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Gym imitates nature

In an area surrounded by outdoor recreation opportunities, a local health club is imitating nature by offering patrons stimulating forms of fitness that move beyond the treadmill and defy snow and rain.

The movement is already afoot in professional sports, where athletes are learning to work their entire bodies using alternative equipment including climbing walls, tires, sledge hammers, kettle bells and ropes.

“All of these movements are designed to strengthen the entire body,” said Mike Carville, one of the owners of Monster Gym, which recently relocated into the former Courthouse Athletic Club on Freeman Lane in Grass Valley.



“There’s a huge interest in it. It’s so much more mindful, motivating and mentally engaging,” Carville said. He is a partner with parents Phil and Belinda Carville at the South Yuba Club in Nevada City.

With the move, Monster Gym has doubled in size allowing Mike Carville, a former ski and climbing instructor from the Lake Tahoe region, to move fitness to another level.




“That’s why I’m so keen personally to take recreation back into exercise,” he said.

Only 15 percent of Americans work out in clubs, Carville said. That’s partly because traditional equipment is boring, he added.

“It’s not that exciting to spend 45 minutes on a treadmill,” Carville said. “The industry just has to evolve.”

Called functional training, the workouts incorporate movements that simulate real outdoor activities such as chopping and stacking wood.

“It doesn’t build big muscles, but it builds very strong muscles and definition,” Carville said. “If you move from station to station, it really becomes challenging.”

For those who tire of the indoor scene, Monster Gym schedules regular rock climbing trips, mountain bicycle rides, runs, hikes and backcountry ski trips.


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