Beach couple prepares for grand opening of new fitness center

Ben Landis spent 15 years in “corporate America” as a business analyst. But away from work, fitness held a special place in his heart, especially after meeting his wife, Jeannie, though it.

One day, a thought struck him as he walked down the stairs of a fitness center. He saw all those people on cardio machines.

A fitness center based on movement and open space exercises is opening in Virginia Beach. (Kelly Kultys/Southside Daily)
A fitness center based on movement and open-space exercises is opening in Virginia Beach. (Kelly Kultys/Southside Daily)

“They were just mindlessly running, like people on hamster wheels,” Landis recalled.

That moment helped spark the idea behind FitLab, a new fitness center that he and his wife will open Saturday.

Jeannie Landis said they want to help people change their lifestyle, not just workout until they reach a certain goal.

“Being healthy, it’s an investment you make,” she said. “We want to partner with people for life.”

Their facility at 1440 N. Great Neck Rd. features minimal equipment that is mostly situated around the edges of open workout space.  Ropes hang from the ceiling. Monkey bars run overhead. There are pull-up bars, two rowers and some standards such as dumbbells and kettlebells tucked away in wooden cupboards. There are also showers and a small kitchen facility, which the owners hope to use for nutrition classes.

Clients will use a variety of exercise equipment during FitLab classes. (Kelly Kultys/Southside Daily)
Clients will use a variety of exercise equipment during FitLab classes. (Kelly Kultys/Southside Daily)

Prospective members will fill out a health history questionnaire and sit down with the Landises to chart a fitness and nutrition plan. Clients then go through a 60- to 90-minute introductory training session where they are introduced to the equipment and workout plans while the couple evaluates their fitness level.

Group classes and personal training will be offered, but the owners emphasized their goal is to fill a niche between the two, as classes will be capped at six people.

“You still get that sense of camaraderie through the classes, but you also get that personal attention,” Ben Landis said.

Ben Landis, a certified resistance training specialist and MAT jumpstart trainer, and Jeannie Landis, a MAT specialist and certified GMB trainer, will teach classes as they begin. They plan to bring in more instructors as they grow.

Besides working out clients can also take nutrition classes at FitLab. (Kelly Kultys/Southside Daily)
Besides working out, clients can also take nutrition classes at FitLab. (Kelly Kultys/Southside Daily)

Pricing begins at $99 a month for the New Member 30-day Intro special. That package includes a health evaluation, unlimited small group training sessions for the month, a personal training session and one Muscle Activation Technique session, which is a comprehensive muscle assessment that analyzes imbalances, joint instability and limitations on range of motion.

The creation of FitLab has been in the making for the past nine months. The owners said they can’t wait for the grand opening.

“It was like having our third baby,” Jeannie Landis joked.

The grand opening begins at 11 a.m. and will include free classes and samples from local restaurants and businesses, such as The Green Cat and Simple Eats. There will also be an afternoon wine tasting and giveaways. Interested parties can learn more here.

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