Friends Greg Delp and Nathan Tebeck discovered the transformative effects of weight lifting while they were in high school.
Now more than a decade later, they share it with clients as co-owners of gym The Muscle Shack.
The no-frills spot was rooted in personal training in 2013, but after its first year in business, it expanded to 1519 Isaacs Ave., where the bigger space provided room for Delp and Tebeck to achieve their ultimate vision of a combination personal training facility and open gym. Starting last year, the gym went to a 24-hour schedule.
The space is filled with free weights, racks, benches, and equipment for members with a focus on getting stronger.
If they grunt a little while going for a personal record that’s OK too, Delp said.
That wasn’t always his experience as a fitness fanatic in other gyms.
“We just wanted a place where you could create the best version of yourself with as little fuss as possible,” Delp said.
The Muscle Shack has also become a place where those with a competitive drive can find a community. A number of clients are state and national record-holders in powerlifting competitions. The majority, Delp said, are women.
In that work, it’s nearly impossible not to find community among other members. Someone attempting to dead lift their max is likely to find an audience and support among others working out and often accompanied by cheers and whoops of support.
Delp started lifting weights his sophomore year of high school. It helped him discover more about fitness and build his confidence at the same time. Before he knew it, classmates were seeking out his advice on fitness and nutrition or searching for a workout partner.
Tebeck started working out with him, too. The workouts were a game-changer for a young person on the path of self-discovery.
“Seeing the positive changes in my body helped me solidify what’s been a philosophy in life,” Tebeck said.
The connection to the work and changes showed him that time and effort put into something reaps rewards. That goes for whatever path he may choose.
After graduation in 2008, the two friends shared their goal to have their own gym where they could provide training and workout space for others.
“We started by training family and friends for pennies and dimes,” Delp said.
They worked various jobs, saving their money for equipment purchases and stockpiling for their first spot on Eastgate Street in June 2013.
One year later, they moved to their current spot, next to Up Balloon Boutique in the two-building strip that also neighbors Livit Coffee and Bicycle Barn. The business has since become debt-free, a huge accomplishment considering the impossibility they had in their early 20s of landing traditional financing through a bank.
Delp said he hopes to get bigger from here, but that won’t necessarily mean another move. A second location could be an eventual possibility, as well as growth in the classes he offers with Tebeck.
“I think one of the coolest things is feeling like you’ve helped other people,” he said.