Mark’s interest in fitness began when he was in the U.S. Navy, stationed in California. He became a body builder, eventually winnng Mr. San Diego in 1986, and then winning Mr. Southern California the following year. After he moved back to Illinois in 2006, he opened a small personal training center on Lawn Ave. A year later, he opened his first gym, Elite Fitness & Gym, that was located on the second floor of 800 Hillgrove.
WHO IS MEGAN?
Megan grew up playing basketball, soccer, softball. Anything that was a challenge or competition drew her in. Tell her she can’t do something.. watch her do it. Her Dad’s form of discipline when she was little was having her go outside and practicing shooting over and over and over again. Needless to say, Megan can shoot a basketball! She graduated from high school in 3 years. Went to college for 2 years. Ended up working and traveling for the next 6-7 years, based out of Atlanta, until she moved to Western Springs.
HOW DID ELITE FITNESS + GYM COME TO BE?
“After having our first two little girls, Audrey and Ava, we began dreaming of opening a new gym with a different concept than 800 Hillgrove. Mark had built Hillgrove all on his own. It was small, there was so much drywall, it was on the second floor.. It was feeling outdated. We were bored. We wanted to start something together this time and dreamt of offering something no other gym had. We knew we wanted something big, turf, the ability to train people in all different ways. We really just wanted to step out of the box idea of a “gym.” I was set on creating an awesome atmosphere with brick, concrete, and barn doors. Okay, yes, I wanted to design an entire new space all with what I wanted! We constantly kept our eyes out for warehouse-type commercial spaces to come available. Then.. we decided to expand our family with one more baby. What we didn’t anticipate was her, Alex, having a rough start. Facing a diagnosis of genetic defaults that cause different types of muscular dystrophies, we spent the first year of her life in and out of the hospital. All of our plans, dreams, everything was on hold. With the help of a feeding tube, several amazing doctors and therapists, Alex was able to thrive. At the tail end of things beginning to look up for Alex, the lease on Hillgrove was about to be up. We knew we didn’t want to continue how things were there. In an amazing twist of what could only be God, 805 Burlington became available! It was every single thing we were looking for. Not only was it such an amazing space, but it was also across the street from our old gym! The same town, everyone we loved. This was it. We were gonna build our dream, our new gym- together. We decided to go with Elite Fitness + Gym as the name. The plus sign is more trendy, right? I learned how to design our own, new website. I designed our signs. Every piece of flooring, light, paint color, tile, faucet, toilet and even the air ducts— we chose together. And.. here we are. (With the help of several amazing friends and a wonderful community!) We poured our entire hearts into this place. Elite Fitness + Gym IS our 4th and FINAL baby!”