Two Philly Couples Are Opening a New HIIT Training Gym in Kensington

WillPower Live is planning a grand opening for September 14th.

willpower live kensington

WillPower Live offers strength and conditioning HIIT classes in Kensington. Photograph courtesy WillPower Live.

It’s pouring outside, and I am late.

I’m not normally late to workouts — I am, however, late to basically everything else — but tonight was an exception. When the skies opened up and dumped buckets of rain on the city on Wednesday night, that meant SEPTA trains were canceled, cars were submerged, and getting anywhere in the city by any means other than boat was looking pretty unlikely.

Nonetheless, I do finally make it to WillPower Live’s new Kensington studio, where the warm up is already underway. Considering the weather — and the fact that WillPower isn’t even fully opened at this point — there’s a surprising number of people in the room, sweating their way through mountain climbers and burpees. I drop my stuff, sign a waiver, and race to join them.

willpower live kensington

Photograph courtesy WillPower Live.

As soon as the warm-up is complete, head trainer and co-owner Will Mac is talking us through the circuit stations set up around the large, open, industrial room. In one corner, there’s a metal frame with TRX straps where we’ll do rows. To the right of the straps, short barbells are laid out for weighted lunges. Next, there are boxes and dumbbells for a step up into overhead press. The final three stations feature abdominal V-ups, dumbbell swings, and push-ups.

Everyone divides up into the different stations, and soon we’re off — working hard at each exercise for 45 seconds, then moving on to the next. By the end of the first round, I’m sweaty and my heart is pumping. By the end of the second, my muscles are feeling it. 

willpower live kensington

Photograph courtesy WillPower Live.

But we’re not done yet! We then gather into groups of three for mini rep-based circuits. One person skips rope, one person does leg lifts, while the last person completes eight barbell squats. Once the squats are finished, your group rotates, until everyone has completed all exercises three times.

While the workout was undoubtedly challenging, the fast-paced movement — you’re never doing one thing for more a minute — kept my short-attention-span Millennial mind engaged. It also helps that the high-energy co-owners Abby and Will Mac really seem to love what they’re doing, and are thrilled to be bringing fitness to Kensington, which, like many neighborhoods in Philly, isn’t exactly overrun with gym options.

Abby and Will Mac met and fell in love as trainers at Lifetime. They moved on to open and manage Burn Bootcamp in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, where Mike and Laura Orfe became clients. The Macs had always dreamed of opening their own gym with their own workout concept, and when they met the Orfes, they realized they’d found their perfect business partners.

willpower live kensington

Abby and Will Mac. Photograph courtesy WillPower Live.

Currently, WillPower is running two free classes a week — Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 9 a.m. — but they’re planning to launch their full schedule on September 14th. While the fitness space at the gym is fully built-out, the bathrooms, showers, and childcare room are still under construction. After the grand opening in September, they plan to have a rotating calendar of classes, with a different emphasis each day — lower body on Mondays, upper body Tuesdays, core on Wednesdays, and so on, with yoga on Fridays.

Want to check it out yourself? The weekly pop-up classes are currently free, and you can sign up for a free one-week trial at the gym here. After the grand opening, drop-in classes will be $25.

WillPower Live is located at 1401 Germantown Avenue in Kensington.