Get a sneak peek inside Ames' newest gym, the Athletic Club of Ames

Ronna Faaborg
Ames Tribune
Claire Galvin works out at the Athletic Club of Ames on South 16th Street, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2022, in Ames, Iowa.

The Athletic Club of Ames has quietly opened in recent weeks as construction on the facility at 300 S. 17th St. was wrapping up. As the employee-owned gym puts the finishing touches on its renovation, it’s also muscling up for a Jan. 25 open house.

The multilevel, million-dollar gym offers 24-hour access and a contemporary approach to wellness, according to Brady Fuller, the director of business development for the athletic club.

“Athletic Club of Ames is offering up a holistic approach to fitness and wellness, having an in-house physical therapy clinic and strong partnerships with YSS for youth programming,” Fuller said. “We’ve redefined what a gym can be.”

The interior of the Athletic Club of Ames features three levels of workout areas, with a large, open turf area on the main level.

Longtime Ames residents may recognize the building as the former event venue Hickory’s Hall and, years before that, the nightclub Hunky Dory’s. The facility's three-tier format is still in place, offering an open, airy feel, where workout equipment like treadmills, rowers, Olympic weightlifting platforms and free weights can be found in various sections and levels throughout the building.

With a soaring ceiling, the main floor is covered with turf and features large sliding doors at the end, to allow fresh air workouts during temperate weather.

“People can bring down equipment and work out on the turf if they want. It’s a great place for stretching, and it’s also an area where personal trainers work,” Kelli Bachman, the athletic club's manager, said.

Mike Libruk, a trainer at the Athletic Club of Ames, shows weight lifting on one of the Olympic-style lifting platforms at the club on South 16th Street, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2022, in Ames, Iowa.

The club offers health coaches, personal trainers, group fitness instructors and an in-house physical therapy clinic operated by Home Team Physical Therapy.

Members receive a complimentary meeting with an Athletic Club health coach and a Home Team physical therapist, who together will track the member’s health and fitness progress from day one, Fuller said. The coaches track such things as body composition, cardiovascular health, mobility limitations and strengths and weaknesses while helping to identify fitness goals for a personalized fitness progression.

“One of the very exciting things we offer — every member can get a free Fit3D scan,” Bachman said. “It will tell you your whole body comp — body fat, lean muscle mass, height, balance, posture, all your circumferences — basically everything you want to know.”

Steve Broda, a trainer at the Athletic Club of Ames, works the leg press at the club on South 16th Street, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2022, in Ames, Iowa.

Each member also gets complimentary chocolate milk at the end of every workout.

“Chocolate milk is a scientifically proven way to refuel exhausted muscles — it provides a key ratio of CHO (good cholesterol) and PROT (protein), giving the advantage over water and some commercial sports recovery drinks,” according to the Athletic Club's website.

The club has space and equipment for diverse fitness interests, too — from cardio to Olympic and power-lifting, stretching and dynamic training.

Along with the expansive offerings are myriad recovery services provided by Home Team Physical Therapy.

Mike Libruk, a trainer at the Athletic Club of Ames, helps Claire Galvin during a workout at the club on South 16th Street, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2022, in Ames, Iowa.

“Our two physical therapists from Home Team will be available if anyone has any impingements or any aches or pains,” Bachman said.

Home Team will offer a post-workout recovery room where members can use pressurized massage guns and foam rollers.

"We can address any soreness or muscle tightness when members — or non-members — need to be in their peak condition," physical therapist Dr. Gunnar Wyatt, founder and co-owner of Home Team, said in a news release. "Recovery sessions can include dry needling, cupping, kinseotaping, massage and more. ACA and Home Team are both passionate about being a convenient, one-stop-shop for active adults and athletes in Ames."

Steve Broda, a trainer at the Athletic Club of Ames, shows weight lifting at the club on South 16th Street, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2022, in Ames, Iowa.

Dr. Megan Burt, a physical therapist and the co-owner of Home Team, said her business and the Athletic Club share “a similar vision and mission to provide a multi-dimensional wellness environment for active people wanting to live and move without limitations or pain.”

Premier Athlete Training, which provides personal trainers, also has a partnership with the club.

Another important collaboration involves a community organization, YSS, and the gym is open to more community connections.

The Athletic Club of Ames on South 16th Street, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2022, Ames, Iowa.

“We have a great partnership with YSS,” Fuller said. “We have their youth come in and train, and we work in groups with some training for them.

“It builds their confidence as they learn to do more with their strengths.”

The community collaboration provides weekly fitness for all of YSS youth participants.

Mike Libruk and Steve Broda, trainers at the Athletic Club of Ames, prepare to workout at the club on South 16th Street, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2022, in Ames, Iowa.

Iowa’s first emergency shelter for runaway and homeless youth, the nonprofit was founded in 1976. Formerly known as Youth and Shelter Services, YSS provides programs that are “comprehensive and community-based support to ensure youth are valued and empowered to stand strong through prevention, treatment, transition and child welfare services for more than 20,000 kids each year,” according to the release.

“We’re so grateful for our partnership with ACA as it is huge for our organization. Days at the gym with their staff are some of the best days for YSS kids and have created a huge boost in confidence,” Andrew Allen, YSS' president and CEO, said in the release.

Kelli Bachman, manager of the Athletic Club of Ames, shows benching at the club on South 16th Street, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2022, in Ames, Iowa.

The Athletic Club is also working with YSS on its employee wellness plan.

“We are really driven to help the community,” Fuller said. “We want to put an emphasis on health and fitness, showing people how to help themselves and feel good.”

The Jan. 25 open house is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. and run through 7 p.m., with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Ames Chamber of Commerce.

“It will be a great opportunity for people to come and walk through, talk to us, find out a little more about the machines and be able to see it and try it,” Fuller said.