Getting healthy and in shape doesn’t have to be a frustrating experience. Discover a homegrown gym in Rockford that’s been built to cultivate healthy lifestyles.
Transforming one’s body takes time, commitment and a plan of action. Mark Banz, founder and president of Peak Fitness and Sports Club, with locations in Rockford and Loves Park, Ill., knows how to cultivate healthy lifestyles.
Banz took up an interest in bodybuilding to get rid of the “chubby kid” image he’d had in high school.
“I didn’t want to be that kid anymore,” he recalls. “When I started to work out, it was like a lightswitch went on in my head. I lost weight, shaped up, felt more confident, and it just made my life better all the way around. I wasn’t afraid to try new things and had a more determined ‘can do’ attitude.”
He spent a lot of time working out, going from gym to gym, not finding everything he wanted in one place. In 1998, Banz opened Peak Fitness at 4304 E. State St., Rockford. The center has a spacious, open floor plan that flows from one workout area to another. The space is bathed in natural light, has a bright and uplifting color scheme and plenty of equipment in a clean and well-maintained environment.
Following the success of Peak Fitness, Banz in 2007 opened Peak Sports Club, 4401 Peak Dr., in Loves Park, Ill. The 85,000 square-foot facility has aerobic, strength-training, and flexibility equipment as well as a full-sized gym, a fitness area for women, tanning beds, numerous classrooms, a lap pool, activity pool, indoor and outdoor waterslide, 28-person hot tub, sauna, steam room, and separate large locker rooms for men, women and families.
The facility also has an outdoor pool, with lounge chairs and a concession stand. Complete Nutrition, Athletico Physical Therapy, and B. Alms Salon and Spa rent space in the building. Thrive Cafe opened on the property last summer.
“The best compliment I get is when members move away from the Rockford area and tell me they can’t find anything like Peak,” Banz says.
Peak offers a free fitness consultation to all new members and to those who want to freshen up a tired workout. The one-hour meeting includes a body fat measurement, nutrition information, a review of health history, goal setting for health, start-up recommendations and eight exercises to assess one’s physical fitness in the areas of range of motion, mobility and basic strength. It’s also an opportunity to talk about working with a personal trainer who can help you reach your fitness goals.
Those new to the gym need to start out with an easy plan and challenge themselves as their abilities increase, Banz says. A workout is made more difficult by increasing time, intensity and frequency – but not all at once.
Also, people with health problems or injuries don’t have to avoid the gym. Trainers can design workouts to protect areas of weakness while promoting healing and building overall strength.
“Fitness isn’t just about appearance, but about feeling good and confident in all you do,” Banz says.