Tucson Strength, (formerly Evolution Fitness), has been a around for nearly nine years. If you’ve been around for a while, you know things are rarely stagnant: something’s always happening, sometimes subtle, other times extreme.
In the early 2000s I couldn’t keep employment at a facility for more than two years because I was always pushing the limits and seeking better ways to do things. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the one writing the checks. To innovate I had to put my money where my mind was. I wanted to create a training environment offering personal training as well as strength and movement based group instruction. In 2010 I started Evolution Fitness Systems.
At our first 1000sf location we developed an approach using kettlebells and barbells that attracted the people I wanted to train. Those that believed strength was important and looking for a place that understood them. We designed programs focused on mastering the fundamentals while pushing hard, but not to the point of losing form. As word got out, we expanded to become the place for people who didn’t want an LA Fitness or a Crossfit box. Those who found us loved our approach and philosophy.
Evolution Fitness grew strong over the years. Our offerings expanded to mobility classes, Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, indoor rowing, nutrition coaching, and a running group. Each specialty was led by an experienced coach and I felt extremely proud of everything we offered. Then and now, our coaches are truly the best people I have ever been associated with.
Though we increased our offerings I knew we were still missing the mark. In 2016 I changed our name from Evolution Fitness to Tucson Strength, fully expressing who we are through our name. We wanted to bring in people who already believed in the value of strength and needed a place to learn how to become stronger. Tucson Strength continued to grow.
Weekly I got calls from powerlifters asking me if they could train on their own at my gym. They were frustrated at their big box gyms because they couldn’t get a decent bar to lift with or they had to wait for a squat rack because some bro was curling in it. I also had Crossfitters calling me because they wanted a place to do a WOD on their own. Big boxes don’t accommodate Crossfitters and I couldn’t accommodate them in my training facility either without interfering with our classes. Though Tucson Strength was thriving, I knew we could make a bigger impact. I knew Tucson needed more and I really wanted to be the solution.
Then the answer hit me and I couldn’t sleep until we made it happen.
I dreamed of building a facility with space enough to run our group training while also accommodating strength enthusiasts looking to train on their own with the best equipment. Tucson Strength could be more than a place for people to learn to become strong. We could be Tucson’s home for the strength enthusiast. To do that we had to move from the out-of-the-way warehouse that made us Tucson’s hidden gem and take strength to the main street. After months of searching for a building the opportunity came up to take over the former Chuck E. Cheese just a mile or so away. Without hesitation we moved on it.
The result has been nothing short of mind blowing. The average person walking through the doors sees just bars and weight machines. But seasoned strength enthusiasts light up when they see our specialized equipment: numerous hand-built deadlifting platforms and Olympic lifting platforms — both equipped with competition plates; competition benches and squat stands; a belt squat; Texas Power bars and deadlift bars; and too many specialty bars to list. Our cardio area boasts self-propelled treadmills and other pieces not found in most big box gyms. The monkey bar obstacle course rig and turf area really highlight the space.
This carefully curated collection of equipment is just a small piece of why Tucson Strength is special. We’re special because we aren’t just a gym. Tucson Strength is a community of individuals pursuing strength, health, and better movement. Our community, more than any of the equipment we can boast about, makes this place amazing. Members here for 1-on-1 training, group training, or open access help each other and create a great environment you won’t find in other fitness gyms.
We aren’t a sales organization that sells a thing called gym memberships. We are a strength training community maintaining our values over money. Everyone who trains here agrees to a code of conduct which outlines our expectations. Members here for 1-on-1 training, group training, or open access help each other and create a great environment you won’t find in other fitness gyms. At Tucson Strength you’ll see a powerlifter who squats over 600lbs hugging and chatting with an 85-year-old 1-on-1 client because they’re both here for the same reason: to become stronger as part of a community. Anyone can copy our equipment, but they can’t copy our diverse community, brought together here because we believe strength has a greater purpose.