Club. Vander Waal said the play on words appeals to his sense of humor, but also to the welcoming atmosphere of the community he wants to foster in the gym.
“I never try to convince people to come to the gym. What I tell people is what it has done for me, what the gym does for me and what it does for everyone I help, ”he said.
Vander Waal said he was always pretty confident but saw his self-confidence increase when he went to the gym regularly. He added that while many people hesitate, there are no downsides to going to the gym.
“It’s something to go to the gym twice a week to make you feel better,” he said. “Whatever you make of it, there is never a downside, especially if you do it right.”
The Gainz Club is open 24/7 to members or with a $ 10 day pass. Membership is $ 40 per month for an individual and $ 60 per month for family membership of up to six people.
A wide range of cardio machines, from treadmills to stationary bikes to rowing machines, as well as a variety of different weight lifting and bodybuilding machines are available. Equipment for lower-intensity workouts, including yoga mats and stability balls, is also provided.
27 year old Hai Tran of Hull lifts weights at the Gainz Club in Hull. The gym was recently bought by AJ Vander Waal from Hull.
Personal training and group training are the two services the Gainz Club lacks, but Vander Waal said he hopes to pursue both this spring.
“I know there are a lot of people who enjoy this and a lot of people who come in groups and train in groups. I’m trying to organize that, ”he said.
Group classes could be available as early as March. Personal training is likely to follow if Vander Waal can hire someone with the background and experience to do it.
He sees himself more as a fitness trainer than a trainer.
“I lift with people and I’ll show them how to do it,” said Vander Waal. “I just go out there and do what I do and tell people how great they are.”
Being a gym owner is quite a change from being a gym member, but Vander Waal said he’s done well so far. He said he was fortunate to have been able to rely on the former owners for any questions.
Former Compass Fitness members can expect things to look similar upon entering the Gainz Club door, although Vander Waal rearranged some equipment to save space. He hopes to have enough members in the next few years to expand to a larger location.
Vander Waal said the space he has is adequate, in part because it doesn’t block equipment or push exercise areas six feet apart, but relies on members to “use common sense” and spread out during exercise.
“When someone is on a treadmill, don’t hop on a treadmill right next to them, but I don’t like locking them off,” he said. “I have some older women who come together and love to go together, and if I blocked one they couldn’t get together.”
Vander Waal lifts on. Although he’s only been at it for two years, he hopes to reach a competitive level at some point. He’s also working on becoming an online fitness influencer, mostly through his YouTube channel, “AJ Vander Waal,” where he uploads fitness vlogs.
“I have a firm belief in becoming the best possible version of the body you received,” he said.