Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Thursday, December 02, 2021
<p>Maria Trujillo, a 25-year-old UF alumna, takes instruction from Michael Espinosa, a 27-year-old UF alumnus and founder of The Ark School of Fitness, 22 NE 11 St. The Ark gym is a nonprofit facility.</p>

Maria Trujillo, a 25-year-old UF alumna, takes instruction from Michael Espinosa, a 27-year-old UF alumnus and founder of The Ark School of Fitness, 22 NE 11 St. The Ark gym is a nonprofit facility.

As reggae music blared through the loudspeakers, Michael Espinosa’s workout class prepared to get sweaty.

“I’m going to say the reps,” Espinosa said, “and you’ll either say ‘Hell yeah’ or ‘Hell naw.’”

“Three. Two. One. Squats.”

“Hell yeah,” the class of four shouted.

The Ark School of Fitness Inc., a nonprofit gym located at 22 NE 11 St., opened three weeks ago and aims to provide a low-cost location for people to work out.

The highest price for membership is $150 per month.

However, prices are determined by the patron’s income.

If someone’s income is 125 percent under the U.S. poverty guideline, he or she could pay as low as $1 a month.

The Ark looked more like a warehouse when compared to other gyms.

A large fan kept the 200-square-foot room cool. Barbells laid in the corner. Weights were stacked against the wall. Ropes hung from the banister.

So far, Espinosa said, customers have been slow to come in.

Espinosa, a 27-year-old UF alumnus, said he has always thought about opening a gym of his own.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

He said he chose the nonprofit model to be able to give his patrons athletic services and nutrition education for a cheaper price than for-profit centers.

The gym is giving free yoga classes at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday as a way to attract more members.

Patrons of the gym, including several UF students and alumni, sweated and strained during a Wednesday night workout.

John Trujillo, a 21-year-old UF neurobiology senior, wiped sweat from his nose with his shirt.

His sister Maria Trujillo, a 25-year-old UF alumna, said Wednesday was her third session at The Ark.

She said she decided to check out the gym after hearing about it through a friend, and she kept coming back for the personal workout help.

Espinosa said his workouts are meant to get people moving and to increase people’s ability to work out, not necessarily their muscle mass.

“We’re not worried about isolated movements,” he said. “We’re not bodybuilders.”

Espinosa said the nonprofit model means his gym is focused on helping the community and providing a quality space for low-income students and residents to get a good workout.

“It’s something that’s needed in the community,” he said.

Maria Trujillo, a 25-year-old UF alumna, takes instruction from Michael Espinosa, a 27-year-old UF alumnus and founder of The Ark School of Fitness, 22 NE 11 St. The Ark gym is a nonprofit facility.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2021 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.