New South Jersey Gym Aims to Eliminate This Common Problem for Gym Newbies

“People go to the gym and get hurt, and that’s why they leave."

Evolve Fitness | Photo credit: Larry Irwin of Jumping Stone Productions

Fact: At some point in our lives, we’ve all been that person at the gym who has no idea what the heck they’re doing. “People go to the gym and get hurt, and that’s why they leave. There’s no one there to show them how to squat or tell them that they’re not ready to squat yet,” says Mo Orlando, co-owner of Audubon’s Evolve Fitness, which has its grand opening this Sunday, October 1st. The fitness center, named for its goal — to help member’s evolve at the gym — is hoping to change that pattern.

Orlando knows a little something about coming back from injury: He injured his back while serving in the U.S. Special Forces, and became interested in corrective exercise while on a mission to work his way back from that injury. Now, his goal is to help folks avoid getting injured in the first place by pairing their workouts with the proper education they need to get fit.

“People are intimidated at the gym. They don’t know what they’re doing. They printed some program from online and they go in and feel foolish doing it,” he says. Evolve’s answer to your bewildered state when confronted with a gym machine? A wristband that indicates to the trainers manning the gym that you, um, might not totally know what you’re doing. If you’re wearing the wristband, which you can opt for at no extra charge to your membership, and a trainer sees you squatting all wrong or staring blankly at a machine, it indicates to them that you’re open to them helping you out: They’ll approach you and show you how to perfect your squat or explain to you what the heck that machine does and how to use it. (And they might also ask you about your goals, and tell you whether or not you’re actually wasting your time using said machine to try and reach ‘em.) That way, you don’t end up pulling a muscle on your first visit and never coming back. As someone who is quite certain they’ve used many-a gym machine wrong, I think this is a pretty brilliant concept.

“When we got together,” Orlando says of he and his partners, Jason and Corrin Dement, “we decided we needed to focus on injury prevention first.”

Photo credit: Larry Irwin of Jumping Stone Productions

And while the gym caters to folks who might never have picked up a barbell before with their wristband program, the 21,000-square-foot space also has plenty of amenities a well-versed gym rat would fawn over: a 3,500-square-foot strength and conditioning room, complete with a lengthy turf; over 70 group classes on the schedule each week, ranging from Les Mills to indoor cycling to Buti yoga; kids classes, and childcare from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (!!); personal training and more. Memberships are pretty darn affordable, too, starting at $30 a month.

Evolve has been open since early September, but — lucky for you — their grand opening is this Sunday, October 1st, with free 20-minute Les Mills classes, functional movement screens, vendors, kids’ and adults’ strength and conditioning classes, and more. All you have to do to join in on the fun is show up to the gym, at 130 Black Horse Pike, between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Happy (proper) squatting!

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