MLS soccer referee expands GAC Fitness in Springboro with turf workout areas

Chico Grajeda’s gym trains student athletes like they’re pros using his experience from 10 years in the Navy where he played soccer and 20 years as a Major League Soccer referee.

Chico and his wife, Rebecca Grajeda, will soon open their $45,000, 15,000-square-foot expansion at GAC Fitness in Springboro on Ohio 73.

The expansion will include more than 11,000 square feet of turf in one room that will be used for local athletes and teams to practice, especially during winter months when going outside isn’t an option.

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Expecting to open the first phase July 1, Chico and his team of trainers will use the space with clients, but coaches will also be able to rent the room for drills and other training. The gym would also use it for community events such as nerf wars, birthday parties and festivals with adult inflatables, Rebecca said.

The second phase of the expansion, which is expected to be complete around September, is another turf room that is just the right length to practice pitching. Minor league baseball player Juan Espinosa will train local athletes using the space, Chico said.

Between both spaces, the expansion will use 24 rolls of turf, each weighing 2,500 to 3,000 pounds.

After phase two, the Grajedas plan to renovate another space to hold half a basketball court and a volleyball net so local athletes that already do strength, speed, agility and other training at the gym can use the sport-specific spaces to refine skills.

Though not part of this expansion, Chico and Rebecca plan to raise the ceilings at the building within the next few years.

“We are so diverse in everything and that was my vision three years ago,” Chico said. “Now with the expansion we have that opportunity to be unique.”

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The current expansion is the second in the three years since Chico and Rebecca purchased the gym. The first 10,000-square-foot expansion brought Breakout Boxing to the gym.

Chico works with about 25 athletes a day in the summer. While Springboro High School brings the most students with 50 soccer players this summer, athletes from Fairmont, Alter High School, Waynesville High School, and Franklin High School train at GAC. Club soccer players from North Warren County Alliance and Centerville United Soccer Association also train at the gym.

In addition to soccer, volleyball, baseball, lacrosse, rowing and several other sports are represented at the gym

With the help of 12 personal trainers, 12 instructors and seven to eight front desk workers GAC fitness offers classes such as Zumba, Silver Sneakers, yoga, HIIT, spin, boxing, SASS, PRX, Lift like a Girl and more. Trainers also focus on sport-specific and general skills like speed and agility, injury prevention, nutrition, strength and conditioning, etc.

“We train like the pros, except we aren’t obviously going to push them at that level,” Chico said.


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